In West Virginia, tucked away among the state's undulating hills and lush surroundings, are many overlooked attractions that entice curious visitors looking for an authentic taste of Americana. These towns provide a genuine look into the heart of West Virginia, from the warm smiles of the inhabitants to the delectable fragrances emanating from family-run diners.
West Virginia offers a wide range of activities, including hiking along picturesque trails, adventurous whitewater rafting excursions, and simply relaxing in the quiet serenity of nature. Beautiful scenery for adventure seekers and nature lovers is teeming with imposing mountains, meandering rivers, and deep forests. Travel off the main route to discover the hidden wonders in West Virginia's 14 best small towns, where America's heart beats the loudest.
Berkeley Springs is a small hamlet well known for its natural mineral springs and peaceful atmosphere, located in the eastern corner of West Virginia. The soothing waters of Berkeley Springs State Park promise a tranquil respite for worn-out souls seeking rejuvenation. These waters have been revered for generations for their medicinal abilities. The Berkeley Springs Castle and the Star Theatre are two exquisitely maintained examples of the town's rich architectural heritage. Art lovers can explore the vibrant local arts scene, which features galleries presenting the creations of gifted local artists, The Ice House being one of them. Every visitor would have the ideal relaxing holiday in Berkeley Springs.
White Sulphur Springs
White Sulphur Springs, tucked away among the Allegheny Mountains' undulating slopes, is a refuge of peace and luxury. This town, home to the renowned Greenbrier Resort, provides a chic getaway for discerning tourists. Immerse yourselves in the resort's sumptuous splendor, where you will find world-class amenities, outstanding service, and delicious cuisine. While nature enthusiasts can explore the adjacent Greenbrier State Forest with its hiking routes and picturesque beauty, golf fans can tee off on the lush greens of the Greenbrier's premier golf courses. It's also worthwhile to explore the town's thriving arts scene, where galleries, notably the Walls Fine Art Gallery, feature a wide range of talent.
Hinton, a lovely town that epitomizes small-town charm, is located along the shores of the New River. The Bluestone National Scenic River and the New River Gorge National Park provide chances for hiking, fishing, and boating, making them a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. History buffs can tour the exquisitely renovated Summers County Courthouse and spend time at the Hinton Railroad Museum learning about the town's rich past. Visit the lovely downtown district with its unique mix of stores, eateries, and art galleries for a sense of the local flavor.
With its vibrant downtown and warm, friendly atmosphere, Lewisburg is a charming destination that captures the hearts of all who visit. This charming town is known for its exquisite historic architecture, including the stately Greenbrier County Courthouse and the Carnegie Hall, which hosts various cultural events throughout the year. Stroll along the brick-lined streets and discover a treasure trove of boutiques, antique stores, and art galleries. Culinary enthusiasts will delight in the town's thriving food scene, with award-winning restaurants, like The French Goat and The Livery Tavern, serving up farm-to-table delicacies. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the nearby Greenbrier River Trail, a 78-mile rail trail perfect for hiking and biking.
Nestled along the banks of the Ohio River, Point Pleasant is a captivating town steeped in history and folklore. Known for its connection to the legendary Mothman and the tragic events of the Silver Bridge collapse, the location offers a blend of mystery and charm. Immerse yourself in the town's rich history at the Point Pleasant River Museum, where exhibits highlight the area's maritime heritage. Pay a visit to Tu-Endie-Wei State Park, situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, offering stunning views and recreational activities. And no visit would be complete without exploring Main Street, where antique stores, boutiques, and cozy cafes await.
Nestled on the banks of the Potomac River, Shepherdstown is a captivating college town that seamlessly blends history, culture, and natural beauty. Explore the town's well-preserved historic district, where stately homes and buildings tell the tale of a bygone era. Visit Shepherd University, home to the renowned Contemporary American Theater Festival, showcasing the works of talented playwrights. Nature lovers can embark on scenic hikes along the C&O Canal towpath or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Shepherdstown Pedestrian Bridge. Don't miss the town's vibrant arts scene, with galleries showcasing a diverse range of artistic expression.
