Your Budget Friendly Guide to West Virginia

Planning a fun vacation or day trip doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of activities that you can find all across the state without having to spend an arm and a leg. Here are ten budget-friendly trip inspirations that won’t break the bank.

Take a step back in time at a museum — $0-$17

Trek the pre-historic coal forest into early western settlement and present-day wonders at the West Virginia State Museum. This West Virginia staple takes you through special exhibits that illustrate the pivotal moments in West Virginia’s cultural, industrial and natural history. If you’re in the Huntington area, see what it’s like to step foot in a 19th-century Appalachian Village at the Heritage Farm Museum and Village. This quaint farm is home to over 15 log structures and features an artisan center, blacksmith shop, log church, petting zoo and more.

Go waterfall chasing — $0

Tucked away in the mountains of West Virginia lie a plethora of waterfalls across the state waiting to be explored— for free! The new West Virginia Waterfall Trail is the perfect way to find well known falls such as Blackwater Falls and Sandstone Falls, but also features hidden gems such as Drawdy Falls in Boone County and Dunloup Falls in the town of Thurmond. Nothing quite beats a waterfall view!

Many of West Virginia’s mountain towns are bursting with a unique, diverse arts scene. The Tamarack’s Fine Art Gallery is a must when you are passing through Beckley and represents over 500 juried West Virginian artists. To keep things fresh, the gallery changes exhibitions every few weeks— so there’s always something new to check out.

Enjoy cheap eats and drinks — $5-$25

Local restaurants can offer some of the best tasting homemade food all for a low price! Grab a burrito with a twist at Black Bear Burritos in Morgantown, or delight in an old fashioned gooseneck soda fountain at The Corner Shop in Bramwell. Tasting rooms such as the ones at Swilled Dog Hard Cider or Kirkwood Winery make for a great budget-friendly outing. 

Peruse local goods at a farmers market — $0

From fresh food to handcrafted goods, nothing beats looking through the aisles and stalls of a farmers market. Orr’s Farm Market in Martinsburg has everything you need, including seasonal activities like apple picking and hot cocoa stands. Shepherdstown Farmers Market has been operating for over 20 years and the Morgantown Farmers Market was recently named one of the “Best Farmers Markets in the South” by Southern Living. Marketplaces such as Capitol Market in Charlestown are a great place to stop for local vendors and produce alike. Flying into the capitol city is easier than ever now, with Breeze Airways flights into the West Virginia International Yeager Airport.

Hike our national parks, forests and state parks — $0

Home to America’s newest national park, 35 state parks, nine state forests and three rail trails, West Virginia offers endless recreation and outdoor possibilities across all nine regions. With something to do for every season, each park and forest provides a unique experience that will leave you wanting more.

Take a dip in a swimming hole — $0

With an abundance of both mountains and rivers, WV is a prime location for refreshing swimming holes. After visiting some of the surrounding hiking trails, Glade Creek in New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is the place to beat the heat and listen to the sounds of waterfalls. Audra State Park offers several popular swimming spots too. However, if you’re looking for something more remote, the rocky cliffs of Shupe’s Chute in Webster County, or the 15- foot cascade of Wonder Falls in Preston County are the place to go.

Smell the flowers at a park or arboretum — $0

Surround yourself with trees as you walk through the trails of the WVU Core Arboretum, or explore fairy gardens and the flora and fauna of the West Virginia Botanical Garden. For something more grand, admire the breathtaking beauty and vibrant colors of tulips, pansies, daffodils and more at the Bissonnette Gardens in Wheeling. This beautiful garden displays more than 30 flower beds, dozens of colorful hanging baskets and multiple fountains.

Walk across picturesque covered bridges — $0

There’s something about walking or driving over a covered bridge, and it’s no wonder they are one of the state’s most photographed landmarks. The Mountain State has 17 covered bridges dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century. Philippi Covered Bridge was built in 1852 and is the state’s oldest and longest covered bridge. It’s also the site of the first land battle of the Civil War. Other bridges, such as Fish Creek and Center Point, display scenic landscapes in an old time atmosphere.

Head underground — $0-$22

Explore new depths and see what adventures lie right below the surface. One hundred and twenty feet underground at Lost World Caverns lie a whole world ready to be discovered. Unique formations, history and natural beauty await at Seneca Caverns and Smoke Hole Caverns. For something more adventurous, hop in a mine cart and take a trip through what was once an operating coal mine at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.

Ready to continue planning your getaway to West Virginia? Find endless trip ideas and inspiration in your very own FREE copy of the new West Virginia Vacation Guide.

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This post was last updated on January 18, 2024