The Very Best of Oklahoma

The great state of Oklahoma is known for its many casino’s and tornadoes, but I want to reassure you that it has so much more to offer than it’s very shiny, very flashy gambling facilities and unthinkable weather.

Oklahoma is the home much of our countries Native America history, it has some of the most beautiful state parks, museums and festivals full of so much history and yes of course, those casino’s everyone is talking about. I want to make sure that I give you a glimpse of some of the parts of Oklahoma that are not common knowledge, some inside local advice if you will.

Fun Facts About Oklahoma!

Let’s start off with some fun facts, shall we?

  • The world’s first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935
  • Okmulgee owns the world record for largest pecan pie, pecan cookie, pecan brownie, and biggest ice cream and cookie party
  • Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He grew up in Yukon, Oklahoma.
  • At around 200, Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state.

More than Casino’s and Tornadoes

Did you see that, Garth Brooks was born and raised in this amazing state. The rumor is Nashville the place to be, but in reality Oklahoma’s your best bet if you want to make as a country singer. Need more proof than the King of Country, well there is also Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Ronnie Dunn, and many more so hurry on over aspiring country singers were waiting for you! All joking aside I want to make sure that you understand how truly incredible Oklahoma really is.

How to Get Around

With a perfect combination of city and country, Oklahoma is a center spot to meet all personality types. Depending on which part of the state you choose to state can determine the transportation style you want to choose also. While, I highly recommend driving or renting a car while visiting Oklahoma because of the relaxed nature of the state, however there are some areas like Oklahoma City that have public transportation. Unlike some states, Oklahoma does not normally have a ton of traffic and we have plenty of parking, so that should not be a problem either.

Route 66

If you have ever wanted to take a road trip, Route 66 is one of the most well known historical routes in the United States. Oklahoma is right in the heart of this beautiful history. So you can enjoy a great road trip see some historical town and follow the best of Route 66.

State Parks

Oklahoma is home to many beautiful state parks, each with its very own unique charm that has a lasting affect on those who visit them. If you are looking for an unforgettable nature experience you can find an array of activities such as lodging, fishing, swimming, hiking, Kayaking and hunting at most if not all of the Oklahoma State Parks.

My families favorite Oklahoma state parks to visit is Beavers Bend.

Beavers Bend

Beavers Bend is a wonderful place for nature lovers of all ages and is located in the mountainous region of southeast Oklahoma along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River.  It is a wonderful place to slow down, unwind and enjoy the beauty and nature that Oklahoma has to offer. Whether you enjoy the luxurious glam-ping experience or the one with nature experiences, you can find it here.

Beavers bend offers many different options for luxury cabin rentals. These cabins are beautiful, spacious and modern. Most offer a extra amenities such as hot tubs on the balcony, playground equipment for the kids, and full kitchens, which makes our stay so much more relaxing. We have booked our cabins through several different cabin rentals in the past, but our favorite, hassle free choice is Beavers Bend Adventures.

Beavers Bend also provides tent/RV camping, along with many other activities and rental services. Some activities that you can participate in are:

  • Biking
  • Canoeing/Rafting/Kayaking
  • Various children’s Programs
  • River Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Swimming
  • Tennis Court
  • Watchable Wildlife
  • Rock and Mineral finding
  • And More

For more information on activities, camping information and prices visit the Beavers Bend State Park Information website.

Places To Eat Near Beavers Bend

When you visit this amazing state park, you can always cook yourself, but if you want to enjoy some great dining experiences here are two of my favorite places.

The Grateful Head

This groovy pizza joint is a neat change of scenery. Their menu is fully loaded with oddly creative recipes that are worth trying. I recommend the “tree hugger” or the “funky chicken,” both are amazing! For the not so adventurous type, you can make your own safe pizza.

