9+ Things to Do in West Virginia [Unusual Attractions]

Unearth Martinsburg's vintage allure—between the whispers of history and the pulse of outdoor fun lies a secret to uncover... what's waiting?
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Think you've seen all that West Virginia has to offer? Think again, my friend. Sure, you might have heard whispers about the tranquil beauty of the Mountain State, but if you haven't strolled through the vintage labyrinth of Martinsburg's brick-lined streets, or echoed your voice over the Greenbrier River, you're only scratching the surface. This isn't just about hiking trees and spotting deer, no sir. It’s about uncovering a place where each corner has a story, and every sunset paints a different picture of both the past and the present. And let me tell you, the activities...whether it's hitting the rapids or capturing the artistry in Lewisburg, they sing to a tune of wild, wonderful variety.

From screaming with delight on Bridge Day as you watch daredevils base jump from New River Gorge Bridge to embracing the warm hug of a quaint cabin nestled in the woods, West Virginia is an unsung hero of adventure. So grab your carry-on; we’re about to dive deep into the things that make West Virginia not just a state, but a state of wonder. Are you ready to charge through undiscovered territory and carve out memories in a place where the skyline is an endless range of rolling hills? Because West Virginia is calling your name—maybe it’s time you answered.

Unearth Martinsburg's Vintage Charm

Picture this: You're strolling down cobblestone streets, surrounded by buildings that whisper stories of yesteryears, with that classic small-town aura. Welcome to Martinsburg, a place where outdoor fun meshes with unique accommodations, offering a slice of West Virginia's vintage charm.

Here's the scoop: Martinsburg isn't just a spot on the map; it's an experience. Curious about what makes Martinsburg unique for both locals and tourists? For starters, its beautiful outdoor settings are ideal for those leisurely afternoon picnics or for capturing that perfect sunset photo. Got a hunch for history? This town is brimming with it! As you wander, you might even feel like you’ve time-traveled back to the days of old.

Now, let's dive into what you can do outdoors. Grab your walking shoes and explore the historic downtown. It's not massive, but the charm is mighty! If you’re thinking, “What about my adventure fix?” Well, you’re in luck because Martinsburg has plenty of green spaces to satisfy your need for nature. Alone, with someone special, or with your family—there's a scenic spot waiting for everyone.

Ready to crash after a day of exploration? Tuck into unique West Virginia accommodations that range from quaint B&Bs to lodges with more personality than your crazy uncle Joe. These places aren’t just a bed for the night; they're part of the whole Martinsburg vibe—think antique furniture, warm hospitality, and maybe even a ghost story or two.

So, how long should you spend here? Give yourself at least a full day—more, if you fancy diving deeper into the local lore or if the outdoor fun grips you harder than expected. Is Martinsburg great for adrenaline junkies? Perhaps not the pure thrill-seekers, but if your thrill is discovering gems where the past and present dance together beautifully, then yes, it's perfect!

In short, Martinsburg is where you slow down, sip on the slower pace of life, and savor every moment. Can't you just feel that vintage charm already?

Paddle Through the Serenity of the Greenbrier River

Picture yourself gently slicing through the glassy surface of the Greenbrier River, the sun warming your face and the melodic sounds of nature filling the air. It's not just a dream; it's what you'll experience with the fabulous Greenbrier River activities. Whether you're a seasoned paddler or trying it out for the first time, this river offers both tranquility and adventure.

Grab your paddle and prepare to be entranced by the stunning vistas that line the banks. Float past charming small towns, over gentle ripples, and under the lush, green canopies that adorn the edges of this beautiful waterway. And don't worry about the logistics; there are plenty of spots along the river to rent a canoe or kayak, and folks around here are more than willing to point you towards the best launching places.

You're not just going for a paddle; you're embarking on an expedition where every stroke takes you further into West Virginia's soul-stirring scenery. It's the perfect activity for families seeking a day of bonding or for solo adventurers craving a moment of peace. Looking for a little more thrill? Plan your journey during the spring’s higher waters for a brisker ride!

