West Virginia, fondly called “The Mountain State” comes with very enchanting taglines, “Almost Heaven” and “Wild, Wonderful” as with each step away from the churn and burn of your everyday life routines, is a step you take unto this heaven of wondrous, mystical beauty of its dense forest-clad mountains, and dense alpine forests, that’s sure to make any beholder catch their breath. Nestled between the Appalachian Plateau and the Allegheny mountains, the state of West Virginia has had a long and tortured history which happens to be intricately wrapped around the political lineage of the Nation itself, being the pinpoint to which the American Civil War between The Union and the Confederate States is linked. Top 50 places to visit in West Virginia, U.S.A is a list of many historical places along with places of natural resources which mostly draw in tourists to visit this mountainous state in Eastern US.
Named after the Virgin Queen of England, Elizabeth the First, the State of Virginia (West Virginia and Virginia before separation) was one of the first established British plantations on the North American continent. Many a time in literature and lore, the name of Virginia has been pronounced, about how penitents and lowlifes from British towns and cities were cast off to the plantation of Virginia, which through historical manhandling has created a public notion about the state that the local population of the area mostly consists of hostile Rednecks. The current citizens of West Virginia State are living out their lives in the quiet of the mountains and their extensive natural wilderness, thriving to adapt to the Nation’s rapid development.
Overall, West Virginia is a state that is full of natural as well as historical treasures that are worthy of tourist visitation. In this article, we are trying to bring to you Top 50 places to visit in West Virginia, U.S.A.
Top 50 Places to Visit in West Virginia, U.S.A.
1Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
About: Harper’s Ferry (a part of which has now been turned into a National Historical Park) is a quaint historical town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, which is the chief-most attraction in the entire state that draws in tourists, who are mainly American Civil War history buffs.
Why should you visit: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is actually four parks in one! It is also a town whose history has intersected many times with the American Civil War. It was the northernmost point of the Confederate-controlled territory. Historically, Harpers Ferry is best known for John Brown’s raid in 1859, in which he attempted to use the town and the weapons in its Federal Armory (munitions plant) as the base for a slave revolt, planned to expand south into Virginia.
Timings: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Entry Fees: Adult: $5
Official Website: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
2New River Gorge National River
About: Ironically named New River, this grand old beautiful river is actually one of the oldest rivers on the continent. Basically, the New River Gorge is now protected and maintained by United States Park Service as it has been declared as a National River.
Why should you visit: The New River cuts through the Appalachian Plateau flowing into West Virginia forming the New River Gorge what allows adventurists to explore a lot of options in freshwater adventure sports, like tubing, canoeing, and rafting. The area also attracts other tourists as to vent out their energies indulging in all kinds of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, zip-lining, hunting, fishing, bird-watching, camping, and rock climbing.
Timings: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Entry Fees: New River Gorge National River does not charge an entrance fee.
Official Website: New River Gorge National River
3Bluestone National Scenic River
About: This is a US Park Service protected region of the Bluestone River, in the counties of Summers and Mercer in the State of West Virginia. The river falls under the nation’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to protect and preserve the under-developed, free-flowing rivers that possess “outstandingly remarkable” scenic, natural, cultural, geological and recreational values.
Why should you Visit: The Bluestone River and the rugged and ancient gorge it has carved is a richly diverse and scenic area of the southern Appalachians. Bluestone National Scenic River is preserved as a living landscape that provides an unspoiled experience for visitors and a haven for a variety of plants and animals. From late spring through fall, park rangers lead a two-mile, round-trip hike along the Bluestone River. Also, visitors get to learn more about the people, place, and stories that make up the rich cultural history of the Bluestone Gorge.
Timings: Open 24 hours
Entry Fees: Free
Official Website: Bluestone National Scenic River
4Blackwater Falls State Park
About: Located in the Allegheny Mountains of Tucker County, Blackwater Falls State Park is named for the amber waters of Blackwater Falls, a 57-foot cascade tinted by the tannic acid of fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. The falls, the main attraction of Blackwater Falls State Park, is accessible from steps and several viewing platforms that allow visitors to enjoy scenic views year-round.
