“Almost Heaven, West Virginia” is my home state. Having lived there for 44 years, I feel that I am an expert on The Mountain State. Though West Virginia catches a bad rap when it comes to lists and people poking fun at us, we take it in stride because we know better. West Virginia was a fantastic place to raise my family, a place where we felt safe and that offered us the opportunity to make a good living, have a beautiful home, and immerse ourselves the state’s culture.
(UPDATED JULY, 2022) West Virginia is home to astronauts, movie stars, Olympic medalists, inventors, musicians, authors, and Pulitzer Prize winners, to name a few. It is an often-overlooked state that’s filled with beauty, world-class outdoor activities, and friendly people. Here are 95 things do in West Virginia that will clue you in on why people love visiting the Mountain State, a state I hold near and dear to my heart.
1. Explore the Mystery Hole
The Mystery Hole, in Ansted, is a place where the Earth’s gravity is all out of whack. Water evens runs uphill in this odd attraction. The tour is fun and quirky, plus the drive getting there is beautiful. You’ll take heaps of pictures!
2. Eat a Super Tasty Sandwich
Fayetteville’s Secret Sandwich Society is a hidden gem tucked into an adorable space with vibrant art, live music, and visitors from around the country. The sandwich menu, with many items named after US Presidents, is full of creative recipes and some with funky ingredients paired together. They are all good, and the Pimento Cheese Fries are so good that I can’t believe they aren’t illegal.
3. Visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Greenbank’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory has the world’s largest astronomical telescope in this NRQZ (National Radio Quiet Zone). This one of a kind scientific wonder, weighing in at 17 million pounds, the first one ever, offers too many things to list; you have to see it to believe it! Wireless devices are banned here.
4. Go Whitewater Rafting
Paddlers rank West Virginia as one of the top river destinations in the world for both technicality and scenery (think towering cliffs). Maybe that is why thousands of tourists flock here to brave the class 5 and 6 rapids. Newer paddlers will love the Lower Gauley River portion, and daredevils will welcome the Upper Gauley’s challenges. These combined rivers drop 650 feet in 24 short miles. Hang on!
5. See the Hatfields Gravesite
The Hatfields, of the Hatfields and McCoys feud fame, are buried in West Virginia. Visit the family cemetery where the site of “Devil Anse” remains. This feud is a local favorite, while Kevin Costner made the historical drama into a TV event that drew in millions of viewers. There are many H&M attractions around the state to see and experience.
6. Take a Ghost Tour
I first learned about this fun ghost tour through Southern Living Magazine about 15 years ago. In Parkersburg, presences are felt from Civil War days, haunted hotels exist, railroad ghosts thrill ghost hunters, and an alien spaceship touched down here, from the “Mothman Prophecies.” It is no wonder that this is a spiritual world favorite, and the tour is a way to get your feet wet. If you are fearless, spend the night at the historic Blennerhassett Hotel.
7. Eat A Decadent Italian Meal
If you ask the locals where they prefer to eat Italian food (and West Virginia has a lot of choices!), they will almost always pic Muriale’s in Fairmont. This traditional Italian kitchen has a beautifully appointed dining room and bar area, with friendly servers.
My favorite pasta dish is the Spicy Sausage Rigatoni, but truly the garden salad with onions, cheese, olives, pepperoni, tomatoes, and roasted red peppers is the star of the meal. It is worth driving to Fairmont for.
8. Play Bingo
N-35. I-26. B-5. BINGO! The stakes are high at the Dunbar Bingo establishment that also sells tips (I’m a junkie for these instant prize winners) and delicious homemade food. This is a fun evening’s entertainment for less than $30. Maybe you will win one of the big $500 or $1K jackpots, or other big prize money. Profits benefit local school groups.
9. Shop the Greenbrier’s Holiday Store
The fancy Christmas Shop at the Depot, outside of the train station at the Greenbrier Resort, is open year-round and has the most fabulous decorations I have ever seen! Who doesn’t love a good Christmas store? Even the smells are spot on. Many US Presidents and the elite have visited West Virginia for the Greenbrier Resort experience.
