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The Perfect One Week West Virginia Road Trip Itinerary

West Virginia Road Trip Itinerary:

When it involves underrated locations within the United States, I feel the state of West Virginia Road Trip Itinerary undoubtedly matches the invoice.

This little state covers lower than 25,000 sq. miles and has inhabitants simply over 1.7 million. It would not have a serious airport and is usually a pass-through state for folks touring from north to south.

One of the issues I like most about touring is the power to be taught issues on each journey – and typically the most important factor I be taught is what number of underrated locations there are on the market.

(Fun reality: West Virginia was fashioned as a state through the Civil War when it seceded from Virginia and has become a literal border state between the Union and the Confederacy.)

But West Virginia deserves to be greater than only a pass-through state! With several open houses and historical past and outside actions to take pleasure in, West Virginia is a good vacation spot by itself, as my husband Elliot and I not too long ago found on a West Virginia street journey.

The Finest Time of Year For A West Virginia Street Journey:

The beauty of planning a West Virginia street journey is that you do not want a ton of time to get a feel for the state because it’s comparatively small (tenth smallest within the nation, actually).

Unlike another state the place for seven days would possibly solely let you scratch the floor, you actually can see a great deal of West Virginia Road Trip in only a week.

Since this itinerary focuses closely on outside actions, I feel the very best time of yr to go is between May and October.

July and August are normally the busiest months for a journey anyplace throughout the US since youngsters are off college for the summer season, and it is identical in West Virginia.

If you wish to keep away from the worst of the crowds (and the humidity; the West Virginia Road Trip will get very muggy in the summertime), I’d advocate visiting in late spring (mid-May via the primary a part of June) or early fall (mid-September via mid-October).

Any earlier or later within the yr, and you will find that most of the seasonal actions, eating places, and retailers will not be open. (Elliot and I visited within the first half of May, and issues had been simply beginning to open up for the season.)

How To Get To West Virginia:

West Virginia is a land-locked state sandwiched between Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky. It’s a mountainous state, being principally lined by the Appalachian Mountains and the forests these historic mountains are related to.

West Virginia Road Trip doesn’t have any giant airports itself, however, its main cities are within driving distance from hubs like Pittsburgh, PA; Charlotte, NC; and Washington, DC. Elliot and I drove from the place we reside simply outdoors of Cleveland, Ohio, in about 4 hours.

Driving is certainly how I might advocate attending to and around West Virginia Road Trip. Like most locations within the US, it is best explored through the street journey.

You can seek rental vehicles right here in case you want one.

7-Day West Virginia Street Journey Itinerary:

This one-week West Virginia street journey itinerary has you beginning out within the capital metropolis of Charleston and ending in Morgantown, however, you can simply reverse this itinerary or finish again at the place you started since driving distances aren’t too far right here.

I must also word that, whereas this itinerary is predicated on a visit my husband and I deliberate and took ourselves, it definitely would not cowl the whole lot there’s to see and do within the state!

Total driving distance: This journey is roughly 520 miles, case you begin in Charleston and finish in Morgantown.

Day 1: Charleston:

Start your West Virginia journey within the capital metropolis of Charleston, positioned on the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha rivers within the western part of the state. While Charleston is the most important metropolis in West Virginia Road Trip, it feels extra like a small city – and it’s, actually, with inhabitants of simply over 45,000 folks.

Elliot and I drove from our dwelling close to Cleveland, Ohio, on Day 1 of our street journey, arriving in Charleston within the late afternoon. This nonetheless left us a while to move into town middle for a little bit of exploring, which is what I like to recommend doing right this moment.

We began our exploration in Charleston on the West Virginia State Capitol, which is an exquisite gold-domed construction on the Kanawha River that dates again to 1924. Guided excursions of the capitol are supplied most days of the week (reservations required), however even in case you aren’t occurring a tour you possibly can respect the structure and delightful capitol campus.

If you arrive in Charleston earlier within the day, you would possibly wish to go to a neighborhood museum just like the West Virginia State Museum (open Tuesday-Saturday and admission are free!), or the Clay Center, which is dwelling to the Juliet Art Museum, Avampato Discovery Museum, and Caperton Planetarium and Theater.

Be positive to pop into the Capitol Market, too, which is an indoor-outdoor market positioned inside a previous practice station. You can store the whole lot from crops and contemporary produce to wine and West Virginia Road Trip-made presents right here.

Next, head into the downtown historic district for a stroll alongside tree-lined Capitol Street, the place you possibly can cease into native retailers like Taylor Books, and seize dinner at a spot like The Block or Black Sheep.

