Fun things to do in West Virginia

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    This Julianna Street home is currently...
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    State Capitol Building on April 21, 2013
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Most Viewed Things to Do in West Virginia

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    Lower Town

    by lmkluque Updated Oct 29, 2011

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    Not only is the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Armory & Arsenal located here, also this is a wonderful small town in the County of Jefferson.

    It borders the State of Maryland, is surrounded by the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and is the only place in the state of West Virginia where the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River are together.

    Did you know that the song by John Denver, "Take me home country roads" is actually about Harpers Ferry?

    Most people arrive to see the National Park, but the town is charming, offers shopping, dining, the vibe of a small commuinity as well as wonderful hiking, canoing and other outdoor activities.

    Walk around Harper's Ferry and see the views from different levels. This is a charming country town.

    View from the Northeast side of the hill.
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    United States Armory and Arsenal

    by lmkluque Updated Oct 28, 2011

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    The site of the United States Arsenal made famous by John Brown's raid, a critical event preceding the Civil War.

    However, the HF Armory and Arsenal was important on it's own. Not only was this a place where arms and military equipment belonging to the United States were stored, they were also produced here.

    During the Civil War Harpers Ferry changed hands from North to South and back again many times. Of course, eventually it reverted back to Union possession and is now part of the US National Historic Park system for all of us to tour and enjoy.

    Harpers Ferry Armory and Arsenal
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    My Favorite Photo Op!

    by lmkluque Updated Oct 28, 2011

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    St. Peter's is beautiful but I couldn't imagine climbing these steps every Sunday for Mass! It is however worth the climb at least once.

    The first thing that I noticed upon arriving at the top of the hill was the fantastic view. Right here, looking all round the term, "Wild West Virginia," comes to life.

    Though the town is visable just below, it is surrounded by natural elements that seem not to have been disturbed ever. Even the train trestle over the river seems very old and part of the natural scene.

    The priest at St. Peter's played a role in the occupation of Harper's Ferry by John Brown, but I don't think that is why this was the only church to survive. I'm sure that no one wanted to hike up that hill.

    If you happen to be in Harper's Ferry during the first two weekends of December, St. Peter's offers, concerts and other events during the "Olde Tyme Christmas in Harpers Ferry."

    Part of Harper's Ferry National Historical Park
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    Climbing Stairs, Not My Favorite!

    by lmkluque Updated Oct 28, 2011

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    Climbing the steps up to St. Peter's Church in Harper's Ferry was not really what I wanted to do, but I did and was glad for making the effort. It was a lovely church and the view more breathtaking than the climb!

    This was not the first location of this church. Seems it was originally the first parish of Jefferson County and was a log cabin type building that washed away by flood, before even being used,

    That's when the decision was made to rebuild on top of the hill. It was the only church to survive, not only John Brown, but also the Civil War. In 1896 it was again rebuilt and has since become a mission of the parish of St. James the Greater.

    Tourist Mass is said on Sundays at 11:00 am and the church is open Saturdays and Sundays for doecent lead tours.

    The only church to survive.
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    Wheeling, West Virginia

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Aug 22, 2011

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    Wheeling is a small town of 28,000 that lies in the West Virginia panhandle, between Ohio and Pennsylvania. The area around Wheeling was explore by George Washington before the town was established in 1795 and incorporated in 1805. Wheeling was the site of the convention when West Virginia split from Virginia in 1863. Off and on for the next few years Wheeling was state capitol.

    Even though I grew up just a few hours from Wheeling, I never made it to or through this town until I was 35 years old! Now I know why.... there really isn't much here.

    Exiting the Wheeling Tunnel into Wheeling on I-70 Wheeling Tunnel on I-70 Wheeling Tunnel on I-70 I-70 Bridge, Wheeling

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    Exhibition Coal Mine

    by mikelisaanna Updated Jun 3, 2011

    The Exhibition Coal Mine is a mine that tourists can enter to learn about mining from real coal miners. In addition to the mine, the complex also includes a group of former miners' homes - a bachelor miner's cabin, a mining family's home, and the superintendent's (boss') home. There is also a doctor's office, post office, barber shop, schoolhouse, general store, and moonshine on the museum's property.

    The mine tour lasts about 35 minutes and teaches you about basic mining techniques from the early 1900s, as well as safety issues, a miner's life, and the history of the mine. The tour guides are real coal miners, with thick West Virginia accents and a good sense of humor.

    There is a also a gift shop and a children's museum on the grounds. One admissions ticket get you access to the entire site and all of its features. It is a fun day and a great learning experience for the entire family.

