West Virginia is a beautiful state known for its stunning natural features. Despite being well known for its mountains — it’s the only state in America within the Appalachian mountains completely — there are many other West Virginia attractions to enjoy when passing through the hollars.
27 Best Attractions in West Virginia in 2023
From a palace of all gold to a secret presidential bunker, there are exciting spots for all kids to take note of for your next visit to the mountain state.
1. The Mothman Museum
- Located in: Point Pleasant, West Virginia
The legend of Mothman began in the 1970s in Point Pleasent, West Virginia. Since then, this cryptid has been in movies, video games, and much more. Now, Point Pleasent is the home of the first Mothman Museum, which sits next to the famous Mothman Statue.
If you are around in the fall, you can catch them both at the annual Mothman Festival, which features special talks for cryptid lovers.
2. The New River Gorge
- Located in: Fayetteville, West Virginia
The first and only National Park in West Virginia, this 53 miles stretch of land includes hiking trails and more for outdoor lovers. The New River that flows within the park is famous for having some of the best whitewater rafting options in the country.
Inside the park includes the New River Gorge Bridge, one of the highest vehicular bridges in the world. There is a scenic overlook on the northern side of the bridge for those passing through that showcases the bridge and the gorge below.
This bridge is the center of the city’s Bridge Day festival in October, where the entire bridge shuts down to vehicles so visitors can walk its stretch. On this day, the true thrill-seekers can also go BASE jumping off the side of the bridge.
3. Blackwater Falls State Park
- Located in: Tucker County, West Virginia
This park was named for one of its most popular features, a 57-foot waterfall that is colored by the tannic acid of red spruce needles and fallen hemlock.
This location, along with others in the park – including Lindy Point, Pendleton Point, and Bald Knob – are some of the most photographed in the state, with scenic views all year round.
4. Canaan Valley Ski Resort
- Located in: Davis, West Virginia
Located in the highest valley east of the Mississippi River, Cannan Valley Ski Resort has become a haven for snow bunnies of all kinds during the winter. Snow lovers can rent skiing or snowboarding gear to enjoy Canaan Valley’s 49 different trails.
The resort also has one terrain park and a snow tubing area, and there are also options for ice skating and indoor swimming. There are also many cabins, campsites, and a lodge for visitors to stay in.
Due to the resort’s proximity to Washington D.C., this resort has become a favorite for those trying to get out of the city to enjoy nature.
The resort’s location is just twenty minutes from Blackwater Falls State Park and the towns of Thomas and Davis, both of which feature art galleries and live music on the weekends.
5. Lost World Caverns
- Located in: Lewisburg, West Virginia
Lost World Caverns became famous in the early 1990s for the “discovery” of Bat Boy, a half-human, half-bat character fabricated by The Weekly World News.
However, its history runs much deeper than that: the remains of a prehistoric cave bear were found in 1967. This event eventually led to the cave opening up to tourists.
If you visit the Lost World Caverns on your trip across West Virginia, be careful to stay on the well-lit paths — it is easy to get lost, as the cave has many connected passages that run up to 245 feet below the surface.
6. The Greenbriar Resort (And Its Secret Bunker)
- Located in: White Sulfer Springs, West Virginia
This luxury resort was built in 1778 and has become famous for attracting visitors from around the nation. The resort is beautiful, sitting on 11 acres of land, and has hosted 26 different presidents in its long history.
In the 1950s, a presidential bunker was built under the resort in case of a crisis. This location has since become a tourist attraction and was featured in the Fallout video game series.
The Greenbriar also has a rich history related to Golf. Not only has it hosted several important tournaments and players, but the title of the Greenbriar’s head golf professional has been held by legends such as Sam Snead and Lee Trevino.
7. The Mystery Hole
- Located in: Ansted, West Virginia
Just as the name implies, the Mystery Hole is a mysterious hole that sits just fifteen miles from Fayetteville. This classic roadside attraction harkens back to the 50s and 60s, advertising itself as a gravity-defying wonder.
Since pictures are not allowed inside, you will simply have to check out this West Virginia attraction for yourself!
8. Seneca Rocks
- Located in: Pendleton County, West Virginia
One of the most famous scenic attractions in West Virginia, this location is noted for the visually striking rock fins jutting up at the top of the mountains. Seneca Rocks is a popular location for rock climbers, with over 300 mapped routes available.
There is a casual gravel walkway up the mountain for hikers and a scenic overlook at the end. However, this trail is not easy just because it is well-maintained. The trail is just over a mile up, but you change 700 feet in elevation in that time.
9. Harper’s Ferry
- Located in: Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia
The town of Harper’s Ferry is famous for several reasons, making it a wonderful stop for those looking for West Virginia attractions or a place to stay for a few days.
The city itself has major history, most famously for John Brown’s Raid. This event happened in 1859 when abolitionist John Brown attempted to start a revolt in the South. Since then, the town has become closely associated with Civil War history.
