27 Truly Unique West Virginia Experiences
While many folks travel the globe to check off their bucket list items, even more come to West Virginia to have the experiences of a lifetime.
You can check off your bucket list with the backdrop of the spectacular Appalachian Mountains and the friendly hospitable folks who call Wild and Wonderful home. Dream vacations, extreme thrills, athletic endeavors, romantic trips— it’s all here on these country roads.
1. Climb the Via Ferrata
This unique adventure is not for those who are scared of heights. The Via Ferrata at NROCKS offers more than 1 mile of fixed-anchor guided climbing with more than 1,000 feet of elevation gain, 285 feet of exposure and a 220-foot-long suspension bridge that’s 150 feet high.
2. Walk Across a 900-foot Canyon
Bridge Walk is a must-do bucket list activity for thrill seekers and engineers. You can get an up-close and inside view of the structural marvel that is the single-span steel-arch New River Gorge Bridge, all from the catwalk underneath.
3. Indulge in World-Famous Luxury
Luxurious suites, gourmet food, a casino, world-class golf courses and a mineral spa! The Greenbrier Resort offers 4-star accommodations in the heart of the mountains.
4. Walk on Millionaire Row
Known as the Millionaires Town, Bramwell is rich in history and character. Once a booming coal community, the magnificent mansions remain intact today. If you visit in the fall, you’ll see the hills come alive with the vividly colored leaves. Bramwell has an Oktoberfest along the Millionaire Row on Main Street, featuring great West Virginia craft brews.
5. Ride the Rails
There’s no better way to slow down and take in the sites of the West Virginia mountains than from a train car. You’ll catch glimpses of waterfalls, forests and wildlife, and be able to enjoy the entire landscape.
6. Stomp Grapes through Your Toes
Take part in this age-old harvest time tradition that’s fun for everyone— but only after you’ve tasted all 39 of Kirkwood Winery’s mountain wines!
7. Swim in a Hot Spring
Take it from former visitor George Washington: soaking in hot, natural mineral water at Berkeley Springs will soothe, relax and rejuvenate your body, so you can add more fun and adventures to your bucket list.
8. Rock Climbing
Seneca Rocks offers a wilderness climbing experience for the true adventurer looking for multi-pitch technical routes. You’ll test your strength and endurance as you climb your way to the top.
9. Head Underground in a Mine
Dig deep into our coal culture when you load into a man car and roll along the rails down into the old underground mines, like the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.
10. Tandem BASE Jump off the New River Gorge Bridge
896 feet, 3 seconds of freefall and only 10 spots available each year at Bridge Day.
11. Whitewater Raft on a World Top 10 River
West Virginia has the most exciting and technical whitewater rafting on the planet. With big waves and huge drops, your heart will race as you paddle these wild rivers. The Gauley is the most world-renowned, but it’s only open a few days each year in the fall. The New and Cheat Rivers run all season.
12. Sleep Atop a Fire Tower… Atop a Mountain
With panoramic views of Pocahontas County and the Greenbrier River Valley, you will always remember sleeping in the 53-foot tall Thorny Mountain Fire Tower, on top of an already 3,445 foot-high mountain peak.
13. Yoga on the Canyon Rim
Yogis meet in the New River Gorge every Sunday morning for a dynamic outdoor practice under the forest canopy overlooking the gorge. It’s yoga that restores your body and soothes your soul.
14. Talk to Aliens
Green Bank has the world’s premier astronomical telescope. If there’s life in the galaxy, this is where we’ll discover it.
15. Discover the “Little Bahamas of the East”
Clean, cool water and fresh mountain air make Summersville Lake the perfect spot to explore— especially under the depths. Discover the clearest waters east of the Mississippi.
16. Hot Air Balloon Ride
You’ll float 2,000 feet above the ground and enjoy gorgeous aerial views of the countryside at the Morgantown Hot Air Balloon Festival, a bucket-list must-do for all ages.
17. Learn to Play a Unique Mountain Instrument
The Augusta Heritage Center has week-long immersive workshops in modern and old-time traditions of dance and music throughout the summer.
18. Go Ghost Hunting
You can tour or spend the night at this haunted and creepy former West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, but unlike its former inhabitants, you can check out anytime.
19. Stunt in a World War II Biplane
Dreams become reality at Wild Blue Adventure Company. Enjoy the flight of your life! Choose between a straight and level flight or an acrobatic thrill ride in either the World War II Stearman biplane or the 1941 Piper Cub.
20. Ski or Snowboard a Double Black Diamond
With 57 trails on 256 acres and 1,500 feet of vertical drop, you can warm up on blue runs before you descend the quad-burning 1.5 mile Double Black Diamond Lower Shays Revenge at Snowshoe Mountain.
21. Skydive into the Mountains
Jump out of a perfectly good airplane at 11,000 feet? Yes, please! Nothing beats the rush of skydiving when you fly solo or tandem over the stunning topography of West Virginia.
22. Hike the Appalachian Trail
You can hike on the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia via the footbridge that crosses the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry. While only 4 miles of the Appalachian Trail lie in West Virginia proper, you’ll experience a wide variety of terrain that will prepare you to thru-hike Georgia to Maine.
23. Go Cave Exploring
If you think the scenery above ground in West Virginia is spectacular, wait until you go underground. Delve 120 feet below to the Lost World Caverns trail loop to discover some of the nation’s largest stalactites, or get a little dirty with a wild cave tour.
24. Picnic at a Covered Bridge
Philippi Covered Bridge, the oldest and longest covered bridge in West Virginia, is great for a stroll. Afterward, walk down to the river for a romantic picnic. There are a handful of other scenic bridges to uncover, too.
25. Sleep under the East Coast’s Darkest Skies
Amidst the wind-carved sandstone, grassy meadows and red spruce, the high plateaus of Dolly Sods get you closer to the brilliant shiny stars than any other part of the state, and the sunrise brings the most spectacular views.
26. Harpers Ferry, for the history alone
American history and Civil War buffs will want to put a trip to Harpers Ferry on the top of their bucket list. This historic town was the site of John Brown’s Raid, and features reenactments, museums and living history.
27. Visit the Arctic Tundra
You won’t have to travel back in time or to the Arctic to see what it’s like. The bogs of the Cranberry Glades are very similar to the Arctic Tundra of 10,000 years ago. You can view more than 60 plant species from thousands of years ago in this unique landscape.
How many have you crossed off your bucket list?