"Emily Rohrer (Ownlessdomore.us) is a freelance contributor to this blog. All opinions expressed are her own."
I grew up in western Maryland, not far from the West Virginia border, and through my teenage sarcasm filter, I interpreted WV's slogan "Almost Heaven" to really mean "almost nothing."
I was wrong.
But I was also kind of right.
There isn't a lot by way of big cities in West Virginia, and to a mall-obsessed teenager of the 1980's, that put the state in a location way further south than Heaven.
But through my adult eyes, I can see that it's because of all that "nothing" that the state feels like a paradise on earth.
Those rural pastures, secluded lakes, winding roads and rolling mountains that I scoffed at as a teen because they were "so middle of nowhere, Mom <eyeroll>" now seem heavenly indeed.
Earlier this year, we looked at the map for our upcoming journey eastward along I-64 from Kentucky (see my review of the Lake Shelby Campground) toward our ultimate destination of Norfolk, VA.
Knowing that we had a few extra days to spend en route, we chose the approximate halfway point of Beckley, WV, as our stopping place. And since we are big fans of state parks, nearby Little Beaver became our home of choice for that week.
We knew from reading independent reviews that the 2-mile drive from the interstate into the campground was narrow, hilly, and curvy — not a favorite for those who drive or tow recreational vehicles!
We pull a 38' Bighorn 5th wheel behind our 1-ton dually, and I was able to negotiate the road with no issues, just verrrrrry slowly and cautiously. I only made my husband suck in his breath and say "Watch the rear wheels!" one time, so I consider that a success.
And once we were in the park? Oh, the beauty and serenity! During the area's spring break week in April, the place was surprisingly uncrowded, at least by humans. Which means we were treated to multiple wildlife sightings during our visit, as well as plenty of peace and quiet.
Things to do in the park include fishing, boating, hiking, biking, geocaching, and bird and wildlife watching, and there are also picnic areas, playgrounds, and tent/group camping areas.
Little Beaver State Park: Just the Facts
- 71 miles southeast of Charleston, WV, 180 miles west of Charlottesville, VA
- about 2 miles south of I-64, near Beckley, WV
- GPS coordinates: 37.755833, -81.080556
- 1402 Grandview Road, Beaver, WV 25813
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- (304) 763-2494
- 40-foot RV length limit
- water and 30/50A; some sites are water only; no sewer hook-ups
- dump station on site
- bathrooms, showers, laundry
- limited wifi (accessible at camp store, but not at RV sites; our AT&T cellular data worked well)
- combination of reservable and first-come/first-served sites
- no fee to enter park
- rates for RV sites: $30 for W/E, and $28 for W only. Discounts for senior citizens and veterans.
- SEASONAL: Campground closes October 31 and reopens on April 1
And hey, while you're there, you'll probably drive the 9 miles into Beckley for grocery and supply runs. Don't miss the King Tut Drive-In for lunch (note: closed Wednesdays), and a true trip down small-town America's memory lane. Save room for homemade pie and hand spun milk shakes!