Blue Rooster

This is my favorite place to eat, it is not only a fun place, but the food and service has always been great. The Blue Rooster serves fried anything you can think of, family style. We always walk away satisfied. Another thing I love is that it is a great place for kids, they roll out a piece of paper to cover the table and the kids (and adults) stay entertained until the food is served. This is a must try!

The Gathering Place

Not too long ago, Facebook went crazy about a place called the Gathering place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The reviews were amazing, the captions read that it was equivalent to Disney World, but free. I want to tell you, it is a pretty amazing place. We recently went and our kids had an amazing time and I highly recommend it.

There is something to do for all ages, and I mean ALL ages. I found my husband in the play area’s, “testing” the safety of the slides several times.

We got to the park at 9 am and the park was relatively empty. We did not have to fight large crowds of people to enjoy any part of the park. We spent the day climbing ropes, playing in the sand, making tornadoes, climbing in sitting pods and swinging on zip lines, the possibilities were endless!

From a Mom’s Point of View

It was definitely the place to be full of fun and excitement for all member’s of the family. As as a mom I value some parts of the park that my kids or even my husband would never have thought about. There were several bathrooms throughout the park and the were so CLEAN. My children visit the bathrooms a lot, I am certain we went to them all and everyone of them were very well maintained.

The parking was plentiful! now it appeared to get a little busy when we were leaving in the afternoon. Even then though, there were many parking options, unlike some places that you visit. This is always a nice way to start off your trip.

The play area’s were themed and backed by education. I LOVE when my kids are learning while they play. There is an interactive part of the park where you can make tornadoes, learn about music, sounds and echos… We spent quite a bit of time in this area, just trying to figure it all out. The coolest part is that it was designed into a maze, so that alone kept my children busy.

The Thought Behind It

I was fascinated with the amount of thought that was put into creating such an amazing park. The toddler area was not only size appropriate, but the color schemes, the theme and deliberately placement so that parents can see their children was mind blowing and quite honestly, relieving. There was a sand are where toddlers could play and a soft padded ground area.

The bigger play areas had the same thought behind it. The themes were so uniquely interesting. It was not something you have seen over and over again. They put forth the effort to match the theme to the play. The crazy slides were located at the “inventors” play area, the green hanging pods where located in the tree play area, the maze was the theme of the arts and science play area… They put a lot of effort into making sure it was a great experience.

Other’s Amenities

We spent most of our time in the play areas, but there were several other amenities as well. There was a skate park, kids activities and so much more.

They also have a couple eating options with plenty of healthy options that even the kids will love. They have an option to eat outside on the lawn, on picnic tables and inside in the cafe. The prices were a little higher than we normally like to pay, but for free entry they have to make money somewhere.

They do allow you to bring in coolers and outside food. We brought snacks and a small cooler full of drinks and a lunch for my dietary restricted daughter in to the park and had no issues.

In conclusion…

Oklahoma is a great place to visit if you are looking for a slower pace relaxing visit. It is not only full of so much history, culture, nature and fun. I highly encourage Oklahoma as a place to visit for all ages.

Danielle Farrington, MBA
Impossibly Imperfect
 
 
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The Very Best of North Carolina

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Though I’ll be sharing a huge variety of activities for you to enjoy in my beautiful state, I am an outdoor lover, so I’ll start with one of the best budget-friendly and family-friendly activities you can enjoy anywhere in North Carolina – our state parks!  This year, NC State Parks have continued the NC 100 mile challenge where the goal is to log 100 miles of outdoor activity over the course of the year.  This can be hiking, walking, running, biking, swimming, or kayaking and you can earn badges and prizes along the way.  This is a wonderful initiative to encourage physical activity with the whole family (including furry friends) while exploring the 27 state parks.  Fun fact – ask for a passport at any of the state parks and you can request a stamp at each park you visit. Once you have visited all 27 parks you will earn a reward, so it’s a fun challenge for those who are ambitious and want to hike portions of the Appalachian Trail and/or Mountains To Sea Trail.