When your arms need a break, why not pull up to shore and indulge in a picnic as the river flows by? Or, for those who prefer to stay dry, meander along one of many scenic drives that offer panoramic views of the Greenbrier's sparkling waters. Yes, folks, whether in a car or a canoe, the Greenbrier River promises a slice of West Virginia heaven.

And when the day is done, you'll be boasting to your friends about the serenity and sheer joy of your day spent on the river. How long should you spend here? Well, time seems to stand still on the Greenbrier, but a half-day journey will leave you both rejuvenated and eager for another visit. So what are you waiting for? Dive into the heart of West Virginia and let the Greenbrier River's current guide you to pure bliss.

Embrace the Quaintness of Lewisburg's Arts Scene

Picture this: You're strolling down a charming street, lined with historic brick buildings that house an eclectic mix of art galleries, studios, and boutique shops. Welcome to Lewisburg, where the arts scene is as rich and flavorful as the town's culinary offerings. That's right, in Lewisburg, your cultural interests and foodie tendencies collide in the best possible way.

Why exactly should you swing by Lewisburg? For starters, it's not your run-of-the-mill small town. This place is buzzing with creative energy. The galleries are loaded with works by local artisans, and you'll often find live music adding an invigorating soundtrack to your exploration. But that's not all:

  • Arts Stroll: Lewisburg invites you to meander through its Arts District, a hub peppered with galleries where local talent shines.
  • Music and Theatre: Catch a live show at one of the intimate venues around town that make you feel like a local, no matter where you're from.
  • Workshops and Classes: Feeling inspired? Take part in a workshop and create your own masterpiece, or just appreciate the skills on display.

Oh, and food—you didn't think we'd forget about the culinary tours, did you? Pair your art with artisan eats by joining a culinary tour that winds through Lewisburg's quaint cafes and fine dining spots. It's a taste sensation that perfectly complements the artsy atmosphere.

Spend a few hours here or make it a whole day affair. It's perfect for couples seeking a romantic musing over art and fine food, or for solo voyagers looking to bask in some soul-enriching culture. And hey, even the kiddos will love the splash of color and creativity!

So what are you waiting for? The town's unique charm and vibrant cultural scene await your arrival. Explore, eat, and enjoy—it's all here in Lewisburg, where the arts come to life amidst the fold of West Virginia's serene landscape. Remember, a visit to Lewisburg isn't just a day out—it's an experience that feeds the soul and delights the senses.

Witness the Spectacle of New River Gorge Bridge Day

Imagine standing on the rim of a deep canyon, the New River Gorge sweeping 876 feet below you. Now, picture it bustling with excitement, a vibrant spectacle unfolding on the bridge that arches over the gorge. This is no ordinary day—it's New River Gorge Bridge Day!

So, what's the big deal about this bridge? Let's break that down. Once a year, adventure seekers and curious onlookers gather for an event that's as unique as West Virginia itself. Thrill enthusiasts leap from the bridge in perfectly executed BASE jumps. It's the one day it’s legal—yeah, you heard that right—to say "Geronimo!" and jump off a perfectly good bridge. And if jumping into thin air isn’t your cup of tea, there's always the highline, a tamer but equally adrenaline-pumping experience.

For you, the outdoor recreation lover, this is paradise. Pack your camera, grab your sense of adventure, and mix in with the locals and visitors who are all there to soak up the lively atmosphere. You'll witness epic stunts, munch on local food, and maybe even snag something cool from the craft stalls.

Hang out around the area, because this bridge is nestled in one of the prime spots for outdoor recreation in WV. You'll fill your lungs with fresh mountain air and feast your eyes on scenery that’s straight out of a postcard. Hey, if you feel like wandering, there are ample trails begging to be explored.

