Located in the Appalachian region of the United States, West Virginia is defined by its rugged terrain, high-standing hills, rolling mountains, and glorious views of extended valleys, earning the nickname the Mountain State. West Virginia is one of the least populated states in the country, however, its towns wield an abundance of indoor and outdoor leisures. Brimming with enriching local history and hundreds of acres of illuminated plains of nature that offer a varying array of activities to visitors such as hiking and biking, this state is the epitome of pretty. Each town has its own distinct personality, containing historical landmarks, family-friendly attractions, charming cafes, and parks, further perpetuating the Mountain State's internal beauty and cementing itself as a tourist's must-see destination.
Along the banks of the Ohio River, the town of Wheeling flaunts its welcoming suburban persona, brought to life by its friendly residents, luscious parks, and night-defining bars that guarantee tourists and locals memorable experiences. For a taste of the town's history, the renowned Suspension Bridge, a genuine testament to the town's engineering heritage, spans through the Ohio River with graceful arches and stories of a bygone era, providing outdoor fanatics with mesmerizing views of the Ohio Valley. Around the corner, Oglebay Park remains a local natural haven characterized by its majestic landscapes, as well as treating newcomers to the "Good Zoo," outdoor pools, segway tours, hiking trails, Golf, winter sports towards the end of the year, and horseback riding. History buffs can also find delights at the park, such as the Oglebay Mansion Museum, an iconic symbol of the region's Gilded Age history.
At the heart of the town's downtown cultural scene, The Wheeling Artisan Center, a historical preservation project housed in a beautifully restored former market building, hosts galleries and events throughout the year and is home to the highly acclaimed River City Restaurant. The structure dates back to before the American Civil War in the 1860s. The Artisan Center also serves as a local hub for showcasing local artisans' crafts, from glassblowing to pottery, providing a firsthand look at the town's creative pneuma. For visitors passing by with children, the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum captivates visitors of all ages with its extensive collection of vintage toys and model trains. For history enthusiasts, the West Virginia Independence Hall Museum provides insight into the state's journey to statehood. From century-old landmarks and astounding views to lively bars, restaurants, and exhibitions, Wheeling has so much to discover.
White Sulphur Springs
White Sulphur Springs welcomes visitors with mineralized hot springs and front-row seats to experience the essence of America's rural life in Greenbrier County in southeastern West Virginia. Surrounded by the wonderous Allegheny Mountains, visitors can find entertainment at "The Greenbrier," a historic luxury resort comprised of classical architecture that offers exclusive amenities such as championship golf, fine dining, designer boutiques, a world-renowned mineral spa, in addition to a 103,000-square-foot gaming and entertainment venue, that contains America's only private casino. Guests can also hop on tours of the resort's underground bunker, once a top-secret Cold War fallout shelter.
Given the Allegheny Mountains' vast expanse around the town, this presents a variety of opportunities for travelers to indulge in outdoor festivities. As the Greenbrier State Forest has 5,200 acres of wilderness and natural glamor, wielding a wide range of recreational options such as swimming, fishing, mountain biking, and memorable strolls across its many hiking pathways. After hours of exploring the town's scenery, make sure to dwindle down at White Sulphur Springs' town center, where you can savor local food and drinks at places like the Big Draft Brewing, Route 60, and Rosa Hog's BBQ.
Shepherdstown is mainly known as the birthplace of James Rumsey's steamboat in 1787, an integral symbol of the country's industrial era and engineering prowess. Sitting on the banks of the Potomac River, Shepherdstown is accredited as one of America's coolest towns due to its balanced mixture of modern attractions and historical charm, further illustrated by distinguished landmarks such as the Ramsey Monument. The local culture scene is one of America's best, with the Historic Shepherdstown Museum exhibiting Rumsey's inventions and patents, while the Contemporary American Theater Festival showcases thought-provoking theatrical productions, drawing theater enthusiasts from near and far.
For a taste of neighborhood warmth, the annual Shepherdstown Street Fest lays down a buffet of localized music, art, and cuisine, providing a lively snapshot of the town's creative personality. Whether you decide to gaze across Shepherdstown's fulfilling landscapes or invest time to soak in the dynamic culture, there are plenty of accommodations for tourists to stay at if they seek more days in town, from the 19-century designed Thomas Shepherd Inn to the upscale Bavarian-Inn.