One of my favorite parks is Hanging Rock State Park which is up near the Virginia border and offers a nice variety of trails as well as places to camp.  We love bringing our Cattle Dog Mix (Sasha) along for our outdoor adventures.

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Now that you’ve seen some of what the state parks have to offer, let’s delve into the major regions of North Carolina and what each one is famous for.

The Piedmont Triad

First, we’ll start with the Piedmont Triad, which is the north-central region where I live.  The Triad is made up of Greensboro, High Point, and Winston Salem and has a lot of kid-friendly activities.  Just north of us, you can visit the home of Andy Griffith in Mayberry!

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Greensboro

  • We boast a large variety of public artwork throughout the city as well as student-created Jeansboro sculptures due to the large influence of Wrangler in this city.
  • Along with Charlotte and Raleigh, Greensboro was a resettlement city for Montagnards so you will notice many Lao and Vietnamese restaurants and markets due to this population.  I love the ethnic diversity in Greensboro!
  • Stop in for the best dessert of your life at Maxie B’s and be sure to grab a hot dog at Yum Yum.
  • Take your pooch to The Barking Deck where you can enjoy some brews while they play with other dogs.

High Point

Winston Salem

The Triangle

Next up is the Triangle which consists of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.  You may be most familiar with this area of the state because it is basketball central.  

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Raleigh

  • The beautiful State Capitol building is definitely worth a visit
  • The train station was recently revamped and is quite modern and clean.  We love traveling via train here for New Years and other holidays.
  • Check out the NYE celebration here with the Acorn drop.

Durham

Chapel Hill

The Coast

Any beach lovers out there?  If so, North Carolina has some gems for you in that category.  When we were first married, my husband and I lived in Wilmington for a few months, which is right on the coast.  Thankfully it is recovering from the recent hurricane damage and is starting to flourish once again. There are so many nice coastal cities, it was hard to narrow it down!

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Wilmington Area

  • Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach and Kure Beach, along with Topsail are all wonderful places to enjoy the sun and sand, as well as fishing.  You can even stay in a shipping container for a unique accommodation just 2 blocks from the beach in Carolina Beach!  We stayed here recently and it was a blast. It’s also pet-friendly!
  • Visit the Riverwalk, Battleship NC, and enjoy some volleyball at Capt’n Bills or Dig and Dive.
  • Visit Fort Fisher’s Aquarium.
  • Check out the Venus Flytrap Trail to see some carnivorous plants.
  • Try to locate all the Bear statues in nearby New Bern.
  • Enjoy fresh sushi and home-made sake at Genki.

Outer Banks

  • This area has a less touristy and more untouched feel than most beach areas since it’s a little harder to get to, but it’s definitely worth the trip!
  • Make sure to see the lighthouses – Hatteras, Bodie Island and Ocracoke are my favorites.
  • Ocracoke Island is just a short ferry ride away from the mainland and is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway with your significant other.  They have plenty of Inns and B&B’s on the island.
  • Enjoy seeing wild horses in Corolla
  • Visit the original Duck Donuts.  Maple Bacon flavor is legit.
  • Stop by the huge sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park and visit the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.

Maybe the beach isn’t really your thing and you’d rather spend time in a big city with plenty of options for shopping, professional sports, the arts, fine dining, etc.  Charlotte has a lot of options for you if so!

Charlotte Area Attractions

  • Pro sports – go watch NASCAR or see the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Knights or Charlotte Checkers play.  
  • IKEA – even if you don’t need to buy anything, it’s a fun activity to just walk through.  Be sure to try the Swedish meatballs and chocolate cake.
  • Indoor Skydiving at iFLY
  • US National Whitewater Center – this place has EVERYTHING!  Rafting, music festivals, SUP, ropes courses, mountain biking, trail races, rock climbing, kayaking and much more.  It’s also pet-friendly and you can bring your own hammock to chill in.
  • Enjoy a night out in NODA enjoying some shopping, music and the arts.
  • South Park Mall – if you just want to shop at a posh mall that has all the top shelf stores, this is your place.

