The Alleghany Highlands welcomes families with children of all ages. There is no shortage of fun things for kids to do while visiting.

The Alleghany Highlands is a popular destination for families. Whether visiting for a weekend or a week-long vacation, there are lots of family-friendly activities to enjoy. The mountain surroundings offer plenty of outdoor recreation. Plus, kids will enjoy learning about the region’s railroad heritage and vibrant arts scene.

Enjoy the Waters

fly fisherman on AH Blueway

The Alleghany Highlands Blueway is made up of the Jackson and Cowpasture rivers and Lake Moomaw and Douthat Lake. There are dozens of free access points along the blueway. Some sections of the Jackson include white water rapids, while others offer an easy, family-friendly experience. Check out the maps and safety tips to help plan an unforgettable outing.

The rivers and lakes of the Alleghany Highlands Blueway all offer exceptional fishing. The Jackson River is widely considered to be one of the best trout streams in Virginia. Lake Moomaw is a unique “two story” fishery that is deep enough for cold water species, like trout, while also supporting warm water species like bass, catfish, sunfish and more. Douthat Lake, which is within Douthat State Park, is a fee-fishing lake stocked with rainbow, brown and brook trout.


Climb aboard a train


Kids love trains. A visit to the C&O Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge is a fun way to learn all about the role of the railroad in the growth of the Alleghany Highlands. The center includes indoor and outdoor displays, and replica railroad structures. The kids will be captivated by preserved railroad equipment and scale model trains.


Celebrate the Arts

Clifton Forge School of the Arts


The Alleghany Highlands is home to a vibrant and diverse arts community. There are shops and galleries filled with one-of-a-kind treasures, such as paintings, photography, illustrations, pottery, hand-made jewelry and much more. For a hands-on experience, take a class at the Clifton Forge School of the Arts. The list of subjects range from ceramics to stained glass to blacksmithing.

Performing arts in the Alleghany Highlands includes concerts and theatrical performances at the Historic Masonic Theatre. There is a full range of events and festivals throughout the year that include live music and fun for all ages.


Play on the Beach

kids splashing in lake


That’s right – there are beaches in the Alleghany Highlands. Lake Moomaw and Douthat Lake both offer sandy beaches. The water is cool and refreshing, and the mountain views are stunning. Pack a picnic lunch, put on your sandals and head to the beach.