Daytripping in WV
Though many parts of West Virginia are nearly recession-proof, it’s still important to know how to spend one’s summer without blowing a bunch of cash. Jaunts to the local pool, long road trips and vacations at the beach aren’t getting any cheaper, so it might be a good idea to try something different. Here’s a list of cheap (or practically free) ways to occupy time in West Virginia:
• Remote water holes, such as Blue Hole, in Preston County, offer plenty in the way of outdoors entertainment. There’s no cost, but putting up with some of the rowdier transients might prove difficult. Weekends can be overcrowded, so try picking a day during the middle of the week if you want a good sunbathing spot. The same applies for Audra State Park in Braxton County and Cheat Lake in Monongalia.
• Local concerts continue during the summer and in Morgantown they’re dirt cheap. Most downtown music venues charge no more than $5 for a decent helping of local music. 123 Pleasant St. consistently supports local and national touring acts on a weekly basis, and bands usually play at least three nights a week. The types of acts include everything from indie rock, metal, reggae and techno. Mayday dance night, 123’s weekend dance companion, packs the house and plays mostly dance and electronica, while local DJs debut their own clever remixes of popular tracks. Club Octane and Chik’n Bones are also great venues that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
• Visiting your local state park is always a good idea and gives one a chance to really appreciate the Mountain State’s rich forests. Cooper’s Rock outside of Morgantown has been a trademark of the area for years. It provides one of the greatest views of the Appalachian Mountains you could ever ask for. There’s also a ton of trails to navigate. Tygart Lake State Park in Grafton is also a highly frequented spot and attracts people from all over the state. It’s one of the largest manmade lakes in West Virginia. Boating, fishing and swimming are the main recreations, and it’s all affordable. If you’re looking to splurge a little, they have cabins to rent with a great view of the lake vista from the back porch.
• Visit your local library. This may seem like the antithesis of summer fun, but hey, it’s free and always has been. It’s one of the few free public services Americans tend not to utilize. Honestly, what’s more relaxing and satisfying than curling up with a book in a cool, air-conditioned library? When the heat becomes too much to bear, this is the place to be.
• Camping has been a tried and true ritual for West Virginians since the first settlement arrived. Most state parks charge for camping space, but don’t be afraid to find new and interesting areas to camp in. It beats paying the frivolous price most places charge. If your backyard is big enough, why not pitch a tent? It may not have the view or the enchantment of your local state park, but you can find ways to make it enjoyable.
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