Top 20 West Virginia Attractions You Just Cannot Miss

Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Nikki Jain

West Virginia is a quiet state where you will discover a lot of hidden gems while traveling. West Virginia attractions range from incredible natural scenery to historical sites and fun activities when traveling with the entire family. You won't want to miss out on the many things to do in West Virginia.

West Virginia has many exciting places to visit across the entire state. It's not a large state, so you'll be able to fit in many destinations during your visit. There's plenty to include in your itinerary, from the major cities like Charleston to experiencing the scenic outdoors.

Are you planning a trip to West Virginia? It’s a fun destination for all types of travelers – adventure-seekers, nature-lovers, solo trips, and family vacations. West Virginia is a place that has something for everyone.

Many people just drive through the state while admiring the picturesque scenery, but after learning about all there is to do, you'll be glad you made the stop. It's an ideal place to travel in any season. There isn't a wrong time to visit the colorful fall foliage, the outdoor recreation in the summertime, and skiing destinations in the winter.

If you’re ready to immerse into the Mountain State, let’s explore the top attractions in West Virginia.

Things To Do in West Virginia

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1: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

When you visit the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, you can look forward to taking a step back in time as you explore the rich history. This is one of the diverse West Virginia attractions with something for everyone, from fascinating museums and exhibitions to hiking areas and battlefields.

You can enjoy strolling around the historic town, which is located within the national park, as well as taking in the stunning surrounding beauty, which makes it ideal for nature lovers as well as those interested in the historical side of the attraction.

With close to half a million visitors annually, this is a very popular place to visit in West Virginia and provides you with an enlightening and educational day out.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Harpers Ferry

Address: 171 Shoreline Dr, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

2: Snowshoe Mountain

Snowshoe Mountain

West Virginia is a popular wintertime destination for winter sports lovers. Many people have plans set to visit Snowshoe Mountain, the most popular ski resort in WV. It features 60 slopes, some of which were developed by an Olympic skier for a world-class skiing experience.

Unlike many other ski resorts, Snowshoe mountain is established on the top of the mountain. While Snowshoe Mountain is the resort name, it’s located within the Allegheny Mountains, which gets plenty of snowfall, so it’s perfect. During the winter, visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. It has routes for all skiing levels and also provides lessons for beginners.

It’s also a summer destination popular for mountain biking, golfing, ATVs, and other activities.

While taking a break from the slopes, the resort is a massive complex to explore. It’s a part of the Village at Snowshoe, where you’ll have additional perks, such as dining, a spa, shopping, and more.

Snowshoe Mountain is a destination for the entire family and one of the top attractions in West Virginia.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Snowshoe

Address: 10 Snowshoe Dr, Snowshoe, WV 26209

Also Read: Top 10 Ski Resorts in the USA

3: West Virginia State Penitentiary

West Virginia State Penitentiary

A visit to this Gothic style former prison is well worth adding to your itinerary when you are visiting West Virginia. The prison was opened in the late 1870s and continues operating until the mid-1990s. It has a rich and often dark history sometimes involving breakouts and riots.

You will be fascinated when you take a tour of the prison as you can enjoy the thrill of mystery along with the chance to explore the history of the penitentiary.

There are also special events held here such as Zombie Walks, Kids’ nights and even mock prison riots. This is an attraction that is certain to leave a lasting impression on visitors, so it is definitely one you shouldn’t miss.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Moundsville

Address: 818 Jefferson Ave, Moundsville, WV 26041

Also Read: Top 10 Most Haunted Places In The United States

4: Seneca Caverns

Seneca Caverns
Facebook/Seneca Caverns WV

Once used for Seneca Indian ceremonies, the Seneca Caverns in West Virginia provide a fascinating insight into the past. You will find touring these cavers to be an exciting and unique experience, as you can delve into their long history as well as take in the fascinating surroundings.

There are many tour options available for visitors to the caverns, and there are plenty of great facilities that you can benefit from, such as the restaurant, a gift shop, and even picnic areas.

Visitors are thrilled to see the breathtaking rock formations that can be found here, and you can even try some gemstone mining and bring home unique memories of your visit.

It’s one of the unique things to do in West Virginia, full with fun, excitement, and plenty of activities.

Address: 3328 Germany Valley Rd, Riverton, WV 26814

Visit Website

Also Read: Top 10 Most Amazing Caves & Caverns in the USA

5: New River Gorge Bridge

New River Gorge Bridge
Adobe Stock/Patrick Jennings

There’s no denying the magnitude of the New River Gorge Bridge. It was seen as a huge architectural feat when it was completed in 1977. In total, the bridge cost nearly 37 million dollars and used 22,000 tons of structural steel in its construction.

Today, it stands as one of the highest bridges in the United States. The 876-foot steel arch bridge exudes picturesque views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains and is one of the most photographed places in West Virginia.

