(UPDATED JUNE 2022) Fayetteville is one of the top destinations for outdoor attractions in West Virginia. This fun, funky city has a beloved food scene and a cute downtown area. You’ll find all walks of life in this mountain town, where the art of well-being is at the forefront of the town’s lifeline. Here are things you might want to see and do on a road trip to Fayetteville, West Virginia.
What to Do in Fayetteville
Your trip to Fayetteville should begin at West Virginia’s newest and only National Park and Preserve, the New River Gorge. Learn all about the region at Canyon Rim Visitors Center before hiking the boardwalk to the observation decks for unobstructed views and terrific photo-ops. You’ll be in awe as you admire the New River Gorge Bridge, one of the world’s longest steel-arch bridges at 876 feet and 3,030 feet long.
Fun Fact: There are only 63 true National Parks, but the US National Park Service manages 423 territories covering over 85 million acres around the country. You can learn more about this breakdown on this informative list from the NPS.
Another way to see the New River Gorge Bridge is with a “panoramic three-hour adventure” with Bridge Walk, a guided bridge walking tour on the catwalk 25 feet below. The ultimate time to visit the New River Gorge is on October 15th for Bridge Day, one of West Virginia’s most exciting festivals. Pro River Outfitters can put together a fun float or fishing trip, with several that include food, drinks, and equipment.
More Fun and Adrenaline Rushes
Fayetteville is known for its adrenaline-rush adventures—most notably, white water rafting. Book a guided rafting trip on the Upper and Lower New River (one of the oldest rivers in the world) and the nearby Gauley River (the most challenging rapids) from Ace Adventure Resort or Adventures on the Gorge (premier whitewater rafting resort in the country) from May to November.
A second popular offering in the area is aerial adventures, designed to show you the thrills from the treetops looking down. Rappelling is yet another impressive outdoor activity in Fayetteville.
If fishing or a fun float trip down the New River is on your agenda, Pro River Outfitters can put together trips with several options that include food, drinks, and equipment. For more New River Gorge Bridge adventures, visit Fayetteville on October 15th for Bridge Day, one of West Virginia’s most exciting festivals.
The city’s terrain makes mountain biking another thrilling adventure. If you don’t have your own bike, you can rent one from Arrowhead Bike Farm. You can take part in a bike clinic and have lunch while you are there. And, if rock climbing interests you, head to Beauty Mountain.
Other popular activities in Fayetteville include:
- Seeing a show at the Historic Fayetteville Theatre.
- Listening to live music.
- Indulging in a spa treatment.
There are also some unique boutiques you will want to browse. Ben Franklin is a blast from the past, and I was surprised to find a killer option of puzzles and gourmet foods there.
Where to Eat in Fayetteville
Breakfast is the most important meal. Luckily, Fayetteville has a Tudor’s Biscuit World, a West Virginia icon, with homemade biscuit sandwiches that melt in your mouth. The gang’s all here: Ron, Dottie, Duke, Mickey, Mary B—popular biscuit combinations, but the Peppi, with pepperoni and melted cheese, is my standing order. Bob Evans is another breakfast restaurant with yummy biscuits, gravy, and omelet creations.
Downtown Fayetteville is home to the original Pies and Pints, a pizza joint franchised around the country with plentiful tap beer options. The Steak and Mushroom pizza is scrumptious, but get this…you can split the pizza between two gourmet creations. Pizza Skins and Pork & Pepper Nachos with a chipotle crema are two pleasing appetizers to start your dining experience off right.
Tempting culinary bites await you in Fayetteville. Currently rebuilding from a fire, Secret Sandwich Society is known for top-notch gourmet sandwiches and salads. We sure hope they will rebuild in the eclectic fashion that delighted their devoted customers. SSS’s Truman is my favorite sandwich (turkey, peach jam, blue cheese spread, and crispy onions), but the pimento cheese smothered fries will make your eyes roll back in your head.
Smokey’s on the Gorge is a place for a special meal with one-of-a-kind scenery. Try the Smoked Gumbo Dip with crostini or the filet mignon tournedos for your main course. Yummy! West Virginia farm-raised trout is another recommended dinner selection at Smokey’s.
Cathedral Cafe has been a hippie mainstay in Fayetteville for years and an exceptional eatery for paninis, quesadillas, and coffee drinks. However, the quiche and chicken salad with bacon has been my favorite for years. Save room for the mixed berry cobbler and bread pudding—both are absolutely delicious.
Where to Stay in Fayetteville
You’ll find unique accommodations in Fayetteville, so that might be an appealing option for something outside of the box. At Ace Adventure Resort, cabins, chalets, cottages, and log homes around the spring-fed mountain lake are highly popular. You can find options as rugged or upscale as you want to be in this town.
The Historic Morris Harvey Bed and Breakfast would be a romantic option for staying in Fayetteville, offering a gourmet breakfast, charming details, clawfoot tubs, free WiFi, and a fabulous home-cooked breakfast. Lafayette Flats, boutique lodging in the heart of historic downtown Fayetteville, has me intrigued. The artwork and stylish decor are really exceptional.
A Bonus Offering
Hawks Nest State Park is only a few miles away, a picturesque destination with a sweeping vista of the New River, an onsite restaurant, a 31-room lodge, and a nerve-racking aerial tram ride that takes you to the ground level for jet boat rides. Hawks Nest has just undergone a major renovation, and I can’t wait to see it.
For more adventures in the Mountain State, check out this post, with 95 choices.