Harpers Ferry offers socially remote summer entertainment, from hiking to kayaking

After the Memorial Day weekend rain this year, many people are looking to take advantage of warmer weather and relaxed COVID restrictions, most notably at Harpers Ferry in West Virginia.

“We have been vaccinated which is huge and I feel like the numbers are improving now,” said Kelly Higgins who visited Harpers Ferry on Friday. “It’s more comfortable. We’re still careful and we still wear masks indoors and in large groups, but we feel comfortable going out and moving around.”

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Harpers Ferry is known for its excellent hiking and cycling routes. The CEO of Jefferson County Tourism said thousands of people came to visit over Memorial Day weekend, despite the rain, and that number is growing rapidly and comes down to the number of visitors they saw before the pandemic.

With the recreational aspects and charming history, she says it’s a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of life.

“The beautiful part about it is with the outdoor spaces that we have; no one feels crowded,” said Annette Banks, CEO of Jefferson County Tourism. “We’re kind of the poster child for social distancing, I think.”

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River Riders offers canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding and even whitewater rafting activities for the whole family at Harpers Ferry. Aerial activities such as ziplining are also popular among visitors.

River Riders sales manager Bradley McMoran says they’re gearing up for a busy summer.

“I would actually say it’s going to overtake previous years just because everyone’s been trapped inside for so long,” McMoran said. “It really looks like people are ready to go out.”

Currently, River Riders only fill their buses to 50% of capacity and require people to wear masks on board.

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However, if you are outside for a fun activity, masks are not required.

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