Visitors are securely fastened to a safety cable, making it a safe and enjoyable two to three-hour Bridge Walk tour.

It should definitely be on your list of places to visit in West Virginia!

Accommodation: Where to stay in Fayetteville

Address: 130 Laurel Creek Rd, Fayetteville, WV 25840

6: West Virginia State Capitol

West Virginia State Capitol
Flickr/Mobilus In Mobili

The government seat for this state, the West Virginia State Capitol, is part of a historic complex and is home to the office of the Governor of West Virginia as well as the West Virginia Legislature. It can be found in the Charleston area, and the whole district has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This is a striking building with fascinating architecture, including a breathtaking 293-foot gold dome. It also boasts a grand and decadent interior, much of which is marble, while the outside is constructed from steel and limestone. You can also enjoy exploring the rest of this historical complex during your visit.

Coming to the West Virginia State Capitol is one of the best things to do in Charleston.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Charleston

Address: 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 25305

Also Read: Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Charleston, West Virginia

7: Summersville Lake

Summersville Lake
Flickr/Todd Neal

Summersville Lake is one of the best places to visit in West Virginia for the holidays or a weekend getaway during the summer. It’s West Virginia’s largest lake with a shoreline extending more than 60 miles.

Summersville Lake is a reservoir created by the Summersville Dam completed in 1966. It was built for flood control but became a popular recreation area. It’s a destination to enjoy the outdoors for all ages.

Some of the favorite activities to do at the lake include kayaking, rock climbing, swimming, and fishing. There are many places around the lake for jumping off the rocks into the water. Diving and snorkeling are also common. Divers can explore depths up to 327-ft and even catch a glimpse of a sunken boat.

The water levels of Summersville Lake change by the season. In the low water levels, many people choose to hike one of the many trails surrounding it. Trails provide scenic views of the lake from all angles. You can even reach the Summersville Lake Lighthouse overlooking the lake.

Address: 278 Summersville Lake Road, Mount Nebo, WV 26679

8: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Flickr/Lwp Kommunikáció

One of the most famous and historical psychiatric hospitals in America is located in West Virginia. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is a popular tourist attraction, many of which have heard about the strange paranormal activity happening within the walls. It offers lots of tours and experiences for brave tourists.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum features admirable architecture in a Gothic Revival style from the 19th Century. It was used as a psychiatric hospital until 1994 and is now recognized as a US National Historic Landmark. Its tours have become well-known thanks to multiple features in pop culture media.

Visitors can experience various tours around the property. One of the main tours is a general guided tour to see multiple hospital rooms, apartments for the nurses, and other facilities. The first floor features a museum exhibiting artworks by the patients created during art therapy.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum specializes in ghost and paranormal tours. You’ll get to experience the dark side of the mental hospital and even stay overnight to see if you can survive until the morning.

It’s one of the spookiest things to do in West Virginia.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Weston

Address: 71 Asylum Dr, Weston, WV 26452

Also Read: Top 10 Most Haunted Places In The United States

9: Stonewall Jackson Lake Resort

Stonewall Jackson Lake Resort

For more luxurious accommodations than camping in Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park, the Stonewall Jackson Lake Resort is the perfect option. The resort is your gateway to having the best experience in the state park for a destination that combines comfort with outdoor fun.

Stonewall Jackson Lake Resort is a family-friendly resort that delivers luxury lodge accommodations for guests. The lodge has upgraded facilities and modern rooms that make you feel at home in the natural setting. You’ll find resort features such as a swimming pool, spa, an onsite restaurant, and golf course, but perhaps the most fun is within the park.

Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park is established around the Stonewall Jackson Lake, a large lark with more than 82 miles of shoreline. It’s considered one of the most scenic West Virginia attractions thanks to the preserved environment.

You can find lots of things to do at the lake, including boating, fishing, and hiking. There is a marina to rent kayaks and canoes.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Roanoke

Address: 940 Resort Drive, Roanoke, WV 26447

10: Blackwater Falls State Park

Blackwater Falls State Park
Flickr/Nicolas Raymond

The most famous park in West Virginia is the Blackwater Falls State Park, known for the Blackwater Falls. The park is a favorite attraction for locals and tourists – you’ll find everyone from young kids to elders enjoying the park thanks to its accessibility. Walk the nature trails to the top sights and enjoy the incredible scenery.

Blackwater Falls is a 62-ft tall cascade waterfall flowing from the Blackwater River into the Blackwater Canyon. The name derives from the naturally dark waters, and the unique style of the falls makes it the most photographed waterfall in West Virginia. The best time to see the falls is from spring to fall (it’s frozen during the winter).