Point Pleasent reveals itself on the banks of the Ohio River, prominently characterized by its folklore and maritime heritage. The town carries the tale of the purported humanoid creature known as the Mothman, a legend that has intrigued visitors for decades which many residents claimed to have sighted. For tourists who yearn to be more acquainted with the town's mysterious lore, the Mothman Museum is a must-see attraction as newcomers can walk around the creature's previous sightings and view historical documents from the Mothman eyewitnesses. A short car ride away, Point Pleasent's Tu-Endie-Wei State Park stands as a worthwhile natural escape where you can enjoy riverside picnics and soak in the spectacular sights of the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers.
Animal lovers can visit the McClintic Wildlife Management Area, occupied by farmland, woodlands, and wetlands encompassing 31 ponds, providing tourists with birdwatching and wildlife viewing experience. The town's annual Mothman Festival, a celebration of the mysterious creature, draws visitors from far and wide with its eclectic mix of music, food, and crafts, further highlighting Pleasant Point's expansive imagination. On the town's main street, antique stores, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and bars await to complement a day of exploring the town's cultural and natural offerings.
The town of Harpers Ferry curls up between the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, encapsulating locals and travelers alike into a previous bygone era through the 19th-century aesthetic of the local National Historical Park, a genuine haven for history lovers. The park brims with well-preserved buildings that date back to the 1800s, mixed with the beauty of the surrounding landscape of rushing waters and Blue Ridge Mountains, offering visitors insight into the town's role in the American Civil War and the famous raid led by notable abolitionist John Brown. The historic buildings and interactive exhibits transport you back in time, while nearby hiking trails reveal majestic frames of the rivers and surrounding Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Trail's "psychological midpoint" passes through here, drawing hikers from around the world to tackle a leg of this iconic long-distance path.
The town's rivers offer plenty of activities for tourists, such as kayaking, tubing, and fishing, while the C&O Canal Towpath provides scenic cycling and hiking routes. There are plenty of localized gems in town to entertain galivants for days, let alone weeks, due to its enriching culture, whether one seeks a stroll across time at the John Brown's Fort and the Harpers Ferry Train Station or observe the inspiring delight of the towns natural splendor around Jefferson Rock.
Along the Greenbrier Valley, Lewisburg cradles several charming destinations, such as the stately Greenbrier County Courthouse and Carnegie Hall, which host annual cultural gatherings. As you walk past the brick-lined streets of the town center, Carnegie Hall reveals itself, emitting mind-blowing acoustics from its three concert halls, which host a range of classical and contemporary live performances that keep audiences dancing from the brink of the evening to the end of the hours of the wolf.
Culinary aficionados passing through town will undoubtedly be treated to a wide array of local and international cuisines serving farm-to-table delicacies in places like The French Goat and The Livery Tavern. Lewisburg also accommodates outdoor dwellers, whether whitewater rafting at the National Park or experiencing thrilling ATV adventures through the New River Gorge's muddy trails and rugged terrain. Nearby, the Lost World Caverns beckon with an underground adventure featuring ancient rock formations and geological wonders. All lifestyles will be warmly welcomed at the Greenbrier Valley town of Lewisburg.
Elkins is the headquarters of the Monongahela National Forest, one of North America's most ecologically diverse areas, that gloats staggering elevations from 1,000 to 4,863 feet above sea level, providing strollers with astounding views of the timbered landscape and wildlife-spotting opportunities. For cultural pleasantries, Elkins' Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad yields front-row-seats to visitors to a surreal glimpse into West Virginia's rich railroad heritage, while the American Mountain Theater places the spotlight on talented performers that further perpetuate the town's creative proficiency. People have described the theater as the "freshest sound in the mountains."
Outdoor leisures await at the nearby Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, which boasts mesmerizing landscapes of rocky plateaus, wind-swept heathlands, and dense forests. This is the ideal environment for hiking and camping, while the Mountain Rail Adventures encourages travelers to hop aboard engaging train rides that showcase the region's natural spectacles and dynamic history.
Within the Tucker County of West Virginia, situated along the Blackwater River, the low-populated rural town of Davis lies near state natural sanctuaries such as Elkins, Thomas, and the visual paradise of the Canaan Valley. The local pearl, Blackwater Falls State Park, is said to be one of the most photographed venues in the state, as images of the park are on calendars, stationery, and advertisements across West Virginia. The park protects 2,358 acres of Red Spruce and eastern Hemlock upland forests that surround 65 campsites, biking and hiking trails, and a Nature center open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, which exhibits the park's natural history. The park also boasts the stunning Blackwater Falls, plunging dramatically over a 57-foot sandstone ledge, creating a striking contrast against the dark amber waters below. The Canaan Valley Resort State Park offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter, while summer activities include golfing and mountain biking.
