(Almost) Free Family Fun Day in Virginia

…and West Virginia and Maryland.

Having moved from one of the most highly populated, highly cultured areas of the country, I often get the question:  “What is there to do around here?”

Silly city folk.  The answer to that question is almost always “something outside”.

Beard and I used to enjoy hiking a lot before we had Bitsy Girl, and I’m ashamed to admit that we hadn’t gone hiking at all since we had her.  Nearly one year ago.  We decided this week it was time.

We use one of the most versatile and well-visited hiking websites I’ve ever seen to pick out our hike.  It’s called Hiking Upward.  This site includes hikes in most areas of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.

You can search hikes in a particular area, and each hike has its own page complete with almost any detail you would want to know about it.  You can look up the length of the hike, the approximate time it takes, relative difficulty (they have a scale of 1-5), elevation change during the hike, whether or not there are beautiful vistas, streams, camping sites available, and how much solitude you are likely to enjoy on your hike.

You can find directions to the starting point, as well as a map.

The most useful part of this site, though, are the reviews.  Anytime we look at a hike we read several reviews on it.  Typically people will detail their experience, how difficult they thought it was, and any key points that you should know, like you need a 4WD vehicle to get to the starting point.

Yesterday the DP family used this website to find a hike called “The Priest”.  Unfortunately due to some direction mix-ups, we ended up at “Crabtree Falls” hike, and were subsequently rained out of the hike.  Despite that, we enjoyed a beautiful drive in very pretty country and mountainside, plus a lunch at the starting point of “Crabtree Falls”.

We’ll probably try again in the next week or so (and check the weather before hand), and I’ll be sure to post pictures of the views.

Why did I post this now, though?  Because I realized that we had a fabulous day, even sans hike, for not very much money.  We drove a little over 100 miles overall, paid $3 to get to the hiking start spot (which isn’t common), and packed our own lunches.  Hiking really is a great way to have a lot of fun for not a lot of money, and I wanted to share Hiking Upward because it is a great tool to use to find the perfect hike for you and your family and friends.



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