In celebration of West Virginia’s 155th birthday, we’re sharing our top 5 reasons why you should visit West Virginia, the Mountain State! West Virginia is full of things to do for every personality from the mountaineer to the foodie. If you’re looking for a different state to visit, consider visiting West Virginia! Here are your reasons why you should visit West Virginia!
Why You Should Visit West Virginia
1. It’s called “Almost Heaven” for a reason
Mountains, forests, valleys, rivers, farmlands – there is so much nature to explore in wild and wonderful West Virginia. Explore dozens of state parks that offer hiking, climbing, water sports, winter sports, camping, geocaching, and more. West Virginia is split into eight regions which you can explore on the state park website. West Virginia is also home to national parks, scenic trails, scenic rivers, heritage areas, and recreation areas. Ride down the Gauley River, enjoy incredible scenic vistas of the New River Gorge, and hike the Appalachian Trail. If you visit West Virginia, you should definitely spend some time in the mountains!
2. West Virginia is filled with history
People have inhabited the land of West Virginia for thousands of years. There are over 400 prehistoric mounds across the state, such as the Grave Creek Mound, Indian Mound, and Criel Mound. West Virginia split from Virginia in 1863 during the Civil War, yet the oldest towns within the state borders, Romney and Shepherdstown, were established in 1762. Some of the earliest conflicts of the Civil War took place in Harpers Ferry. West Virginia is well known for its industrial history, and you can explore this history by touring a coal mine in Beckley, ride the Cass Scenic Railroad, and shop at the Whipple Company Store. Museums like the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, the Watts Museum at WVU, and the Oglebay Institute Glass Museum also explore West Virginia’s history of industry.
3. The food is amazing
You’ll need to fuel up while exploring West Virginia. Perhaps the most famous food is the pepperoni roll, created in Fairmont as a lunch for coal miners. Find some ramps in the springtime at the Ramps and Rail Festival in Elkins. In the fall, satisfy your sweet tooth with pawpaws, a large indigenous fruit that tastes like bananas, mangos, and cantaloupe, and enjoy delicious buckwheat cakes at the Buckwheat Festival in Kingwood. Local franchises like Tudor’s Biscuit World and Gino’s Pizza and Spaghetti are good for a quick bite. If you visit a local restaurant, you may find yourself eating from Fiestaware, which is manufactured in Newell. Check out farmers markets throughout the state to make your own meals. If you’re 21+, unwind at the end of the day with some authentic West Virginia moonshine. To see West Virginia food from your own home, watch Anthony Bourdain’s episode of Parts Unknown featuring West Virginia!
4. Enjoy art, music, and festivals
West Virginians have created beautiful art and music in the mountains. Explore the Art Museum of WVU and Huntington Art Museum to discover works from West Virginia and beyond. Great bluegrass and country music can always be found at the Wheeling Jamboree. West Virginia is home to one of the four Carnegie Halls remaining in the world, where you can hear music as well as take classes and tour exhibits. In Morgantown, 123 Pleasant Street is a beloved small venue and a variety of bands and symphonies perform at the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre at WVU. West Virginians also love to gather for festivals, including the Wine and Jazz Fest in Morgantown, the Greek Food Festival in Clarksburg, and FestivALL in Charleston.
5. Great places to stay
Staying in West Virginia means choosing from an array of hotels, bed and breakfasts, Airbnbs, cabins, and campsites. The state is home to historic resorts like the Greenbrier, where an underground bunker for Congress was once located, and Oglebay Resort, where the Festival of Lights is held each Christmas. Relax in Berkeley Springs and discover spas, hotels, and bed and breakfasts. Take time to look for local places and check out the West Virginia Tourism website for help!