Family-friendly ways enjoy the outdoors in Marion CountyJune 5, 2020
Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian region, Marion County has become a haven for outdoor recreation. Tourists from all over the world flock to the mountain state to partake in the vast array of high adventure experiences the area has to offer. Hunting, fishing, boating, and mountain biking are just a handful of the activities available throughout the region. In addition, Marion County is home to a plethora of scenic and historic locations to provide an immersive experience for family members of all ages. Summer is upon us, so, what are you waiting for? It is time to get outside in Marion County!
Morris Park, located off Pleasant Valley Road, offers 112 acres of land along with a 1.3-mile paved loop perfect for walking, nature watching, birding, and leaf collecting. Morris Park is also complete with one of the state’s premier disc golf courses. Serving as one of the most challenging courses on the east coast, two 18-hole disc golf courses are perfect for both beginners and experts alike. The Seth Burton Memorial Disc Golf Course and Orange Crush Course offer both wooded and open fairways ranging in difficulty and length. Quickly approaching in September is the annual Seth Burton Memorial Disc Golf Tournament! Whether you’ve never thrown a frisbee or you’re a master of the disc, Morris Park has something for everyone!
In the eastern part of the county, Blueberry Ridge Farm offers a unique experience for guests of all ages. Bring your own container or purchase one at the farm and you can pick blueberries at the only organic fruit farm in the area. The best part, no pesticides or herbicides are ever used so you can assure you’re getting the finest fruits available. Experience life on the farm first hand on Bunner Ridge!
Rooted along the river, Palatine Park in downtown Fairmont has a splash park along with not one, but two river access points. The mighty Monongahela River, commonly referred to as “The Mon”, is one of only three rivers in the United States that flow north. The gradual paced current and cooling water offer the perfect recreational activity for boating, kayaking, and even fishing!
What if I told you there was a hidden world, not only in Marion County but across the globe? I’m talking about Geocaching; an outdoor scavenger hunt that uses the GPS technology in your smartphone to locate hidden treasures. Discover places you’ve never visited and go on adventures with your family all while having fun. Releasing in the summer of 2020, a new tour of Marion County will take you to ten unique locations around the region! If you find all ten and record the unique code word inside each container and bring your passport back to the Marion County Visitor Center, you can earn a limited edition coin!
Marion County is home to over 15 parks, all with unique attributes and scenery. Whether you’re enjoying a relaxing afternoon on the rocks at Valley Falls State Park or reeling for fish at Curtisville Lake, there is a lot to do within the county to get involved!
Perhaps some of your new year’s resolutions have been put in pause over the past month, but there is no better time than now to resurrect those fitness goals! Marion County has two high-quality rails to trails for you to stretch your legs on. The Mon-River trail follows the beautiful Monongahela River for 29 miles as it twists and turns its way towards Morgantown. Bike rentals (and reservations) are offered in the Pricketts Fort State Park Visitor Center. Rental rates include helmet and bike lock. Following along the West Fork River is the West Fork River trail that heads towards Shinnston. Whether you are taking a leisurely stroll, running for a new personal record, or even just walking the dog, both of these trails offer an expansive amount of mileage to explore.
Looking for something more adventurous? Mountain biking is an extremely popular activity in Marion County due to the vast array of topography the region has to offer. Valley Falls State Park has an expansive network of moderate and difficult trails to get your tires muddy. In addition, the rails-to-trails are also a great place to spin your pedals in a more controlled environment. Regardless of your speed, there are plenty of great places to get fit within the area!
Marion County is rich in the history of our ancestors. One of the most notable historical sites in the area is Pricketts Fort State Park. Prickett’s Fort State Park uses a living history style of interpretation to preserve, document, and exhibit the past. It features an 18th-century recreation of the original Pricketts Fort which provided a place of refuge from Native American attack. Visiting the fort offers a unique and immersive experience of what life was like on the frontier.
Another unique attribute of the county is the variety of civil war locations. Throughout downtown Fairmont, six distinguishing civil war markers tell the story of the war and how our area evolved. One of the stops on the tour is the Barrackville Covered Bridge, the second oldest Covered Bridge in the state. The only hostile army ever in Marion County crossed this bridge on the morning of April 29, 1863. General William E. “Grumble” Jones at first planned destruction of the bridge but decided to spare it with persuasion from the Ice family, nearby mill owners, and Southern sympathizers. From the Attack on Fairmont to the Battle for the Bridge, this historical tour offers a great educational experience along with a chance to enjoy the nice weather summer has to offer.
So there you have it! There are a lot of things to do in Marion County and I hope this short list helps kickoff your summertime bucket list! Get involved, get fit, and get immersed, but most importantly get outside and try something new!