Gifting a getaway to W.Va.’s state parks is a great investment

Su Clauson-Wicker

A West Virginia state parks gift card is so many things — an adventure on the cross-country ski trails, a delicious dinner at a park lodge, a golf outing, a family sporting weekend, or a relaxing getaway in the woods.

Whether you give this gift card or hint that you’d like one, you’re making a wise and wonderful vacation investment.

McKeever Lodge at Pipestem State Park offers winter discounts and access to the park’s many activities.
McKeever Lodge at Pipestem State Park offers winter discounts and access to the park’s many activities.

Use the card at any West Virginia state park to purchase lodging, meals, vacation packages, golf, trap shooting sessions, or items from park gift shops.

Use it any time — there’s no expiration, no blackout periods, and no exclusions. It can be used for packaged rates and special discounts.

All West Virginia state parks honor it, and the holder can use the card like money at any West Virginia state park or forest.

“The card doesn’t know where the recipient will visit — it only knows the value purchased on that card,” said Sissie Summers, who promotes the parks.

So many gift givers with mineral soaks and other spa services in mind have purchased West Virginia park gift cards at Berkeley Springs that the state created a special gift card picturing the springs.

Other gift cards depict Cass Scenic Railroad State Park engines, waterfalls, and the rhododendron, the state’s official flower.

All of the gift cards come with a folder of information on West Virginia parks and forests to help recipients plan their visits.

 

Great destinations in eastern West Virginia

Folks seeking true quiet and forest beauty just two hours from downtown Washington, D.C., head for Lost River State Park. The old mineral spring adds a bit of history, and some hikes are truly mettle testing. A gift card can go a long way when a four-person cabin rents for $87 a night. Ask for the three-night deal and get your third consecutive night free through Nov. 30 or Jan. 5-June 11, holiday weekends excluded.

 

For family winter fun, think Blackwater Falls State Park with its cross-country ski trails, sled run, and indoor pool. In fact, the park’s Cross-Country Ski, Stay, and Play package is particularly attractive, with its 20 percent discount on lodge rates Sundays through Thursdays for a two-night stay. These offers run Dec. 1-8 and Jan. 5-March 12. But, whether you ski or not, cabin rates are at their lowest in November and the first two weeks of December.

 

Urbanites love the wide-open feeling of Cacapon Resort State Park, barely 90 minutes from the Washington beltway. Hike, go horseback riding, try trap shooting, or check out the view from the overlook. The Off-Season Golf Package runs through March and offers two nights’ lodging and three days’ greens fees for $194 a couple or $152 per single.

Visitors to southern West Virginia’s Pipestem State Park now have an added roster of unusual activities, in addition to the usual hiking, golf, fishing, and horseback riding. Guests can now try their hands — and feet — at the fast-growing sport of footgolf, which is a combo of soccer and golf, as well as slack lining on a low tightrope, disc golf, and Murbles, an outdoor game that features huge marbles. Pipestem’s winter discounts include 50 percent off on rooms Sunday and/or Monday nights.

West Virginia’s state park gift card can be purchased at any state park, online, or over the phone.

The majority of the cards are sold by calling the central parks office at 304-558-2764, where Carol Stewart loves to talk to callers about the features of West Virginia’s various parks and forests. “We sell a lot of cards before Christmas,” she said. “But we also see people buying cards for wedding and retirements gifts and for office incentive programs.”

Online purchasing is easy and secure here.

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