South Charleston, W.Va. – October is the new Fourth of July in many regards. Bright colors light up the hills and mountains at West Virginia State Parks as weekenders wander to spot unusually bright reds and yellows of maples, oaks, sour- and dogwoods, and hickories and ash color trends.

Cabins in parks and forests are near capacity in occupancy this time of year, but you likely can still find one that’s open and waiting. The cabin availability chart posted at the state parks website is an indicator of units open for weekends up to five weeks out.

“Parks submit their open cabins for the upcoming five weekends, and those openings are posted on Mondays. It’s not real time, but a five- week forecast that is updated weekly,” according to West Virginia State Parks Chief Ken Caplinger. The weekly cabin availability chart can be found at www.wvstateparks.com/vacationcabinrentals.html.

Lodge room rentals vary more than cabins. “Leaf peepers” often take advantage of mid-week openings over weekend stays.

“There are more rooms available and often a discounted rate to encourage Sunday – Thursday visits,” Caplinger said.

North Bend State Park offers an October Monday-Thursday “Great Rates Falling” rate of $59 vs. the typical $70 room cost. Lodge occupancy for the month of October at lodges in West Virginia state parks average a little above 65 percent.

“Weekends at park lodges are generally more popular,” Caplinger said. “Mid-week is a better opportunity for lodging options. Park visitors should never assume that rooms aren’t available, because cancellations happen. Call the park and ask.”

Reservations by phone can be made by calling the parks or forest directly. The toll-free tourism call center number is 800 CALLWVA – ask for the park or forest by name. Reservations may be made online for lodge rooms and for cabins at parks with lodges at www.wvstateparks.com; click “online reservations.”

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