Why should you Visit: The Blackwater Falls, and nearby Elakala Falls, Lindy Point and Pendleton Point Overlook, are some of the most photographed sites in West Virginia. The park offers lodging and many outdoor recreational opportunities, like Scenic Train Rides, Outdoor adventures, Snow Sports, Boating, Whitewater rafting, Swimming, Hiking, Biking, Hunting, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Camping, Golf and Geocaching among others.
Timings: 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. (Open on Weekends only)
Entry Fees: Nil
Official Website: Blackwater Falls State Park
5Monongahela National Forest
About: Located in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, Monongahela National Forest provides visitors with scenic vistas, country roads, flowing streams and abundant plant as well as animal life. It was established in 1920 and encompasses one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the United States. Elevations range from just under 1,000 feet to 4,863 feet above sea level. Monongahela National Forest is a working forest providing timber, water, grazing, minerals, and recreational opportunities.
Why should you Visit: Recreational activities available for visitors at Monongahela National Forest include, hiking, biking along with mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, Scenic drives, and availability of cabins for renting. Hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing are also popular activities visitors to the Forest often indulge in. Special places within the Monongahela National Forest include The Cranberry Mountain Nature Center, Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, Highland Scenic Highway, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, Falls of Hills Creek, Cranberry Glades Botanical Area among others.
Timings: Open all year through.
Entry Fee: Free, except for the Interagency Passes, which checks entrance to Fish and Wildlife, and National Park sites.
Official Website: Monongahela National Forest
About: Berkeley Springs is a delightful little town and the county seat of Morgan County, West Virginia. While the area was a part of Virginia, the town had been incorporated as Bath, a sister to the original town of Bath, Somerset, England. Since 1802, it has been referred to by the name of its original Virginia post office, Berkeley Springs. Berkeley Springs has a lot of historical significance since the beginning of United States of America as a nation free from British dominion.
Why should you Visit: The area contains mineral water springs that were frequented by Native Americans indigenous to the area. After European Settlement in the continent, the place drew in a lot of visitors from the more urbanized areas. Notable colonial visitors to the area included George Washington and James Rumsey. It is the home of the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, the longest running and largest such event in the world. Notable places to visit in this little town are the Museum of Berkeley Springs, Berkeley Springs Castle, Berkeley Springs State Park, George Washington’s Bathtub, Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management.
Timings: 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. (open all days of the week)
Entry Fee: Free
Official Website: Berkeley Springs
7Gauley River National Recreation Area
About: The 25 miles of the free-flowing Gauley River and the six miles of the Meadow River pass through scenic gorges and valleys containing a wide variety of natural and cultural features. Every September as water is released from Summersville Dam, whitewater enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the Gauley River to experience what is considered by many people to be one of the most thrilling whitewater rafting opportunities in the country.
Why should you Visit: Aside from the adventure sports possible at Gauley River, the area is also an excellent example of a high energy system which supports rare plant species like Virginia Spiraea, Appalachian Blue Violet, and Balsam Squaw-weed, which also attracts botanical enthusiasts to observe this rare ground for breeding of these species and hybrids.
Timings: 12:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. (Open all year round)
Entry Fee: Free
Official Website: Gauley River Recreation Area
8West Virginia State Capitol, Charleston
About: The West Virginia State Capitol Building is a historical government building, and the seat of government and legislation for the U.S. state of West Virginia, which also the office of the Governor of West Virginia. Built in 1932, The Capitol building has a significant appeal for tourists who enjoy historical sites and also antique architecture, as the building sits majestically overlooking the town of Charleston with substantially open grounds filled with several statues of locally significant historical figures The Coal Miner, Stonewall Jackson, a Rebel soldier, a Union soldier, and a commanding statue of “Lincoln at Midnight.”’
Why should you Visit: If you decide to stop and visit, it’s easier to approach the Capitol from the Kanawha Boulevard entrance, because there are fewer stairs. A lot of the freeway traffic through Charleston includes people going to the beach or east coast. It’s difficult to miss the gold dome on the Capitol. The dome atop the Capitol Building is another story and is made of real gold. It wasn’t paid for by taxpayer money, but instead from private donations. The pretty filigree design on the dome was done within the last ten years when the dome was redone. That’s a lot of history to marvel upon, while you’re already touring the state.
