Charleston, WV

Fun, winter-friendly outdoor activities in Charleston, WV

Megan Hippler

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With cold temperatures settling in and the Covid-19 best practices changing often, residents of Charleston, WV wouldn’t be remiss to feel trapped in their homes. However, with the appropriate clothing and shoes, there are still plenty of fun outdoor activities to partake in.

Besides, if the adventure is a bust, at least you can enjoy warming up in the comfort of your home afterwards.

Walk somewhere you’ve never been

As a city in a valley, Charleston is full of hidden gems in the surrounding hills. Explore the Spring Hill Cemetery with its scenic views over downtown. Walk along the Carriage Trail to see the city from the other side of the river. Even parts of downtown look different when walking without a goal. Stroll through the Capitol Complex, or look at the historic buildings on the East End.

Follow the leader

If wandering aimlessly isn’t your style or you can’t think of anywhere you haven’t already explored, try a self-guided tour or a scavenger hunt. Plenty of audio tours are available for less than ten dollars and can be played on any smartphone. TripAdvisor provides links to three different Charleston-based scavenger hunts at different price points, with one focused on art and architecture, one where you must hunt down the answers to trivia questions, and one with riddles to solve.

Take a hike

Hit the trails at Cato Park or Kanawha State Forest. It may be cold, but if you’re dressed appropriately, a hike can be just the thing to warm you up. Take in the fresh wilderness air as you walk, run, or mountain bike through the forests. If there’s snow on the ground, animal tracks may be easier to spot. Just watch out for ice, and make sure someone knows where you are.

Go play

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean play has to end. Grab a friend, a partner, or the whole family and head to Coonskin Park, Magic Island, or Cato Park. Kick around the soccer ball, shoot hoops, or bat around a tennis ball to keep warm. Hit a golf course or the frisbee golf course and see how your game compares to those sunny, summer days. Clamber on the playground, whether you have kids with you or not. Have a winter picnic with only hot food and drink.

Find something

According to the letterboxing website, there may be at least three letterboxes to find in Charleston— unless you create and hide your own. There is one Little Free Library in Charleston, according to the map on the official website, but there are more you can find and list. Geocaching has never been easier with smart phones, or maybe this the time to rekindle your interest in Pokémon Go or start another augmented reality smartphone game suited to your interests.

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Megan Hippler writes about West Virginia humanities. Her work has appeared in Orion, Seamwork, and PopSugar.

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