Here’s where to find full-on Southern hospitality & charm— on a hostel budget

In West Virginia, you can get pretty darn cozy on a light budget.

The state already has a lower cost of living— and therefore lower cost of travel— but the hostels take value to a whole ‘nother level. You really can’t find a place in West Virginia that doesn’t have all the country charm and hospitality we’re known for, even the budget options.

If you don’t know what a hostel is, it’s a cozy boarding house with a communal bathroom, lounge and usually a kitchen. You rent by the bed, which can be either bunk-style in a shared room with several other guests, or in private rooms.

As we say here in the mountains, “rubbing elbows is good medicine.” Sharing some space creates a sense of community, so don’t be surprised if you meet a kindred spirit to explore with.

1. River Rock Retreat & Hostel

New River Gorge
Bunk options: shared rooms. Linens provided.

River Rock Retreat and Hostel in Lansing is right on the edge of the New River Gorgethe adventure central of the East Coast.

A short ¼ mile walk gets you to popular trails like Fern Creek, Diamond Point, Nuttall, and Endless Wall. Head right across the street to a whitewater rafting outfitter to set out on the world-class New or Gauley Rivers.

River Rock Retreat has all the comforts of home at less than $25 per person per night. Expect a comfortable bed, fresh sheets, a light blanket, and pillow. There’s a communal living space upstairs with bedrooms on the floor below. Glass doors open up for an expansive view of the countryside. Stop by the newly revamped Lansing General Store across the street to stock up on supplies before a day out in nature.

WV towns you'll need several days to explore

2. Purple Fiddle or Fiddler’s Roost Guest House

Bunk options: shared rooms, private rooms. Linens & towels provided.

The legendary Purple Fiddle in Thomas is known for its live music, fresh deli-style fixings and cold brews, all in a laid-back family-welcoming atmosphere. But it’s also got its own set of lodging options (which comes in handy after a night of dancing!)

If you crash at the Purple Fiddle Hostel, you might end up staying in the same place as the band! The hostel is on the 2nd and 3rd floors above the music venue, and quiet hours don’t start until 3 a.m. There is a full kitchen, 2 sitting rooms, 2 shared bathrooms and a pool table.

Fiddler’s Roost Guesthouse is next door to the Purple Fiddle, and its private rooms are a touch more expensive, but you get more seclusion and quiet. Every room has wi-fi and a television with VHS tapes galore. There’s a fridge and 3 shared bathrooms, but you can also pop over to the hostel’s kitchen to cook your meals or socialize in the common areas.

3. The Elk Hostel

Bunk options: 
rooms available. Linens provided.

The Elk Hotel, now the Elk Hostel in Sutton. The Elk Hotel opened its doors in 1894 and has been in the center of downtown commerce since.

There’s convenient parking on-site, and from the hostel, you can easily access the Jeremiah Carpenter Mountain Bike Trail, Sutton Lake, and the Elk River Wildlife Management Area. Grab a meal at one of the of the state’s finest restaurants, Café Cimino Country Inn— only a few minutes from the hostel.

Craft beer, WV

4. Brewstel

Bunk options: shared rooms. Linens provided.

Brewstel in Elkins is a brew shop/hostel hybrid in a historic downtown building that was renovated using sustainable reclaim and reuse principles.

The 1st floor is the craft beer brewing and supply store and tavern with 21 beers on tap. The hostel is on the 2nd floor, and has 2 communal bunk rooms, each with 6 bunks, 6 lockers, 2 private showers and restrooms. Book a bed in the barn-wood Cabin Room for that rustic wooden cabin feel, or try the Caboose Room, painted red and black like an 1800s sleeper train car.

If it’s nice outside, hang out on the rooftop deck and garden to see how the hostel is maximizing use of all its space. The garden helps reduce urban thermal pollution by growing produce for local restaurants.

5. Teahorse Hostel

Harpers Ferry
Bunk options: Shared rooms, private rooms. Linens and towels provided.

In the Eastern Panhandle, try the Teahorse Hostel in Harpers Ferry. Whether you plan to hike on the Appalachian Trail, cycle on the C&O Canal, or just want explore this historic town, the hostel is only a mile from the train station, so it’s easy to get to. Teahorse has a fully equipped kitchen, laundry service, central air and heat, a common area with board games, and free wi-fi. Start each day in Harpers Ferry with a hearty breakfast of waffles, fruit, juice, and coffee on their outside patio.

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This post was last updated on March 16, 2022