Nestled amid the Appalachian Mountains, Beckley, West Virginia, offers a wealth of outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and awe-inspiring natural wonders worth exploring. From its rich coal mining heritage to its picturesque landscapes, this charming town is a lesser-known destination for road trippers, history buffs, and nature lovers. Whether you’re looking to embark on an underground tour of a coal mine, go skiing, or hike through the stunning mountain trails, here are the best things to do in Beckley, WV.
A quick note about my tie-in with Beckley, West Virginia.
Beckley holds special memories for me because, as a child, it was a real treat to shop in Hills (for all you 50+ who may remember the chain store), go to movies, watch the holiday fireworks, and swim at Stephens Lake. There was always something to do in Beckley, and there still is.
Several places in this Raleigh County area made my list in the “100 Things to Do in West Virginia Before You Die” book, which you can buy at Tamarack, online at your favorite bookstore, or through Reedy Press dot com.
Learn at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine
One of Beckley’s most well-known attractions is the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine. This National Register of Historic Places offers underground tours to take you through the fascinating history of West Virginia’s coal mining industry. Admission is $22 for adults and $12.50 for children.
Visitors can also glimpse the coal mine life by exploring the recreated coal camp, including the Helen coal camp school, Pemberton church buildings, and the Superintendent’s house. In addition, you can also check out the museum (nostalgic photos, geological specimens, and coal mining artifacts), gift shop, and fudgery.
The state-of-the-art center is so gorgeous and offers hands-on learning and education about black gold, a far cry from the dirty and dusty entrance to the earth when I visited here as a school kid many years ago. Still, it is all the same 1889 facility that was once a drift mine.
Meanwhile, you’ll find a theater, planetarium, and pioneer settler buildings (a barn, restored log cabin, general store, moonshine still, and blacksmith shop) on the outside that feature costumed interpreters at the Beckley Youth Museum.
Wander Through Tamarack
If you’re looking for a taste of Appalachia’s art and culture, Tamarack is the place to go. It is also the odd-shaped peaked red roof building off exit 45 from I-77. Known as the “Best of West Virginia,” Tamarack features a vast collection of handcrafted arts, gourmet food, and traditional crafts made by local artisans.
Visitors can browse the many unique pieces, including jewelry, glassware, pottery, baskets, and paintings, and even indulge in some delicious Appalachian cuisine.
Tamarack is a must-visit destination for those looking to experience West Virginia’s art and culture. Take advantage of the summer concert series every weekend in the courtyard.
Come to Tamarack Marketplace hungry and enjoy all the wonderful food choices. I am particularly fond of the daily specials, such as the homestyle meatloaf with green beans and glazed baby carrots. Pinto beans, cornbread, and WV hot dogs are popular choices, too.
Save room for Tamarack’s signature Peach Bread Pudding, perhaps the best you’ll ever taste.
Tamarack’s hours are daily from 9 AM to 7 PM.
Explore the New River Gorge National Park
Less than a half-hour north is the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, West Virginia’s only national park. Go to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center (there are four in this park) to learn about this scenic 70,000-acre Appalachian Mountains wonder and for a handicapped accessible boardwalk with a beautiful view of the world-famous New River Gorge Bridge, the longest steel span in the western hemisphere.
Adventurers can partake in whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, and rock climbing. There are endless outdoor opportunities in this part of West Virginia.
Fun Fact: The New River is one of the oldest rivers on the continent.
Overnight at the Resort at Glade Springs
If you’re looking for a luxurious 4,100-acre mountain getaway, the Resort at Glade Springs will do the trick. This breathtaking resort offers numerous amenities, including spa treatments, world-class golf courses, and multiple restaurants. It sits amid a gated area encompassing hundreds of high-dollar homes, rustic grounds, and a beautiful wildlife-heavy landscape.
My favorite part of the resort is the center which houses an Olympic-sized swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, billiards, a bowling alley, and a cinema.
Stables allow for horseback riding and or lessons, while Bunkers Sports Bar, Glade’s Grill & Bar, Small Talk Cafe (pastries, espresso, breakfast sandwiches), and the Rotunda provide options for breakfast, dinner, lunch, and drinks.
Guests can choose from various accommodations, including the Manor House, villas, and one to six-bedroom cabins. I stayed at the main inn in a spacious room with modern touches and pale earth tones.
Enjoy Beckley’s Outdoor Offerings
Beckley is a fun destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The area offers plenty of hiking trails, mountain biking, and fishing opportunities. One of the most popular trails is the Glade Creek Trail, which stretches for almost six miles and offers scenic views of the surrounding area.
The Beckley Rail Trail offers a 6.9-mile paved path suitable for all skill levels, including nature hikes, walking, and running. You can even bring your leashed dog to join in on the fun. The McManus Trail portion boasts unique art sculptures made from recycled materials.
Be sure to use caution when traveling through tunnels and darker areas.
Get Outdoors at Little Beaver State Park
Suppose you’re looking for a more serene adventure. In that case, Little Beaver State Park is the perfect spot with an 18-acre lake perfect for fishing and picturesque scenery for walking, hiking, and bird-watching or biking on its 562-acre property.
Admire the stunning waterfall that greets you at the entrance. And the best part? You can even camp out at the park if you don’t want to leave!
Don’t Miss the Other Gems
The Raleigh County Veterans Museum showcases the military history of the area. It offers visitors a chance to pay their respects. Another notable destination is the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center and Veterans Memorial, home to various community events, sporting events, concerts, and shows.