Elliot and I did not know what to anticipate from Charleston and had been charmed by the historic downtown space.


Total drive time: Our drive time from Cleveland was about 4.5 hours, however when you arrive in Charleston you possibly can discover loads of it on foot.

Where to remain in Charleston: There are a wide array of chain lodges in and around Charleston. For a resort proper downtown, take into account the Courtyard Charleston Downtown/Civic Center. If you do not thoughts staying a bit methods out of the city, the Hampton Inn Charleston – Southridge is the top-rated resort within the metropolis (that is the place Elliot and I stayed).

Day 2: To New River Gorge:

Grab some espresso and a breakfast sandwich from Starlings Coffee & Provisions, and prepare to hit the street right this moment! It’s time to move south to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, the latest nationwide park in the United States.

The drive is a brief one (just a bit over an hour), so there is not any have to rush. Make a cease at Cathedral Falls, a roadside waterfall simply previous to Gauley Bridge.


You might additionally make a detour to Hawk’s Nest State Park, the place the Hawk’s Nest Overlook gives up some beautiful views of the New River.

Your eventual vacation spot is the city of Fayetteville, which payments itself because of the “Coolest Small Town.” It is certainly very cool, with several small native retailers and eating places to take pleasure in.

Grab lunch at the Cathedral Cafe (which, sure, is a restaurant positioned inside a previous church) earlier than heading only a couple of miles down the street into New River Gorge National Park.

To get to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center (one in every of three customer facilities on this 53-mile-long park), you will drive over the long-lasting New River Gorge Bridge, which is the longest single-arch bridge within the western hemisphere.

At the customer middle, you possibly can be taught a bit in regards to the historical past of the world and go to a pair of overlooks with wonderful views of the bridge. (Note that one of many overlooks does require climbing a bunch of stairs.)

After this, you’ve got a pair of different choices of issues to do relying on your pursuits and the way lot you wish to squeeze into the remainder of your afternoon.

I might advocate a brief hike and a drive to spherical out your first day within the New River Gorge.

The drive is the Fayette Station Road, which is a principally one-way street with several hairpins turns that take you down into the gorge, throughout the New River on a small railroad bridge, and again up out of the gorge on the opposite facet. This was the one solution to cross the New River earlier than the New River Gorge Bridge was constructed within the Nineteen Seventies, and now makes for a captivating driving tour.

The Fayette Station Road begins close to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center and takes about an hour to drive with no stops.

If you wish to hike earlier than doing this drive, then I’d advocate the Endless Wall Trail, which is among the hottest hikes within the park. The path traverses first via a hemlock forest and ultimately takes you out to a lookout above the “Endless Wall,” which is a protracted cliff face fashionable with rock climbers.

This average path will be hiked as a 2-mile out-and-back from the Fern Creek parking space to Diamond Point (which is what Elliot and I did), or you can do it in a 2.7-mile loop – however in case you do the entire loop, a word that you will have to stroll a half-mile again to your automobile alongside a street.

If you wish to drive the Fayette Station Road first and hike after, then I like to recommend heading for the Long Point Trail as a substitute, which is the opposite most-popular hike within the park. This 3.2-mile hike leads out to a rocky outcrop that gives up unbelievable views of the New River Gorge Bridge.

Afterward, head again into Fayetteville for dinner. I like to recommend both Pies & Pints (for pizza and beer) or The Pink Pig (for barbecue).

Total drive time: 2.5-ish hours

Sample prices for right this moment: None! New River Gorge National Park and West Virginia state parks are FREE to go to!

Where to remain in Fayetteville: We stayed in an exquisite, art-filled residence on the Lafayette Flats, positioned in a historic construction in Fayetteville. There are 4 residences right here to select from the Nuttall residence (the one we stayed in), in addition to the Quinnimont, the Corten, and the Eddy flats. For extra New River Gorge lodging ideas, learn this put up.

Day 3: Adventure Within The Gorge:

Chances are in case you’ve come to the New River Gorge, it is since you’ve heard all in regards to the implausible journey sports activities right here. By far the preferred journey to have within the Gorge is to go whitewater rafting.

There are a pair of different rafting choices to select from, with the preferred being a full-day rafting journey down the Lower New River. This journey begins out with a reasonably enjoyable float (excellent for having fun with the surroundings alongside one of the many oldest rivers on the planet!), however, ultimately places you over Class IV and V rapids as you method the New River Gorge Bridge.

This is the journey Elliot and I did, and we might each undoubtedly advocate it as a must-do.

We rafted with ACE Adventure Resort, however, several native outfitters supply this identical journey. (You can e-book the same journey right here, or straight with any of the native corporations like ACE, Adventures on the Gorge, West Virginia Adventures, or River Expeditions.)

