Driving I-79? Stop here.
I-79 truly gives travelers a little taste of about everything that makes West Virginia great: mountains, rivers, cities, historical sites, restaurants and more.
Whether you’re exploring or just passing through, here are some of the best stops to consider on your next trip up (or down) I-79:
1. Coonskin Park
Just about 10 minutes outside Charleston, Coonskin Park is one of West Virginia’s largest municipal parks. Depending on the time of year, you can birdwatch, hike, bike, golf (both regular AND disc golf!), swim and more. In the summer you might catch an outdoor concert or soccer game, and in the winter don’t miss the holiday light display.
One of West Virginia’s quaintest little towns is just a couple minutes off I-79. Situated along the Elk River just below a reservoir and wildlife management area, Sutton’s historic downtown has beautiful houses along a brick-lined mainstreet.
Catch a movie at the town’s restored Elk Theatre and coffee shop, and definitely don’t miss dinner at Cafe Cimino Country Inn, one of West Virginia’s finest restaurants and B&Bs with a world-renowned chef.
3. Prickett’s Fort State Park
This reconstruction of a 1774 Revolution-era fort transports visitors back in time to the frontier, where backcountry settlers sometimes had to huddle behind its walls for protection from Native American raids.
Today, the state park is a center for living history in West Virginia. You can wander around the grounds and cabins within its 100-foot-square walls and watch as colonial re-enactors weave, spin, blacksmith and more.
4. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
For a dose of eerie West Virginia history, it doesn’t get more interesting than the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. From the mid-1800s until 1994, this sprawling hospital complex housed up to 2,400 mentally ill patients at a time.
You’ll need a few hours to take it all in– it’s the second-largest hand-cut stone masonry building in the world after the Kremlin! The Asylum has both historical heritage tours and spooky paranormal “ghost” tours.
5. Mountain State Brewing Company
Pull into Morgantown, the hip, happening home of West Virginia University. If you just want to relax with some great food and unique brews, check out the Mountain State Brewing Co. Mountain State is one of West Virginia’s oldest microbreweries, and although their main operations are in Thomas, they’ve got a great restaurant and pub in Morgantown. It’s the perfect end to a Mountain State road trip!
This post was last updated on October 18, 2017