When was the last time your family enjoyed some fresh air, sunshine, scenic landscapes and wildlife? Isn’t it time you take a break to make memories and connect? Why not surround yourself with the nature and adventure of a state park?

While my husband was recently deployed to Afghanistan, Cacapon Resort State Park in nearby West Virginia invited me as a guest of their beautiful park. This mountain escape is conveniently located just two hours from Fort Meade, MD.

Although I knew my two young boys would be excited about a mountain cabin vacation, I decided to amp things up a bit. I invited a close friend and her son to join in the adventure, and make things even more magical for the boys.

Road Trip

While my friend and I breezed down the interstate listening to our favorite music, the three boys played and laughed in the back seat telling knock-knock jokes. Before we knew it, we spotted mountains in the distance and soon entered the city limits of Berkeley Springs.

Our first stop was Berkeley Springs State Park, where we enjoyed our previous #milspaweekend, and where our boys sampled the award-winning water. We told them that it was fabled to have healing powers and make them 10 years younger, which concerned them a bit since no one was over the age of six. They quickly shook it off and stepped into the 74-degree water of Berkeley Springs, where they swam, splashed and laughed.

Enjoying the springs and George Washington’s Bath Tub at Berkeley Springs State Park.

Cacapon Resort State Park

When it was time to check in, we only drove for minutes before spotting the majestic entrance to Cacapon Resort State Park. The boys screamed in delight, (the moms secretly did as well).

Upon entering the lodge, we met Kelly Smith, the park’s assistant superintendent, who was generous enough to invite us for the experience. Instantly the boys were excited to meet “Park Ranger Kelly” as they called her, and wanted a group photo. Before we checked in, we browsed the gift shop and bought the boys matching t-shirts.

Shortly after receiving our cabin key, a rain came through, so we decided to relax in the lodge for a bit. The boys played games like puzzles, Connect 4 and more, while the moms enjoyed free coffee and relaxed after the drive. Had the weather been cooler, there would have been a roaring fire in the lodge fireplace — I think we’ll have to return and experience the park in other seasons as well.

Once the rain let up, the five of us hopped in our car and followed the winding, wooded road to our cabin. With a turn of our key, we discovered a main living and dining area, four bedrooms to either side and a full kitchen in the back. The boys picked their room quickly, and we pushed their two twin beds together to create a “mega bed.” My friend and I then chose our rooms, already excited about sprawling out in our own beds later.

The boys with Cacapon Resort State Park’s assistant superintendent, Kelly Smith.

Evening Fun

About the time everyone’s stomachs started rumbling, the restaurant at the lodge opened up. We loaded in the car, grabbed a table, and the boys colored while waiting for their pizza and chocolate milk.  

After dinner, we grabbed quarters from the front desk and headed downstairs to the game room. The boys tried their hand at arcade games while my friend and I laughed over a competitive game of air hockey. I won’t tell you who won.

When we returned to our cabin, the boys enjoyed some popcorn and played a bit more before bed. When it was time to sleep, the kids settled in very quickly. It might have been the excitement of the day or the magic of two moms with stories and songs that did the trick. Whatever the reason, my friend and I then took the opportunity to sit out back at our picnic table under the stars for wine, laughs and quiet conversation.

That night we all slept soundly through the night in our comfortable cabin.

Popcorn and knock-knock jokes in the cabin and exploring a creek in the park.

Mountain Magic

The following morning, we explored the park. We found a creek, stopped by the lake and drove up to the vista at the top of the mountain for a breathtaking view. We took in the sights while the boys happily played as we breathed in the fresh, mountain air.

After check out, we all said “see you next time” to the beautiful Cacapon Resort State Park, and made the short drive back into the town of Berkeley Springs. We enjoyed lunch and coffee at Tari’s, we hit up the store Portals, and then made the two-hour drive back to Fort Meade. It was the perfect overnight getaway.

Friends, smiles and coffee — what could be better?

Military Pricing and Packages

Now that my husband is back from deployment, I’d love to show him both Berkeley Springs State Park and Cacapon State Park, two gems just minutes away from each other and only a couple hours from the daily grind at Fort Meade.

If you’re wondering — yes — they offer a 10% military discount! Or, you can book a package deal for lodging at Cacapon Resort State Park and spa treatment at Berkeley Springs State Park.

If you are ready for some mountain air and magic moments, check out these special offerings:

  • Accommodations and breakfast for two at Cacapon Resort State Park
  • Spa treatment at nearby historic Berkeley Springs State Park (30 minute Swedish Massage and mineral shower for two)
  • Offered mid-week, Sunday through Thursday nights, the package excludes holidays. Rates are based on double occupancy, and single occupancy package is also available.
  • Prices as follows:
    • Summer Package (May 25 – Sept. 2) — $190
    • Fall Package (Sept. 3 – Oct. 31) — $186
    • Winter Package (Nov. 1 – Mar. 31) — $170
    • Spring Package (Apr. 1 – May 24) — $180
  • Reservations are required, please mention “Spa Package.”
  • For packages and rates, call (304) 258-1022.

For more info please visit http://www.wvstateparks.com

Special thanks go to Kelly Smith, assistant superintendent of Cacapon Resort State Park for sponsoring this trip.




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A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” former Army wife Jackie Toops enjoys exploring the various facets of her personality by chronicling military life, world travels, family, her love of the arts and more. Her academic background is in the fields of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and she has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Jackie’s articles have been featured on Army Wife 101, Wall Street International Magazine, SoFluential, HomeAway, Military Biz Connection and FamiliesGo. While stationed in Germany, she regularly discussed her articles on-air with the Armed Forces Network in Wiesbaden. A mother of two, Jackie enjoys coffee, freelance writing, languages and discovering new ways to express herself. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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