As you can tell, Charlotte isn’t lacking for things to do, but it can get rather hectic and congested with traffic.  For a more relaxed setting, why not head to the mountains? I must admit, growing up I was a total beach girl, hated the cold and didn’t appreciate the mountains.  Then, I married a mountain man who went to school in Boone, and he has slowly won me over and showed me just how much there is to love about the colder temperatures and stunning scenery.  Some of our favorite mountain towns are below, but you can’t go wrong with any of them in NC!

Mountain Towns

Boone

  • Named after the famous pioneer Daniel Boone, it is home to Appalachian State University, Appalachian Mountain Brewery and countless outdoor activities for both winter sports and water sports in the warmer months.
  • Not far from Boone is Blowing Rock where kids will love the Tweetsie Railroad.
  • Nearby Banner Elk is a fun stop and is famous for the Wooly Worm Festival.

Asheville

  • Probably most famous for The Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Parkway, this eclectic hippie town is home to countless breweries and a huge selection of restaurants.
  • Our favorite restaurant/brewery is Bhramari Brewing!  Just around the corner from Wicked Weed and much less crowded.  
  • If you visit in warmer months, be sure to check out Sliding Rock and the many swimming holes and waterfalls in the Pisgah National Forest.  
  • You can save money by camping at Lake Powhatan which is a short drive to downtown Asheville or by staying at Airbnb’s just outside the city.

Chimney Rock, Pilot Mountain, and Grandfather Mountain

  • These all deserve a visit as well, but beware of the crowds – it’s best to visit very early in the day or in the off-season in order to find parking and not be grouchy.

Other Unique Sites in NC:

Lastly, don’t you dare leave North Carolina before trying our vinegar-based BBQ.  You can find this in many cities, but my absolute favorite place for this is located between Charlotte and Greensboro in a famous restaurant called Lexington BBQ.  No frills, just amazing flavor and friendly service.  After having mustard based BBQ while living in South Carolina and tomato-based BBQ while living near Kansas City, I can confidently say vinegar based has won my heart, forever and always.

Thank you so much for reading about North Carolina, and please let me know if you have any questions or need any more information on any of the places I’ve mentioned.  I’ll be glad to help if I can!

Author Bio

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Emily is a nutrition and movement coach certified by The Institute for Integrative Nutrition who has made it her goal to plank in as many new places as possible.  After struggling with serious health issues for several years, she learned the importance of embracing healthy living both at home and on her travels. She started her blog The Planking Traveler as a way to share her passion for wellness with others and offer them support in their own health and fitness journeys.  Through sharing her planking adventures, non-toxic living tips, and free fitness opportunities, she hopes to inspire you to embrace enjoyable movement and optimal nutrition as a sustainable lifestyle instead of just a temporary fix to lose weight.  

You can follow her on the following social channels:

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Emily thank you for sharing North Carolina with us! I have been there to the Outer Banks and it is beautiful! I hope to visit again sometime.

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The Very Best of Iowa

Why I Will Always Love My Home State

I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to talk about my home state of Iowa. There is so much more to the great state of Iowa than meets the eye. It is not all about cornfields, cows, and flatlands.

I was born and raised in Iowa but have not lived there for almost 20 years. However, despite residing in several different states over the years, currently in New York, Iowa will always be home to me. I miss Iowa and I love telling people about the state that is so different than the stereotype it endures.

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The Food

Iowa has some of the best food in the United States and not just burgers, steak or corn. There is a wide variety of fabulous cuisines and restaurants you can’t find anywhere else. Some Iowa staples include pork tenderloin, kettle korn, corn dogs and Iowa’s famous Maid-Rite loose meat sandwiches. The latter is an Iowa specialty, with several locations making their sandwiches a must have when visiting the state.

