7 Days, 7 Ways to Celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week
May 5-11, 2019 is National Travel and Tourism Week—an occasion established by congressional resolution 35 years ago to celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel industry.
Here in West Virginia, where the tourism industry supports 45,000 jobs, travelers contribute more than $4 billion a year to the state’s economy. Our hardworking and dedicated tourism partners are happy to help you plan your next getaway. Here are seven ways you can celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week here in Almost Heaven West Virginia:
- Whitewater Rafting
West Virginia’s whitewater rivers offer thrilling adventure for all levels of expertise, from beginner to seasoned veteran. Spring is peak season on the Cheat River, when spring rains and snow melt combine to make roaring Class V waves through the beautiful and remote Cheat Canyon. The New River Gorge offers stunning scenery paired with some of the best rafting in the east, from the rippling shoals and gentle rapids of the Upper New to the exhilarating Class IV whitewater of the Lower New. River Riders offers guided raft trips and tubing trips on the Potomac and Shenandoah, where playful waves guide you past historic Harpers Ferry.
Fire up your ATV and head out for a run on the Hatfield-McCoy Trails. The trail system covers hundreds of miles throughout six counties in Southern West Virginia. Community connecting trails allow visitors to access ATV-friendly “trail towns” where you can dine and stay overnight. In Raleigh County, Burning Rock Off-Road Park offers over 100 miles of trails of varying terrain and skill level. Bring the whole family out and camp out or stay in a rustic cabin at the park.
- History & Heritage
Learn about 18th century towns and 19th century industrial sites that became part of the Washington Heritage Trail that loops through the Eastern Panhandle. In Southern West Virginia, the National Coal Heritage Area includes sites that played important roles in the state’s coal mining history, including the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, Blair Mountain, Heritage Farm Village and Historic Bramwell. Take a guided tour of historic and reportedly haunted sites at the West Virginia Penitentiary and Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
There’s no shortage of award-winning locally owned restaurants in West Virginia, from casual and fun places like Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage to the elegant fine dining at Laury’s Restaurant in Charleston. You’ll also find a wide range of ethnic offerings from the Middle Eastern fare of Chams Lebanese Cuisine in Parkersburg to the Jamaican fusion of Wah Gwaan Diner in White Sulphur Springs. Visit the heart of Pepperoni Roll Country and enjoy a traditional family dinner at Muriale’s Italian Kitchen. For more suggestions, check out West Virginia’s 101 Unique Places to Dine, a “people’s choice” list of favorite local eateries throughout the Mountain State.
- Arts & Culture
Take in a show! The crown jewel of West Virginia, “Mountain Stage” radio show broadcasts from the Culture Center at the State Capitol Complex. Each two-hour show, which is distributed worldwide on National Public Radio, features an eclectic mix of music from regional to international talent. You can find more great music as well as local theater productions and independent films at venues along the Mountain Music Trail and the Historic Theater Trail. Have a birthday or a special occasion coming up? Shop for West Virginia-made arts, crafts and food products at Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia at the Beckley Travel Plaza.
West Virginia State Forests are open to hunting during both small and big game seasons, and most parks and forests are near lakes or rivers teeming with trout, bass, and other popular species of fish. Both rental cabins and campgrounds are available at Cabwaylingo, Greenbrier, Kumbrabow and Seneca state forests, and camping is available at other state forests. If you’re looking for a remote getaway, West Virginia Wildlife Management Areas offer a great diversity of game as well as primitive camping in some areas. Enjoy modern amenities and resort lodging at favorite fishing lakes like Stonewall Jackson Lake and Cheat Lake.
You don’t have to drive far in West Virginia to get away from it all and hear a little bit of local music. Explore live music venues or hit up the Mountain Music Trail to get a feel for Appalachian music. From local bands to events like Mountain Stage, West Virginia is full of musical talents.
For more help with your trip planning, contact our Call Center at 800-CALL-WVA.
This post was last updated on July 31, 2020