CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Tourism, Governor Jim Justice and Babydog Justice, are inviting West Virginians – and all those who love West Virginia – to celebrate the Mountain State’s birthday today or going forward by posting photos to social media of their favorite places around the state.
This year, the Department of Tourism has picked nine of the most Instagramable spots across West Virginia to debut handcrafted, larger-than-life Almost Heaven swings located in some of the state’s most scenic locations.
For the past five years, the Department of Tourism has asked West Virginians to celebrate the state’s birthday by sharing their favorite Almost Heaven places and moments on social media. The response has been unbelievable: tens of thousands of posts that have reached tens of millions of people around the world, showcasing West Virginia’s unmatched beauty.
“We’ve got a lot to celebrate this year, so I’m calling on all West Virginians to help us make this birthday even more special,” Gov. Justice said. “The research shows just how important this is – now, more than ever, people are planning their vacations based on what they see on social media. Help us show the world just how great it is here in Almost Heaven, West Virginia!”
To make this year’s celebration even bigger, the Department of Tourism teamed up with students at Nicholas County Career and Technical Center to build the nine supersized wooden swing sets where you can take in the stunning views at some of the most scenic spots in the state.
“The Nicholas County students did an amazing job with this project – we couldn’t have imagined a more perfect backdrop to add to these scenic spots,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “So much hard work and skill went into each one, and we are excited to share them with the world, starting today.”
Students from the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy, who were installing one of the swings in Charleston last week, got a special surprise when Gov. Justice and Babydog stopped by.
As a pilot project, one swing was placed in a scenic location or overlook in each of the state’s nine travel regions. The swing sites were strategically positioned after analyzing over 100,000 social media posts from across the state to find some of West Virginia’s most beloved vistas.
The first nine swings can be found in the following spots:
- Eastern Panhandle: Cacapon Resort State Park
- Drive or hike to the Cacapon Mountain Overlook. This swing, located just steps from the parking area and beside the observation deck, has mountains as far as the eye can see as its backdrop.
- Hatfield-McCoy Mountains: Buffalo Mountain Trail – Death Rock
- Take the Buffalo Mountain Trail System to get to the Death Rock Overlook. The swing is positioned high above the mountain town of Williamson, with one of the best views the region has to offer.
- Metro Valley: Charleston
- Once on the lawn of the University of Charleston, turn left to walk toward the boathouse. The swing is located adjacent to the fire pit with a direct view of the State Capitol.
- Mid-Ohio Valley: Fort Boreman Scenic Overlook
- Overlooking the scenic valley formed by the confluence of the Little Kanawha and Ohio rivers at Parkersburg, this swing offers a bird’s-eye view of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
- Mountain Lakes: Stonewall Resort State Park
- Once on the resort property, continue on State Park Road. Pass the lodge on your right and continue on to Lightburn’s Restaurant at The Palmer Course. Make your way behind the clubhouse to find the swing with a sweeping backdrop of the lake and mountains.
- Mountaineer Country: Coopers Rock State Forest
- From the parking lot closest to the main overlook and the gift shop, walk on the cobblestone path farthest to the left. Pass the pavilion and the swing will be to your left, with a lush forest backdrop.
- New River-Greenbrier Valley: Babcock State Park
- Perfectly positioned in front of the Glade Creek Grist Mill, this swing can be found near the park office, just steps from one of the state’s most photographed spots.
- Northern Panhandle: Wheeling Heritage Port
- Overlooking the iconic Wheeling Suspension Bridge and the Ohio River, the swing at Wheeling Heritage Port is located on a grassy patch just off the walkway to the river.
- Potomac Highlands: Blackwater Falls State Park
- Located just off the trail to the main overlook, snap a picture on the swing with a backdrop of the spectacular falls in the distance.
For more information about West Virginia and to plan your trip, visit www.WVtourism.com.