Fun Things to Do in West Virginia

The West Virginia Division of Tourism calls their home state the “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia”. It is a state that is located in the incomparable Appalachian Mountains, where lots of adventure lovers go to walk on the wild side along the legendary Appalachian Trail. West Virginia is a place that is full of scenic nature and friendly faces. When you visit the place, there are lots of things you can do, such as visit state parks, go on a hike, discover restaurants and cafes, and attend concerts.

West Virginia, or the Mountain State, has a lot of fun things to offer that makes visitors fall in love with the place once they experience them. If you are heading to West Virginia soon, here are some of the fun things you can do when you arrive.

Go On Scenic Mountain Drives

Going on a road trip through West Virginia is one of the most fun experiences you can try. There are lots of scenic roads in this state, but there are four most popular ones that you must try. All of these routes do not have tolls, so the only costs you need to pay are fuel and rental car fees if applicable. Here are the four routes you can discover in West Virginia.

  • Canaan Valley (Route 32): This is a 20-mile route that connects the hamlet of Harmon to the small town of Thomas. It goes through the Canaan Valley, which is a minimally developed mountain valley that has thousands of acres of grasslands, wetlands, and as well as fantastic fall colors.
  • Midland Trail (Route 60): This is a 180-mile byway that cuts across West Virginia. It goes through many of the state’s high points, such as the capital city of Charleston, Hawks Nest State Park, and the mountain resort community of White Sulphur Springs.
  • Highland Scenic Highway: This is a 43-mile mountain road that climbs to the crest of the Allegheny Mountains. That is about 5,000 feet above sea level. You can have stunning photo opportunities in this route as it overlooks wonderful views, especially when you visit in the fall season.

Visit Eerie Ghost Towns and Abandoned Places

If you like to visit abandoned places with lots of haunted stories, then West Virginia has a lot of those. The state is littered with abandoned or nearly abandoned towns and mining complexes. Some of these places are downright eerie, while some are possibly haunted, according to some locals. When you go to West Virginia, there are five ghost towns that are worth visiting. All of them are free to explore, as well.

  • Sewell: This ghost town is tucked deep in the woods. You can only access it by foot, mountain bike, or by using an all-terrain vehicle. This was the site of a small coal-processing facility where you can see ruined old furnaces and more.
  • Winona: Winona is still populated technically, but its prime was in the early 20th When you visit the place, you can look for the old pool hall which will remind you that they don’t really build them like they used to.
  • Kaymoor: This is an eerie mining town that was built into the side of the New River Gorge. Its entrance is suspended about 400 feet above the river level. You can access it from the top of the gorge by taking on 821 twisting steps.
  • Nuttallburg: This one is a well-preserved mining community in the quintessence of old West Virginia. It is located above the New River Gorge. This place is quite scenic as well.
  • Thurmond: This place was once home to a grand hotel and casino. It is located along a popular put-in and take-out site for river rafters.

Go Stargazing in the Mountains

On the Eastern Seaboard, West Virginia has the darkest skies. This is why it is also fun to go stargazing in many high-elevation locations across the state. If you want to go on a night hike in West Virginia, you can find your way up to the Spruce Knob Summit Observation Tower. It is located at the top of West Virginia’s highest mountain. There, you can clearly see the Milky Way.

Aside from that, you can also visit the Green Bank Telescope, which is part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. This is located in an astronomical quiet zone deep in the mountains. It is open to the public, and there are public tours on summer days.

Try Whitewater Rafting in the Gauley River

Gauley River is one of the top river destinations in the world for many paddlers in terms of technicality and scenery. This is why a lot of tourists visit the Gauley River to brave class 5 and 6 rapids. Therefore, when you visit West Virginia, you might want to try river rafting in the Lower Gauley river portion. If you are used to river rafting, you can also try the Upper Gauley’s challenges, which are combined rivers with 650 feet drop in 24 short miles. This is a wonderful activity for families and group of friends.

Watch an Outdoor Drama at Theater West Virginia

Another fun thing you can do in West Virginia is to watch a live show in a cool outdoor setting, which is at a Cliffside amphitheater. There, you can watch Hatfields and McCoys, which is a West Virginia-based show that has been playing for many years now. While watching, you can buy food and drinks at the venue as well. If you have your kids with you, they will surely be impressed at watching a production outdoors.

Ride the Cass Scenic Railroad Train

When you arrive in West Virginia in springtime, it is perfect for riding the Cass Scenic Railroad Train. It’s because the meadow on the top of the mountain is abloom with wildflowers during that time. It feels like you’re in The Sound of Music when you see the view. You can also check out the camper cars here where you can also camp overnight with your whole family.

These are some of the fun things you can do in West Virginia. You can indeed experience lots of fun, unique, and exciting things in the Mountain State. It is a wonderful place where you can unwind and forget about the hustles in the city. It is another amazing travel destinations you can go to.