History and Nature Combine Along This Riverside Drive

This stretch of rolling, riverside scenery is the true gateway to the northernmost region of West Virginia. Following the Ohio River south, you’ll be met with plenty of family-friendly activities, amusing roadside attractions, local eateries, and countless new memories—all of which will give your family just a taste of what the Mountain State has to offer. 

Two horseback riders riding through white fenced grassy area

Oglebay Resort

In the Northern Panhandle, not far from downtown Wheeling, you’ll find one of the greatest family retreats. Oglebay Resort not only offers a stunning lodge and adorable cottages, but you and your family can horseback ride, minigolf, complete a ropes course, even visit the on-site zoo. With over 2,000 acres of recreational activities and picturesque natural beauty, it’s understandable why families vacation here year-round.

Wheeling Suspension Bridge

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is a magnificent piece of architecture and design. Crossing the Ohio River, the bridge connects Wheeling Island with the rest of the state, and was deemed a National Historic Landmark in 1975 due to its significance in connecting West Virginia with the expansion of the Wild West. You can no longer drive across the bridge, but you can park nearby and walk from end to end. Crossing the bridge on a clear, sunny day offers both dazzling views of the river and downtown Wheeling.

Inside the West Virginia Independence Hall with tall golden pillars and decorated ceilings, surrounded by rows of seats

West Virginia Independence Hall

You can’t make a trip to Wheeling and miss West Virginia’s birthplace. West Virginia Independence Hall has stood in the same place on Market Street since 1859, and is believed to be the location where the state was first established and created. Over the years, the building has been beautifully restored to its original glory, and now offers free museum tours and historical exhibitions.

Blonde woman with glasses sitting in a restaurant smiling and laughing at a man

Coleman’s Fish Market

Located in Wheeling’s Centre Market, beneath a bright blue neon sign, Coleman’s Fish Market has been serving up delicious seafood for over 100 years. A favorite among locals, Coleman’s gets a large shipment of fresh fish three times a week. And while many residents come here to buy fish from their market, no one can pass up the chance to order the infamous fish sandwich, which consists of two massive pieces of fried North Atlantic pollack tucked between two slices of fluffy white bread.

Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum

Educational and interactive, the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum is enjoyable for visitors of all ages. Inside, you’ll find cases of toys, all organized by time period, including some from the early 1900s. And one of the best parts (besides the friendly, bow-tie wearing cat named Loo)? You can play with practically everything. There are classic pinball machines, electric train sets and elaborate race car tracks. And while a toy museum might sound like a dream come true for kids, parents will also find themselves reminiscing on some treasured childhood memories.

Close up of World's Largest Teapot Chester WV, bright white teapot with red writing
Photo by Alexandra Charitan

World’s Largest Teapot

Just over the border between Ohio and West Virginia, in the dreamy riverside town of Chester, sits the world’s largest teapot. Measuring 14 feet tall and 14 feet wide, the Chester Teapot sits on a beautifully manicured lawn along Highway 30, and is the ideal place to snap a fun, family photo. While you’re there, stop by neighboring EJ’s Family Restaurant for a quick bite and a slice of homemade pie to-go.

A zipline over a forested valley with houses and buildings in the distance

Grand Vue Park

Way more than just your average county park, the Grand Vue Park is packed with adventure. You and your family can choose between an afternoon of ziplining, rock climbing or geocaching (or a combination of all three). And if you decide to spend the night, Grand Vue Park offers a variety of accommodations, including the exclusive and luxurious Treetop Villas. In these villas, you can sleep among the trees, relax in your own personal outdoor hot tub and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding Ohio Valley.

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This post was last updated on February 23, 2022