Along with unique food, Iowa also has a slew of ethnic restaurants that rival those in New York City. Zombie Burger & Drink Lab has over 20 unique burgers inspired by The Walking Dead. Their Dead Moines burger is a fan favorite with smoked Gouda, prosciutto, ham, and truffle mayo.

Tumea & Sons restaurant serves up the best Italian food in Iowa, in the country in my opinion. The restaurant is an old school family run restaurant bringing, family dishes all the way from Italy. It was voted Best Italian restaurant in the Iowa by MSN.com.  Come enjoy the delicious food and stay for a game of bocce ball because everyone is family Tumea & Sons.

Other must-try restaurants include Americana, Tequila Restaurant & Cantina, George The Chili King, Christopher’s Whitey’s Ice Cream, Jethro’s BBQ and The Waveland Café.

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Fun Activities

Iowa is full of fun activities for adults and kids. Lake Okoboji is the best family getaway. Everyone can enjoy fishing, motor boating, water skiing, jet skiing and of course swimming. It is a natural body of water making up part of the Iowa Great Lakes. Rent a cabin, bring your camper or rough it in tents, there is plenty of space for all experiences.

There are a few iconic spots everyone must check out in Iowa, which have been featured in Hollywood blockbusters. The Field of Dreams, yes the one in the film, where you too can play on the baseball field Kevin Costner did in the flick. The Bridges of Madison County are the most beautiful and historic covered bridges in the country. People were enjoying the bridges long before Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep made them famous on the big screen.

Clear Lake Iowa and the Surf Balloon were made famous by tragedy. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” J. P. Richardson, were killed in a plane crash outside Clear Lake on February 3, 1959, after finishing what would be their last performance at Surf Balloon. The crash site and ballroom have become tourist destinations, including an annual event held at Surf balloon every year in honor of the talented men gone too soon.

Other fun activates to check out, Prairie Meadows and Casino where adults can watch live horse racing, play slots and tables, as well as enjoy a good meal. Nearby is Adventureland Resort, a water park and amusement park that will keep the kids busy all day and night. Boone Speedway and Knoxville Raceway are perfect for those who love to watch live car races.

The Grotto, Effigy Mounds, Spook Cave, The Brucemore Mansion, Basilica, Fenelon Place Elevator, and Mississippi River Museum, Grout Museum and Lost Island should also be added to the list.

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Special Yearly Activities

Iowa is full of unique activities that occur once a year. The Tulip Festival in Pella is a great way to kick off the spring season. It is a celebration of Dutch Heritage and is a three-day event full of parades, food, Dutch performances, craft beer and the one of a kind Tulip gardens. The festival happens every May.

Ragbrai, which stands for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is a state-wide bike ride that occurs every July. People from all over the country come to participate. The route changes each year, so all cities in Iowa benefit from the annual event, which brings over 8500 riders. It goes east to west and has become such a popular event, there is a lottery drawing for those who want to participate in the ride.

Finally, the best thing to see in Iowa is by far the Iowa State Fair. On over 300 acres of land, people come from all over the country every August to enjoy the 10-day event. It features various competitions, shows, musical guests, all types of animals, a midway full of games rides, as well as game and most importantly food. The fair is famous for its different but delicious foods, mostly on a stick. Corn dogs, tenderloins, pork chop on a stick and giant turkey legs are just a select few of good eats. There are too many amazing foods to mention so you can get the entire list here.