10. See a Majestic Waterfall
Kanawha Falls is a vast and impressive waterfall across the Kanawha River in Glen Farris. I never drive by without stopping to capture a photograph of its beauty. The contrast of the falls shimmering behind a rusted old power plant is impressive. This is also one of the most photographed spots in the Mountain State.
11. Attend UC’s Jazz & Wine Festival
The University of Charleston is the perfect setting along the Kanawha River to host the lively WV Wine and All That Jazz Festival. Hundreds of boaters anchor around the school to hear the music while thousands of guests sample wine and bring their blankets and lawn chairs for this fun social event. The daylong festivities benefit the Funds for the Arts program.
12. Eat at a Nostalgic Roadside Diner
Located on I-60 in Smithers, Burger Carte is a nostalgic and unique eatery. It is THE place to go when you are jonesing for a serious burger, fries, malts, soft-serve ice cream, and milkshakes. Burger Carte’s fish sandwiches are pretty tasty, too.
13. Tube or Kayak the Greenbrier River
Spend a relaxing day on the Greenbrier River in a recreational activity that anyone can do: floating in an intertube. Canoeing and kayaking are also fun choices. Tie your beer cooler on for an even more enjoyable time.
14. Catch a Thundering Herd Game
Marshall University’s football team is the big draw in Huntington when the Joan C. Edwards Stadium fills 40,000 people to cheer on the Thundering Herd. Marshall has produced some excellent football players, including Randy Moss and Chad Pennington. Marshall currently has eight alumni playing in the NFL.
15. Play the Slots or Table Games at Mardi Gras Casino
West Virginia’s premier gambling facility houses greyhound dog racing, slots, and table games, as well as a couple of really good restaurants and a 150-room attached hotel. Mardi Gras casino is 60,000 square feet and has over 1,000 slot machines that use the TITO (ticket in, ticket out) method. In case you had not guessed, the theme is Mardi Gras.
16. See the Monongahela National Forest
There is beautiful natural scenery in the Allegheny Mountains, a real working forest. Well over one million tourists will visit the forest for its wildlife, hiking, backpacking, fishing, and other recreational activities.
17. Visit West Virginia’s Beautiful State Capitol
West Virginia is home to the most beautiful state capital of them all; its intricate architecture is overshadowed by the 293 ft. gold dome. The inside of the state capitol building is made mostly of imported marble. Guided tours are available daily for free.
The West Virginia State Capitol Complex grounds lie across the street from the beautiful setting of the Kanawha River. The Governor’s Mansion sits adjacent to it.
18. Tour the Blenko Glass Company
Blenko is a brand of hand-blown glass that has been produced in West Virginia since 1893 and is seen and sold around the world. They offer excellent free tours hourly between 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM Tuesday through Friday. Closed-toed shoes are required. You’ll see live artisans making the glassware on the tour and be able to browse from the beautiful pieces, as well as see the museum and history portion of Blenko on the second floor.
19. Soar in a Treetops Canopy Tour
Zipline your way through the hemlock forest of the New River Gorge in a Treetops canopy tour. Activities also include hiking, rappelling, and sky bridges. Whether you’ve zipped a million times or once, Treetops Canopy Tour is a great adventure.
20. Attend a Mountain Stage Concert
Join host Larry Groce nearly every Sunday evening at the WV Cultural Center for a concert recording, unlike any you have ever attended. West Virginia Public Radio’s nationally syndicated show, “Mountain Stage“, has been going strong in the Kanawha Valley for over 30 years. Shows typically feature four to six artists, and the venue is incredibly intimate.
Music genres include alternative, world music, country, indie rock, blues, and folk. This live show is a big draw for locals and visitors to West Virginia.
21. Sample Blue Smoke Salsa
If you’ve ever seen a display of West Virginia products, chances are you have seen Blue Smoke Salsa, a delicious jarred salsa created and bottled in Ansted, West Virginia. It is truly delicious and comes in five flavors: XXX hot, hot, medium, mild, and my favorite, peach. Stop by for a tasing and take some home for later.
