Colorful homes in Harpers Ferry surrounded by fall landscape.

6 Most Idyllic Small Towns in West Virginia

West Virginia is an eastern U.S. state full of idyllic wonders. With so many interesting commercial locales and natural or historical landmarks to witness in person, travelers will have a lot of fun and enjoyment when visiting this state. Known for its humid continental climate and scenic mountainsides, tourists who want to experience something new on the eastern coast may not need to look any further for a good time!


The exterior of Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
The exterior of Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia. Editorial credit: Joseph Sohm /

Lewisburg is a gorgeous suburban town with 3,750 residents. It has lots of fascinating historical landmarks like the Greenbrier Historical Society, a 1960s educational estate full of diverse history and cultural elements related to the locals. The Old Stone Presbyterian Church is another option for history lovers who want to absorb 17th and 18th-century congregation knowledge since the days of the American Civil War. At Confederate Cemetery, a scenic Christian cross can be witnessed above 95 unknown Confederate soldier tombs belonging to those who once served at the Battle of Lewisburg.

The natural sights of the Lost World Caverns may appeal to just about anyone who loves 1940s cave sightseeing and guided tours of idyllic rock formations! Down at The Asylum, guests can encounter familiar American cuisine and a variety of spirits that set the mood for laidback tourism. European cuisine lovers may prefer The French Goat for charming outdoor seating arrangements and hilly terrace views of the town that resemble French lifestyles. Stardust Cafe may be the best spot for tourists wanting custom salad creations and gourmet appetizers!


Charleston, West Virginia, downtown skyline on the river at dusk
Charleston, West Virginia, downtown skyline on the river at dusk

Charleston, the state capital with 45,616 residents, is an excellent option for riverside tourism. Haddad Riverfront Park is a major stop for tourists who want to enjoy historical riverwalk sights right on the banks of the Kanawha River. Nature lovers may enjoy over 60 miles of hiking and biking trails mixed with idyllic wildflower beds and peaceful bird observations within Kanawha State Forest! For history fans, Clay Center offers a blend of artistry and famous planetarium pleasures for travelers interested in state-of-the-art science exhibits.

At Capitol Market, scenic shrubberies and vibrant train station history make it easy to fall in love with this town! Taylor Books is a notable bookstore that fancies antique literature and has a classical holiday ambiance that is quite blissful to newcomers. Hungry visitors may want to pay a visit to Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill, a famous locale serving the best barbecue meals and Southern cuisine around. The Floralee Hark Cohen Cinema may be appealing for independent film watching and nightlife, should tourists feel the need to be surrounded by idyllic downtown stops.

Harpers Ferry

Historic buildings and shops on High Street in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
Historic buildings and shops on High Street in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

A small town of just 264 locals, Harpers Ferry is idyllic and enticing for travelers. Jefferson Rock is a natural gem for tourists who like to see Appalachian Trail campgrounds and surrounding mountains that display sunrise beauty! The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is another gem with its amazing ancestral scenery of the Tuscarora and Shawnee tribes. John Brown's Fort is a meaningful prison landmark where famous abolitionist John Brown defended against raiders during the Civil War period. Local Civil War history can also be discovered at the Ruins of St. John's Episcopal Church, an 1850s Irish colonial landmark with calming Appalachian vibes.

The Armory Canal is equal parts natural and enchanting with its beautiful dog walking areas and gravel roads perfect for spring hikers! At the Toy Train Museum & Joy Line Railroad, one can find miniature train rides and car house architecture that pays homage to the vibrant 1930s. Visitors can check out True Treats Historic Candy for over 500 types of teas and confections in a fun retro atmosphere. For tourists who want to have fresh hamburgers away from crowds, The Rabbit Hole has cozy terrace bar views mixed with hidden walking paths to enjoy splendid scenery.

White Sulphur Springs

Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

An idyllic town with 2,123 inhabitants, White Sulphur Springs has everything one needs when it comes to outdoor serenity and tranquil activities. Visitors looking to stick around will likely notice The Greenbrier, a classy 5-star resort that is known for its breathtaking outdoor entrance full of Allegheny Mountain flowerbeds and historical grounds! Blue Bend Recreation Area offers peaceful wildlife exposure and creeks full of lovely picnic spots and happy swimmers.

The Old White TPC Course has friendly golfers and fancy 18-hole courses that may appeal to any visitor needing to enjoy green fairways and sporting activities within an idyllic mountain zone. The Pomona Salt Cave & Spa is an unforgettable locale for travelers wanting therapeutic cave luxury and Spa Garden Cafe relaxation, with special Himalayan gifts that are memorable for the journey home! The Greenbrier Outfitters Falconry Experience is yet another nature stop that features family-friendly lessons for kids who want to see birds up close with gorgeous mountain backdrop photography.


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

Located only an hour and a half west of White Sulphur Springs, Fayetteville is a wonderful idyllic destination with 2,770 residents. It is best known for landmarks like New River Gorge Bridge, a scenic 867-foot-high arch bridge with misty viewpoints that remains one of the most photographed spots in the state! At New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, more than 70,000 acres of flora and fauna, iconic bald eagle and peregrine falcon viewing areas, and coal mining zones make this landmark worthwhile. Long Point Trail is another nature alternative for those seeking rocky beauty and backcountry mountain biking.

Bridge Brew Works offers idyllic brewery scenery and cozy beer-tasting rooms for travelers needing a laidback spot to hang out with the locals. The Historic Fayette Theater is a popular spot for theatrical presentations, diverse cultural shows, and social enjoyment in town. For pizzerias, one can visit Pies & Pints, where happy hour events are coupled with specialty pizza varieties and New River Gorge sights to create the ultimate travel experience! For an underrated itinerary in Fayetteville, Cathedral Cafe has artsy hangout spots and homemade desserts perfect for cinnamon or muffin cravings.


Aerial View of Downtown Wheeling, West Virginia on the Ohio River
Aerial View of Downtown Wheeling, West Virginia on the Ohio River

Situated along the Ohio River, Wheeling is home to 25,808 residents who cherish historic beauty and natural splendors. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is one of its mainstay landmarks with 18th-century architecture and Ohio River channel sightseeing. The Oglebay Mansion Museum is another amazing spot for tourists who want a mix of history and idyllic wonder, as it boasts estate elegance and pharmaceutical relics reminiscent of the 1900s! History buffs may appreciate West Virginia Independence Hall, an idyllic and historical downtown landmark full of Constitutional history and 18th-century presidential contributions.

At Oglebay Good Zoo, one can have close encounters with rare and endangered cheetahs, maned wolves, ruffed lemurs, and other species. Fans of artistry may be attracted to Oglebay Institute Glass Museum for its impressive Victorian art collection and glass-blowing workshops that leave a lasting impression. Visitors in town needing a quiet moment around religious grace and beauty may want to visit the Cathedral of St. Joseph for pure Catholic ambiance and laidback conversations with the locals.

The Takeaway

These small towns all demonstrate what it means to be within the heart of West Virginia. With countless ways to enjoy outdoor scenery and indoor locales and landmarks, there are no limits to what one can experience. For anyone needing a new itinerary in the "Mountain State," this list has plenty of motivating options for an idyllic trip that will leave anyone speechless!

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