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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

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
View more

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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.

Kayaking along impressive rock formations on Summersville Lake

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.

Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

Seneca Caverns

Plunge 50 meters below the earth on a tour of these ancient caverns, whose largest chamber measures 18 meters in some areas. Inside you’ll find steps down a well-lit path into a dazzling example of limestone formation.

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.

Costumed reenactors walk Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park’s grounds.
Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park

Take a sternwheeler from Parkersburg on the Ohio River to tour this state park and its historic mansion. Hike, bike or camp on the grounds.

Period exhibits inside the West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center

West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center

Literally walk through the state’s history on a path that goes from dirt to paved, with plenty of stops that explore West Virginia’s past along the way. The Charleston museum has 60,000 artifacts and exhibits on everything from paleontology to art, as well as a fully reconstructed settler’s cabin.

Explore West Virginia destinations

The Ace Hotel Rooftop in downtown Los Angeles, California
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Explore West Virginia destinations