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See the light. Particularly at sunset.
Gorgeous mountain views in West Virginia, as pictured in “See the light. Particularly at sunset.” video
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Adventures in the Outdoors

As the only state that sits completely within the Appalachian Mountain region, West Virginia is a veritable playground for lovers of the outdoors. It’s home to six national parks, the Monongahela National Forest, 45 state parks and forests, and the rushing New River, one of the oldest on the continent. In September, whitewater fanatics descend on the state for “Gauley Season,” a six-week period of heart-thumping whitewater rafting on the Gauley River. Anglers can take advantage of ample advantages to reel in the state’s official fish, the brook trout, in more than 32,000 kilometers of streams and more than 100 public fishing lakes. The Ohio and Kanawha rivers are popular for boating while the Potomac, Cheat and New Rivers are ideal for tubing (a local favorite pastime). Looking for adventures on dry land? More than 600 kilometers of old train tracks have been converted into scenic trails for walking, hiking, biking and horseback riding. There’s also the nearly 1,000-kilometer Hatfield-McCoy Trail System that’s custom made for ATVs (all-terrain vehicles).

 

Appalachian Cuisine and Culture

In the spring, the state’s signature wild leek, the “ramp,” appears on just about every menu, from humble diners to upscale restaurants. Other must-try West Virginia favorites include pepperoni rolls (invented by Italian immigrants), apple dumplings (Golden Delicious apples were created here) and buckwheat pancakes (celebrated at the Preston County Buckwheat Festival every September). Learn all about Appalachian music along the Mountain Music Trail, where dozens of venues and music festivals keep this regional musical genre alive. If you love a good music festival, West Virginia’s summer calendar is full of them – from the Mountain Music Festival in May to the 10-day FestivALL in June to the internationally acclaimed Pickin’ in Parsons Bluegrass Festival every July.

 

Diverse Accommodations, Traditional Hospitality

Throughout West Virginia's cities and towns, you'll find vibrant downtown districts, diverse lodging and a warm welcome. Indulge in AAA Four Diamond luxury at the European-inspired Bavarian Inn, located in the state’s oldest town (Shepherdstown) and perched on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River. Nearby, check out iconic historic sites including Antietam Battlefield National Park or Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Soak away your stress in a hot mineral spring at Country Inn of Berkeley Springs or the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, which boasts the only Forbes five-star rated mineral spa in the world. Rather swing a golf club than soak in a hot tub? The Mountain State has one of the first golf courses established in the USA (Oakhurst Links at the Greenbrier). Today, there are more than 100 courses to choose from across the state.

See the light. Particularly at sunset.
Gorgeous mountain views in West Virginia, as pictured in “See the light. Particularly at sunset.” video
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Fun Fact

Hiking in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia
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With elevations of more than 1,200 meters at certain spots, Dolly Sods is the USA's highest plateau east of the Mississippi River.

Nighttime at the Summersville Lake Lighthouse in West Virginia
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Even without access to an ocean, West Virginia is home to one lighthouse, the Summersville Lake Lighthouse.

Preparing a dish with local ramps
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Every spring, eager ramp-diggers head to the self-proclaimed 'Ramp Capital of the World' in Richwood to forage for West Virginia’s unique wild onion.

Photo: West Virginia Tourism Office

Must see places

The view in Coopers Rock State Forest
Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

Coopers Rock State Forest

An outdoor enthusiast’s dream, this recreation hub near Morgantown offers mountain biking and rock climbing on the Cheat River Canyon rim. Try the Raven Rock Trail to size up the views of one of West Virginia’s northernmost gorges.

Paddleboarding on Summersville Lake in West Virginia

Summersville Lake

This lake’s turquoise water earned it the nickname “Little Bahamas of the East,” but it’s the world-class whitewater (Class IV-V rapids) on the Gauley River here that draws the crowds. Fish, boat, scuba dive or hike the sandstone cliffs.

Taking a ride along the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad

Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad

Ride historic steam-driven locomotives and vintage diesel-powered passenger trains April through December, viewing some of the most remote and untouched areas of the Mountain State, including Monongahela National Forest, along the banks of the Greenbrier and Tygart Valley and Shaver's Fork rivers.

The Green Bank Telescope scans the skies
Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

Green Bank Observatory

Eastern West Virginia is home to the nation’s largest “quiet zone,” where the Green Bank Observatory picks up radio transmissions from outer space. Visit the science center here to learn what makes this unique facility tick.

The New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia

New River Gorge National River

This powerful river drives right through the Appalachian Plateau, creating the gorge. A stark contrast to dense forests, cross the western hemisphere’s longest steel arch span on a bridge walk tour. Stride along a catwalk for the vantage point of a lifetime from 260 meters high. Nearby, go zip-lining, rock climbing or whitewater rafting. For a more relaxing experience, tube the river or birdwatch.

A rock climber near the summit of Seneca Rocks in West Virginia

Seneca Rocks

Seneca Rocks, located in Monongahela National Forest, is one of the most scenic landmarks in West Virginia. Popular with rock climbers, this magnificent formation rises nearly 275 meters above the North Fork River. Non-climbers can follow the 2-kilometer interpretive trail located at Seneca Rocks Discovery Center to hike up part of the rocks and take in gorgeous views of the valley below.

Historic charm and stunning views at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

It may be small, but the town of Harpers Ferry played a big role in the Civil War as the site of John Brown’s raid on the national arsenal. Recount that history through the park’s museums and exhibits, or explore it yourself on the 32 kilometers of trails. See historic structures as well as the point where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac.

Twilight at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

The Greenbrier

Stop and see this enormous, extravagant and historic hotel, a National Historic Landmark. Set on a mineral spring, the Greenbrier was built in 1778 and features a special bunker tour, where visitors can go into a declassified Cold War fallout shelter built into the mountainside.

Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia

Blackwater Falls State Park

Blackwater Falls State Park is named for the falls of the Blackwater River, whose amber-colored waters plunge five stories then twist and tumble through a 13-kilometer gorge. The "black" water is a result of tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. Follow the Blackwater Falls Boardwalk Trail to see one of the most photographed sites in West Virginia, but don’t stop there: The park is home to a number of trails for hiking and cross-country skiing.

Touring the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine in West Virginia

Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine

Take a trip underground into what was once an operating coal mine at this unique attraction located in small-town Beckley’s New River Park. Veteran miners will guide you through the past and future of West Virginia mining, while also telling firsthand stories, as you ride in a comfortable vintage mine train.

Explore West Virginia destinations

The Ace Hotel Rooftop in downtown Los Angeles, California
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Explore West Virginia destinations
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The historic Wheeling Suspension Bridge, built in 1849, over the Ohio River
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Destination

Wheeling