The city also sits near the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. This features a piece of the Appalachian Trail and many outdoor recreational activities available, including:
- Whitewater rafting
- Rock Climbing
This is all within 500 miles of Washington, D.C.,
10. The Mountain State Forest Festival
- Located in: Elkins, West Virginia
West Virginia has plenty of fairs and festivals throughout the year, but one of the most famous of these is the Mountain State Forest Festival. This nine-day event began in the 1930s to celebrate the beauty of the changing fall leaves in October.
The Mountain State Forest Festival features a variety of traditions, including lumberjack competitions, juried art exhibits, an extensive parade with forest festival royalty, a coronation, and more.
11. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
- Located in: Weston, West Virginia
This one-time psychiatric hospital operated from 1864 until 1994 and is the second biggest hand-cut sandstone building in the world, barely beat by the Moscow Kremlin.
This West Virginia attraction has been designated as a national landmark and, more importantly to some, has supposedly been the subject of hauntings for centuries.
The former hospital is often featured on podcasts and paranormal television shows. Visitors are now welcome to join in on historical tours during the day, or paranormal tours at night.
12. Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold
- Located in: New Vrindavan, West Virginia
The Palace of Gold was originally created to be the home of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness’s founder acharya.
After his death, construction continued, and the palace opened in 1979, built by untrained volunteers. Since then, journals like The New York Times and Life magazine have written about its beauty and popularity.
13. Braxton County Flatwoods Monster Chairs
- Located in: Flatwoods, West Virginia
West Virginia has plenty of monster folklore, and the Flatwoods Monster is one of the more popular creatures that supposedly roam the mountains. The creature was first sported in the 1950s in Braxton County, and many have claimed to see the ten feet tall, green monster since.
The Flatwoods Monster has been embraced by locals, affectionately calling him “Braxie.” The town of Flatwoods has since erected a sign welcoming visitors to the home of the green monster, and The Flatwoods Monster Museum is devoted to the legend.
But perhaps most impressively of all is the series of five chairs spread throughout the county.
Each of these chairs, which is shaped to look like the Flatwoods Monster, stands at various landmarks and attractions around the county. Those who get a photo with all five chairs are given a “Free Braxie” sticker.
14. The Cass Scenic Railroad
- Located in: Cass, West Virginia
The Cass Scenic Railroad operates on the same line since 1901 and with the original style locomotives that were popular then.
Visitors can take round trips to various scenic West Virginia locations, including Bald Knob and Whittaker, on these classic trains. Many of the trips are family-friendly. Depending on the length of the train ride, they may also offer lunch on the train.
15. West Virginia Mine Wars Museum
- Located in: Matewan, West Virginia
West Virginia was one of the main players in the union wars of the early 20th century, with several battles taking place throughout the bottom part of the state, including the infamous Battle of Blair Mountain and the Matewan Massacre.
Located in Matewan is the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, which provides a history of the attempts to unionize coal workers during this bloody time in working history. The museum is a part of Appalachian history and has curated the largest exhibition of Mine Wars history in the world.
16. World’s Largest Teapot
- Located in: Chester, West Virginia
Twelve feet high and 44 feet wide, this building was originally a root beer stand in the shape of a barrel. The building was converted into a teapot in the 1930s to represent the pottery business at the time.
For a while, individuals sold pottery from within the teapot. While the teapot has since closed for business, you can still visit this roadside tourist attraction from days long ago.
17. The Town of Thurmond, West Virginia
- Located in: Thurmond, West Virginia
Thurmond, West Virginia, is a bonafide ghost town. Once a booming coal town, according to the 2020 census, the population is now just five people. Visiting this small town allows you to step into the past of the industrial revolution.
18. Grave Creek Mound
- Located in: Moundsville, West Virginia
The Grave Creek Mound is the largest of the Adena Burial mounds. Build sometime between 250 and 150 B.C., this mound stands at 62 feet high and 240 feet in diameter.
Members of the Adena culture, a Pre-Columbian Native American Culture, may have moved 60,000 tons of dirt to create it.
This is also the location where the Grave Creek Stone was found. This stone has caused much controversy since its discovery in the 1800s, as it is considered possible evidence of a primitive alphabet, but others believe it may be a fraud.
19. George Washington’s Bathtub
- Located in: Berkeley Springs
Long before George Washington was the nation’s first president, he was a surveyor’s assistant that frequently visited the warm, consistently 72 degrees West Virginian springs.
He eventually bought and held property there for the rest of his life. At the time, the baths were made from hollowed-out trenches.
Berkey Springs now has a small plaque dedicated to that time that Washington spent in their town. If you are looking for some fun history and a hike, you can certainly find it in the Berkeley Springs State Park.
20. The Mother’s Day Shrine
- Located in: Grafton, West Virginia
If you are traveling through the state with your mom, the home of Mother’s Day founder, Anna Jarvis, should be on your list of places to stop. The shrine is located in Downtown Grafton – and while you are there, you can enjoy Tygart Lake or take a look at the infamous Grafton Monster.
