West Virginia is a state that defies easy categorization. Its proximity to the midwest, northeast and south means that it contains a bit of all three geographic regions, a location prized for its beautiful mountains, rushing rivers and mighty trees. If you plan to visit the Mountain State, the following are among its chief vacation destinations.
Charleston, Capital City
The capital and largest city in West Virginia is Charleston, home to just over 50,000 residents. That relatively small number underscores the rural feel of the Mountain State. Indeed, the state has several population centers, but its undeveloped areas continue to hold sway.
Although small in population, Charleston’s metropolitan area is five times the city’s size. A visit to the city usually includes a stop at the capitol building with other stops at the state museum, the cultural center, and the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences. Charleston is also home to the Coonskin Park Golf Course, the West Virginia Veterans Memorial and Mountain Stage, the latter featuring live broadcasts along the lines of Prairie Home Companion.
Morgantown, Home of WVU
Home to West Virginia University, Morgantown is largely defined by its university. Indeed, its population of nearly 30,000 permanent residents nearly doubles during the academic year by an equal number of students. And when the Mountaineers have a home football or basketball game, the city swells further to cheer on the state’s team.
Besides visits to Mountaineer Field and WVU Coliseum, a stop at the Earl L. Core Arboretum is in order. Other places of interest include the state botanical garden, the Museum of Geology and Natural History, and local golf courses.
Huntington, Western Reserve
With nearly 50,000 residents, Huntington is a close second to Charleston for largest city honors. Its metropolitan area is larger than the capital district, covering seven counties in three states.
Huntington is home to Marshall University, a public research university. The Thundering Herd entertain gridiron fans each fall. The city boasts a number of attractions including the Huntington Museum of Art, the Heritage Farm Museum and Village and the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center. The Museum of Radio and Technology is also located there and the area enjoys a number of outdoor wonders including Beech Fork Lake and Camden Park.
Snowshoe, Winter Paradise
Skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers will find that West Virginia provides plenty of action throughout the winter months. The state boasts a number of resorts including Canaan Valley, Timberline, Winterplace, Oglebay and Snoweshoe Mountain.
Snowshoe is head and shoulders above them all, a 251-acre skiable resort with 57 trails and three ski areas. Average snowfall is a whopping 180 inches, underscoring the significance of this treasured resort. Nevertheless, snowmaking ensures that not a patch of grass is ever seen all winter long.
In the summer, Snowshoe offers golf at the Raven Golf Club and has a mountain bike park, chairlift rides, horseback rides, Segway rentals, pedal boats and other activities available. Nearby camping makes Snowshoe a truly wonderful place to visit year ‘round.
West Virginia Vacation Ideas
Your trip to West Virginia can take you all across the state. From Charleston to Morgantown and across to Huntington and up to Wheeling means there is always something to see and do. Plan your next visit to enjoy all that the Mountain State has to offer.
See Also — North Carolina Places to Visit