Here’s the skinny on spending your time wisely during Bridge Day:

  • Expect to be there for the long haul—the energy is electric from morning to evening.
  • It’s a blend made for everyone—singles, families, and that uncle who loves regaling you with his daredevil stories.

Get ready to have your mind blown by the bold and the brave at New River Gorge Bridge Day. It's not just a day; it's a memory in the making.

Explore the Whispers of the Past at Harpers Ferry

Imagine yourself strolling through the picturesque streets of Harpers Ferry, where the whispers of the past are as vibrant as the lush, green landscapes that surround you. This small town, nestled at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, is a living history book with its well-preserved buildings and stories echoing the significant events that shaped our nation.

Harpers Ferry sightseeing is like stepping into a different era. Walk the same cobblestone streets that notable figures like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington once traversed. The town's historical landmarks in WV, such as the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, bring to life the tales of abolitionist John Brown's raid and the critical role it played in the Civil War. This melting pot of history isn't just for solo explorers or history buffs; it's a place where families can connect with America's past while enjoying the scenic beauty of West Virginia.

Spend a day or two here, because there's plenty to explore. Nearby trails offer breathtaking views – perfect for those panoramic shots you love to share. And when the sun dips below the horizon, grab a bite to eat at one of the local eateries that overlook the rivers, serving both a feast for your eyes and your palate.

Is Harpers Ferry great for adrenaline seekers? Not exactly the sky-diving type of thrill, but the excitement here comes from walking through living history and discovering secrets of a bygone era that still resonates today. It's ideal for families, couples on a romantic getaway, or anyone eager to dive deep into the rich tapestry of American history. As you leave, watch the rivers merge, a reminder of Harpers Ferry’s unique role in the confluence of history and natural beauty – quite literally.

Don’t just take my word for it – lace up your shoes, grab your camera, and immerse yourself in the remarkable spirit of Harpers Ferry; a place where the past is present, and every corner tells a story.

Indulge in a Spa Retreat at Berkeley Springs

Imagine yourself draped in a plush robe, sipping on cucumber-infused water, and soaking in the natural warm springs that have rejuvenated weary travelers for centuries. Berkeley Springs, the country's first spa town, nestled in the West Virginia hills, is your go-to spot for blissful relaxation.

Famed for its mineral-rich waters, Berkeley Springs spas offer a no-nonsense kind of pampering that caters to both newbies and spa aficionados alike. Whether you're craving a massage that works out every nagging knot or a soak in the historic Roman Baths, you'll find your slice of heaven here.

Dropping by West Virginia spa retreats, you're not just getting a lovely rub-down; you're stepping into a part of history that's as fascinating as the state itself. George Washington, yes, THE George Washington, bathed in these very springs, and if it's good enough for the founding father, you better believe it's going to be a grand time.

These spas are perfect for the soul-searching solo traveler, the overworked couple seeking a romantic escape, or the group of friends ready to unwind. Picture this - a serene afternoon enveloped by the Appalachian tranquility, followed by a night of local cuisine and maybe a stroll through the charming town.

Spend an hour or a whole day here - there's no rush. The springs are waiting to wash away your stress. And with this being a small, homey town, you'll feel like a local in no time. Hands down, for a chill experience, Berkeley Springs is your oasis.

There's nothing quite like the calming, historic, and downright indulgent spas of Berkeley Springs. These springs won’t just soothe your muscles; they’ll cleanse your worries and have you walking on clouds. So take a dip, take a nap, take a break from the real world. Your newfound serenity surely thanks you in advance.

Savor the Thrill of Adventure Sports in Fayetteville

Get ready to kick your adrenaline into high gear, folks! Fayetteville isn't just about charming streets and lovely bistros. Oh no, it's the go-to paradise for adventure sports enthusiasts. Whether you're testing your mettle solo or make it a team effort, Fayetteville's got the action you crave.