    [pictures to come]

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    White Water Rafting

    by JREllison Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    At least two of West Virginia's rivers can match up well with almost any rivier in the US for quality white water rafting. The Gauley during September and October, and the New River. Ours was a spring run on the New River. There are several river guide companies. We chose Rivermen because they can provide overnight lodging and gave the best price.

    Durning spring runs on the New River you have higher, faster water, with more excitment than fall runs. On the Gauley the high water is in the fall when they open the floodgates on the dam. Be perpared to get wet! The water can be cold so you might consider renting a wet suit.

    Each raft is accompnied by a guide in a kayak to insure anyone that falls overboard gets rescued. This kayaker also takes pictures of your trip that can be purchased.

    white water
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    Visit Tamarack--the Best of West Virginia

    by kevanrijn Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Tamarack exists to showcase the best in arts & crafts from West Virginia. All of the more than 2,500 artists/craftsmen who sell there must be selected by going through a jury process. They submit samples of their work which are judged by a team of experts & evaluated as to whether or not the work is of a quality to be sold/exhibited at Tamarack (which is a world-class arts and crafts center).

    You can shop, dine, watch craft demonstations, attend theatre performances & look at exhibits in the gallery. You will see stunning items for sale, including textiles, agricultural products, glass, pottery, wood, metal, jewelry, quilts, & wearable art. There are things available in a wide variety of price ranges. For example, Tamarack has coffee tables for sale which ring up at a mere $18,000--I've seen some of them--they are truly works of art! But there are more reasonably priced items too. There are six artisan studios at which resident artists pursue their craft. Currently they have a blacksmith, potter, woodworking husband/wife team who make musical instruments, a glassblower and a texile artisan in residence.

    If you are hungry, the food court is called "A taste of West Virginia." This is no fast-food type food court--it's managed by the world famous Greenbrier Resort & is staffed with true chefs. The menu features regional specialties. A sample of the menu offerings and prices: "Appalachian Mountain Burger with Red Eye Country Ham, Fried Green Tomatoes, Swiss Cheese, and Real McCoy Mustard Sauce. Served with Golden French Fries and Dill Pickle Spear.....$7.95 Sandwich Only.....$6.95" Or how about "Pan-Fried Fillet of West Virginia Rainbow Trout with Your Choice of Two Side Dishes.....One Fillet $8.95..Two Fillets $13.95" You can get less expensive meals than these--the two fillets of rainbow trout are the only thing I've seen on the menu priced over $10.

    This is a wonderful place to buy souvenirs of West Virginia. Check out the website listed below for current exhibits and events and further information.

    Tamarack's main entrance on a winter's night This coffee table is a work of art--price $18K If I ever win the lottery, I'm buying this vase! And I'm buying this desk--if I win the lottery! Now this unique West Virginia treat I can afford
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    Visit Parkersburg--a City of Surprises

    by kevanrijn Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    There's so much to do and see in Parkersburg, I have a separate travel page for it. Check out my Parkersburg pages for tips on where to eat, things to do, etc. No matter what your interests, you can find something to enjoy in Parkersburg & the surrounding areas.

    Have daughters? They will probably enjoy a tour of the Middleton Doll Factory, just across the river in Belpre, Ohio. Sons? They might enjoy a visit to the People's Mortuary Museum in Marietta, Ohio or a visit to the Oil and Gas Museum in Parkersburg. Interested in glass? Fenton Glass Factory is 10 miles north of Parkersburg--and 2007 is their 100th anniversary year so they will be having special events and sales. Into woodworking? Woodcrafters has a shop in Parkersburg. Like to cycle? North Bend rail trail begins/ends in Parkersburg.

    If you like history--tour the Blennerhassett Island, mansion & museum. If you are into architecture, Parkersburg has several historic districts, and one of them, Julia-Ann Square, has the largest concentrated grouping of Italianate, Second Empire, and Queen Anne mansions in the entire state of West Virginia. Interested in ghost hunting? Parkersburg has active ghost hunting groups and a large number of haunted buildings/locales.

    I've just scratched the surface...I could keep going but you have probably already quit reading! There are festivals galore: the Mid-Ohio Cultural Festival in June; West Virginia Interstate Fair & Exposition in July; the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival August 16-17, 2007; West Virginia Honey Festival on August 25-26, 2007; Harvest Moon Arts & Crafts Festival in September; and, of course, Holiday In The Park, Parkersburg's holiday season light display in City Park.

    Then there's the shopping: Grand Central Mall with over 100 stores, theatre and food court; Coldwater Creek's clearance outlet, near the Mineral Wells area; the Middleton Doll factory outlet, Fenton glass factory outlet...and so on. There are lots of local merchants with boutiques and specialty shops that will well repay a visit too.