The town has many local restaurants, bars, and art galleries for those who seek relaxation after a tiring day of exploring Davis' dazzling wilderness. Amenities like The White Room Art Gallery embody the town's eclectic arts scene, while the Purple Fiddle lights up the town with live music performances. For after-drinks during the evening, sip on spirits at the New Heritage Distilling, or for something a little less intense, you can grab a pint at Stumptown Ales.
For a taste of Hinton's vibrant atmosphere, it is advisable to check out the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, one of America's top rock climbing destinations, as it is home to over 1,400 climbing sites, cementing itself as a Mecca for outdoor lovers. The rugged terrain also accommodates a diverse pallet of other activities like hiking, fishing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting, while the New River Gorge Bridge, one of the world's longest single-arch steel span bridges, serves as an iconic gateway to this pristine wilderness. The town's Summers County Historical Society Museum delves into the region's history, housing an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits that shed light on Hinton's past as a bustling railroad hub.
Hinton's social scene shines through the beautifully restored Ritz Theatre, a vintage movie house that now hosts live performances and events. Meanwhile, the annual Railroad Days Festival celebrates the town's railroad heritage with parades, music, and art. The Historic Hinton District boasts well-preserved architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, providing a visual awe-inducing backdrop for strolling through its delightful and warm streets. Other attractions, such as the Flanagan Railroad building, the Wagon Wheel Restaurant, and the C&O Railway Passenger Station, all contribute to making the town an unmissable destination for tourists who yearn for a countryside escape.
New Martinsville's captivates visitors annually with its alluring natural surroundings that brush against the banks of the Ohio River. The town's outdoor luxury has yet to be topped as Bruce Park adjusts itself to appeal to crowds of all kinds, offering amenities such as miniature golf, scenic picnic grounds, basketball, and tennis and hosting many community events throughout the seasons. The park's centerpiece, the Bruce Pool, provides a refreshing respite on hot summer days, complemented by a charming fountain at its heart. Another unmissable local outdoor oasis is the New Martinsville Riverfront Park, which guarantees tourists front-row seats to beautiful views of nearby rivers, whether you decide to walk or sightsee during a boat ride.
For a peek into the region's cultural heritage, the Wetzel County Museum is a must-visit destination. Housed in a beautifully restored historic mansion, this museum offers an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that chronicle the town's historical narrative and the development of the surrounding region. Art lovers will be delighted by the Gallery at 409, a hub of local creativity showcasing a diverse range of paintings, sculptures, and crafts from talented West Virginian artists. Whether you are engaging in the town's natural backdrop or delving into its cultural offerings, New Martinsville invites visitors to experience the heart and soul of this charming Appalachian community.
Commonly referred to as the coal town of Tucker County, established in 1884, Thomas retains a delightful abundance of natural charm due to its ideal location which borders the North Fork of the Blackwater River. The town is filled with 19th-century buildings, like the Thomas Commercial Historic District, which consists of 48 contributing buildings that draw inspiration from varying styles of architecture, such as Italianate, Renaissance Revival, and Gothic Revival. The district also houses the renowned Cottrill's Opera House, which hosts concerts, theater productions, and community events throughout the year.
Art enthusiasts will be captivated by the myriad galleries lining Thomas's streets. The Buxton and Landstreet Gallery offers an eclectic collection of contemporary and traditional artworks. Meanwhile, the White Room Art Gallery dazzles with its ever-changing exhibitions and various mediums, from paintings to pottery. As you explore this mountain town, you'll find that Thomas effortlessly weaves together the wonders of nature and regional culture, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique Appalachian experience.
The towns of West Virginia wield some of North America's most beautiful natural spectacles from 18th to 19th century designed streets that take visitors back to a bygone era enriched by its intricate history to prevailing natural terrains that boast iconic views, prominent rivers, and the surrounding mountain landscapes. The "Mountain State" is a place designed to provide people of all kinds with unmissable discoveries and possibilities. These towns will acquaint travelers with the rural atmosphere of the United States.