A Family Guide to the New River Gorge

This time of year parking lots throughout the New River Gorge fill up with cars hailing from New York to Florida and all parts in-between.  They come for the fun, the adrenaline rush, and for getting back to nature with the ones they love. Photo Courtesy of Hard Rock Climbing

And if you’re traveling with children this year, here’s a quick guide to finding things everyone can (and will love) to do:

8 and under

  • Rock Climbing - There are plenty of climbing spots that kids can tackle, and guides who can show them how to do it.
  • Whitewater Rafting (special boats) - Talk with one of the area rafting companies about a trip that will work for your family.
  • Horseback Riding (certain trips) - Even if your kids have never been on a horse, there are some beginner trips that are lots of fun.
  • Tram and Jetboat Ride - At Hawks Nest State Park, you can take a tram to the bottom of the Gorge.  From there, catch a ride with New River Jetboats and get an up-close view of the New River Gorge Bridge.



  • Canopy Tours and Ziplining - There are lots of options in the Gorge; just remember, many canopy tours and zip lines have weight and height guidelines.
  • Bridge Walk (new!) - Take your family under the Bridge and look 876 feet down into the Gorge!
  • Whitewater Rafting (special boats)
  • Horseback Riding (certain trips)
  • Paintball - Local outfitters will provide you with the gear and tips on how to have a safe, fun time.
  • Mountain Biking - There are plenty of Gorge trails that kids will enjoy.  You can bring your own gear or go out with one of the Gorge's local guide companies.
  • Standup Paddleboarding (new!) - A cross between surfing and kayaking, standup paddleboarding is a fun water sport that everyone can learn together.



  • UTVing - Some local outfitters allow children ages 12 and up to be passengers in UTVs.
  • Wild Caving - Take a cave tour to the next level by going off the usual path, with a guide of course.  Warning - you will get muddy!
  • Kayaking - Many area outfitters teach the basics of kayaking and then take groups on guided tours.



*Please note some activities also have a weight requirement. Many activities also require an adult or parent to be present.

What other activities do you and your family enjoy doing together?