Timings: 7:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m
Entry Fees: Nil
Official Website: The West Virginia State Capitol, Charleston
9Seneca Caverns West Virginia
About: Seneca Caverns, is a karst show cave in the Germany Valley near Riverton, West Virginia. It was used ceremonies of the Seneca Indians, an Iroquois Confederacy Tribe, prior to European Settlement in North America. A German-American settler named Laven Teter discovered Seneca Caverns in 1742 on a quest for water to supply his livestock. The Teter family maintained ownership until 1928. In 1930 the new owners opened it to the public as a show cave.
Why should you Visit: The history of Seneca caverns is long, you could say it started over 460 million years ago. The Seneca Caverns Company offers the Seneca Caverns Tour. The caverns feature unique geological formations that are visually stunning and wondrous. While exploring, spelunkers will see several stunning formations, including the Snowy Chandelier, the War Club, and the Bridal Veil – a gorgeous column of shimmering white calcite. Visitors can also meander through the dinosaur museum, which features the remains of a prehistoric cave bear. Guides lead visitors through the tours, pointing out areas of special interest, providing information and answering questions.
Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
Entry Fees: Adult: $15
Official Website: Seneca Caverns, West Virginia
About: Located amid the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia, The Greenbrier, dubbed “America’s Resort” is a National Historic Landmark and world-class resort that has been welcoming guests from around the world since 1778. With a guest list that includes 27 of our country’s 45 Presidents, America’s Resort has long been a favorite destination of royalty, celebrities, and business leaders.
Why should you Visit: Very recently declassified, it is now a registered resort where visitors can tour the once top-secret congressional relocation facility dubbed “The Bunker”. This hidden emergency fallout shelter from the Cold War era was bored into the mountainside under the West Virginia Wing of The Greenbrier hotel. Daily guided tours depart from the Trellis Lobby and take roughly 90 minutes. Today, The Greenbrier invites America’s new generation to come out and play, and have the experience to last a lifetime.
Timings: Open 24 hours
Entry Fees: Nil
11Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
Why should you Visit: At the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, you can relive the Golden Age of Steam on a line built in 1901 to haul lumber from the forest to the mill, riding in refurbished logging flat-cars pulled by an original Shay steam locomotive. At an altitude of 4,700 feet, this is West Virginia’s third highest point, overlooking spectacular views. At the base, you can tour a museum and the depot and see restored company houses that can be rented for overnight stays.
Timings: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
Entry Fees: Nil.
Official Website: Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
12Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops
Why should you Visit: Designated a National Historic Landmark, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg shops are one of the few remaining examples of innovative Nineteenth Century engineering and industrial architecture. Not only is the engineering and architecture important, but the history of the location too. The laborers who worked here played a major role in the first days of “The Great Railway Strike of 1877,” a pivotal episode in American labor history. The shops sit in a shallow valley along the banks of Tuscarora Creek, in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The B&O shop maintenance complex was constructed in 1866 and consists of three buildings: the Machine and Woodworking Shop, the West Roundhouse, and the Car Shop.
Timings: 10:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m.
Entry Fees: Adult: $20
13Alexander Campbell Mansion, Bethany
Why should you Visit: The Alexander Campbell Mansion is the historic farmstead of one of the most complex and influential American thinkers of the early 18th century. Campbell was the first farmer in the nation to raise Merino sheep. He championed education and advocated for women and blacks to have access to learning as a path to emancipation. Known as the “Sage of Bethany”, he is best known for his contribution to the Christian Reform Movement and to Bethany College. Along with Campbell’s home, the property includes a separate hexagonal study, a schoolhouse, a smokehouse, and the family cemetery where he is entered. His house, now a museum maintained by Bethany College (founded by Campbell in 1840), was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994.
Timings: 8:30 a.m – 4:30 p.m.
