Have not spent much time in the New River/Gorge/rafting area so I am not the expert. Plus, when we go to spots like this, we usually hike and fish so don't really know other things to suggest. However, of the 3 parks you mentioned, from hearing friends talk about them, it seems Hawk's Nest is the most popular. Plus, it is near Fayetteville which is the most popular area for whitewater rafting.
Having said that:
For food - Fayetteville: The Cathedral Cafe in Fayetteville is a great place for lunch. Dirty Ernie's (Ribs) is a favorite of many people. http://www.dirtyernies.com/ Many people also rave about Sedona Grille.
If you go to Hawk's Nest, stop by the Mystery Hole near there. Cheesy looking little tourist place but it is really awesome -- things seem to go against the law of gravity in it. http://www.mysteryhole.com/ Look at the picture at http://www.mysteryhole.com/thestory.html.
If you can while in the not-too-far-away area, goto Lewisburg. It is a nice little town with neat stores and fabulous restaurants. It is in Greenbrier County which is beautiful as is the Greenbrier river.
Close to Lewisburg, in White Sulfur Springs, is The Greenbrier. http://www.greenbrier.com/site/leisure/leisure_default.aspx If you ever want to splurge, this is a great place to stay.
The Bunker tours at The Greenbrier are opening to the nonguest public in August. It's pretty neat to see. Check the schedule for times - it is very limited for nonguests. Goto http://www.greenbrier.com/site/bunker/default.aspx
You can't get onto the grounds of the Greenbrier unless you are staying there. (However, you may be able to get on the grounds for dinner - you can call & check it out. It would be pricey but it would be a treat you would talk about for years - just getting to see the main resort - it is unique). Also, you can't see The Greenbrier from the road however just driving toward it is gorgeous (you drive beside some of it's golf courses and the new exclusive section called the Sportsman Club -- that is if you are coming in from Beckley area on I-64.)
Across from the main entrance to The Greenbrier is the Greenbrier Christmas Shop. It is open to the public, is huge, and is fun to check out all the tree decorations, etc.
Past The Greenbrier entrance you go into the town of White Sulphur Springs. Not much there, however, The Greenbrier has a little shop in town where you can get things from The Greenbrier at half the price. (There are many shops at the Greenbrier - my fav is the gourmet food shop).
OK, here's my advice since you are not hikers, etc. Stay in Hawk's Nest for a few days then stay in the Lewisburg area for a day.
The website for the County of Greenbrier is http://www.greenbrierwv.com/home/index.asp. There are some driving tours, goto http://www.greenbrierwv.com/home/index.asp?page=27
You may want to stay at the Greenbrier State Forest http://www.greenbriersf.com/ or go see the Confederate Cemetary or see the Methodist church where "Built in 1835, this historic church has interior galleries and a slave entrance. During the Battle of Lewisburg a cannonball struck the southwest corner and is still visible today."
or check out the activites at http://www.carnegiehallwv.com/
You may want to put up a new post asking specifically about this area in your heading. Also, have you checked out the WV Tourism site: Goto http://www.wvtourism.com/planner.aspx?pgID=57 (or www.wvtourism.com then click on Visitor Information then Travel Planner. Click on Fayetteville and it will take you to a page where you can hunt for lodging, activities, etc. in the area).
Southern West Virginia - The Greenbrier, Whitewater Rafting
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