Written by Shay Wilson, Breaks Interstate Park
We all need a break from time to time from our busy lives. Spring Break has always been that annual answer, our week-long escape from responsibilities. The Heart of Appalachia has plenty of opportunities to fully enjoy your week off whether you want to hike up a mountain or lazily float down a river with your friends. Your week will be full of adventures, laughter, and quite possibly some of the best photo opportunities you’ll ever see. Read about some of our top picks that’ll make your Spring Break unforgettable and if you can’t do it all, they’ll be even better travel plans for the oncoming Summer!
Flag Rock Recreation Area in Norton got its name back in the 1920s when a German immigrant was said to have climbed atop of the rock and placed the American flag there as a symbol of love for his newfound home. Not only is this recreation area a great spot for a renewal of patriotism, it’s chock full of adventurous fun as well. Bring your bike and travel along their 8 miles of bike trails, catch some trout or kayak in the Upper Reservoir, or bring a tent and spend the weekend under the stars in their campground. It won’t be an actual trip to Flag Rock if you don’t stop by the Woodbooger statue and sanctuary. You can try to find the Woodbooger in the woods or stop by the Woodbooger Grill and take on the Super Woodburger challenge!
For the last couple of years, the Devil’s Bathtub has become world-renown since it’s been featured on the Weather Channel and many different websites including a viral video on Facebook. For those that haven’t heard about it, it’s a gorgeous pool of water that makes Southwestern Virginia look straight out of a fantasy novel. Located about 1.5 miles from the start of the Devil’s Fork Loop Trail, you’ll be able to hear the rush of water throughout your journey to this amazing attraction. Just up from the Devil’s Bathtub is a 50-foot waterfall at the mouth of Corder Hollow. Bring your hiking boots and a swimsuit because after all that hiking, you know you’re going to want to dive in for a swim! Word of warning… the tub is filled with cold water!
Pine Mountain Scenic Trail is a hiker’s dream. While the 120 miles isn’t completely finished, there’s more than enough trail to satiate any hiker’s need for breathtaking views and a connection to nature. You’ll want to make sure to keep your phone charged or a camera so you won’t ever forget the sights you see. There are a couple of shelters available for camping, but always plan accordingly for these kind of rigorous hiking trips. Thanks to the recent release of Elk in the Kentucky area, it’s more than likely you’ll get a chance to watch such majestic creatures migrate through the mountains or maybe even hear them call out to their herd. The trail has more than its fair share of difficult inclines, but the views and experience will be worth the burning muscles in your calves.
Cave tours, interactive museum, astounding historical and cultural facts, and a gift shop of Appalachian crafts, all things you can find and do at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park! You can discover more facts about Daniel Boone’s travels through the Gap, how the Native Americans used to live and use the land, and get put in absolute darkness in Gap Cave. The park holds campfire educational programs and live demonstrations of settlers’ lives back in the day. And as always, you can end the day with a walk or two along some of the trail systems offered.
The Clinch River is a spectacle itself, spanning over 300 miles through Virginia and Tennessee. That sounds pretty overwhelming right? Clinch River Adventures out in St. Paul has everything covered for you, all you have to bring is yourself, your friends or family, river shoes or tennis shoes, and of course, a smile! They offer 2 hour tube trips, kayaking or canoeing trips lasting anywhere between 45 minutes to 7 hours, and fishing trips! You don’t have to worry about getting lost trying to find the drop-off areas either, Clinch River Adventures has a shuttle service available. The shuttle service is available for half-price if you bring your own kayak or canoe. St. Paul also has a great array of locally-owned restaurants for you and your family to have a delicious lunch or dinner after your Clinch River adventure!
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