21. Carter G. Woodson Memorial statue
- Located in: Huntington, West Virginia
Carter G. Woodson was an American historian, author, and one of the first scholars to study the history of the African diaspora and African American History.
He has often been referred to as the father of black history, and his work helped create Black History Month. Woodson had worked as a coal miner in West Virginia, eventually becoming the only person with parents who were enslaved and to also have a Ph.D.
He taught at West Virginia State University and has since been honored by the state with a large memorial statue in the town of Huntington.
22. Prickett’s Fort State Park
- Located in: Fairmont, West Virginia
Prickett’s Fort State Park is famous for its reconstructed refuge fort from the 18th century. The park employs museum theater to teach individuals about life in the 18th century, including demonstrations on carpentry, blacksmithing, and spinning.
The best time to visit Prickett’s Fort is December when volunteers put on a Christmas display – complete with the lighting of a tree, 18th-century costumes, and a possible appearance from Belsnickel.
23. West Virginia Botanic Gardens
- Located in: Morgantown, West Virginia
Morgantown, West Virginia, is most famous for being the home of West Virginia University. While this naturally makes it popular for football culture and partying, there is still plenty of natural beauty.
The West Virginia Botanic Gardens are beautiful, well-maintained gardens featuring several trails that will allow you to safely appreciate West Virginia’s natural beauty.
This location is free, dog-friendly, and relatively easy for kids ages six and up, making it a great West Virginia attraction for the entire family.
24. Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo
- Located in: Kingwood, West Virginia
Also known as the West Virginia Zoo (and to locals, simply Hovatter’s), this seasonal operation is open from April to October. They have a wide variety of animals available to visit, including:
- African lions
- American alligators
- Grizzly bears
- And more
25. The Tammerak
- Located in: Beckley, West Virginia
The Tammerak is a showcasing of crafts and art from around the state, highlighting Appalachian tradition. This location is a regional showcase that includes wood, glass, textile arts, pottery, jewelry, and specialty food items. Five resident artists do craft demonstrations throughout the year.
26. Blenko Glass
- Located in: Milton, West Virginia
West Virginia once had a thriving glassmaking industry. While many of these companies eventually had to shut down, there is still a small but dedicated group of artisans that continue to create works of art from the silica sand native to the mountains.
Blenko Glass is one of the surviving companies. This family-owned and operated company is famous for its vivid, bold colors and playful shapes, making it popular with collectors. The company now has a two-story gift shop where visitors can purchase glass and learn about the history of this fading art.
- Located in: Helvetia, West Virginia
Helvetia, West Virginia, was a village settled in the mid-1800s by Swiss and German immigrants. This location in Randolph County was extremely secluded, with less than 100 people living and working in the town when it was originally formed.
Because of this isolation, Helvetia has maintained many traditional events and festivals that have faded out in the rest of the country.
The most famous of these is Fasnacht, which is celebrated just before fat Tuesday with a masquerade ball and traditional music as visitors work to scare off Old Man Winter.
The town also hosts a popular ramp dinner each year, which celebrates the wild ramp onion that grows within the hills of West Virginia.
Things to Consider
One important thing if you’re traveling through West Virginia is that much of the state still lacks cell service, so you can’t rely on a cell phone map to get to and from these attractions.
Make sure to bring along a physical map book or print out directions beforehand if you’re going to visit some of these more remote locations.
Another essential thing to consider is the strenuousness of these attractions – especially the outdoor hikes.
While many of these hikes are accessible to most, not everyone will have the capacity to complete these outdoor adventures. Make sure to always bring water with you and let someone know where you’re going.
Finally, keep in mind that West Virginia cares about littering — a lot. You can get fined up to $2,000 for littering outside. Make sure to keep a small plastic bag on you for your adventures, so you don’t get caught with a fine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about West Virginia attractions:
What is the #1 attraction in West Virginia?
The number one attraction in West Virginia is probably the New River Gorge Park. The bridge itself is featured on the back of the state quarter, and the park offers something for every kind of outdoor lover.
What is the prettiest place in West Virginia?
There are many beautiful locations in West Virginia, but the single most scenic view is likely Lindy Point within Blackwater Falls State Park. This scenic overlook is beautiful any time of the year and sits high enough in the atmosphere that on a clear night, it’s the perfect spot for stargazing.
What do people do in West Virginia for fun?
Many people in West Virginia take advantage of the local beauty and spend their free time hiking, cave diving, rock climbing, or camping throughout the state. Popular hotspots also include the cities of Morgantown and Huntington.
What is West Virginia best known for?
West Virginia is famous for its mountains. Because of this, a large culture has become dedicated to outdoor activities.
What is West Virginia’s most famous food?
West Virginia’s most famous food is the pepperoni rolls, which were created so that minors could bring their lunches into the coal mines. Made of bread, pepperoni, and cheese, this has become a popular meal among locals.
West Virginia Attractions: Final Thoughts
The best attraction in West Virginia depends on what you’re looking for. However, it’s no question that the most popular West Virginia attractions are the many state parks and scenic trails that run through the state. These locations are unlike any other in the world.