Whitewater rafting thrills in New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
Hiking in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in Monongahela National Forest
Road tripping through the wilderness of the Canaan Valley
Fall colors ablaze surrounding Glade Creek Grist Mill in Babcock State Park
Snowboarding down the slopes at Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Making s'mores around the fire on a family camping trip at Audra State Park
Fly-fishing in the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area of Monongahela National Forest
A peaceful winter morning at Snowshoe Mountain Resort
A paddleboard outing on Summersville Lake
The colors of autumn blanketing the mountains
- Mountain State
Explore West Virginia’s heavenly beauty
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 the Monongahela National Forest, 45 state parks and forests, and six national parks, including New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, one of the oldest rivers 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 on the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Soak away your stress in a hot mineral spring at Berkeley Springs State Park 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 including courses designed by golf legends like Arnold Palmer, Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
With elevations of more than 1,200 meters at certain spots, Dolly Sods is the USA's highest plateau east of the Mississippi River.
Even without access to an ocean, West Virginia is home to one lighthouse, the Summersville Lake Lighthouse.
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