Explore These 9 Exciting Things to Do in West Virginia

Set amidst the stunning Appalachian Mountains in the United States, West Virginia is not a state most people think about when planning a vacation. While many people may travel to known destinations such as Las Vegas, New York City, Los Angeles, or Miami, there are so many things to do in West Virginia that you might have to even go back!


Between the new West Virginia venue launches and a significant push from the state to attract tourists, there has never been a better time to plan a trip to this part of the country.


Below are nine fun things to do in West Virginia.


Things to Do in West Virginia


Things to Do in West Virginia

Visit the Heritage Farm Museum



Zeo1989, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons


The Heritage Farm Museum is one of my favorite things to do in West Virginia offers visitors to the state the chance to discover the history of this part of the country. If you’ve never visited Appalachia in the past, visiting both the farm museum and the village is a great way to understand a way of life that has been present for hundreds of years.


There are around 15 log buildings in the area, including a blacksmith shop, homestead site, animal petting zoo, log church, and more. The museums in the area are a lot of fun to visit, as you can learn about some of the historical artifacts, sites, and events that shaped this region.


South Island, Wheeling, West Virginia


Visit a Casino


An enjoyable aspect of visiting West Virginia is that you can get your gambling fix without having to go very far. Anyone who wants to place their bets on sporting events, or play a game of poker or blackjack, must visit the Mountain State in the near future.


Not only are there some legendary casinos in the state, but new ones are opening in the coming months as well. Considering there are casinos in most parts of the state, you should have no problems finding one within driving distance of the city or town where you’re staying.


west virginia


Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine


Coal mining is a significant part of the history and culture of Appalachia. That’s why exploring coal mines is one of the most popular things to do in West Virginia. For many generations, working in a mine presented regular folks with a high school education the chance to make a life for themselves and their families.


The Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley, West Virginia, is the ideal place to visit if you want to get a sense of how it feels to spend an extended time in a coal mine. There is an underground mine, gift shop, museum, and even a coal camp.


All tours and rides include chaperones who have extensive mining experience, which allows tourists to stay safe while giving them a chance to talk with West Virginia natives who spent many years of their lives working down in the mines.


fall flowers


Visit the West Virginia Botanic Garden


If you’re a family that is looking for outdoor things to do in West Virginia then you’ll love spending time at the West Virginia Botanic Garden. The area first opened in 2000 on an 80-acre site and has wowed visitors with its natural beauty ever since.


There are many gardens in the area, allowing visitors to see various flowers and plants native to the region. Since the Botanic Garden is open from dawn till dusk, fitting a visit into your schedule should not be a problem.



Explore the Lost World Caverns


Another stunning place in and most popular things to do in  West Virginia that tourists should be sure to discover is the Lost World Caverns. These are home to stalagmites and stalactites that sit roughly 100 feet below the Earth’s surface.


You can take self-guided tours to fully explore these caverns, getting a sense of their natural and unmatched wonder. Visitors receive a cavern guide sheet that points them in the direction of the various attractions within the half-mile loop.


If you’re an adventurous traveler, the Wild Cave Tour at the Lost World Caverns is an experience to behold. Between climbing and crawling through these caverns, you can have the time of your life in one of the deepest and darkest caves in the region.


Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, train, things to do in west virginia

Richard A. Weaver, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Cass Scenic Railroad State Park


Cass Scenic Railroad State Park


People who visit Cass Scenic Railroad State Park often wonder if they have traveled back in time. The mountain town has charming houses, plenty of natural beauty, and steam locomotives that run throughout the day.


The train tracks in Cass have a long history that dates back to 1901 when they were used for hauling logs from Canada to nearby lumber mills. Now, these trains take tourists through the area, offering them a vintage and picturesque look at one of West Virginia’s oldest towns.


West Virginia State Capitol

West Virginia State Capitol O Palsson Flikr CC


Visit the West Virginia State Capitol


Even though a great deal of West Virginia comprises little towns, open fields, mountains, and valleys, visiting Charleston is also a very enjoyable experience. Single travelers, couples, and families can always find something fun to do between quaint coffee shops, restaurants, and bars.


The State Capitol building is one place you must visit, as the national monument is the highest state capital done in the entire country. Some beautiful interior details are done on the marble walls, while a gigantic crystal chandelier welcomes visitors into the building.


huntington museum of art, things to do in west virginia

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Huntington Museum of Art


Huntington Museum of Art is a must-visit during any trip to West VIrginia. The complex spans a total of 52 acres and is one of the largest museums in this part of the United States.


Aside from its massive size, guests are often in awe of the fine art collection, groundbreaking new exhibitions, and the antiques present in its various rooms.


Guests can spend hours browsing the different collections, as each room you enter displays more unique and charming art to admire. When you have your fill of art, you can head outside to experience one of the many hiking trails around the museum.


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory, things to do in west virginia

Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory


National Radio Astronomy Observatory


Present in West Virginia since 1956, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory hosts state-of-the-art moving telescopes. While the telescopes are present for astronomers and scientists to use as they attempt to uncover the secrets of space, guests can also enjoy a trip to the NRAO.


The Observatory hosts tours for the public, while you can also sign up for formal or informal educational sessions to learn more about astronomy and the specific telescopes used at the site.


In  Conclusion


Having read just nine of the exciting and fun things to do in West Virginia, you might be packing your bags already!


Bet you had no idea that West Virginia was such an adventure!


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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