Entry Fees: Adult: $4
Official Website: Alexander Campbell Mansion, Bethany
14Davis and Elkins Historic District
Why should you Visit: This is another National Historic Landmark District on the campus of David and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia. It includes two mansions, the Senator Stephen Benton Elkins House (Halliehurst) and Graceland, that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with a gatehouse and an ice house. These structures are integrated into the families of Henry Gassaway Davis and Stephen Benton Elkins who were dominating figures in the politics and economy of West Virginia. The icehouse was refurbished in 1969 and has since been used as a coffee house and private campus pub. The house, with its unusual “witch hat” towers and leaded glass windows, has a storybook look and feel. After the estate was deeded to the College, it became the residence of the College groundskeeper.
Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Entry Fees: Nil
Official Website: Davis and Elkins Historic District
Why should you Visit: Snowshoe is a year-around running mountain resort best known for the wide variety of skiing activities it offers for tourists and visitors, who come to this winter wonderland. With three different types of snow-clad mountainous terrains to choose from, Snowshoe is a wholly enjoyable experience for any tourist’s lifetime. Activities at Snowshoe include mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides, geocaching, horseback riding, Segway tours, ziplining, trampolining, climbing, pedal boats, paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking, fishing, golf etc.
Timings: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Entry Fee: Free entry. Lift passes and lodging chargeable.
16The Hare Krishna Palace of Gold, Moundsville
Why should you Visit: Named among one of the 8 religious wonders in the United States by the CNN, Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, New Vrindaban was intended to be the residence of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, but he passed away before he could move in. When the palace opened in 1979, Life Magazine called it “a place where tourists can come and be amazed.
Timings: 10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m.
Entry Fees: Adult: $9.50
Official Website: The Hare Krishna Palace of Gold, Moundsville
17Grave Creek Mound
Why should you Visit: The Grave Creek Mound in the Ohio River Valley in West Virginia is one of the largest conical-type burial mounds in the United States, now standing 62 feet high and 240 feet in diameter. A massive undertaking, the total effort required the movement of more than 60,000 tons of earth. Artifacts and exhibits interpreting the lifestyle of the Adena people are displayed in the Delf Norona Museum, adjacent to the 2,000-year-old mound.
Timings: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Closed on Sundays and Mondays)
Entry Fees: Free
Official Website: Grave Creek Mound
18National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Why should you Visit: The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) was founded in 1956; they design and operate “the world’s most versatile radio telescopes,” including the world’s largest moving telescope. Their state-of-the-art telescopes are reserved for working astronomers and qualified scientists, but they also provide tours to the general public and offer both formal and informal educational programs. Here guests can view videos at the auditorium, dine at the cafe and meander through the gift shop filled with purchasable astral memorabilia.
Timings: 8:30 a.m – 7:00 p.m. (closed on Weekends)
Entry Fees: Adult: $6
Official Website: National Radio Astronomy Observatory
19West Virginia Penitentiary
Why should you Visit: The most unlikely place to become an active tourist destination, West Virginia State Penitentiary is now a disused prison building located in Moundsville. The forbidding Gothic fortress opened in 1876, and the last prisoner left in 1995. Between those dates, it has witnessed extensive fires, escapes, prison riots, and seen almost 100 executions. On the guided tour of the building, visitors are walked through its claustrophobia-inducing five-foot by seven-foot cells during the day, or made to explore this reportedly haunted location by night. The Penitentiary is a popular place for paranormal researchers looking for evidence of spectral phenomena.
Timings: 10:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Entry Fees: Adult: $25
Official Website: Nil
20Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Why should you Visit: As unconventional a tourist attraction as the West Virginia Penitentiary, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is a landmark in the history of treatment for the mentally ill. Constructed between 1858 and 1881, the asylum is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in the hemisphere. Tours around this building highlight a number of historical themes, including architecture, Civil War raids, treatment of the mentally ill, even the facility’s agricultural history and place in the local community. Like the West Virginia Penitentiary, the asylum has also been a research location for paranormal investigators.
Timings: 9:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. (Monday – Friday)
Entry Fees: Adult: $100 + tax
Official Website: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
21West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, Matewan.
