Best Places to Visit in West Virginia
West Virginia has some of the most beautiful and rugged landscapes on the East Coast, with year-round outdoor adventure opportunities. Its wild mountains, lush forests and flowing rivers are playgrounds for hiking, camping, caving, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, boating, and fishing. In winter, the ski resort offers a range of snow sports.
Active travelers never go out of business here. While many tourists come to the state for these outdoor activities and natural wonders, West Virginia offers many more attractions, from the historic sites of Harpers Ferry to the elegant Greenbrier with its legendary golf course. Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in West Virginia and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in West Virginia
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in West Virginia:
1. The Greenbrier
Greenbrier has been designated a National Historic Landmark several times. Located in White Sulfur Springs, this grand hotel has been used as a natural hot spring since the 1700s and has hosted 26 presidents, foreign statesmen, and royalty, including Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
But no matter how grand and luxurious it was as a resort, it also played other historical roles. In the early days of World War II, it was used as a detention center for German and Japanese diplomats in the United States when war was declared. Later in the war, it was claimed by the US Army as a hospital and treated approximately 25,000 patients.
During the Cold War, an underground bunker was built to house the entire US Congress in the event of a nuclear attack. Codenamed the “Greek Island Project”, the sanctuary was decommissioned in 1992 and is open to the public for tours, such as the Presidential Cabin Museum, which includes visits from the president and exhibits about the resort’s history.
The resort and its 5,100-acre Greenbrier State Forest offer more than 50 different activities. In addition to horse riding, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, adventure courses, and a 40,000-square-foot spa, the resort has multiple golf courses (there’s even an indoor golf course in winter) and an excellent golf history as a golf course. countless championships.
The Greenbrier State Forest offers cabins and campgrounds, swimming, fishing, biking trails, and hiking – the 78-mile Greenbrier River Trail is a multi-purpose rail trail that can also be used for cross-country skiing in the winter. Vacationing in one of the centuries-old heritage homes is one of the most romantic things to do in West Virginia.
Address: 300 W. Main Street, White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia
2. Blackwater Falls State Park
Named after the dark waters of the Blackwater River and colored by the tannic acid of fallen hemlock and red spruce needles, Blackwater Falls descends 60 feet on a sandstone ledge before the river continues into the 8-mile-long canyon. Steps and viewing platforms make the waterfall accessible year-round.
Popular attractions in the park include Elakala Falls, which spills over the canyon walls and can be reached by a short trail, and Pendleton Falls, which can be easily seen from the on-street parking lot.
The view over Blackwater Canyon from Lindy Point, one of West Virginia’s most beautiful spots, is another highlight of the park, as is the Pendleton Point Overlook at the canyon’s deepest point. The park has a lake for boating, as well as swimming, fishing and camping.
Address: 1584 Blackwater Lodge Road, Davis, West Virginia
Official website: http://www.blackwaterfalls.com/
3. Monongahela National Forest and Seneca Cliffs
With elevations ranging from 1,000 feet to 4,863 feet above sea level, Monongahela National Forest offers beautiful scenery, wildlife, and the highest point in the state. More than 900,000 acres of land and rainfall make it one of the most diverse forest ecosystems in the country, supporting more than 225 bird species, 75 tree species, and 70 fish species, both hunted and non-caught.
The nearly 100,000-acre park has been designated a Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area and offers some of the best traditional multi-course technical climbing on the East Coast. Seneca Rocks is a unique formation of white and gray quartzite about 900 feet above the North Fork River, 250 feet deep. Some routes are moderate but defy experts with exposed peaks.
You don’t have to be a mountaineer to enjoy the park. Non-climbers can visit the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, stay at the Seneca Shaded and Big Bend campground, fish, or hike and bird watch the park’s thousands of acres of wasteland.
Address: 200 Sycamore Street, Elkins, West Virginia
Official website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/mnf
4. New River Gorge National River
Contrary to its name, the New River is actually one of the continent’s oldest rivers. As it flows into West Virginia, it crosses the Appalachian Plateau, forming the New River Canyon and abundant white water for rafting, rafting, and kayaking. There are other recreational opportunities in the surrounding area: hiking, zipline jumping, hunting, fishing, bird watching, camping, cycling and rock climbing.
One of the most photographed attractions in the state is the soaring New River Bridge, the longest steel span in the hemisphere and the third-tallest bridge in the country, rising 876 feet above the canyon floor. The National Park Service has 70,000 acres of parkland along the river, and at Eagle’s Nest State Park, you can take a gondola ride to the bottom of the New River Canyon, a prime location for whitewater rafting.
