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A Life-Changing Paddle Through West Virginia’s New River Gorge

For some of the East Coast’s most thrilling whitewater, look no further than America’s 63rd national park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Located in the mountains of Fayette County, there are a variety of paddling trips to choose from no matter your experience level.

On the Upper New River, families will enjoy a scenic float with a few class I-III rapids to add in a little excitement while those looking for a thrill can’t beat the class IV-V rapids on the Lower New River. On both sections, there are plenty of opportunities to get out of the boat and swim in the refreshing waters. Book a ride with one of several outfitters in the area to ensure you have the best time on the water.

Keep the fun going with a guided paddleboard trip from Mountain Surf Paddle Sports. You’ve got options, whether it’s a serene paddle on Summersville Lake or a float beneath the towering New River Gorge Bridge. You might even try learning SUP Yoga for a real core workout.

There’s even more to Fayette County when you get off the water. Visit one of the area’s parks for a round of disc golf before you head over to the Burrito Bar at Breeze Hill for some live music and beautiful sunset views. Cool off inside while having some fun bowling at Pinheads New River Gorge or trying to locate the Secret Bunker at Escape-A-Torium. Don’t forget to pick up a souvenir to commemorate your trip from New River Antique Mall, Wisteria’s Gifts, or Canyon Rim Gifts.

With all this activity and excitement, you’re going to need a place to refuel and keep your energy. For a morning pick-me-up, both Cathedral Cafe and Wood Iron Eatery offer hearty meals and a jolt of caffeine before you get going. Find a seat post adventure at Firecreek BBQ & Steaks, Wanderlust Creativefoods, or Southside Junction Tap House where you can rest your tired muscles and try the local fare. At this point, you’ve earned your dessert so head over to the Frozen Barn or Dixie’s Drive-In for a sweet treat. Those looking to end the night with a drink are sure to find a craft beer to quench their thirst at Bridge Brew Works.

There’s no better way to experience the grandeur of the New River Gorge than on a paddle right down its center. Discover the wonder of Fayette County today.

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