Though West Virginia is often underestimated as a travel destination, it is a state that has a stunning landscape and rich historical significance. Aside from the breathtaking mountains and charming small towns, there is warmth of community that definitely needs to be experienced. When you want such ambiance, head to any of these 10 most beautiful small towns in West Virginia.
History buffs head to Hinton. Since the town was established after the Civil War in 1873, a number of museums have been erected pertaining to battles. Some of those include the King’s Civil War Museum and the Veterans Memorial Museum. Another of interest might be the Hinton Railroad Museum, for those who love trains. However, the greatest motivator might be for those who were fans of the movie Lassie, which was set in Hinton. Lastly, for those who wish to wander the outdoors, head over to the New River Gorge National Park or Bluestone National Park for some camping, fishing, rafting, hiking, and more.
Known mainly for the incredible landmark known as the Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs is a picturesque town that will take your breath away. If it’s American history you are searching for, then you should visit during the summer for the annual 1862 Battle of Dry Creek reenactment to learn more about the Civil War. White Sulphur Springs also has festivities like a Dandelion Festival, Veteran’s Celebration parade, fishing competitions, art exhibitions, and the autumnal Freshwater Folk Festival. Otherwise, visitors with a love of nature often find themselves lost in the nearby Monongahela National Forest and Greenbrier Valley Trail.
When you get tired of seeing a grim side of American history, head to Elkins—a place with a past as unique as the architecture. Families with children will love riding the New Tygart Flyer, a train that travels through the nearby mountains and greenery. Then, you can check out what makes Elkins a truly magical place: the variety shows at American Mountain Theater and the wild dancing at the Gandy Dance Theater. There are also several ski resorts nearby, national parks, and the Tygart River to enjoy throughout the year.
Located on the western border of the state, the pretty town of New Martinsville boasts some phenomenal views. Perhaps it is because of the location along the Ohio River, which adds to the beauty of the architecture. One of the famous buildings is the Wetzel County Courthouse, which looks like a medieval castle. The restaurant scene is also one of the best in WV, offering a vast sea of flavors and atmospheres. Mexican? Irish? The choice is yours!
One of the most famous places to go in Wheeling is the famous bridge, which becomes a stunning scene throughout the autumn months when trees shift from green to yellow and red. There is also a lot of nightlife in Wheeling that has gotten quite a bit of attention. Party it up at night then burn it off the next day with golfing at Oglebay Resort, or visit the resort’s zoo. There is also the Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino, and Racetrack for an entertaining evening or the Carriage House Museum and Stifel Fine Arts Center for performing and visual arts.
With fewer than 300 residents, Harper’s Ferry is truly the meaning of “small town.” The historic center is most known as the location of John Brown’s raid. Because of the size of the town and where it is, much of the area is contained within the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. During the course of the Civil War, this little town changed hands 14 times, meaning it is a core piece of American history. Another interesting site is the Restoration Museum, where old antiques are brought back to their original state.
Chartered in 1762, Shepherdstown is one of the oldest towns in the state of West Virginia. Less than 2,000 people live here (and many of them attend Shepherd University), giving a strong community that is perfect for families. For those who love the outdoors, you can take a walk along the Potomac River to check out unique rock formations. Or, for those who are seeking some ethnic food, you might want to visit the fun German Street, where shops and restaurants with German flair await.
About as old as the country of America is, Lewisburg has taken great pride in preserving original historical buildings and the surroundings. Because of this, Lewisburg is one of the best places in the United States to understand America’s history better than ever. Be sure to check out the famed Greenbrier Valley Theatre, which is an excellent performing arts and concert hall. For those seeking some adventures underground, be sure to check out the Lost World Caverns.
A former coal town in Tucker County, Thomas, WV is a wondrous location for photographs and charming storefronts. In fact, there are over 50 buildings in Thomas that have been listed in the National Historic Register. Though the edifices of these historic buildings have gone unchanged throughout the years, the interiors have been alters into antique shops, quirky cafes, and art galleries. One of the recommended places for homemade ice cream is The Purple Fiddle; but if you’re looking for something more robust, then head out to the Mountain State Brewing Company for some beer done right.
The atmosphere of Buckhannon is friendly, breezy, and bright. The charming edifices of a historic downtown also bring promise of some unique shopping outlets and local cuisine. Be sure to check out Buckhannon in May, where the regionally known West Virginia Strawberry Festival is in full swing. There are plenty of camping, fishing, hiking, and trail exploring options to make any outdoor enthusiast smile.