Iconic Places to Visit in West Virginia - Infographic
Tourism is one of the leading industries in West Virginia. The state has a sizeable number of tourists and deservingly so with endless places to visit, each offering their own unique experiences, histories, and adventures.
Whether you’re craving beautiful mountain retreats or revisiting the past in quaint historic towns, West Virginia has a lot to offer.
While there are various of fun places to explore, there are some of the places you must not miss while in West Virginia – whether you’re just driving through or taking your time to see the whole state.
The Seneca Caverns are located on a great Indian trading route through the Appalachian Mountains. While many tribes used the caverns as a trading route, it was the Seneca Indians who mostly used the cave for shelter, storage, and ceremonies.
Touring these caverns can provide an exciting and unique experience, giving a fascinating insight into the past as you delve into their long history as well as take in the surroundings. There are plenty of tour options to the caverns available for visitors as well as facilities that can heighten their experience such as restaurants, a gift shop, and even picnic areas.
Visitors could also simply enjoy the breathtaking rock formation that can be found here. They can even try some gemstone mining and take home some unique memories of their visit.
New River Gorge Bridge
The third highest and the longest arch bridge, the New River Gorge Bridge solved a travel challenge when it was completed in 1977. The bridge reduced a 40-minute drive down the narrow mountains and across one of North America’s oldest rivers to less than a minute.
It also became a huge architectural feat and a structural art with picturesque views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains and river, making the bridge one of the most photographed landscapes in the entire state of West Virginia.
But besides appreciating amazing views, tourists can also enjoy activities both from the massive bridge and from trails alongside the river such as hiking, biking, and rafting. Those who want to take the two to three hour Bridge Walk tour wouldn’t have to worry about safety as visitors are usually securely fastened to a safety cable to make the tour safe and enjoyable.
However, those who are more of a daredevil might enjoy visiting the bridge during its largest extreme sports event in the world. Bridge Day is the largest one-day festival in West Virginia. It’s always held on the New River Gorge Bridge every third Saturday in October since 1980. It’s the one day of the year where people can try BASE jumping.
"BASE" stands for the four categories of objects in which these jumpers jump from; Building and Antenna (tower), Span (bridge or arch), and Earth (cliff or natural formation).
As there are strict rules as to how many skydives participants must have under their belts before BASE jumping at the bridge, the National Parks Service dominion this bridge as the only legal place to do it.
Located on the eastern West Virginia panhandle, just across the Potomac River from Maryland is the historic town and National Historic Park, Harpers Ferry. It’s the town raided by the abolitionist John Brown in an attempt to get weapons and fight against slavery during the civil war on the border between North and the South.
Today, Harpers Ferry is visited for its rich history and beautiful scenery. Any vacationer will never run out of activities as Harpers Ferry has various outdoor activities tourists can enjoy all year round.
You can try out fishing, canoeing, tubing, kayaking, and swimming during warmer seasons as Harpers Ferry sits on the meeting point of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. There are also recreational activities to be experienced in the Great Outdoors as you can take a bike ride along the C&O Cana Path, trek hiking trails, go rock climbing, and even try zip lining.
Capital City of Charleston
The largest city and the capital of West Virginia, Charleston is a logical place to start for many travelers. The history of this city dates back to the Revolutionary War, giving it a long and exciting history. While Charleston has greatly advanced since then, it still retains its small-town feel. Visit and tour the Charleston State Capitol and learn about history at the state museum.
Many visit Charleston for its robust arts and performance scene at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences. You can also attend lots of exciting festivals in Charleston including the West Virginia Dance Festival that’s usually held in April, as well as the Memorial Day Vandalia Gathering and the Festival arts and cultural events held in June.
Sports fans would also enjoy Charleston as it’s home to minor league baseball and an annual 15-mile run. Tourists who want to get active would be able to enjoy doing so especially while enjoying the scenery of Coonskin Park, Cato Park, and the Kanawha State Forest.
However, it’s not the activities or the view that visitors enjoy in these public parks. Kanawha State Forest, for instance, has plenty of recreational space where anyone can enjoy the picnic areas, campsites, multi-use trails, and its swimming pool.
West Virginia has countless tourist attractions that are not just fun to visit, but gives a glimpse of how the American culture was shaped throughout the Civil war, colonial life, and early explorers. Stay a little longer and discover new places beyond what was listed above.
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