Experience The New River Gorge From These Gateway Towns
More than just gateways to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, these neighboring mountain towns are must adds to your travel plans when visiting one of the best national parks in the USA. From stellar shopping and delicious dinning to stunning vista views and outrageous outdoor adventure, these locations are sure to leave a lasting impression on each and every guest.
Home to the New River Gorge Bridge, Fayetteville is full of small-town charm and tasty spots. Find comfort-food staples with a twist, like the pizzas topped with grilled street corn, at the original location of Pies & Pints. Try a totally unique dining experience at Cathedral Cafe, housed in a remodeled church building. Cathedral Café operates under the practice of doing good for the most people, serving fair-trade coffee and using locally grown ingredients when possible. Also be sure to make time to browse the town’s eclectic boutiques—Lost Appalachia Trading Company specializes in regional retail—or take home a bit of history from the New River Antique Mall.
Turn-of-the-century architecture and a railroad legacy define the town of Hinton, which can be found at the southern end of the park. Chug into the Hinton Depot, built in 1905 and still operational three days a week when Amtrak’s Cardinal train pulls in from Washington, D.C. Explore a variety of locally owned shops and restaurants in the 24-block nationally registered historic district like Otter and Oak, an upscale boutique with local wares. A stay at The Guest House Inn on Courthouse Square places you right at the heart of the town, with bed-and-breakfast accommodations in restored vintage homes. Swing by the Ritz Theatre for movies, plays and live music. For some extra excitement, time your trip for the annual Hinton Railroad Days festival that takes place in October.
Just northeast of the park lies the charming town of Oak Hill. This special spot is definitely the go-to for adventure seekers. And for those longing for a serene experience, the woodland scenery is abundant in this hamlet. Extend your visit to an overnight stay at ACE Adventure Resort. This spot specializes in water-based fun, including a waterpark right on the lake and whitewater rafting tours. Other adventurous experiences include zip lining, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking and more. The resort is made complete with on-site dining options.
A town found in the southern part of the state, Beckley is known as a major shopping and entertainment destination. Stop by the Tamarack for a perfect blend of both. Here you can shop a variety of West Virginia-made art, high-end Appalachian furniture, local history books, unique pottery and more. Then try authentic regional food, take an art class, catch a concert or enjoy an evening dinner theater production-all in the same hub. To enjoy the arts al fresco, experience Theatre West Virginia just outside of town. Bordering the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, this outdoor theater puts on plays and musical acts all summer long. Dig into the area’s history at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, where you can take a guided tour of a formerly operating underground mine.
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This post was last updated on March 6, 2023