This Lookout Tower Has a Cult Following, Here’s How to Stay There for Free

The Thorny Mountain Fire Tower usually books out a full year in advance.

Courtesy of West Virginia State Parks
Courtesy of West Virginia State Parks
Courtesy of West Virginia State Parks

The Thorny Mountain Fire Tower is one of West Virginia’s most iconic attractions-so much so that it is typically booked out a year in advance for its May through October availability. The 65-foot tower is perched above the tree line at Seneca State Forest, and has 360-degree views of the forest. It’s such an out-of-the-box stay (despite being very box-shaped) that it landed on National Geographic‘s list of most unique stays in 2023.

But, you don’t necessarily have to start planning a trip for next year in order to get a chance to stay. West Virginia State Parks is offering the chance to win a one-night stay at the tower, totally for free. To enter this sweepstakes, you just need to book a camping stay between July 26 and December 31, 2023 at By doing so, you’ll be automatically entered into the contest. You just need to make the booking by August 30.The giveaway stays will be valid for a stay between September 12 through 14, 2023. The winners will be announced on August 31, 2023. You can learn more about the fire tower, which was built in the 1920s, and the contest at

Looking for more travel inspo?

If you’re ready for an adventure but not sure where you’d like to go or what to do, we’re on it. The best new hotels opening up around the world. The most exciting places to travel without a passport. The world’s best beaches, as ranked by travel influencers. It’s all here along with all the travel news you need to stay informed and inspired.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.


Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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