22. Spend the Weekend at Stonewall Resort
The Stonewall Resort is in West Virginia’s rolling hills and is full of outdoor fun. The grounds feature an Arnold Palmer Golf course (one of the finest in the state), patios, lush greens, a fire pit, and gorgeous scenery. The “Adirondack-style” resort is lovely and provides excellent service as well as a stellar kids program, three onsite restaurants (I am a fan of Stillwater), swimming facilities, and a spa. You can even rent a boat at their marina!
23. Shop the Bridge Road Shops
Located in my old “neck of the woods” are the upscale South Hills shops, now referred to as the Bridge Road Shops. Whether just browsing or doing some serious shopping, be sure to check out Yarid’s for the fantastic shoe selection, Sarah’s Bakery for the best sweets in Charleston, Geranium’s for ladies’ clothing and accessories, and Bridge Road Bistro for one of the best meals around. All shops are locally owned, and community-supported.
24. Picnic at Kanawha State Forest
Kanawha State Forest is only seven miles outside of Charleston and is the perfect spot for a family picnic, gathering, or celebration. There are playgrounds, hiking trails, mountain biking opportunities, and covered shelters for picnics and parties. Pets are welcome, too.
25. Shop at the Crowder Auction QVC Showcase
This fast-paced auction house is home to QVC merchandise and tons of it. Whether it is clothing, electronics, housewares, tools, jewelry, purses, appliances, or dishes you are looking for, the Crowder Auction has you covered. Sign up for a number upon arrival and let the fun begin. You will score big time at this fun and entertaining live auction run by auctioneer Carl Crowder.
26. See the Mothman Statue
Mothman, the creature with the glowing red eyes, singlehandedly terrorized the town of Point Pleasant, plus a movie (The Mothman Prophecies) was made about it. You can explore the Mothman Museum and take pictures of the legendary cryptiod sculpture minutes off the highway.
27. Learn About the Rich and the Famous
Take the Island Belle Sternwheeler for a scenic ride over to historic Blennerhassett Island State Park in Parkersburg. This was once the site of incredible wealth. Famous and powerful men, such as Henry Clay, Walt Whitman, Aaron Burr, Daniel Boone, visited the residence, some on many occasions. Once on the island, you can tour the mansion, take a guided tour via horse-drawn wagons, bike (you can bring yours with you), or wander the property on foot. Wagon rides are $9 for adults and mansion tours are $5. You can bundle to save a few dollars.
FYI: Tickets must be purchased at 137 Juliana Street.
28. Take a Train Ride
Take the new vintage diesel-powered Tygart Flyer, of the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad in Elkins, for a four-hour adventure to the beautiful High Falls of Cheat (River). Splurge on a parlor car for full-service, drinks, a souvenir, and tasty lunch. The train ride is scenic, with plenty of gorgeous mountain views and an “S” curve, and fun for the whole family. Reservations are recommended; tickets run $75 to $92 per adult.
29. Ride Through a Coal Mine
West Virginia made its living through coal for many years and at this attraction, guests ride through the vintage mine in an actual coal car. The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine ceased in 1953, but tours began nine years later. Everyone my age has been on at least one school field trip to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, now a savvy attraction with a museum and historic coal camp buildings on the grounds.
30. Go To The Zoo
You’re in for a real treat when you visit Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo in Preston County. Hovatter’s has been in business for 30 years, and is open April through October. Admission is $12.99 per adult ($10.99 for children), a steal compared to the zoos I’ve visited over the years. The list of animals you’ll see over the well-marked and manicured grounds include leopards, baboon, buffalo, bobcats, camels, ring-tailed lemurs, various monkeys, giraffe, grizzly bear, lions, tigers, and much more.
Pro Tip: Pick up the bags of animal feed in the gift shop. There are signs at each animal telling what type of food they can have. Please only feed them what is showing as allowed.
31. Bike the Greenbrier River Trail
This reclaimed railroad track turned bike trail starts at White Sulfur Springs and ends 80 miles later at Cass Scenic Railroad. The Greenbrier River Bike Trail is the perfect place to walk, ride bikes or horses, and enjoy nature. It also offers designated spots to stop and rest or jump in the river for a quick cool down.