Let's talk white-knuckle, heart-pumping whitewater rafting. Did you know Fayetteville is one of whitewater rafting's hottest spots? Yes, it's true. You can paddle furiously through the foamy rapids of the New River or the Gauley, both beckoning with their siren call to outdoor thrill-seekers.

Now, you might be wondering, "How much time should I set aside for Fayetteville's adventure sports?" Well, clear your schedule because this is not a hop-in, hop-out kind of deal. You're going to want a full day at least, if not a weekend, to throw yourself into the adventure lifestyle here. And after conquering the waves, there's still rock climbing, mountain biking, and bridge walking to be done! All these heart-racing activities are waiting to make you feel alive.

Fayetteville's fantastic for groups looking to bond over some shared adrenaline. But listen up, solo adventurers, you're not left out. Joining a group as a single can be the perfect way to make lasting friendships with fellow adventure lovers. Families, bring your teens and show them the wild side of life—outside of their screens. Trust me; they'll thank you for it.

When the sun dips down, and you're all laughed out from the day's escapades, Fayetteville is brimming with places to kick back. Nearby, you’ve got cozy spots to refuel, share stories of your day, and plan tomorrow's adventure.

You're thinking Fayetteville sounds pretty epic, right? Yeah, it is. Soak up that sense of conquest, because here, every day is about discovering the champion within. Pack your courage, grab your water shoes, and dive head-first into the time of your life.

Relive History at Wheeling's Heritage Sites

You're stepping back in time in Wheeling! Imagine the bustling streets alive with history; this is not your average history lesson. Put on your explorer's hat because Wheeling's heritage sites are a treasure trove of Civil War tales and stunning architecture that tell the story of West Virginia's pivotal role during tumultuous times.

At Wheeling's historic sites, history buffs can immerse themselves in the past with an authenticity that textbooks just can’t match. These sites are not just about looking at relics; they're about feeling the bravery and resilience that shaped a nation.

For folks intrigued by Civil War history sites in WV, Wheeling offers a unique view into the era where brother fought against brother. Historical markers and well-preserved buildings bring Civil War stories to life. Spend a good half day here to soak in the atmosphere. It's ideal for adults and children alike, perfect for those with a curious mind and a taste for learning.

Now, are these sites exciting for adrenaline junkies? Not exactly. But are they a captivating window into the past for families, history enthusiasts, and even the casually curious visitor? You betcha!

Nearby, you'll find quaint cafes and stunning Victorian homes to admire. It's a place where the leisurely pace of sightseeing pairs well with reflection and appreciation of the rich tapestry of American history.

To make the most of it, plan your visit to coincide with one of the many reenactments – there's nothing quite like witnessing a Civil War battle scene unfold before your eyes to transport you right into the heart of history. It’s a unique, living experience that could only come from Wheeling, a hidden gem nestled in the lush landscapes of West Virginia.

And for those eyeing a scenic drive afterward, the historic National Road runs right through Wheeling, offering one of the most picturesque routes in the state. Trust me, you don't want to forget your camera for this one!

Delight in Local Flavors at Charles Town Races

You can feel the excitement in the air as the starting bell rings—the thrill of Charles Town racing is unmatched. Whether you're an avid horse racing fan or just looking for a night of fun and games, Charles Town Races offers an experience that's brimming with energy. Grab your best hat, because you're about to join in on the best West Virginia night experiences around.

What makes Charles Town Races so unique? It’s not just about the heart-pounding races; it's a hub of entertainment. You’ve got the casinos beckoning with their bright lights, but let's talk eats and beats! We're talking about delicious local flavors that will have your taste buds celebrating as much as the winning jockey. With your crew, family, or flying solo, the vibe here caters to everyone.

So, what's in store for you here?

  • Trackside excitement that'll give you an adrenaline rush. You're close enough to feel the thundering hooves!
  • A selection of games that could have Lady Luck smiling at you.
  • Amazing local cuisine that turns a night out into a fest for foodies.

And let me tell you, this place has history—dating back to 1933!

