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

7 Friendliest Towns to Visit in West Virginia in 2024

West Virginia has a thriving tourism industry based largely on its beautiful natural landscape of mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, and more. But the “Mountain State” also has a handful of small cities and dozens of small towns that are great places to explore. You can definitely expect a friendly welcome in any West Virginia town you visit, but we have listed the seven friendliest towns for your 2024 travel plans.


Lewisburg, West Virginia: Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg, West Virginia
Lewisburg, West Virginia: Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg, West Virginia, via sshepard /

Home to about 4,000 residents, Lewisburg is the seat of Greenbrier County in southern West Virginia. Lewisburg was an important conflict site during the wars between settlers and Native Americans in the 1700s as well as during the Civil War a century later, and longstanding structures like the 1784 Barracks building speak to the town’s history. Thankfully, today’s Lewisburg is known for its vibrant arts scene instead of wars, with the beautiful 1902 Carnegie Hall serving as the artistic epicenter. Visit between August 8-17, 2024 to experience the West Virginia State Fair, held just outside of town.


The skyline of Fairmont, West Virginia.
The skyline of Fairmont, West Virginia.

Fairmont is located at the headwaters of the Monongahela River, which winds its way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania through what used to be one of the world’s great industrial heartlands. These days, though, outdoor recreation on and along the Monongahela supports Fairmont’s economy, bringing visitors to bike, hike, boat, fish, and more. Fairmont State University, one of the state’s oldest colleges, also fuels the town’s economy and social life, and the state’s biggest college—West Virginia University—is only 20 miles away. Other nearby tourist destinations include Tygart Lake State Park and the West Virginia Botanic Gardens.


Greenbrier Vallery Railroad in Elkins, West Virginia.
Greenbrier Vallery Railroad in Elkins, West Virginia. Image credit Steve Heap via Shutterstock.

Elkins, a town of around 7,000 set along the Tygart Valley River, regularly makes lists of West Virginia’s prettiest small towns. Elkins is a quiet, quaint, postcard-pretty community most of the year, home to a small Christian college—Davis and Elkins College—with only 800 students. Each fall, however, Elkins buzzes with activity during the Mountain State Forest Festival (September 28-October 6, 2024), one of West Virginia’s oldest and largest community festivals. So, whether you prefer big crowds and lumberjack competitions or quiet strolls through a lovely downtown, Elkins is a place for you!


View of German Street in Shepherdstown, West Virginia
View of German Street in Shepherdstown, WV. Image credit Alizada Studios via Shutterstock.

Shepherdstown was founded a century before West Virginia separated from Virginia, making it one of the two oldest towns in the Mountain State. The town’s lovely location along the Potomac River and the Shenandoah Valley is matched by the beauty of Shepherdstown’s classic downtown area. The entire town, in fact, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its abundance of historic structures. Visitors come to enjoy Shepherdstown’s beauty as well as its reputation for being haunted; many of the ghost stories shared by locals are connected to nearby Civil War battles or Shepherd University, founded in 1871.

Harpers Ferry

Historic Downtown in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Historic Downtown in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry sits at the confluence of the Potomac River and Shenandoah River, which makes it a popular destination for boating, fishing, hiking, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities. In earlier times, though, Harpers Ferry’s strategic location made it the site of a federal military arsenal. John Brown’s 1859 raid on the arsenal, which helped spark the Civil War, is commemorated at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. The park sits right in the heart of Harpers Ferry and recreates the downtown area of that time. Whether you are looking for a history lesson or a hiking trail recommendation, Harpers Ferry’s friendly locals are ready to help!

Point Pleasant

Point Pleasant is a city in and the county seat of Mason County, West Virginia
Point Pleasant is a city in and the county seat of Mason County, West Virginia

Point Pleasant is a fitting name for a town that occupies a truly pleasing location—the picturesque junction of the Kanawha River and Ohio River. The town’s residents are also a pleasant lot, enjoying regular community festivals and nearby highlights such as Tu-Endie-Wei state park and the West Virginia State Farm Museum. Locals also enjoy sharing tales of the “Mothman,” a mysterious supernatural creature blamed for the 1967 bridge collapse that inspired the 2002 film “The Mothman Prophecies.” Point Pleasant even holds an annual Mothman Festival (September 21-22, 2024) and has a Mothman museum!

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

This town’s current name, Berkeley Springs, and its former name, Bath, both refer to the local mineral spring pools that have, for centuries, drawn visitors seeking health and healing. Berkeley Springs State Park offers free access to the flowing spring water, as well as historic structures dating back to the time of George Washington (who was a regular visitor). The adjacent downtown area has a classic look and a New Age vibe, with art galleries and shops selling healing crystals and the like. Additionally, Cacapon Resort State Park, only 10 miles away, is renowned for its hiking trails and other amenities.

West Virginia, like the whole region of Appalachia, is overlooked or even denigrated by some people, but most of the Mountain State’s citizens are fiercely proud of their communities. West Virginia’s small towns have seen their share of hard times, but they are full of history, culture, and welcoming locals. Even if the focus of your West Virginia trip is outdoor adventure, set aside some time to explore its friendly small towns—you will not be disappointed!

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