32. Visit the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace
See the historic home, now converted museum of Pearl S. Buck in Hillsboro. Buck was the first American woman to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. The home is in one of my favorite parts of West Virginia; you will get a good dose of country charm and majestic mountains.
33. Hear Music and Drink Beer at Purple Fiddle
The Purple Fiddle is one of West Virginia’s most visited live music venues, but at this one, you can also have tasty eats and drinks—all in a smoke-free facility. Opened in 2002 in Thomas, WV, the popularity of this bluegrass hub has brought increased interest to the small coal town. Check out the highly impressive craft beer selection and the Wild Turkey Wrap or Avocado Toast.
34. Attend a Riverfront Concert
Attend one of the Live on the Levee outdoor concerts in Charleston for a night of free entertainment in a family-friendly atmosphere. The tranquil river setting is the perfect backdrop. Street vendors are available for food and drinks. Better yet, pull up along the river in your boat and beat the crowds.
35. Go Caving
My favorite caves in West Virginia also offer gemstone mining and unique souvenirs. Take the 165 feet deep path into the 4.5 million-year-old cave to see the unique geological formations of Seneca Caverns. The most recognizable are stalagmites, stalactites, and flowstone.
Check the website to make sure they are reopened after COVID.
36. See a Famous Battlefield
Visit the site of the last major American Civil War conflict at Droop Mountain Battlefield at this 3104 feet elevation in Pocahontas County. Chances are, you haven’t driven roads like this in your life as the ones getting to it.
37. Admire Carnegie Hall
Lewisburg’s Carnegie Hall is one of the many Carnegie Halls in the country built by steel baron Andrew Carnegie. It is a vibrant Georgian Revival-style visual and performing arts center that welcomes exhibits, established performers, artists, authors, and other notable guests.
38. Check Out Murals
Downtown Charleston has some really good murals to see around town, with one of my favorites being the white elk in the newer Elk City on Charleston’s West side. Other good ones to visit are the West Side Wonder mural, San Francisco mural, and the many pillars under the bridge of the I-64 underpass.
39. Drive Through Christmas Lights
One of the top-rated Christmas light displays in America is Oglebay Park’s Winter Festival of Lights in Wheeling. The popular event has been going strong since 1985. This six-mile drive, featuring 300 acres of lights and displays, was voted one of the 10 best Christmas light displays in the US by AOL Travel.
40. Drive to Hawk’s Nest State Park
Hawk’s Nest State Park is bursting with beauty and fun in the form of stunning panoramic views, wildlife, an aerial tram to the river, hiking, and a jet boat adventure ride. The rooms are cheap if you wish to stay and the restaurant is pretty good, too.
41. See Historic Harpers Ferry
John Brown’s Fort, found at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, is where John Brown and his followers barricaded themselves during the infamous raid that sparked the American Civil War. The views are spectacular and draw around one million visitors per year. You could easily spend the entire day here. Park at the Visitor Center and take the shuttle bus to save the headache of looking for parking. Ghost tours are available, too.
42. Drive Across a World-Famous Bridge
Once the world’s longest single-span arch bridge, it is now the third, but still, a beauty to behold. The New River Gorge Bridge is part of the National Parks Services (a second one in West Virginia), so be sure to get your passport stamped. If you are keying in an address, enter the Canyon Rim Visitor’s Center or you could end up somewhere else in the 72K acres.
43. Play at a Retro Amusement Park
Camden Park, the sign of the happy clown, is a cheesy, but enjoyable small amusement park established in 1902. Crowd favorite rides include the Big Dipper, Paratrooper, and Rattler. Long-time visitors will remember pronto pups (which you can still buy today) and the roller rink.
44. Stroll Through A World-Class Arts Center
Tamarack is a huge artisan center full of quality West Virginia handicrafts and artwork in Beckley, conveniently located off of the WV Turnpike. You’ll find locally-made gourmet foods, toys, craft beer, and much more in the impressive selection, as well as thousands of upscale arts and crafts. The Greenbrier Resort manages an onsite cafeteria offering delicious food and drinks. Try the fried green tomatoes or signature peach bread pudding.