Visitors can explore multiple hiking trails leading to the Blackwater Falls to see it from different perspectives. Other points of interest include Lindy Point Overlook, Elakala Falls, and a nature center with information about the park’s natural history. Other common activities include mountain biking and skiing in the winter. Campgrounds are also available.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Davis

Address: 1584 Blackwater Lodge Rd, Davis, WV 26260

Also Read: 25 Best State Parks in the United States

11: Seneca Rocks State Park

Seneca Rocks State Park
USDA/Kelly Bridges

Stand at the parking lot of the Seneca Rocks State Park, and you’ll see the picturesque Seneca Rocks emerging from above the Monongahela National Forest. Seneca Rocks is one of the best places to visit in West Virginia for rock climbing. For those who reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views.

Seneca Rocks State Park has a three-mile hiking trail leading from the parking lot to the top of the cliff. Thanks to the hiking trail, it’s great for all ages, but many people prefer the climbing challenge.

Seneca Rocks is over 1,500-ft high – it has 375 climbing routes on different faces that range in difficulty. Once you reach the top, you’ll have panoramic views of the lush green landscape of the state park.

There are several other activities to do in the state park after conquering the rock. It’s an excellent place for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and picnics. Also, be sure to stop by the visitor center for more information about the park and visit the historical museum.

Address: Seneca Rocks, WV

Also Read: 25 Best State Parks to Visit in the US

12: The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier
Facebook/The Greenbrier

The award-winning Greenbrier’s grand façade is a historic landmark and modern accommodation to give you an incredible experience during your stay in West Virginia. The five-star luxury resort preserves its traditional heritage while offering many amenities and services for entertainment on its vast grounds.

The Greenbrier was founded in 1778 and rebuilt in the early 1900s. Ever since it first opened, it has been an upscale resort to welcome international visitors and several past US presidents. It features more than 700 rooms, 20 restaurants, and dozens of shops. It is located on 11,000 acres of scenic manicured lawns and untouched nature.

You’ll have a cozy stay in one of the guestrooms and suites showcasing warm traditional décor with modern amenities. Many of the rooms have incredible views of the surrounding landscape.

Popular activities include checking out the museum, playing on the tennis courts, playing around on the golf course, or trying your luck at the casino. There are lots of things to do for all ages that keep the resort ranked amongst the top attractions in West Virginia.

Accommodation: Where to stay in White Sulphur Springs

Address: 101 W Main St, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986

13: Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
Flickr/Ron Cogswell

West Virginia formerly had a significant lumber industry, one whose heritage is well preserved by West Virginia attractions like the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. The park's highlight is the Cass Scenic Railroad, a logging railway-turn-tourist attraction where you'll get to explore the region's legacy.

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park encompasses Cass, a company town established in 1901 to support the local logging industry. It’s a historical town full of renovated homes and stores where you’ll get to explore much of its history. Visit the visitor center for more information on local tours into the various buildings.

The railway was once used for transporting logs, but now gives visitors a chance to discover the scenic landscape. It offers two tours – travel to the Whittaker Station and back; take a round-trip to the Bald Knob summit, the highest point in West Virginia.

The train ride provides fantastic scenery, and the views at the summit are breathtaking. It stops for a short break to grab photos before returning to the station.

Address: 12363 Cass Rd, Cass, WV 24927

Also Read: 30 Best Railway Museums in the US

14: Monongahela National Forest

Monongahela National Forest
USDA/Kelly Bridges

The Monongahela National Forest is one of the most important forests in West Virginia. Located in the Allegheny Mountains, the national forest designation protects over 900,000 acres of forest land. It’s known for its diverse spruce trees and many of West Virginia’s highest mountain peaks.

Monongahela National Forest is one of the top attractions in West Virginia, with over three million visitors annually. It has a diverse landscape with 75 species of trees and an extensive wilderness area.

It’s a popular place for outdoor recreation with lots of things to do in the forest. Some of the common activities include hiking, biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, boating, and fishing. The forest features more than 800 miles of trails to various viewpoints and points of interest – Spruce Knob, Bear Creek, and High Falls.

The forest also has several campgrounds used for overnight stays. Backpacking is also permitted for exploring the backcountry.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Elkins

Address: 200 Sycamore St, Elkins, WV 26241

15: Coopers Rock State Forest

Coopers Rock State Forest

West Virginia has several destinations for scenic views of the beautiful landscape. One of the popular spots is in Coopers Rock State Forest, a place known for some of the state's best viewpoints.

Coopers Rock State Forest is divided into a northern and a southern section, split by a major interstate highway. It has natural scenery, outdoor recreation, and historical places to check out during your visit.

One of the highlights of the forest is the Cheat Canyon overlook. Visitors can drive up to the viewpoint for picturesque views of the Cheat River and even see Morgantown in the distance. If you’re up for a hike, the Raven Rock overlook is another excellent option for excellent views.

