This is an afternoon view of the historic Market Street Bridge.

6 Towns in West Virginia that Are Ideal for Seniors

The state of West Virginia is a lovely place for people of all ages. It has a relatively small population of 1.7 million, and its largest city, Charleston, has less than 50,000 residents, meaning that it's not difficult to get peace and quiet in the Mountain State. West Virginia also has unparalleled views and trails for anyone who wants to be closer to nature. Many of these views come from the Appalachian Mountains, which run throughout, with some towns closer to them than others. Combine that with the welcoming small towns spread throughout the state, and West Virginia is one of the best states to move to after retiring.

New Martinsville

Downtown New Martinsville, West Virginia.
Downtown New Martinsville, West Virginia.

New Martinsville sits along the Ohio River and has a population of around 5,000. Its name comes from Presley Martin, who was an early settler a couple of centuries ago. Plenty of parks line the area for some nice greenery, including Lewis Wetzel Park, Bruce Park, Brooklyn Park, Marina, First Responder's Park, and more, with Lewis Wetzel Park having paddle boats that residents can rent for $3 in September. Annual community events bring the people of New Martinsville together, with activities like easter egg hunting and mother/son and father/daughter dancing, along with an Arts in the Park 4th of July Celebration. A museum situated downtown is called the Wetzel County Museum, which used to function as a hardware store in the late 19th century. The museum houses local history along with a rotating art gallery showcasing new talent. The median home value is $105,000, with the majority of residents owning their homes. There are also several medical centers and hospitals in the area, making easy access to healthcare.


Trails through the Wine Cellar Park near Dunbar, West Virginia. Image credit: via Wikimedia Commons.
Trails through the Wine Cellar Park near Dunbar, West Virginia. Image credit: via Wikimedia Commons.

With a population of around 7,500, Dunbar is a mainly suburban area as a result of rising industry in the early 20th century. It lies on the Kanawha River, with the town being on both sides, split down the middle. It's just outside of Charleston, which makes it easy to get to a larger metropolitan area. Dunbar has plenty of creative outlets, including the Clay Center For the Arts and Sciences and the Alban Arts Center, meaning that local talent and passion are always on display. Nearby is Little Creek Park, which has a good selection of hiking and biking trails, along with pretty streams that run throughout. Wine Cellar Park is also in Dunbar, which has a pretty fireplace shelter and a scenic walking trail, along with picnic spots and Anderson Lake, which is ideal for trout fishing. The median house price is $103,800, with the majority of people owning their homes. There are hospitals and doctors' offices on both sides of the Kanawha River.


Ohio River and the Marietta Williamstown Bridge near where the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers Meet
Ohio River and the Marietta Williamstown Bridge near where the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers Meet

Home to just around 3,000 people, Williamstown is situated along the Ohio River and is located across from Marietta, Ohio. Its name comes from the man who settled in the area in 1787, Isaac Williams, although the original name was "Williamsport" until around 1822. It is a small town at less than two square miles in total, but there are plenty of things to do and see. The towns on both sides of the river celebrate the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival every year, which was founded on the racing of paddle steamers that once dominated the river. Here, people come together with live music, food, and fireworks. There are plenty of specialty shops and boutiques, with The Painted Cupboard, Fenton Gift Shop, and Wit & Whimzy, to name a few. The Fenton Art Glass Factory was once a large employer in the area, although the factory was relegated to a small gift shop that still operates today. Williamstown's median home value is $141,300, with most people in the area owning rather than renting. Hospitals and doctors' offices line both sides of the river.


Overlooking Bluefield, West Virginia.
Overlooking Bluefield, West Virginia.

The town of Bluefield was incorporated in 1889 as a result of a coal rush and got its name from the nearby bluegrass and periwinkle chicory flowers. As of a 2020 census, Bluefield has under 10,000 residents, making it a mix of both urban and rural life. There are plenty of outdoor activities all around, with Bluefield City Park hosting many trails, tennis courts, and a playground for fun for anyone of any age. Elevated at around 2600 feet, Bluefield is situated where it is not too high off the ground but still has access to nice views and a naturally cool atmosphere. One of these views is the East River Mountain Overlook, where people can see the surrounding area in all its glory. Local shops provide free lemonade on hot summer days when the temperature reaches over 90°F, although that seldom happens because of the higher elevation. Plenty of shops like the The Heart Strings Gifts line the town, making shopping for things both old and new welcoming and easy. The median home value in Bluefield is $78,100, and the surrounding area has plenty of hospitals.


veterans memorial bridge Ohio river valley.
Veterans Memorial Bridge Ohio River Valley.

Weirton is a town of almost 20,000 residents and was once a major player in steel production. The town itself sits on the northern tip of West Virginia, sandwiching it between Ohio and Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is only a 30-mile drive, making it perfect for those who want a more rural lifestyle while being close to a major city. The nearby Tomlinson Run State Park is 1,398 acres and has both developed and natural areas, which are great for hiking to see the forested hills and cliffs on the many trails. People can also fish and take everything in while camping at the park's many campgrounds and cabins. Weirton also has the Williams Country Club, which is known for its 18-hole golf course and dining facilities. Entertainment-wise, people can catch live performances at the Ashley Marie Performing Arts Center, which occasionally features dinner with their shows. There's also the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, which takes a deep dive into the town's once bustling steel industry, among other historical items and culture. Median home values in Weirton are around $96,700.


 A historical bridge in Ripley, West Virginia. Editorial credit: JNix /
 A historical bridge in Ripley, West Virginia. Editorial credit: JNix /

Located on the Appalachian foothills, Ripley is on a junction of both Interstate 77 and Route 33, giving easy access to roads and highways in the area. It has a population of around 3,000, with warm summers and cool winters. People can kayak down Mill Creek Water Trail, which is around 20 miles long. Ripley City Park has an Olympic-sized pool with tennis courts and plenty of picnic spots around. In the area is the Appalachian Distillery, which attracts residents with exotic moonshine flavors like blackberry, peach, and lemonade. Many people flock to the Alpine Theatre, built in 1936, for seasonal entertainment and movies. The median home value in Ripley is $115,600, and the median rent is $550, with more than half of the local residents renting rather than owning. Ripley has hospitals and medical centers throughout the town.

West Virginia has many different aspects that people are looking for when it comes to living after retirement. There are plenty of activities and quiet places to enjoy year-round, with small and welcoming communities to boot. The cost of living in the more rural areas is surprisingly cheaper than other places in the east part of the United States, making it more than ideal for people looking to settle down and enjoy their senior life.

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