45. Eat a Biscuit From Tudor’s
Tudor’s is practically a state institution, with a tasty breakfast menu and down-home lunch and dinner favorites. My picks are the Ron on toast (egg, cheese, sausage) and Peppy (pepperoni and melted cheese). FYI: The real name is Biscuit World, but the locals only know it as Tudor’s.
46. Indulge in a Healing Spa
Berkeley Springs has 102° mineral waters to enjoy in private walk-in tubs. This is one of the nation’s oldest health “healing spas”, most notably used by George Washington for years. I soaked in the Old Roman baths, which have been spruced up to todays standards, but still using the same methods as hundreds of years ago. It is money well spent and a great way to indulge in self care.
47. Tour the JQ Dickinson Salt Works
JQ Dickinson is one of the country’s most coveted salts, a natural product with many minerals made from a seven-generation salt-making family. It sells in upscale stores around the country. The family revitalized the 200-year-old business to “produce a rare, small-batch finishing salt, harvested from the ancient Iapetus Ocean trapped underneath the mountains of Appalachia”. It is sensational! You can tour the facility in Malden, West Virginia. Don’t miss the decadent caramel sauce.
48. See a Concert at Clay Center
Charleston’s premier performance hall, the Clay Center, is home to big-name entertainment, concerts, Broadway shows, and comedy acts. The calendar of events has something for everyone. My favorite performances were Jason Mraz, Blondie, and Peter Frampton.
49. Tour Historic Homes of Bramwell
Once the wealthiest neighborhood in West Virginia, the town of Bramwell is a delight to explore. About ten historical homes open their doors to the public once a year for this popular event in the super cute and friendly town. Be sure to see the Millionaire Row on Main Street.
50. Take a Tour of the Palace of Gold
Walk through the Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold with 24-carat gold glimmering temples created by the Hare Krishna community. The palace’s interior is that of opulence with over 50 varieties of marble and onyx, stained glass windows, and mirrored ceilings. The grounds mostly resemble the Indian Kingdom full of lush gardens and lovely waterfalls. Do not miss the lotus pond!
51. Eat a Pepperoni Roll
Pepperoni rolls are tasty hand-held treats invented in Fairmont, West Virginia in the 1940s by a man from Italy who came to work in the coal mines. The pepperoni is wrapped in billowy bread and are the official state food of West Virginia. Once you try one, you’re hooked.
52. See a Covered Bridge
Locust Creek Bridge is a beautiful covered bridge in Pocahontas County (six miles from Hillsboro) that is well worth the drive for the beautiful photo ops. It is one of West Virginia’s only remaining covered bridges.
53. Tour a Famed Mental Hospital
This stone psychiatric hospital was operational for 130 years, performing more lobotomies than anywhere else in the nation. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, a National Historic Landmark, is open for tours and has a reputation for being haunted. TV’s “Ghost Adventures” (Travel Channel) and “Ghost Hunters” (Syfy) have visited the site and cannot explain all of the hauntings that they witnessed. Choose from a variety of tours, including night time and Civil War history.
Fun Fact: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is the second largest hand-cut stone masonry building in the world.
54. Ride the Cass Scenic Railroad Train
Springtime is the perfect time to plan your trip on the Cass Scenic Railroad Train because the meadow on top of the mountain is abloom with wildflowers. The setting looks like something out of “Sound of Music”!
55. Catch the Blue and Gold
Make a trip to Morgantown to see the Mountaineer basketball team play, coached by the legendary Bob Huggins, “Huggy Bear.” The Coliseum setup will have you wrapped up in all of the action and cheering along with the student section in no time.
56. Check Out the Quilt Trail
Visit Monroe County and drive the Quilt Trail to see iconic quilt patterns on the sides of barns. A few of the examples of the designs are a wedding, log cabin, shoo-fly, and Dresden plate. There are more than 60 along the drive.