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Iowa is chock-full of fabulous things to see, do and eat. However, what makes the state genuinely different is the people. Although I miss doing and eating at all the places I mentioned, what I miss most about my home state the most is the people. There is a sense of community in the state that is unlike anywhere else. Describing in words is hard. You will just have to visit Iowa to find see what I mean.

http://www.zombieburgershakelab.com/

https://www.tumeaandsons.net/

https://www.iowastatefair.org/food/

https://www.iowastatefair.org/

http://maid-rite.com/

https://www.adventurelandresort.com/

https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/stay-at-field-of-dreams-house

https://www.tuliptime.com/

Author Bio:

I am writer who is passionate about writing and talking about celebrity gossip, television, movies, women’s empowerment, fashion trends, and dogs. When I am not writing I enjoy spending time with my corgi Milo, watching and going to the movies or binge-watching TV, as well as spending time with her family and friends. I believe in spreading positivity through my writing that hopefully will entertain as well as inspire people.
I don’t have my own blog right now as I am writing for other companies but I would love for people to follow me on social media.
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Rachelle thank you for sharing about Iowa! Someday I will get there and the state fair looks to be like tons of fun!
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The Very Best of Washington

Best Places That You Must See When in Washington State

Washington State is an amazingly beautiful state to visit and live in. It is like the unknown gem of the United States. Whenever anyone thinks of Washington State, they only think of Seattle. Although Seattle is definitely the main tourist attraction in the state, there are a few more must-see places to visit throughout the rest of the state.

Seattle

To start, Seattle is a really great place to visit in Washington State. There are a ton of things for you to do there. The main attractions in Seattle are Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, The Seattle Aquarium, the Seattle Zoo, the Seattle Kids Museum, and the Great Wheel. Picking a hotel in the downtown area is a good idea as well because driving in Seattle is not too fun, especially if you are staying out of town.

It is important to know that the downtown area at night is not all that safe, so just be cautious about how you spend your time downtown. It is a great area during the day, but make sure you are in a group before you decide to walk anywhere at night. You can also take some great day trips from Seattle to Portland, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Saint Helens and Port Angeles (where Twilight is filmed). There are tons things to do in this area, so make sure you plan it before coming so you can get to everything. Another great trip would be visit Vancouver or Amazon Go! If you have never been to an Amazon Go, this would be a fun way to experience it! Lastly, when visiting in Pike Place Market, make sure to wait around for the throwing of the fish! Don’t know what that means? Here is a YouTube video to help get an idea. It is a Seattle tradition.

The weather in Seattle can be iffy, but if you get a good day, it is beautiful!

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Leavenworth

Another great gem tucked away in the middle of the state is Leavenworth. Leavenworth is a Bavarian town in the middle of Washington State in the mountains. It is great to visit this town at any time of the year. If you are visiting in the summer, you have great weather to go hiking, swimming or catch a festival in the town. In the winter, they decorate the whole town in Christmas lights and it’s quite a spectacular event.

Leavenworth gets all types of weather. With it being in the middle of the state, rain is not an often occurrence during the summer and it also snows a ton. With no humidity, it makes for a great location to go camping too. You can also go off the beaten path and take a trip to The Gorge for summer music festivals and camping. Do you love yoga? They have some great choices for yoga retreats in the area too!

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Spokane

Another amazing gem in the state is Spokane. Spokane is on the east side of the state and usually gets forgotten because it is 5-hour drive from Seattle. The best way to visit Spokane from Seattle is to take a flight over. It’s a 50-minute flight at the most and you fly low enough to see the views of the state. Once you get to Spokane, there are a few things that you can do. Hiking, boating, floating the Spokane River, visiting the carousel downtown, are all great things to start with.

If you want to pick a certain time to come, in May they have Bloomsday, a community walk/run that many participate in. Make sure to check it out. Also, you can come in June for Hoop Fest, the biggest 3 on 3 basketball tournaments in the area. Speaking of basketball, Spokane is home to the famous March Madness team, Gonzaga. Check out their campus and get yourself a Gonzaga Bulldogs shirt!

The weather in Spokane is extremely different from Seattle. There is a ton of snow and in the summer, it is hot and dry. There is no humidity and it only rains in the spring and fall. Mostly the rest of the days through the summer are sunshine. Because of it, there tends to be more forest fires on this side of the state, so you might want to avoid coming around Labor Day, as that is the height of fire season.