There are many hiking trails leading to the viewpoints and several buildings included on the list of National Register of Historic Places within the forest. Other popular activities include rock climbing and skiing during the winter. The forest also has seasonal campgrounds available.

Address: 61 County Line Dr, Bruceton Mills, WV 26525

16: Hawks Nest State Park

Hawks Nest State Park
Flickr/Anthony G. Reyes

One of the best viewpoints of West Virginia’s scenic landscape is from a bird’s eye view. Hawks Nest State Park offers visitors precisely that - it’s a prominent overlook of the New River. It’s a fun Park to visit in any season to see the continually changing foliage and enjoy recreational activities.

Main Overlook is the leading destination in Hawks Nest State Park. Located just off the highway, you’ll be perched on top of the cliff towering 750-ft above the New River. It’s the best viewpoint of the river where you’ll also see the surrounding forest landscape.

Many sites developed around the overlook, including a lodge for guest stays, a museum, and a restaurant. Visitors can ride the gondola ride between the summit and the river shore below.

Hawks Nest State Park is also a place to get active. It has several hiking trails leading up to the overlook or the natural landmarks like waterfalls and the creek. You can learn a lot about the natural environment in the River Nature Center.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Ansted

Address: 49 Hawks Nest Rd, Ansted, WV 25812

17: Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is one of the most well-known hiking trails in the US. It extends from Maine to Georgia and passes directly through West Virginia, which many people consider the midpoint. More than two million people make the 2,200-mile hike every year, and you’ll get to experience just a sample of it while visiting West Virginia.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail extends for four miles in West Virginia, and a portion of the trails is located on the West Virginia-Virginia border. It’s a well-marked trail all accessible to hikers of all skill levels. The trail highlights some of the scenic natural landscape in West Virginia as you attempt to hike across the country.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is located in Harpers Ferry, one of the main hubs along the trail. It’s where visitors can get lots of information about the trail and even chat with experts to learn about the region.

Whether you get the chance to hike the entire trail or just the section in West Virginia, it’s worth it to say you did it!

18: Green Bank Observatory

Green Bank Observatory

West Virginia has the ideal location for viewing into outer space thanks to low inference and pollution. The Green Bank Observatory serves a primary purpose for space observation and research but has become a fun place for adults and kids to learn about astronomy.

Green Bank Observatory was established in 1956 in Green Bank but didn’t start operating until 1958. It’s the former headquarters for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory but has since begun to operate independently.

The observatory has multiple radio telescopes for measuring radio waves received from space. The Green Bank Telescope is the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world at 300-ft. The other telescopes are smaller but just as helpful in space observation.

Visitors are welcome to explore the observatory grounds and facilities. You can take a guided tour, including a ride into the restricted areas, to see the telescopes up close. The site also consists of a Science Center and exhibition hall where you can sit in on lectures.

Without a doubt, the Green Bank Observatory is one of the most unique tourist attractions in West Virginia.

Address: 155 Observatory Rd, Green Bank, WV 24944

19: Mothman Museum

Mothman Museum

Sometimes, it takes a small urban legend to transform an obscure town into a bustling destination for tourists. That's the case with Point Pleasant whose Mothman myth continues to draw curious travelers to the sightings' location. If you're interested in seeing yourself, whether it's a myth or fable, explore the local attractions, including the Mothman Museum.

Mothman was first spotted near Point Pleasant in 1966 and additional sightings over the next year. The event was widely reported nationally, leading to many pop culture features. It is when the small myth transformed into one of the main local attractions.

Today, you'll find many things to do in Point Pleasant devoted to the Mothman. The Mothman Museum is one of the best places to learn more about the mysterious creature. The museum exhibits old newspaper articles and eyewitness accounts. Be sure to check out the gift shop to find lots of Mothman souvenirs.

The town has a life-size Mothman statue outside of the museum and also hosts an annual event for the creature.

Address: 400 Main St, Point Pleasant, WV 25550

Visit Website

20: Charleston Capitol Market

Charleston Capitol Market

Charleston is the capital of West Virginia and a popular city to explore for visitors. One of the top tourist attractions in Charleston is the Capitol Market. It’s a favorite market for locals and visitors to find lots of local goods and produce for any occasion.

Capitol Market is established in an old train station with vendors set up indoors and outdoors. The market sells various items, including fresh produce, seafood, and seasonal goods like decorations and plants. You’ll even find some fantastic souvenirs to take home.

Bring your appetite because there is plenty to eat in the market. Capitol Market features vendors selling ready-to-eat dishes, and there is also a restaurant to dine in.

The market runs every day year-round. It's a fun place to get a feel for the local atmosphere, especially during the holiday season. It's one of the most festive places to prepare for holidays and upcoming seasons.

If you’re looking for cool things to do in West Virginia, you’ll be impressed by the Charleston Capitol Market.

Address: 800 Smith St, Charleston, WV 25301

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