Car camp: New River Gorge

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Car camp on the New River Gorge National River

Depending on your age, late August can be a time of joyful celebration, moderate melancholy, or abject terror. Parents rejoice, older kids resign to the fact they have to get back in the classroom, and younger kids – especially those entering a new school – are frightened to death of having an agenda each day and facing their peers following a summer where anything could have, and probably did, happen. But the dying days of summer also mean waking up to cool temperatures and not sizzling from noon to four everyday. Take advantage of these last fleeting moments by going on an adventure, albeit a mild one: car camping.

If you are lucky enough to have not started school yet, now is the time to take your kids’ mind off the coming nine months of math, science, and social studies by exploring the great outdoors in style. Camping by car allows you to bring everything you could possibly need –and then some – without having to carry it all. Choose the right plot in the right location and you can spend the entire weekend hiking, biking, and swimming to your heart’s content. Think of it as a last ditch effort at summer camp for the whole family. If you have already started school, think of it as brief pause to absorb that first week’s worth of new knowledge. Either way, everybody wins.

Head for the New River Gorge National River. This skinny piece of public land follows the New River in West Virginia from Bluestone Lake in the South to just past Fayetteville in the North. Pitch a tent on the river at Glade Creek Campground and fish for brook trout on Glade or smallmouth bass on the New. Bring your bike to explore the new Arrowhead Trail system just to the north or trek the more than 80 miles of hiking trails in the area. The Endless Wall trail parallels the some of the best climbing walls in West Virginia and is not to be missed.


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