Spend a few hours or make it a starlit night affair. Nearby attractions? Absolutely! You're a short drive away from the heart of West Virginia’s scenic drives, making it easy to go from daytime explorations to nighttime exhilaration.

Perfect for a date night or an outing with friends, Charles Town Races is a must-visit spot that adds that extra oomph to West Virginia's allure. Whether you're cheering on the underdog or living it up at the casino, you’ll create memories to last a lifetime. Come on down and let the good times roll, because at Charles Town Races, the fun never stops!

Get Cozy in Hidden Cabins throughout West Virginia

Picture this: you're wrapped up in a blanket, the sweet scent of pine in the air, and nothing but the sound of nature's lullaby. That's what you get when you burrow yourself in one of West Virginia's hidden cabins. Ideal for when you're itching for that romantic getaway in WV, these cabins offer the perfect blend of seclusion and comfort. And guys, it doesn't get more romantic than a sunset seen from a private porch in the mountains.

So, here's the deal. No matter the season, these cozy West Virginia cabins are your go-to for a little together-time. Plush loveseats, crackling fireplaces, and oh-so-comfy beds are just the beginning. We're talking full-on serenity with a side of cuddles. You can spend your days exploring the nearby trails or just chilling on the deck with your favorite book (or your favorite person; we don't judge).

They say variety is the spice of life, and these cabins got the memo. Whether you're after a rustic log cabin experience or a modern abode with all the bells and whistles, West Virginia's got you covered. For how long should you stay? Well, my friend, that's like asking how many marshmallows you want in your hot chocolate—there's no wrong answer, but oh, the more, the merrier!

Now, hear me out. These cabins aren't just about snuggling. They're hubs for thrill-seekers too. Days here can be jam-packed with hiking, fishing, or hitting the nearby slopes. Perfect for singles, couples, and families alike, they offer an experience everyone can fall in love with. And after a day of adrenaline, what's better than coming back to your very own slice of heaven?

So, when you need to drop off the grid or just escape the daily grind, bolt to these havens of peace. Trust me, you'll be thanking yourself as you gaze up at a sky brimming with stars, your heart as full as the moon. Now isn't that something worth writing home about?

Revel in Clarksburg's Lively Festival Celebrations

Picture yourself amidst the vibrant hustle and bustle of Clarksburg, West Virginia, the heart of local festivity! Clarksburg festivals are the real deal when it comes to experiencing WV cultural heritage events. Imagine the streets alive with music, the aroma of delicious eats, and the echoes of laughter—this is where traditions are celebrated, and memories are made.

What makes Clarksburg's festival celebrations stand out? It's the blend of history, culture, and community spirit. You'll be swept away by the enchanting folk dance performances, mesmerized by artisans crafting local treasures right before your eyes, and, yes, you will eat—a lot. Grab a fork and dive into some homemade classic West Virginia treats. And don't even get me started on the live music—it's foot-tapping good.

Bring your friends, your family, or just your fabulous self to partake in an array of events that celebrate everything from Clarksburg's culinary delights to its rich Italian heritage. Yes, we're talking about the renowned West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival—a highlight that you certainly don't want to miss!

Ready for a full day of fun? Most festivals kick off in the morning and wrap up under the stars. Whether you're a local or a curious traveler, block out your day because these events are designed to captivate you from sunrise to past your usual bedtime.

And who's this for? Everyone! Whether you're sway-young or sway-old, whether you go full-throttle on the dance floor or prefer the comfort of a spectator’s seat, Clarksburg's festivals cater to all. Singles, families, and every constellation of friendship groups—there's something here to get every soul buzzing with excitement.

So if you're itching for a day of unadulterated joy, loop Clarksburg's festive flare into your itinerary. You won't just be observing; you'll be living the cultural heartbeat of West Virginia. Come on, let's celebrate!