57. Spend a Day at a Water Park
Water Ways is an 88-mile water park is Boone County and a major tourist attraction. Bring the whole family for plenty of fun with water slides, a lazy river, Olympic size pool, miniature golf, and picnic facilities. Coolers are even allowed.
58. Attend the Annual WV State Fair
Outstanding eats, entertainment, a variety of competitions, carnival-style rides, and games are what you will find at this incredible 10-day event in Lewisburg. I love the livestock competition and all of the fun amusement style rides. Go for the eats, if nothing more.
59. Sip Some Wine
Friendly staff and tasty local wines make a visit to Forks of Cheat Winery worth the visit. Besides wine, this biggest wine producer in West Virginia also offer delicious rums. Cheat Winery is a lesser-known gem nestled in the Appalachian Mountains in Morgantown.
60. Discover Lost World Caverns
Lost World Caverns is a self-guided cave in Lewisburg where you can spend as much time as you wish to explore the rocks and crevices throughout the 120 feet deep cave. The cave remains at 52º year-round and contains gorgeous formations. The Snowy Chandelier is quite impressive.
61. Climb the State’s Most Famous Rocks
Located in Grant County, Seneca Rocks has rock “fins” rising over 300 feet out of a hillside. There is also a climbing school that has been in business for 40 years. Seneca Rocks are for serious climbers!
62. Eat Great Pizza
My favorite pizza ever! Pies & Pints allows you order one large pizza pie with two different combinations. This makes it great for sharing. Pies & Pints also offers an excellent happy hour and has many beers on tap to choose from. The Pork & Pepper Nachos are a must! PBR cans for $1 each; I’ll take two.
63. Go Birding
Parkersburg, West Virginia, is home to more than 250 species of birds, including red-breasted mergansers, ruddy duck, common loon, and horned grebe. Grab your binoculars and start the hunt.
64. Eat a West Virginia Dog
This restaurant in Huntington has been featured on Food Network shows in the past and offers dozens of different hot dog combinations. Hillbilly Hot Dog’s decor is tacky and packed with dozens of dusty trinkets, but people love it! There is certainly a lot to look at.
Curious as to what a West Virginia hot dog typically has on it? Mustard, onions, chili (no beans), and slaw. Nom!
65. Browse an Art Museum
The Huntington Museum of Art is a wonderful way to explore art in various forms. From a huge Dale Chihuly glass piece to paintings by Picasso, Lichtenstein, and Rauschenberg, you’ll find a little of everything in this impressive gallery. Your jaw will probably drop when you see the Herman P. Dean Firearms Collection and the fabulous Botanical Garden with plants from around the world.
66. Camp at Summersville Lake
One of my favorite seasonal activities in West Virginia was taking our boat to Summersville Lake and camping nearby. This man-made freshwater lake is formed by a rockfill dam and can be up to 327 feet deep in some parts. The incredible rock cliffs line the lake make for excellent bass, catfish, and walleye fishing.
Summersville Lake has plenty of camping sites, boats, and cabins available to rent, but you will want to book way in advance.
67. Tour the West Virginia State Penitentiary
Located in Moundsville, this 1876 gothic tourist favorite has a creepy history with riots, fires, and over 100 executions. Ask about the Greenbrier Ghost on your visit to the WV State Penitentiary.
68. Visit the WV State Museum
On the WV Capitol Complex Grounds is the WV State Museum (or Culture Center if you are a local), a treasure trove of exciting exhibits about the history of the Mountain State, famous industries, people, art, customs, cultures, and glassware. It is a really well-done museum with lots of information; great for the whole family. And its free!
Don’t miss the Coal Miner statue before you enter the museum, paying tribute to the state’s contributions to energy.
69. Stroll Historic Downtown Lewisburg
Lewisburg is located in the heart of Greenbrier County and has the charms of a small country town with the hipster attitude that sets it apart from anywhere else in the state. Award-winning galleries and upscale shops line the main drag as well as tasty restaurants. My choices for eats are Food & Friends and Stardust Cafe.
If you visit in April, don’t miss the Annual Chocolate Festival.
