West Virginia American Summer
July 28, 2012 1:28 PM   Subscribe

WestVirginiaCampingTripFilter: Interesting activities in & within an hour drive of Monogahela National Forest for some adults and 30+ kids?

Some friends and I are taking a little more than 30 kids (ages 6-18) on a five-day camping trip in Monogahela National Forest next week. We already have quite a few activities planned, including Smoke Hole Canyon, Seneca Rocks, Perry Wildlife Zoo, and the normal camp fare.

Does anyone know of anything else of note/interest close by, either in MNF or within a short drive? Any suggestions, from cool swimming areas to roadside attractions to interesting WV Americana would be great!

And, fwiw, basically all of the kids are from urban areas (DC, Detroit and New Orleans) and we would love to introduce them to some new people/places/sights/etc. Thank you!
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The ghost town of Thurmond, WV. It's only open from June to August and it's quite an interesting sight. Depending on where you're camping in Monongahela, it's an hour drive. Plus, once you get on the smaller roads that lead to Thurmond, it's absolutely beautiful -- it is entirely forested and much of it runs alongside a clear creek.

The Green Bank radio telescope. This will definitely be close to Monongahela and it's worth a trip. It's the "world's largest land-based moveable structure," but really, it's just pretty incredible. Also on site is Grote Reber's radio telescope, one of the first of its kind.

The Greenbrier bunker. This might be a ways off, but it's well-worth the drive. During the Cold War, the US Congress commissioned a bunker to be built under the Greenbrier resort that would house all its members in case of a nuclear attack. The bunker is now open for tours. (The tour guides know their stuff too.)
posted by Cwell at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2012

I came to recommend the Greenbriar Bunker as well. It's in my roadtrip list for next year.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:14 PM on July 28, 2012

Seconding the Green Bank radio telescope. Sometimes you even get to go up in it to see the view. They give an awesome talk/tour of the whole facility.
Seriously, the thing is huge. HUGE. Kids will, I promise, be amazed.
posted by DisreputableDog at 9:17 PM on July 29, 2012

Ha, the moment I posted this, my laptop charger broke :/ Happy to get it back and see some really great responses!

We're doing some last-minute trip-planning tonight, so I'm going to check out all of these links and report back. A quick look at the ghost town, which would really be cool, might be a bit too far to drive the kids to, sadly. Might reconsider after reading about it, though-- I'd really like to see it! Also, unfortunately, we wont' be in WV until Thursday, so we'll have to miss Pickin' in the Park. That's a shame since a few of the older campers already have quite a bit of hip-hop experience under their belts and I think seeing a different type of musical improv might interest them. Then again, WV has loads of folk/bluegrass jamming all over the place, so hopefully we can find something nearby while we're in the area.

OK, will look into Greenbrier Bunker, Green Bank telescope, and the Thurmond ghost town a bit further and report back. Thank you so much for the suggestions, everyone!
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 9:02 AM on July 31, 2012

Hey everyone! Just wanted to post a bittersweet update to 1) again say thank you for the wonderful suggestions, almost all of which would've provided amazing experiences for the kids, but 2) we were unable to fit any of them in :/

We ended up spending basically all of our time inside Monogahela National Forest, hiking Seneca Rocks, poking around the creek and finding a few great swimming holes for the kids, and taking advantage of the debris-free green spaces for some fun physical activities.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 3:23 PM on August 9, 2012

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