South of the New River Gorge National River in Bluestone State Park is hiking, fishing, camping, and boating on the large lake behind Bluestone Dam.
Official website: http://www.nps.gov/neri/index.htm
5. White water rafting
It’s no secret that West Virginia is one of the best places to go rafting. A few rivers provide top-notch streams to the experts, while others are perfect for the inexperienced and less knowledgeable rafters. The most famous body of water is the Gawley River in the Gawley River National Recreation Area between Somersville and Fayetteville. Both the Gauley and New Rivers are easily accessible from the bases of nearby Babcock or Hawks Nest State Parks.
Here, the 25-mile river flows at high speed through canyons and valleys, offering experienced rafters the thrill of a lifetime; No wonder Grade 5 streams are known as the “Beast of the East.”
Autumn is the time to find the toughest rivers, but it’s always a good idea to hire an experienced guide who knows the river and its quirks and can help you find the best spot for your level of experience. Although best known for Class V speeds, the Gauley has some Class III speeds suitable for intermediate levels.
The Tygart River, Cheat River, and Potomac River are all good options for the less experienced, as is the Upper New River, which is great for beginners. Downstream of the New River is Class IV currents that flow over the New River Gorge Bridge.
6. Harpers Ferry
The Shenandoah River joins the Potomac River in this West Virginia town that was the site of abolitionist John Brown’s 1859 raid on the Civil War precipitating US arsenal.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has museums, historical exhibits and programs, and nearly 20 miles of hiking trails. At the confluence of rivers, you can explore the rocks and visit the Roman Catholic St. Peter’s Church and the old cemetery on the hill behind.
Also at Harpers Ferry is the Appalachian Trail Visitor Center, where you can hike the Appalachian Trail with city and river views. Local outdoor rigs offer tube tours on the river.
7. West Virginia Penitentiary
One of the most unlikely places to visit in any state, the West Virginia Penitentiary welcomes its guests from April to November in the brutal prison, which sometimes houses more than 1,000 inmates at once. The formidable Gothic castle was opened in 1876 and the last prisoner left in 1995. During this period, there were fires, escapes, prison riots and nearly 100 executions.
Visitors can tour the building and its claustrophobic 5 feet-by 7 feet cell during the day or explore the supposedly haunted place at night. Prisons are popular places for paranormal investigators looking for evidence of spectral phenomena.
Address: 818 Jefferson Ave, Moundsville, West Virginia
Official website: http://www.wvpentours.com
8. Mothman Museum and Festival
In 1966, reports of lights in the sky and a strange flying figure began to circulate at Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Descriptions of the figure vary, but most reports are of a winged figure dressed in black with red eyes. From there came the local Mothman legend.
As the story spread, pop culture took over the legend (there’s even an exhibit about the Mothman at the International Museum of Cryptozoology in Portland, Maine), and the town turned the legend into a museum, statues, and Sky Mothman Day. Held the third weekend of September, this popular free event features vendors selling clothing, events, and souvenirs depicting a cartoon moth in the shape of a bat.
Address: 400 Pleasant Avenue, West Virginia
Official website: www.mothmanmuseum.com
9. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
At Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, you can relive the golden age of steam on a refurbished log flatbed pulled by an original Shay steam locomotive, on a line built in 1901 to transport timber from the forest to the factory. The entire 4.5-hour journey includes a return trip that allows the train to climb an 11% incline to Bald Knob. At 4,700 feet above sea level, this is the third highest point in West Virginia and offers spectacular views.
A 1940s logging camp was rebuilt at Whitaker Station, including living quarters and equipment. At its base, you can visit museums and warehouses, as well as visit restored company homes that can be rented overnight. Be prepared for the noise, black smoke, and cold of Bald Knob when boarding the train.
Official website: www.cassrailroad.com
10. West Virginia State Museum
One of the free things to do in West Virginia is to visit the West Virginia State Museum in Charleston to learn about the state’s culture, history, art, paleontology, archeology, and geology. The most popular of his 60,000 creations is a pair of dressed fleas from a 19th-century flea circus.
The more serious, carefully designed exhibits actually follow the path of the state’s history, from stone and dirt to paved roads. Over the centuries, sound features have augmented exhibits and movies as visitors moved from room to room.
Artifacts include everyday utensils and objects such as the telescope used by George Washington to survey land in West Virginia. In one chapter you’ll learn more about John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, in another, the original settler’s cottage is recreated in the museum.
Address: 1900 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, West Virginia
Official website: http://www.wvculture.org/museum/State-Museum-Index.html
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in West Virginia. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in West Virginia, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.