These WV destinations get named to best lists All. The. Time.
West Virginia stacks up national and international recognition for its small-town charm, wild beauty and adventure. But there are a few spots in these mountains that get a LOT of that attention.
Want to be a real seasoned West Virginia traveler? Get started with these “best of the best of” destinations!
1. Endless Wall Trail (New River Gorge National River)
In 2015, USA Today sought out America’s most-loved hike in a national park. There was some tough competition, but the New River Gorge’s 2.4-mile Endless Wall Trail stole the show.
The sheer views as the trail traipses along the tops of 120-foot cliffs, which cap a 1,000-foot deep river gorge, all within a beautiful Appalachian forest setting— it’s breathtaking. And it gives you a perfect view of the Mountain State’s iconic bridge.
Local tip: If you want a bit more adventure, try the “Cave Hike” at the end. 3 sets of ladders descend beneath the cliffs, and give you an entirely different perspective of this Endless Wall.
2. Pepperoni rolls at Country Club Bakery (Fairmont)
About every state in the U.S. has a food that it’s just inseparably tied to. Without a doubt, West Virginia’s signature food is the pepperoni roll— a fairly simple treat of a warm white flour roll wrapped around a few pepperoni sticks, sometimes with mozzarella cheese.
3. Secret Sandwich Society (Fayetteville)
The Secret Sandwich Society’s hand-patted burgers, homemade sauces and unique condiments (like bacon jam and pimento cheese) boost their burgers and sandwiches onto “best of” lists all the time. Everything there is house-made, down to the ketchup and chips.
Any of their burgers are excellent, but if we had to choose one, it might be the General– a no-frills burger with homemade 1000 Island dressing and pickles.
4. Tamarack (Beckley)
Okay, this was an easy pick as most distinct and most unique shopping destination in the Mountain State. Tamarack even calls itself “The Best of West Virginia!” It’s a conference center, a restaurant, a music venue and place of education, but the biggest draw at Tamarack is its amazing line-up of West Virginia-made arts and crafts.
Wander around the circular layout of the complex, and get lost among the pottery, woodwork, paintings, furniture and more. If you want a truly unforgettable souvenir, no matter how big or small, this is the place to find it.
5. The Greenbrier: America’s Resort (White Sulphur Springs)
Perhaps the biggest and most luxurious of all West Virginia’s resorts is the renowned The Greenbrier.
Walk around the grounds or the stately ballrooms, and you’ll be blown away by its sheer historical elegance. Dating back to 1778, it attracted at least 5 pre-Civil War presidents, as well as Rockefellers, Hollywood stars and golf legend Jack Nicklaus, who designed one of the resort’s courses.
6. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston)
But it’s pretty clear, if you want to experience the scariest of West Virginia, check out the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston. In the 1950s, it was one of the largest asylums in the eastern U.S., housing thousands of patients and an equal number of horrifying stories. To get the full experience of history and culture here, take a tour around Halloween.
7. “The Coolest Small Town in America”
Obviously, the laid-back rural Appalachian vibe of West Virginia gives us a lot of cool small towns. But which one is the truly “coolest”?
With other “bests ofs” like Secret Sandwich Society and the New River Gorge right there, Fayetteville’s got it going on. This is why it got named a “Coolest Small Town” in 2006 by Budget Travel magazine.
But wait, we’ve got another contender! In 2011, Budget Travel also gave the “Coolest Small Town” honor to Lewisburg, not even 2 hours from Fayetteville. It goes to show you just how much character this region has!
It comes down to what you’re looking for: Lewisburg centers more around arts, while Fayetteville is an outdoorsy town. But both towns have a little bit of it all, plus top-notch foodie scenes. Good thing they’re close enough to check out both!
This post was last updated on October 18, 2017