Don’t pass up the Sandstone Visitor Center.

As west virginians, we often think of our visitors’ centers as mere pitstops on our way to other places. But the National Park Service’s tiny Sandstone Visitor Center, located just north of the Interstate 64 and West Virginia Route 20 interchange near the Hinton exit, is a destination unto itself. It’s a great resource for learning more about the southern portion of the New River Gorge National River watershed.

The Sandstone Visitor Center was built using sustainable design principles. Even the outdoor landscaping uses native grasses and wildflowers. In fact, the visitors’ center is a registered monarch butterfly waystation. The center’s walls and floor offer interesting interactive and interpretive displays—you can follow the river from one destination to another. There’s also a wonderful shop operated by Eastern National, a nonprofit that gives its proceeds back to the park, stocked with a wide range of publications specific to the park and surrounding area.

Don’t be surprised if your quick pit stop turns into a 30-minute break.

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