Street view in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, via Matt Levi Media /

6 Delightful Towns to Visit in West Virginia

For those wanting to get a taste of West Virginia’s natural beauty as well as the warm hospitality of its residents, you’d do your best to head for the hills (literally!). West Virginia, dubbed the “Mountain State,” is entirely situated in the Appalachian Mountains region of Eastern USA, making it an especially popular tourist destination not just for those who enjoy stunning scenery but who generally enjoy a slower, more laid-back pace.

Scattered across this attractive landscape are numerous small towns waiting to be explored. From the historic to the quirky, these charming communities provide not only a diverse range of attractions, activities, and cultural experiences, they also offer an authentic dose of Americana that’s quite unique to the state. Find out more with this list of six delightful towns to visit in West Virginia.


View of German Street in Shepherdstown, West Virginia
View of German Street in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Editorial credit: Alizada Studios /

Shepherdstown is not only one of the oldest towns in West Virginia, it’s one of the prettiest. Established in 1734 along the Potomac River, it’s here that Shepherd University was founded in 1871, instantly adding a youthful vibrancy to the town that’s evident to this day in its rich cultural scene. The university's campus is also home to the Contemporary American Theater Festival each July and is ranked one of the country’s top summer theater events.

After exploring the campus, head to Shepherdstown Historic District to explore its well-preserved 18th and 19th-century buildings. Take a stroll along German Street with its fun mix of boutique shops, antique stores, and cafés, and check into the Bavarian Inn Resort and Brewing Company. This European-style hotel not only offers luxurious accommodations but excellent food and drink experiences with views of the Potomac. Other highlights include the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the significance of the Civil War, and the James Rumsey Monument, honoring a local steamboat inventor.


William Avenue (Route 32) in Davis, West Virginia.
William Avenue (Route 32) in Davis, West Virginia.

Don’t be fooled by its diminutive size. With a population of only around 600, Davis is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts thanks to its proximity to Blackwater Falls State Park. Named for the stunning 62-foot waterfall where the Blackwater River cascades over a rocky ledge, the park is a must-visit for hikers, photographers... and pretty much anyone who appreciates great scenery. Its numerous trails, including everything from leisurely walks to challenging hikes, are especially delightful in the fall and winter months.

Davis itself has a charming downtown area with unique shops, local eateries, and art galleries, as well as a lively arts scene. The annual Leaf Peepers Festival, which celebrates the region’s stunning fall foliage with music, crafts, and outdoor activities, is a great time to visit. And just a short drive from Davis is Canaan Valley Resort State Park, another popular destination for outdoor activities including skiing, snowboarding, and tubing in the winter, and hiking, biking, and golfing in the summer.


Court Street, downtown Fayetteville
Court Street, downtown Fayetteville, West Virginia, By - Wikimedia Commons

Fayetteville is home to what is undoubtedly the best-known bridge in West Virginia: the New River Gorge Bridge. Standing 876 feet above the New River, it’s one of the longest steel arch bridges in the world and is so special it even has its own festival. Held each October, the Bridge Day festival celebrates this nearly 50-year-old feat of engineering with exhilarating BASE jumping and rappelling events.

Fayetteville is also famous for its white-water rafting on the New River, and the Gauley River, with rapids ranging from beginner-friendly to challenging Class V. The New River Gorge area, is also a premier destination for rock climbing, boasting over 1,400 established climbing routes on its sandstone cliffs. Prefer to keep your feet on the ground? New River Gorge National Park offers an extensive network of hiking and biking trails, with the popular Long Point Trail providing breathtaking views of the gorge and the bridge.

Berkeley Springs

Town square in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Town square in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Image credit G. Edward Johnson, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, Berkeley Springs is renowned for its mineral springs. Berkeley Springs State Park is the place to go, its historic warm waters have drawn visitors for centuries for their healing properties. Its most famous guest? No other than George Washington himself. Today, visitors can enjoy the same soothing waters as America’s first President in the Roman Bath House or can opt for a modern spa treatment at one of the town’s many wellness centers (or maybe both).

Another highlight is Berkeley Springs Castle. Built in the late 19th century on a hill overlooking the town, this mock castle serves as a unique backdrop for weddings and special events. For art enthusiasts, the Ice House is a must-visit and hosts rotating exhibits, performances, and workshops showcasing local talent.

Harpers Ferry

Aerial view over the National Park town of Harpers Ferry in West Virginia
Aerial view over the National Park town of Harpers Ferry in West Virginia

Boasting one of the most delightful names of any town in West Virginia, Harpers Ferry is a historic gem located at the confluence of the Potomac River and Shenandoah River. The star attraction here is Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, which preserves the town's significant history. Here, visitors can explore museums and restored buildings that tell the story of John Brown's raid in 1859, an event that heightened tensions leading up to the Civil War. Guided tours are available, along with living history demonstrations and special events that bring the past to life.

Other fun things to do in Harpers Ferry include visiting the John Brown Wax Museum, which provides a detailed account of John Brown's life and his raid through lifelike wax figures and engaging exhibits, and checking out the attractive St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, perched on a hill and offering panoramic views of the town and surrounding rivers. Those who enjoy outdoor experiences will appreciate the fact that the Appalachian Trail passes through the town, providing excellent hiking opportunities.


Martin Luther King Day celebrations in Lewisburg, West Virginia
Martin Luther King Day celebrations in Lewisburg, West Virginia. Editorial credit: /

One of the main attractions in Lewisburg is its delightful historic downtown. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Lewisburg Historic District is a charming collection of well-preserved 18th and 19th-century buildings that today house a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants. Lewisburg is also home to the Greenbrier Valley Theatre, the state’s year-round professional theater, which has offered a diverse range of performances from classic plays to contemporary works since its opening in 1966.

For history buffs, the North House Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the region's past with exhibits on local history, including artifacts from the Civil War and the town's early settlement days. Adventurous types will want to include the Lost World Caverns on their list of places to visit in Lewisburg. Located just a few miles from town, here visitors can take self-guided tours through the caverns, marveling at the intricate formations and expansive chambers along the way.

The Final Word

Whether you're exploring the historic streets of Lewisburg, diving into the past in Harpers Ferry, rejuvenating in the mineral springs of Berkeley Springs, adventuring in Fayetteville's outdoor playground, communing with nature in Davis, or even immersing yourself in the arts in Shepherdstown, each of these small towns in West Virginia has a unique story to tell. A visit to these six delightful communities in West Virginia is guaranteed to leave you with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the Mountain State’s beauty.

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