    Oil and Gas Museum in Parkersburg Parkersburg High School--my alma mater Fenton Glass Factory Parkersburg City Building Wood County Courthouse in Parkersburg in the snow
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    New River Gorge

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Despite its name, New River is considered to be one of the oldest rivers in the United States. In 1978 the US government protected 58 miles of the river and its surrounding area covering 70,000 acres. This is prime area for whitewater rafting, hiking, camping, fishing, biking and numerous other outdoor activities. From abandoned coal mines to prehistoric sites, the park covers a vast array of historical sites.

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    Fort Mulligan Civil War Site

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Fort Mulligan Civil War Site is a reminder that West Virginia saw much action during the War Between the States.

    All that's left of what was once a very large "bombproof" fort is an impressive series of eatheworks. The Fort, as it exists today, was constructed from August through December 1863 by troops under the command of Colonel James A. Mulligan. He was from the Chicago, Illinois. Infantry, cavalry and artillery from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Illinois carried out the labor.

    Easy walking trails lead the visitor around the ruins of Fort Mulligan and most of the site is accessible to wheelchairs. However, there are several areas that are inaccessible because of the steep terrain. Interpretative displays tell the story of both Union and Confederate troops who occupied this spot at various times, from 1861 - 1865.

    The commanding views from the site of Fort Mulligan are reward enough for making a visit. The history of the things that happened here, and how they fit into the greater picture of the War Between the States, give cause for sober reflection.

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    The State Capitol Building

    by traveldave Updated Nov 30, 2010

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    The West Virginia State Capitol Building is the seat of the state legislature, the office of the governor, and other state government offices. The current building is actually the third structure on the site that has served as the state capitol. The first was built in 1885, but burned in 1921, and the second building burned in 1927. The current building was completed in 1932.

    The state capitol building was designed by noted architect Cass Gilbert, who also designed such buildings as the Flatiron Building in New York City, and the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. (Gilbert liked the design of the interior chamber so much that he used the same design for that of the United States Supreme Court Building). Designed in a combination of Colonial Revival and Italian Renaissance styles of architecture, the exterior of the building is constructed of buff Indiana limestone and two-thirds of the interior features various types of marble.

    The capitol building contains 535,000 square feet (49,703 square meters) of interior space and has 33 rooms. The dome is 292 feet (89 meters) tall, making it the tallest structure in West Virginia. It is also five feet (two meters) taller than the dome of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The dome is covered with gilded 14-karat gold leaf laid over a base of copper and lead.

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    Madonna of the Trail

    by traveldave Updated Oct 22, 2010

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    The Madonna of the Trail is a sculpture ten feet (three meters) high and weighing five tons (4,536 kilograms). The base is six feet (two meters) high and weighs 12 tons (10,886 kilograms).

    In 1909, a group of women in Missouri formed a committee to locate the Old Santa Fe Trail in Missouri. The idea further developed into plans for a highway to be designated as the National Old Trails Road.

    In 1911, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution established a national committee, known as the Old Trails Road Committee, whose purpose was to establish the National Old Trails Road as a National Memorial Highway.

    In 1912, the National Old Trails Road Association was formed in order to assist the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in marking the National Old Trails Road.

    In 1924, plans were formed to erect 12 large markers along the National Old Trails Road. The design by sculptor August Leimbach of Saint Louis was of a pioneer woman clasping her baby, while her young son clings to her skirts. The design was accepted by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and work began to place a sculpture in each of the 12 states through which the National Old Trails Road passes. Those states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

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    Spruce Knob, highest mountain in West Virginia

    by Florida999 Updated Aug 10, 2009

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    We added another U.S. Highpoint to our list of mountains we have been to. This one, as many in the Eastern U.S. you can drive to the top. The road is narrow , has lots of curves and takes a while, but is not too bad. The view from on top was awesome. There were several other groups of people on the top even as isolated as this mountain was!

    Spruce Knob, Highpoint of West Virginia Top of Spruce Knob Spruce Knob
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    Mining town museum

    by Florida999 Updated Aug 10, 2009

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    Along with the mine itself, if you visit the coal mine in Beckley you get to visit the rest of the museum, which includes a rebuilt old mining town, some old farmhouses, and a youth museum. It was worth the trip. We spent half a day there.

    house of miner
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West Virginia Hotels

Top West Virginia Hotels

Harpers Ferry Hotels
91 Reviews - 237 Photos
Wheeling Hotels
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Parkersburg Hotels
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Ripley Hotels
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West Virginia Things to Do

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