Traverse the Untouched Wilderness of Monongahela National Forest

Imagine trekking through vast, verdant landscapes with the sounds of nature in pure symphony. That's the experience at Monongahela National Forest, a sprawling, untamed utopia for adventurers like you who are thirsty for the outdoors. This West Virginia gem offers more than just hiking trails; it's a full-on immersion into the kind of wilderness that'll leave your heart thrumming and your Instagram popping.

Stretching over 900,000 acres, the forest is a haven for hikers with trails ranging from the soothing to the downright challenging. Your feet won't forget the variety of treks available here. Expect to spend anywhere from an hour to a whole day, depending on how deep you want to dive into this untouched wilderness. Bring your best boots and a sense of wonder—you're going to need both.

Now, you might wonder, "What makes Monongahela National Forest so appealing for both locals and tourists?" Well, let me paint a picture for you. Picture yourself winding through lush pathways, the scent of spruce thick in the air, with the possibility of spotting a white-tailed deer peering through the foliage. An experience like this connects you not just to nature, but to the soul of West Virginia itself.

This forest is perfect for anyone looking to escape the drone of city life. Whether you're a solo explorer craving silence or a family looking to instill a love of nature in the kids, Monongahela National Forest delivers. Adventurous couples will find it idyllic too—there's something about the wilderness that sparks romance, wouldn't you agree?

Oh, and let's not forget the nearby small towns that brim with West Virginian hospitality. After your day of trekking, you can kick back in one of these charming spots and exchange stories with the locals, maybe even a bear encounter tale or two. So, are you ready to explore the treks of Monongahela National Forest? Your next adventure story is just a hike away!

FAQ

Q: What are some unique things to do in West Virginia?

A: Oh, you've hit a jackpot! Check out a coal mine tour, visit the New River Gorge, or soak in some quirky roadside attractions.

Q: What are some things to do in West Virginia for couples?

A: Lovebirds can cozy up in a mountain cabin, sip on local wines, or take a scenic train ride through those gorgeous hills.

Q: What can families with kids do in West Virginia?

A: Oh, the kiddos will be all smiles! Hit up a state park, explore the WV Science Center, or raft the mild rapids at Harpers Ferry.

Q: What's happening in West Virginia this weekend?

A: There's always something cookin'! Jam to live music, chow down at a food festival, or catch a Mountaineers game — woo!

Q: What are the best things to do in West Virginia in November?

A: Bundle up for the Autumn colors! Trek those trails, visit a harvest festival, or give thanks for those jaw-dropping overlooks.

Q: What are the top activities in West Virginia in December?

A: It's a winter wonderland! Ski down Snowshoe Mountain, ooh-and-aah at holiday lighting festivals, or join a New Year's Eve shindig.

Q: What is the number 1 attraction in West Virginia?

A: Bam! The New River Gorge Bridge takes the cake — it's stunning, and you can even walk beneath it on Bridge Day.

Q: Is West Virginia famous for anything?

A: You bet! It's got mountain music, the Appalachian Trail, pepperoni rolls, and that good ol' wild and wonderful spirit.

Q: What is the prettiest place in West Virginia?

A: Blackwater Falls State Park is like, whoa! All of those waterfalls, trails, and views? Your camera won't catch a break!

Q: Is there any reason to visit West Virginia?

A: Uh, yeah! Mountains, history, adventure, and did someone say moonshine? West Virginia's got it all, plus some extra charm!

Final Words

You've just journeyed through some seriously cool spots in West Virginia, from the vintage vibes of Martinsburg to the untamed beauty of Monongahela National Forest. You've got a taste of everything—artsy scenes, adventure sports, and even cozy cabin retreats. Mind-blowing, right?

But remember, it's not just about crossing places off your list; it's about the stories you'll tell and the memories you'll create. So, go ahead and plan your own venture. Who knows what West Virginia wonders are waiting for you?

And if you need a nudge to start packing, just think about the things to do in West Virginia you've learned about today. Trust me, you won't regret it!

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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