70. Go to WV’s Highest Point
Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia, at 4863-ft elevation. The views are fantastic, especially if you miss the fog, and the drive is spectacular…and not for the faint of heart. Walk out to the Observation Tower for even more incredible 360-degree views.
71. Take Time to Play
There is something for everyone at Ace Adventure Resort. The lake has giant inflatables to climb and jump from, such as large icebergs and slides. A huge “Blob” that looks like a big pillow can catapult a person at least 20 feet in the air with one jumper following another.
Ace Adventure also has a zip line across the lake that is quite popular and offers mountaintop zip lining and white water rafting just a short bus ride from the lake. You can also stay in one of their cabins.
72. Shop the Capitol Market
Charleston’s premier fresh-food destination is that of a former rail yard. Exposed brick and trendy decor make Capitol Market visually appealing. Still, the biggest draw is the fresh vendor stalls outside (weather permitting) and the onsite restaurants, coffee shop, and local merchants. Buy all of your seasonal items here, too, such as Christmas trees and pumpkins.
73. See Living History
Huntington’s Heritage Farm Museum & Village offers an open-air look at Appalachian life and culture and what amazing West Virginia industries have provided through the years. Many authentic period structures are located on the property. It was also recently named West Virginia’s first Smithsonian Affiliate Institution.
74. Shop for Discounted Fiestaware
The outlet mall at Flatwoods has a Homer Laughlin China Co. Fiestaware shop that features deep discounts on this famous West Virginia made pottery. You’ll find thousands upon thousands of Fiestware dishes, including some retired pieces and new additions. Watch for the tent sale that brings in people and U-Hauls from all over the country.
Did you know West Virginia produced these beloved dishes?
75. Drool Over Dessert
The Terra Cafe, in Morgantown, features drool-worthy, instagram-worthy, and get in my belly pastries of all types: cupcakes, cookies, pies, cake, and much more. Then they also have excellent coffee, tea, and espresso to pair them with. You’ll love the spacious dining area that is also connected to their main eatery with outdoor patio.
76. Stay in a Historic Inn
The Glen Ferris Inn has a gorgeous landscape and epic views of Kanawha Falls that crosses the entire river. I like to treat myself to the “penthouse” and keep an eye out for the themed dinners. German is the Inn’s specialty, and it is worth the drive.
77. Explore Cranberry Glades
This peat bog is a geologic and botanic anomaly; the plants that grow here are hundreds of miles north. A boardwalk allows for strolling through the glades and seeing the cranberries grow wild. Do not miss the pitcher plants and orchids.
78. Go Molly Moocher Hunting
Better known as morel mushrooms, they can be found and picked from March to early May in the damp woods. These mushrooms are delicious!
79. Eat Local
Charleston’s newest 1010 Bridge Restaurant is a fantastic place to eat farm-to-table local foods and amazing chef-inspired creations. Call for reservations as the space is small and highly popular. Among my favorites are the White Pimento Cheddar Cheese (with spiced saltine crackers), Dijon & Dill Crusted Chilean Salmon, and Molten White Chocolate Beet Cake, one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.
80. Indulge in a Luxury Stay
The recently revamped historic Hotel Morgan, in Morgantown, WV, is a real treat. You’ll be swooning as soon as you enter the lobby with chic seating arrangements and glitzy chandeliers that are gorgeous. Rooms are sophisticated, yet functional and carefully thought out for one of the best user experiences ever. The hotel resides in a circa 1925 building.
81. Maneuver Through a Corn Maze
A seasonal activity in Milton that attracts huge crowds and is fun for the entire family is the impressive Cooper Family Farms Corn Maze. You can eat some tasty treats while you are there, too.
82. See the Historic Grist Mill
Babcock State Park is one of West Virginia’s finest, with the historic Glade Creek Grist Mill that makes for awesome photo-ops. There are over 4000-acres to explore in this excellent brush with nature destination. Fishing and hiking are popular in this beautiful park.
83. See an Outdoor Drama
Watch a live show in a relaxed outdoor setting at Theatre West Virginia in Grandview at a cliffside amphitheater. “Honey in the Rock” is a WV based show that has been playing for dozens of years, preserving West Virginia’s history since 1955.