Final thoughts

Overall, no matter where you go in Washington, the whole state is beautiful. Make sure to get to both sides of the state though, as they are totally different. From Spokane, you can drive 20 minutes to Idaho. From Seattle, you can drive 30-40 minutes to Oregon. Both are worth visiting. Spend about one whole week in the state driving across. It will be worth your time. Keep in mind though, nothing is close! So, you will be driving quite a bit. Make it a worthwhile road trip and enjoy the views.

Author Bio:

Jennifer is the owner of TWL –  a Blogging Community for Working Moms. This is a community with a passion for writing and being a working mom. Along with blogging + freelance writing, she is a mom, army wife and full-time teacher. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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Jennifer thank you for sharing Washington with us! I would have to visit sometime when there is NO snow! I do not do well in the old. haha.

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The Very Best of West Virginia

West Virginia is a misunderstood and misrepresented state with so much natural beauty. There are so many things to do and see when you visit. From eating good ol’e fashioned home cooking to white water rafting you will be able to find something for anyone in your family. Below are some of the best and lesser known places to visit when you come to West Virginia. I have already visited many of the places, including all locations mentioned. My goal is to make it to every destination- get my kayak out, camp, fish and hit the rapids. My husband and I try to take a trip in state every year for our anniversary. We stayed at the sweetheart log cabins (I’m actually working on a full review of that on my website). I was asked to plan a 1 week vacation. These wouldn’t be in order but these are my top five weekend or day trip locations for the whole family.

Transportation

I would suggest either driving or using a rental to get from point A to B to C and so on. Some of these places do provide transportation but if you need to get out of the area to pick something up or do some shopping, a car is needed. A lot of the places also have other fun activities located outside of the area so once again, a car is a plus. A few areas in WV have public transportation, but most only have greyhound access. If you don’t have a license, you may want to call the greyhound to find out the times and how often they go.

Dining

There are restaurants- both fast food and sit down near all these attractions, bars, cheaper hotels and stores to buy your supplies. The first on my list is Cass Scenic Railroad. It’s an old style train ride and tour, Blackwater Falls is a great location to visit for a picnic and walk while traveling. The waterfall is absolutely beautiful and it’s a great day trip with the kids, Blennerhassett Island is another great day trip. You can tour the mansion, take the riverboat across the Ohio River and ride in a horse drawn carriage, spend the weekend touring the Smoke Hole Cavern, grilling out and taking the kids fishing. The end of the trip will be wrapping up with laying on a fishing boat or riding a kayak across Charles Fork lake and ending the trip camping on the on ground camping site.

Cass Scenic Railroad

1 Cass Scenic Railroad. The primary attraction is, of course, the train ride. Hikers, bikers and fishers can also find plenty of entertainment, from the youngest fishers and hikers to seniors. Geocaching is also fun for kids of all ages, as well as adults or teens. There are also historical museums in the park, so you can take your children and learn about the history of the railroads. If you enjoy hunting or golf, there are places nearby where both are welcome and there are also places nearby to take your boat out.

 

Activities for toddlers and young kids

1 Biking trails

2 Fishing

3 Hiking

4 Historical museum

5 Geocaching

Activities for Older children

1 Same as toddlers and young kids

2 Outdoor “adventures” (as they say on the website). Outdoor adventures are outdoor games like volleyball, basketball, tennis, obstacle courses and other types of activities.

 

Blackwater Falls State Park

2 Blackwater Falls State Park. Blackwater Falls is an absolutely beautiful waterfall located in the Allegany Mountains in Tucker County, WV. Besides picnics and letting your kids play, this is great for family reunions, weddings, school events and much more. This is a popular destination for kids, schools and field trips for camps.