There is some good shopping in Beckley, namely women’s boutiques. Two that I recommend are Indie Sparrow Boutique and Blue Magnolia. Both have a lovely selection of ladies’ clothing, semi-formalwear, accessories, and downright fun stuff.
Visit Theatre West Virginia in Beaver, just a short drive away, to witness the legendary Hatfields & McCoys show or any other exciting touring productions. This venue has been entertaining the locals for 60 years.
Eat at Delicious Beckley, WV Restaurants
You’ll find some of West Virginia’s most noteworthy restaurants in Beckley. My favorites include Tudor’s Biscuit World, Pasquale’s, the Char, Dobra Zupas, and the Dish Cafe in nearby Daniels.
Tudor’s Biscuit World is renowned for delicious biscuits, the perfect foundation for creative breakfast sandwiches and other goodies. Their Peppy sandwich, with slices of zesty pepperoni and melted cheese, is our family’s favorite. For something indulgent, try the new breakfast wrap or sausage gravy and biscuit – we bet you won’t be able to resist!
For over 50 years, Pasquale’s and The Char have been old-time Beckley favorites. You’ll go ga-ga over Char’s upscale atmosphere and the melt-in-your-mouth steaks and chops if you’re a steak lover. Meanwhile, Pasquale’s specializes in Sicilian Italian Cuisine; their Spaghetti and Meatballs are unbeatable.
You may also want to order the antipasto with Italian meats, olives, cheese, and cornichons.
If you are looking for something more casual, Dobra Zupas is a fantastic chef-inspired restaurant in a darling house setting with an ever-changing menu. Expect scratch-made risottos, coffee-rubbed steaks, perfectly cooked salmon, and craft beer. Try the life-changing appetizer — breaded fried goat cheese with roasted red peppers and house-made jalapeño jam.
The Dish Cafe offers scratch-made delicacies in a low-key setting. From pretzels and roasted red pepper hummus to fried pickles, starters will leave you spoiled for choice. For entrees, the Hey Jack Burger is a must-try with its combination of pimento cheese, cherry pepper slaw, and a perfectly fried egg.
Drink Great Beer at Weathered Ground Brewery
Visit Ghent’s beloved Weathered Ground Brewery, a must-see for beer enthusiasts. Even from the roadside, the large sign and estate are truly captivating. Though I didn’t get to visit on my trip (it was closed that day), the Haggard IPA and #Camplife Pale Ale are famous in the region.
Sip Wine at Daniel Vineyards
For a delightful wine experience in Beckley, don’t miss Daniel Vineyards. This winery has been creating reds, whites, and sweet wines since 1990 and boasts a stunning patio and tasting room.
Take in live music during summer months while sipping on their conservation grapes.
Indulge in a weekly lunch dish designed to complement your wine tasting, like their delicious Reuben sandwich and broccoli soup. Experience their hidden gem tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains with $5 tastings and self-guided vineyard tours.
Fall in Love with Beckley’s Coffee Scene
Looking for the perfect place to quench your thirst with a refreshing non-alcoholic drink? Beckley has two options that I’ve fallen in love with. First is the Chocolate Moose, a unique coffee shop with an unbeatable menu of coffee, smoothies, and creative beverages. And let’s not forget about the excellent branded merchandise, too.
As a cold brew fanatic, I was blown away by the selection of flavored cold foams at the Chocolate Moose. From the sweet and nutty Toasted Almond to the decadent Orange. (dark chocolate cold brew with orange cream foam), these drinks are truly irresistible.
But wait, there’s more! The Chocolate Moose also has a mini-golf course and a thrilling climbing gym. And after working up a sweat, you can cool off with some delicious hand-scooped ice cream.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy setting and befitting drinks, check out Hilltop Coffee in Crab Orchard. This trendy café serves extraordinary beverages and tasty lunch options for under $10.
Don’t miss out on the must-try Lavender Haze, a refreshing lavender lemonade with butterfly pea flower matcha. Or warm up with the indulgent Twix latte. With two locations open seven days a week, Hilltop Coffee is a must-visit for any coffee lover.
Experience Wintery Fun at Winterplace Ski Resort
Experience the ultimate winter getaway at Winterplace Ski Resort near Beckley. Check out the 27 trails to choose from, with the longest being 1.25 miles. Learn to ski or snowboard with expert teachers or enroll in ski school.
The state’s largest tubing park promises a thrilling snow-tubing experience with fourteen lanes to choose from and a Super Carpet ride that will take you to the hill’s top for endless slides down the mountain.
Get free night skiing on an all-day lift ticket purchase.
Enjoy the majestic view of the mountain landscape and warm up by the fire in MountainHouse. Not to worry if you need equipment; we’ve got you covered with bibs, helmets, snowboards & skis for hire.
Explore Downtown Beckley, WV
As you go to the downtown area for more exploration, downtown Beckley’s patriotic streets are lined with shops, murals, statues, impressive memorials, and the stunning architecture of its county courthouse.
To relax, you can take a bite or a drink at Foster’s Main Street Tavern. While in the downtown area, don’t miss capturing a stunning photo of the Raleigh County Courthouse and Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion memorials. If you’re looking for more sightseeing, Shoemaker Square is also a great place to explore.
Beckley, West Virginia’s unique history, scenery, and warm community make it a destination worth checking out on your next road trip. Be sure to add Beckley to your travel plans and discover all the treasures this town offers.
My lodging was fully hosted at the Resort at Glade Springs and two meals were covered by Visit Southern WV. Opinions and reviews in this post are 100% mine and unbiased.
To learn more about Southern West Virginia, please visit the tourism website for more suggestions and itineraries.
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