12/06/2011 05:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Family Vacations in West Virginia: A Huffington Post Travel Guide

Family vacations in West Virginia can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters -- it all depends on pretrip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about West Virginia family vacations.

Visit Thurmond, An Actual Ghost Town

The once prosperous Thurmond still looks like an Appalachian coal mining town, but only a handful of people still live there. The post office closed in 1995. While checking out the old, vacant storefronts kids can walk over to the train tracks for pieces of coal or fish off of the nearby New River.

Address: Thurmond, W. Va.
Phone: Disconnected
Hours: Thurmond is open all day, every day.
Price: Free

Upper New River Beaches

The beaches along the new river are fun for kids. You can experience a number of the beaches by hitting the white water. The Upper New River rapids, which range from one to three in terms of difficulty, are fun and not too technical. Riding the rapids is also a great way to stay cool in picturesque southwestern end of the Mountain State. Children ages 6 and up can participate.

Address: Class VI Mountain River, Fayetteville, WV 25840
Phone: 888-383-9985
Hours: Upper New River Beaches is open May through October daily starting at 9:45 a.m.
Price: Saturday, adults, $129; children, $64.50; Sunday through Friday, adults, $104; children, $52

Rock Climbing Along The Formations of The New River Gorge

Kids who love to climb and reach new heights will love taking on the formations of the New River Gorge. Children and parents will learn the basics of rock climbing and rappelling techniques.
Rock climbing is a safer alternative to climbing trees, and it's fun!

Address: Class VI Mountain River, Fayetteville, WV 25840
Phone: 888-383-9985
Hours: The New River Gorge is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: Full day, $119; Half day, $79

Bridge Day

More than 200,000 people come out to watch adrenaline junkies jump 876 feet off the New River Gorge Bridge. While it's fun to watch parachuters and BASE jumpers jump off the bridge, it's also a big party with over 200 venders selling food and goods.

Address: New River Gorge Bridge, Fayetteville, WV 25840
Phone: 800-927-0263
Hours: Oct.15, all day, starting at 8 a.m.
Price: Free

Children's Discovery Museum of West Virginia

Children have the opportunity to create in the play, music and theater areas at the Children's Discovery Museum. There is also a tree house where tykes can rest, read and relax. There is a soft climbing area for kids 2 and under.

Address: 5000 Greenbag Rd., Morgantown, WV
Phone: 304-292-4646
Hours: The Children's Discovery Museum of West Virginia is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Price: Memberships range from $20 to $100. Please check website for more information.

West Virginia Zoo

The West Virginia Zoo boasts exotic animals such as grizzly bears, African lions and rare Sumatran Tigers. It's the only zoo in the tri-state area that has chimpanzees, and kids can feed over half the animals on exhibit.

Address: Route 1, Kingwood, WV 26537
Phone: 304-329-3122
Hours: The West Virginia Zoo is open Tuesday through Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The zoo is closed on Mondays.
Price: Adults, $8; children 3 to 12, $6; 2 and under, free

Camden Park

Camden Park has an array of rides for younger kids such as its historic carousel, kiddie boats and pony carts. Older kids can enjoy the park's signature roller coaster, The Big Dipper, the haunted house and the log flume. The park, which is over 100 years old, is rich with tradition and history.

Address: Camden Park, 5000 Waverly Road Huntington, WV 25704
Phone: 304-429-4321
Hours: Camden Park is open June through July from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. during the week, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends. After Labor Day it is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and during the month of October it is open Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m to 11 p.m. The park is closed on Mondays.
Price: Adults, $21.99; kids 48 inches tall and under, $15.99

What's your favorite family vacation spot in West Virginia?

Photo: Jason Pratt; Flickr
Photo: Jpmueller99; Flickr