River-Riding in West Virginia
By fall, most rafting outfitters have closed up shop. Not so in West Virginia's Appalachia, where the season extends into early November. In fact, it's one of the few places with actual whitewater this time of year, when dam releases in October (2–5, 9–12, and 17–18) turn the Gauley River into a liquid roller coaster. Or opt for a peaceful float on the New River, with the autumn leaves of the maples, oaks, and hickories blazing around you.
Fly into Yeager Airport, 40 miles away in Charleston, West Virginia (nonstop flights from Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia), and stay at ACE Adventure Resort in Minden ($39 per night for a basic tent cabin; $329 for the two-bedroom Dogwood Cabin, which has a hot tub on its deck). A single day of rafting runs $119 to $219. There are plenty of off-river activities as well, including climbing, mountain biking, and zip-line tours. For a special thrill, be on the water on October 17, Bridge Day, when hundreds of BASE jumpers leap from the 876-foot New River Gorge Bridge.