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West Virginia – Holly River State Park

If you’re looking for a mountain getaway that won’t empty your wallet, then you need to know about Holly River State Park in West Virginia. Situated in Webster County in the Appalachian Mountains, Holly River has an ideal combination of lush green forests, mountain streams, and amenities to make it a fantastic destination for families.

You’ll definitely want to stay in one of the cabins inside the park. These aren’t cookie-cutter cabins; each one is unique and constructed of either stone, logs, or shake shingles. The folks at the park were kind enough to allow me to photograph the insides and outsides of several of the cabins.

Adorable, aren’t they?  The cabins have either one or two bedrooms and some have rollaway beds. I know you want to see what the insides look like. All of them have fireplaces and two rocking chairs to sit in while enjoying the fire. And you may have noticed the firewood in the photos above. The park supplies the firewood for you.

The bedrooms are a bit small, but cozy.

The bathrooms are small, but functional, and very clean. Each cabin has a kitchen, equipped with refrigerator, stove, microwave, cookware, plates, etc.

You can choose to dine inside at the dining table, or outside at a picnic table. Each cabin comes with a picnic table and an outdoor grill. And check out the stream in close proximity. Such an enchanting setting for an outdoor meal.

Kids will be easily engaged, exploring the rock garden and stream that are adjacent to the cabin area. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on the little tots, but the proximity of the rock garden to the cabins allows for older kids to be more independent. My daughters did not want to leave.

The lush woodland setting was so striking there, that it’s very difficult to choose which photos to show. Here are a couple more.

Holly River offers quite a few other recreational opportunities as well. With all those rocks to climb, I’m not sure they need a playground, but they have one.

Sports facilities include basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts.

A swimming pool is available to both overnight and daytime visitors. The admission fee is a very reasonable $3 for adults and $2 for children. The pool has a diving board which was a treat for my daughters since our neighborhood pool doesn’t have one.

The Park Naturalist puts together a schedule of activities for even more fun. It includes campfires, stream stomps, fishing demonstrations, hay rides, scavenger hunts, and animal encounters. We attended a very informative program about the snakes of West Virginia. During that program I got as close as I ever want to be to a Timber Rattlesnake and Copperhead. Here’s the rattlesnake:

Rather menacing looking, isn’t he? I’d certainly stay away from him if I saw him on the trail. We had the opportunity to pet some nonvenomous snakes and for that act of bravery, we each received a sticker to announce to the world, “I touched a snake today!”

The naturalist also offers guided hikes, or you could grab a trail map and head out on your own. The park has over 42 miles of trails. We were interested in viewing some of the park’s water falls and ventured out to see Upper Falls and Shupe’s Chute.

Holly River State Park also has a one-room schoolhouse that you can tour.

Several exhibits are on display in the schoolhouse including this one where kids can learn about how students quenched their thirst before water fountains.

If you are too tired at the end of a day of outdoor adventure to prepare your own dinner, you are in for a treat. The park has a restaurant with yummy homemade food.

Inside, the wood-paneled walls envelope you while you savor homestyle comfort food at very reasonable prices.

We dined here for lunch and enjoyed sandwiches that were made with homemade bread. The restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner as well. Save room for dessert, because they are all homemade too. My cheesecake-loving daughter ordered cheesecake.

While there’s plenty to keep you busy at Holly River, there are a few day trips that are well worth the drive. Please see my articles about a cute Swiss village named Helvetia, and the West Virginia State Wildlife Center.

One park guest I met at Holly River told me she didn’t want me to write about the park because it was her best-kept secret. It’s an affordable getaway that her kids love and it keeps her coming back year after year. Another park guest I met has been going there for 20 years and brought her grandchildren on this visit. They own an RV and enjoy staying in the park’s campground. We only spent a day at Holly River, but, as I wrote above, my daughters begged me to bring them back again and stay in a cabin. The funny thing about travel writing is that whenever I am writing one of these articles, I usually find myself thinking, “I want to go back there again.” That happens with almost every place I write about, but in the case of Holly River, I think it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

Please note:  since my visit, electrical power lines at Holly River State Park were badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy.  Construction crews are currently repairing them and putting the new lines underground so they can’t be damaged by storms again.  The park is currently closed because of the construction but expects to reopen in the spring or summer.  Cabin rentals are not available in the winter anyway.  If you are interested in visiting during the summer, please call the temporary number for reservations:  (304) 493-6559.

Holly River State Park

680 State Park Rd.
Hacker Valley, WV 26222
(304) 493-6353  temporary number:  (304) 493-6559.

 

This post is part of Friday Daydreamin’ at R We There Yet Mom?

 

You might also be interested in:

West Virginia – State Wildlife Center

West Virginia – Swiss Village of Helvetia

 

 

12 comments to West Virginia – Holly River State Park

  • I may have that website slightly wrong but anything these women recommend is worthy of noting and your article is not an exception. A range of pricing would have been a nice addition but besides that, the pictures & the style of writing definitely has me hooked and wanting more. I’ve actually been hoping to find somewhere to go in the spring so THANK YOU for writing

  • Terri

    I see that you found me through the Adventures Around Cincinnati Facebook page. I am one of the authors of that book. Writing this blog is my other job.

    It doesn’t look like they’ve posted rates for 2013 yet. Here is a link to last year’s rates: http://www.hollyriver.com/rates.html

    The weekly rate for cabins ranged from $430 to $756 per week last year, depending on season and size of cabin.

    Hopefully you saw my note that they are currently closed for electrical repairs. If you decide to go, please come back and tell me how it was!

  • What a wonderful place for a family vacation. I can’t believe all the amenities it offers for a state park and all the natural attractions too are great too. I love how those cabins look and really takes mountain getaway to a whole new level.

  • What a nice place! I’ll definitely have to put this one on my list.

  • This looks like a fantastic place to vacation at – minus the snakes…..no thanks!

    Thanks for linking up this week!

  • You had me up until the snake! 😉 Looks like a great place for a family vacation!!

  • This is definitely a lovely place to go for a family vacation. The accommodations look pretty comfortable and homey.

  • I love state parks! We’ve stayed at a number of them over the years but I’m always a fan of cute, little cabins. I especially like the stone cabin. Very cute. Not a fan of snakes, but then that just comes with the territory when you’re exploring the great outdoors. :)

  • Suzi Phillips

    Very nice article on one of the most beautiful peaceful spots on earth, but Holly River is supposed to be a secret!!!

  • I love mini vacations like this! We’ve been to several state park cabins in Ohio and this isn’t too far away. We’ll have to visit sometime in the future. And for those of you who are worried- don’t worry…I won’t tell anyone about it! 😉

    • Terri Weeks

      Tricia – it was about a 6 hour drive from Cincinnati. Well worth the drive though!

  • […] cabins, as many of them have them for rent (generally cheaper than at resorts). Check out this cabin, located at Holly River State Park in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. I’ve […]