 

Activities for infants and toddlers

1 Geocaching

2 Hiking

3 Boating

4 Camping

Activities for elementary school kids

1 Geocaching

2 Hiking

3 Boating

4 Camping

5 Swimming

6 Fishing

7 Biking

Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park

3 Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park. Located in an island right outside of Parkersburg, WV this is a day trip that must be taken if you’re traveling to WV. You can reach the island by sternwheeler. On the island, you can take tours of the museum and mansion and they offer horse drawn carriage rides. The rides and tours last from late May to late October.

Activities for babies and toddlers

1 Tours of the mansion

2 Visit to local businesses- including the glass factory

3 Hiking

4 Horse drawn buggy rides

Activities for older kids, teens and adults

1 Fishing

2 Tours of the mansion

3 Hiking

4 Horse drawn buggy rides

If you’re wanting to take the Sternwheeler, it costs 10 for an adult(13 and up) and 8 for a child. (3-12)

The island is open from Tuesday- Sunday, including holidays on Mondays.

 Smoke Hole Caverns and Log Cabin Resort

4 Smoke Hole Caverns and Resorts. If you need a place to get away from it all, a cabin to spend your honeymoon or a fun spot to take your whole family, this is your place. The smokehole caverns will give you a fun tour of the caverns or you can go mining for gold outside the cavern. While you’re waiting for your tour group to start, you can take the kids to play Putt Putt.

 

If you’re not at the gift shop, the cabins are absolutely beautiful. The sweetheart (honeymoon/anniversary) cabins have one bed, a heart shaped hot tub and only the couple is allowed inside (you can’t have guests). It is absolutely perfect for new couples or couples celebrating anniversaries. They give you an extra option to order wine with your stay and you can spend a few extra dollars for a Smoke Hole mug.

They also have a resort and separate family cabins. You can take your pick of staying in the family cabin that fits

 

If you’re interested, you are able to reserve online on their website. There are grills throughout the grounds as well as a fishing pond that you can let kids (or adults) fish in and a small shop for your fishing needs. There is a restaurant located in the gift shop but the cabins come with a fridge, oven and what you need to bring your own food.

They have tours every 30 minutes of the caverns where you walk through and they teach the history of the caverns and the people who used them. The tour is good for all ages, I would

 

 

 

 

Charles Fork Lake

5 Charles Fork Lake. Charles Fork Lake is a smaller, more private lake in the Spencer, WV area (Jackson County). It’s a great place to camp out or take a kayak/boat out and get some fishing and hiking in. They have a camp ground on site as well as a small shop where you can buy small things for your camping trip and the fishing items you have forgotten.

Activities for infants and toddlers

1 Hiking

2 Boating

3 Camping

Activities for older kids and adults

1 Hiking

2 Boating

3 Camping

4 Fishing

About the Author:

20181224_154335 (1)Bethany Boggs is a 30 something married mother of two girls, an angel and a cat. She is an aspiring fantasy author and has a few projects published on Lulu. She studies dreams and dream interpretation, tarot and astrology, works as a writer and has had work published on sites such as Babygaga, PregnantChicken and Yoga Digest (to name a few.)

She is currently working on designing and creating a home décor and home accessories line and is hoping to get into the decorations and sustainability markets. She also reads Tarot and Astrological Natal charts professionally (https://www.etsy.com/shop/newagedreamchick  

In her free time, when she is not writing, you can find her sewing, reading the cards, making candles, cooking, baking or bowing down to the coffee gods.

She can be found at the local Starbucks, falling asleep standing up or chasing her energetic kids around.

You can find her at https://www.newagedreamchick.com, https://www.diymommy18.com or https://www.astromommy.com

Twitter- https://twitter.com/dreamgirlBA (handle is @dreamgirlBA)

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/NewAgeDreamChick/?ref=bookmarks

Insta- https://www.instagram.com/dreamchicknewage/

Website is https://www.newagedreamchick.com and https://www.diymommy18.com

 

 

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Bethany thank you for writing about West Virginia! The railroads looks so neat to see! I hope to come visit someday!

 

Follow me at any of these places:
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