Road Trips from Virginia: New River/Greenbrier Valley

The New River/Greenbrier Valley Region is a beautiful, scenic area where upscale luxury meets small-town charm. With ample rock-climbing, whitewater rafting and hiking trail areas, this is a dream destination for anyone looking for top-notch adventure and excitement.

Day 1 – The Greenbrier

Begin your journey in White Sulphur Springs, where you can spend the day pampering yourself at the world-renowned destination: The Greenbrier. Known as “America’s Resort,” this place dates all the way back to 1778 and is a must-visit while in the region. Having catered to some of the nation’s most well-known celebrities and 26 U.S. Presidents, this resort is the epitome of luxury and extravagance. At the resort, you can enjoy some of the finest dining options, peak southern hospitality, relaxing facials and massages at the spa, all while taking magazine-worthy photos of the uniquely stunning décor in each room.

If you’re looking for more active ways to spend your time, you can try your hand at golf, swim in the indoor and outdoor pools, go on a horseback ride, shop, hike and take a tour of the resort as well as the historic government bunker that was completed in 1961. This 112,544 square-foot bunker, built as an emergency Cold War fallout shelter for all 535 members of Congress during the Eisenhower era, lies beneath the West Virginia Wing of this resort.

After enjoying all the resort has to offer, stop by one of the resort’s 20 restaurants, lounges and grills for dinner. Prime 44 West, a steakhouse restaurant that honors NBA legend and West Virginia native, Jerry West, boasts top-quality food with an upscale and modern atmosphere.

Day 2 – Lewisburg

Located just 13 miles from The Greenbrier Resort, the town of Lewisburg is the perfect place to kick off your second day of adventure. Named the “Coolest Small Town in America” by Travel Budget Magazine, this town offers many historic pleasures and entertaining activities.

Stop by Stardust Café for delightful pastries, freshly brewed coffee, wine imported from all around the world and micro-brewed beer. This café uses locally grown and harvested products whenever possible and is the perfect place to stop and spend some time before exploring the rest of the town. Another great place to grab lunch if you’re looking for a heartier bite is The Humble Tomato. This full-service Italian spot featured farm-fresh ingredients and dishes made from scratch daily.

Head to the Lost World Caverns, a series of natural underground caverns that takes you through a 45-minute journey to experience the natural beauty of Appalachia. First discovered in 1942 and deemed a National Natural Landmark in 1973, this is an experience of historic magnificence that you won’t want to miss out on.

The North House Museum, which was built in 1820, has been the Greenbrier Historical Society’s place of operation since 1976. The museum displays both permanent displays and temporary exhibits featuring items from across the Greenbrier Valley and historical artifacts from the Civil War era.

The Lewisburg Carnegie Hall, which was built in 1902, is just one of four Carnegie Halls in the world still used as a performance venue. The hall was once utilized as a college building until its closure in 1972. At this time, it was at high risk of being demolished until a group of locals banded together and made it into what it is today. The hall currently serves as a performance venue, gallery space and an arts education programming center.

For a hearty dinner after a long day, stop by Del Sol Cantina Grill for some authentic Mexican cuisine. With a cozy, laid-back atmosphere, this is the perfect place to kick back with a variety of delicious dishes as the day comes to a close.

Day 3 – New River Gorge National Park & Preserve

Fayetteville, a town known for its amazing food, specialty shopping and outdoor recreation, is a must-visit area in the region.

Before you take on the wild whitewaters, grab breakfast and coffee at Cathedral Cafe, a charming little restaurant that was once a cathedral. Enjoy homemade breakfast sandwiches, pancakes and much more along with your caffeine. Lost Appalachia Trading Co. is the perfect place to shop local West Virginia merch, stickers and its signature FLIKR Fireplace Bundle.

Visit the New River Gorge Park and Preserve, home to one of the oldest rivers on the entire continent. Recognized as a national river since 1978, the New River area is West Virginia’s first-ever national park and the United States’ 63rd one. With this honorable upgrade comes lasting protection for the surrounding environment so that visitors can enjoy the untouched beauty for many years to follow.

In this area, explorers can tap into their adventurous side with whitewater rafting, hiking and biking, or choose to relax in nature by picnicking, camping or simply taking a scenic drive around this tree-covered paradise. While you’re visiting, be sure to snap some photos of the stunning New River Gorge Bridge, a staple of the area since its completion in 1977 and the fourth-longest single-span arch bridge in the world. After stopping by the bridge, make the quick drive to Hawks Nest State Park which is home to some of the most stunning gorge views available.

Plan an epic whitewater rafting trip with a local outfitter leading the way. With guidance from Adventures on the Gorge Resort or ACE Adventure Resort, you can choose from a variety of whitewater routes – some more extreme and some perfect for beginners. In addition to time on the rapids, ACE Adventure also offers mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and waterpark fun.

After all of this adventure, you are sure to be ready for an evening of relaxation. Less than one hour away from the gorge, Pipestem Resort State Park is a fan-favorite for a very good reason. Grab dinner in the Bluestone Dinning Room before checking into a cozy lodge room or one of the resort’s many cabins. If you are looking for even more adventure, check out Pipestem Adventures – offering zip-lining, adventure lake fun, axe throwing and so much more.

Day 4 – Beckley

If you enjoy shopping and entertainment, then Beckley is the town for you. Beckley is just a 30-minute drive from the charming town of Fayetteville, making this an easy destination to add to your roadtrip.

Beckley has many of the staple franchise restaurants as well as local businesses that make you feel right at home. For a sports bar atmosphere with an Italian twist, try Calacino’s Pizzeria & Sports Bar. Guests love ordering their specialty pizzas, calzones, pasta dishes, burgers and pepperoni rolls. For some high-end steaks, sirloins, seafood and more, The Char is the perfect option to meet those standards. Little Sicily is another local favorite for its authentic, Italian cuisine. The Char has specialty pizzas, calzones, strombolis, burgers, pasta entrees, gyros and much more. If you treat yourself right, you won’t leave Beckley on an empty stomach.

Beckley is well-known for the one-of-a-kind shopping plaza Tamarack Marketplace, which is the perfect establishment to shop for local goods. This spot features local art, food, handcrafted goods and so much more. You can also enjoy seasonal outdoor and indoor events such as concerts, glassblowing and art demonstrations.

When you embark on a journey to New River – Greenbrier Valley, both exhilarating outdoor adventure and sweet southern charm will greet you.

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This post was last updated on October 11, 2023