84. Eat Mexican Food Perfection
Cozumel at Ashton Place is “the” place for delicious fajitas, finger-licking good chips and cheese dip, and spicy salsa on the Corridor G, right outside of Charleston. Cozumel Mexican Restaurant is a neighborhood favorite and referred to as “Cozy” by the locals.
85. Photograph the Smallest Church in 48 States
On a West Virginia county road, you’ll encounter Our Lady of the Pines, the smallest church registered in 48 states. The church was established in 1958 and makes for great photo ops and roadside attractions.
86. Enjoy Swiss Dining
The Helvetia “HOO-tay” is a hidden jewel on a curvy mountain road near Buchannon. Stop when you reach the Swiss-style buildings because you are in for an authentic treat, a Swiss one. Helvetia Hutte has a charming, homey setting that feels like “home.” Sign me up for the Sunday buffet!
87. Experience An Adorable Small Town
West Virginia’s quaint mountain town of Elkins is charming and welcoming with an adorable downtown area. Enjoy free parking and wander through the town’s local boutiques, tasty eateries, and unique offerings. Chances are the streets, lampposts, and windows will be decorated for a holiday or celebration of some sort.
88. Eat Excellent Pastries
Oh my, the day Sarah’s Bakery opened up, my pants immediately started fitting tighter. Master baker Sarah Plumley could easily compete with any bakery, anywhere, and come out a champion. For sweet treats, I go for the Whoopee pies and strawberry danishes, but the quiche is what keeps me coming back.
89. Sleep in a Tower
You’ll be afforded incredible views of Pocahontas County (my favorite!) and the Greenbrier River Valley when you sleep in Thorny Mountain Fire Tower. At a height of 53 feet tall, the birds-eye view and unique setting is worth your while.
90. Hit the Slopes
Snowshoe is a resort for all seasons. The winter months are famous for skiing, snowmobiling, and snow tubing at the most popular ski resort in West Virginia. Summer months are perfect for mountain biking, 4×4 tours along the mountain trails. Several weekend festivals bring visitors from all over the country year-round.
90. Sing “Country Roads” at the Milan Puskar Stadium
Although the entire WVU football game experience at Milan Puskar Stadium is something that you will be sure to remember, nothing compares to singing “Country Roads” with every other fan in the stadium (especially after a win). It is electric!
92. Go Hiking
Hop on the Appalachian Trail to explore West Virginia’s beautiful contribution to the world’s longest hiking-only trail. This 28-mile portion in West Virginia passes through historic Harper’s Ferry, the site of John Brown’s Raid in the Civil War. Two million people hike the trail throughout the country each year.
93. Attend Bridge Day
See the BASE jumpers leap more than 800 feet off of the New River Gorge Bridge into the river below as the crowds cheer them on during the annual Bridge Day each October. This event is not for the faint of heart, but has loads of awesome offerings all day long.
94. Go Antiquing
Berkeley Springs is the perfect location to spend a few hours going down the Rabbit Hole looking at treasures from years gone by at the awesome Berkeley Springs Antique Mall on Fairfax Street. I visit antique stores around the country and this is easily one of the best, with things properly marked and plenty of space to move around.
95. Explore Capitol Street
Capitol Street is arguably the most popular street in Charleston and where all of the memories of days gone by took place. Gone are the huge department and chain stores, but in their place, locally owned restaurants and shops that are fun to browse and explore. Check out the $3.5M revitalized Slack Plaza with live entertainment, a splash pad, food trucks, incredible artwork, flowers, and all sorts of fun things between Laidley and Summers Streets.
Surely this is enough reasons for you to want to visit Almost Heaven, West Virginia. Need more? Message me and I’m happy to provide additional suggestions, or you can pick up my book “100 Things to Do in West Virginia Before You Die” in the spring of 2023.
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*** A special thank you to Angie Richards and Pama Rutledge for their contributions to this post.
Check out some of our other West Virginia posts:
4 Day Trips in WV