Perched at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, Harpers Ferry is a town steeped in history and natural beauty. Step back in time as you wander through the streets of the Lower Town, a National Historical Park brimming with well-preserved 19th-century buildings. Explore the ruins of St. John's Episcopal Church and immerse yourself in the town's role in the Civil War at the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Outdoor enthusiasts will find paradise in the surrounding area of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, with hiking trails offering breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and rivers.
Nestled along the banks of the Ohio River, New Martinsville is a charming town that offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling world. The town's picturesque riverfront park provides a serene setting for picnicking, fishing, and simply enjoying the beauty of the river. History enthusiasts can delve into the past at the Wetzel County Museum, which showcases artifacts and exhibits highlighting the town's heritage. Don't miss a visit to the Main Street area, where quaint shops and eateries beckon with their warm hospitality and unique offerings.
Nestled along the banks of the Ohio River, New Martinsville is a charming town that offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling world. The town's picturesque riverfront park provides a serene setting for picnicking, fishing, and simply enjoying the beauty of the river. History enthusiasts can delve into the past at the Wetzel County Museum, which showcases artifacts and exhibits highlighting the town's heritage. Make a stop at the Main Street area, where quaint shops and eateries beckon with their warm hospitality and unique offerings. Mountain State Brewing Company is a great stop to sip away the evening with local beers.
Nestled in the heart of West Virginia's Randolph County, Elkins is a gateway to the state's breathtaking natural wonders. Immerse yourself in the lush beauty of the Monongahela National Forest, where hiking, fishing, and wildlife-spotting opportunities abound. History buffs will find plenty to explore, with the town's beautifully restored railroad depot and the nearby Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad offering a glimpse into West Virginia's rich railroad heritage. Don't miss a visit to the American Mountain Theater, where talented performers showcase their musical talents in a lively variety show.
Nestled along the banks of the Buckhannon River, this cute town offers a delightful blend of history, outdoor recreation, and small-town charm. Explore the historic downtown district, where Victorian-era buildings house various shops, galleries, and eateries. One can check out the galleries of the West Virginia Artist Gallery Trail to admire the thriving art culture. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverwalk, enjoying the scenic beauty and tranquil ambiance. Outdoor enthusiasts can venture to nearby Audra State Park, where hiking, fishing, and camping opportunities await in a pristine natural setting. History comes to life at the West Virginia Wildlife Center, where visitors can observe native wildlife and learn about the state's diverse ecosystems.
Nestled in the heart of the New River Gorge, Fayetteville is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Known as the gateway to one of America's premier whitewater rafting destinations, the town attracts adventure seekers from far and wide. Raft down the exhilarating rapids of the New River, or climb to new heights on the towering sandstone cliffs that dot the area. Nature lovers can explore the stunning beauty of the New River Gorge National Park, with its countless hiking trails and breathtaking overlooks. After an action-packed day, unwind in the town's vibrant downtown, where a variety of shops, restaurants, and craft breweries offer a taste of local flavor.
Located in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, the beautiful destination of Charles Town combines history, culture, and a vibrant horse racing scene. History enthusiasts can explore the Jefferson County Museum and discover the town's rich heritage, shaped by figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Test your luck at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, where thrilling horse races and exciting casino games await. For a taste of local flavor, visit the town's quaint restaurants and enjoy farm-to-table cuisine prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The Bloomery Plantation Distillery also makes for a charming stop to spend an evening.
Nestled along the Ohio River, Wheeling is a captivating town that seamlessly blends history, culture, and natural beauty. Explore the Victorian-era elegance of the Centre Market Historic District, where boutique shops and artisanal eateries await. History comes to life at the West Virginia Independence Hall, a National Historic Landmark that played a pivotal role in the state's formation. Outdoor enthusiasts can embark on a scenic stroll along the Wheeling Heritage Trail or enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the Ohio River. Don't miss a visit to the Oglebay Resort and its picturesque gardens, golf courses, and the captivating Good Zoo, home to diverse animals.
Each town carries its own distinct charm, welcoming visitors with open arms and a uniquely Appalachian warmth. From Berkeley Springs with its soothing mineral springs to Shepherdstown's blend of history and arts, these towns paint a vivid picture of West Virginia's rich heritage and captivating beauty. Whether you are seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or a quiet retreat, West Virginia's small towns offer something for everyone. So get ready to discover the best-kept secrets of West Virginia, where the essence of small-town America thrives, and memories are made to last a lifetime.