Why should you Visit: Designated a National Historic Landmark, the Matewan Historic District commemorates the Battle of Matewan on the 19th of May of 1920, during a coal miners’ strike, an event that led to the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest insurrection ever associated with the Labor Movement in the United States of America. Matewan is located on the banks of Tug Fork, a tributary of the Big Sandy River in the mountainous western Western Virginia. In Matewan, visitors can learn all about the history of this quiet little town and also about the insurgency arising out of the Labor Movement in the district’s Mine Wars Museum.
Timings: 11:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m.
Entry Fees: Adult: $5
22Old Main, Bethany College
Why should you Visit: The centerpiece of the Bethany College campus, Old Main is one of the finest examples of collegiate 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture surviving well into the 21st century. Constructed between 1858 and 1871, upon a design by architect James Keys Wilson, the Old Main includes the Commencement Hall, used to concerts, convocations, lectures, dramatic presentations, special functions, dinners, and other august gatherings.
Entry Fees: Nil
23Reber Radio Telescope – Green Bank Observatory
Why should you Visit: Located in Greenbank, West Virginia, West Virginia, the Reber Radio Telescope consists of a parabolic reflector composed of 72 radial rafters and covered in 26 gauge iron sheeting with a focal length of 20 feet (6.1 m). The telescope was built by Grote Reber in his backyard in Wheaton, Illinois in 1937 following up on the research of Karl Jansky, the discoverer of Radio Ways emanating from the Milky Way. It is the first parabolic radio telescope ever built, and it was awarded the status of a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
Timings: 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 pm
Entry Fees: Adult: $6
Official Website: Green Bank Observatory
Why should you Visit: Traveller’s Rest, Kearneysville, West Virginia, also known as the General Horatio Gates Home, is a scenic, historical plantation house built in 1773. It was the home of the Continental Army General Horatio Gates from 1773 to 1790. Due to the cottage falling under private property, currently is not accessible to the public for tours and visitation.
Entry Fee: Nil
Official Website: Nil.
25Grand Vue Park, Moundsville
Why should you Visit: Grand Vue Park is a 650-acre outdoor haven that provides adventurous travelers with a wide variety of outdoor activities. Thrill-seekers are in for a treat with their Zipline Canopy Tour, featuring eight dual zip lines and three suspension bridges as well as a high-flying zip line 2,100 feet above the ground that whips through the trees to offer astounding views of downtown Moundsville. Guests can also hike or bike 12 miles of nature trails, play disk golf, hang out at the pool and splash ground, and play paintball, among other activities.
Timings: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Entry Fees: Adult: $170 and above
Official Website: Grand Vue Park
- #26 West Virginia State Museum
- #27 Wheeling Suspension Bridge
- #28 The Glass Museum, Wheeling
- #29 Carnegie Hall Performing Arts Center, Lewisburg
- #30 Mothman Museum, Point Pleasant
- #31 Charleston Capitol Market
- #32 Samuel Taylor Suit Cottage
- #33 Elkins Coal and Coke Company Historic District
- #34 Canaan Valley Resort State Park
- #35 West Virginia Winter Music Festival, Lewisburg
- #36 Wild and Wonderful Winter Beer Fest, Huntington
- #37 Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival, Morgantown
- #38 Homegrown Music and Arts Festival, Snowshoe
- #39 Music and Art at Oak Glen Festival, New Cumberland
- #40 Heritage Farm and Museum, Huntington
- #41 West Virginia Botanic Garden, Morgantown
- #42 South Charleston Mound
- #43 Bloomery Plantation Distillery
- #44 George Washington’s Bathtub Celebration, Berkeley Springs
- #45 April Feast of Ramson, Richwood
- #46 Mountain Music Festival at ACE Adventure Resort
- #47 The Greenbrier Classic, a PGA Tour FedEx Cup, Greenbrier
- #48 State Fair of West Virginia, Fairlea
- #49 The Grape Stomping Wine Festival, Summerville
- #50 West Virginia Book Festival, Charleston
Hope the article was useful for you, check out the other marvelous places to visit nearby West Virginia, U.S.A from down below.