State Of West Virginia
West Virginia is rich in American history with various Civil War sites. But the scenic state is also known for its natural landscape, from the Kanawha State Forest to the Appalachian mountains to its six national parks.
Nicknamed “the Switzerland of the United States,” West Virginia is known for its scenic mountains, hills and valleys. With 75% of the state covered in forests, and featuring six national parks, West Virginia offers plenty to do outdoors across all four seasons. From white-water rafting to skiing to rock climbing, there are plenty of ways to experience the Mountain State’s natural landscape.
West Virginia is also known for its rich history, arts and culture. Explore Appalachian mountain towns or visit historical Civil War sites like Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Charleston, the state capitol, is equal parts hip and historic. It has a growing food and arts scene with the Capitol Market, an old train station-turned-market that sells local and artisanal goods. You can also visit the Daniel Boone Hotel or the Charleston Municipal Auditorium, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Whether it’s a little slice of American history you’re after, or exploring the great outdoors, West Virginia has something for everyone.
Best Places to Visit in West Virginia
Walk or bike around the state’s capital to explore its thriving food, arts and entertainment scene amidst a natural backdrop of Kanawha and Elk rivers.
Capitol Market: This year round indoor-outdoor market includes a butcher, a fresh seafood market, a wine and cheese shop, and a coffee bar.
West Virginia Capitol Complex: Visit the gold-leaf domed Capitol building, the Governor’s Mansion, and the West Virginia State Museum to get a sense of the state’s history and architecture.
Kanawha State Forest: This 9,300-acre forest has 14 hiking trails and 9 mountain biking trails in addition to cross-country skiing in the winter.
Cities in West Virginia
Thurmond: Visit this coal-country ghost town on the New River which is mostly preserved by the National Park Service.
Harpers Ferry: This historic town is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. It is full of 19th century buildings and cultural sites, such as John Brown’s fort.
Huntington: Home to the Heritage Farm Museum and Village where tourists can learn about the culture and history of Appalachia.
Virginia State and National Parks
West Virginia’s state and national parks offer plenty of recreational opportunities. Visit one of the parks below for horseback riding, skiing, golfing, clay trap shooting, biking and more.
Bluestone National Scenic River
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
National Coal Heritage Area
Lewis & Clark
New River Gorge
Popular Tourist Attractions
Berkeley Springs: Just 90 minutes from the Washington/Baltimore metro area, Berkeley Springs is the country’s first spa. Soak in the warm mineral springs of this family-friendly spa or take in some live music during its summer concert series.
Kanawha Falls: Visit West Virginia’s largest and impressively wide waterfall, which has water year-round.
Appalachian Trail: Although the Appalachian Trail spans 2,200 miles and 14 states, the section that cuts through West Virginia is one of the most accessible. It can be accessed at numerous points, so you can plan a trip that suits your desire, whether you want to take a 2-mile stroll or a more serious multi-day hike.