If you are touring with youngsters or anybody who’s uncertain about rafting, you may as well float down the calmer Upper New (minimal age for this part is 5-6). Meanwhile, for the true daredevils, look into rafting on the close-by Gauley River within the fall, which is extra intense and marked as being just for skilled rafters.

In the summer season, there is a half-day model for many of those rafting excursions, however, I advocate going for the total day journey. Lunch and all of your gear are included, and it is a journey you will not quickly neglect.

Once you come back from the river, you will most likely wish to head again to your lodging for a correct bathe (although there are bathe services at a lot of the rafting outfitters), after which I like to recommend simply enjoyable for the remainder of the night.

Maybe take a stroll via Fayetteville, seize dinner, and luxuriate in ice cream from The Stache.

Total drive time: Less than an hour

Sample prices for right this moment: Whitewater rafting can vary anyplace from $100-$150 per particular person

Where to remain in Fayetteville: Again, I extremely advocate one of many residences at Lafayette Flats. We stayed within the Nuttall residence and liked it (the soaking tub was particularly welcomed this present day after rafting).

Day 4: More New River Gorge:

Believe it or not, there are nonetheless tons extra to do within the New River Gorge!

This morning, you would possibly wish to check out some mountain biking on a number of the single-track trails in and across the park. You can lease a Trek mountain bike from Arrowhead Bike Farm, and head straight out on their miles of trails.

Or, in case you’re like Elliot and me, one in every one of you possibly can go mountain biking, and the opposite can do one other hike. (Elliot is actually into biking and mountain biking, whereas I decidedly am not! So whereas he hit the paths for a pair of hours, I went and did one other hike.)

The Long Point Trail is simply across the nook from Arrowhead Bike Farm, so in case you did not try this hike on Day 2 of your journey, that may very well be a possibility for you this morning.

If you DID already hike this path, there are many different choices close by, too, together with visiting the “ghost town” of Thurmond on the backside of the gorge.

After your morning of out of doors adventuring, return to Arrowhead for lunch at the Handle Bar + Kitchen, which is a laid-back restaurant and beer backyard. Sip native craft beers and refuel at a picnic desk open air (their brats and tacos are all good!). This afternoon, head out on the official Scenic Drive that loops across the park. You can cease at Grandview for some wonderful gorge views (and there are some mountaineering trails there, too), and at the Sandstone Visitor Center to be taught in regards to the space’s Indigenous historical past. Sandstone Falls can also be close by if in case you have sufficient time.

On your means again to Fayetteville, you may also wish to cease briefly at Babcock State Park to see the well-known Glade Creek Grist Mill, which you have probably seen earlier than in promotional supplies about West Virginia.

This has the potential to be a lengthy day relying on how a lot you wish to see/do, however, it can enable you to hit up the final of the highlights of New River Gorge National Park.

Total drive time: 2-3 hours relying on which stops you make

Sample prices for right this moment: Mountain bike rental $35-$75

Where to remain in Fayetteville: We liked our keep within the Nuttall residence at Lafayette Flats in Fayetteville. If these residences are booked, there are lodges in Beckley together with a Hampton Inn (the top-rated resort there), a Courtyard by Marriott, and a Country Inn & Suites

Day 5: To Canaan Valley:

Fuel up this morning in Fayetteville with breakfast at Wood Iron Eatery earlier than bidding farewell to the New River Gorge and this is a part of the state.

You’ll be heading east right this moment, to a space referred to as Canaan Valley. But the drive is brief (solely about 3 hours in case you go straight there), so you may as nicely make several stops alongside the best way.

The first case I’d advocate is to see Summersville Lake, which is simply up US-19 from Fayetteville. This stunning lake is a well-liked summer season resort spot, and there is a good viewpoint you possibly can cease at in case you plug “Long Point Overlook” into your Google Maps (simply ensure it is the one on the lake, although!).

Next, go away from the primary freeway and head into the mountains so you possibly can go to the Falls of Hills Creek and Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, each off of WV-39.

Cranberry Glades is tremendously fascinating as a result of it is space throughout the Monongahela National Forest defending the most important space of bogs on West Virginia Road Trip. There’s a brief half-mile boardwalk right here via the bogs (you will attain the parking zone for it earlier than you get to the Nature Center), and it is a good place to cease and stretch your legs.

You might cease in at Snowshoe Mountain Resort for lunch subsequent, or simply proceed on to Canaan Valley.

If you’ve got time this afternoon/night, the Canaan Valley Resort has a scenic chairlift trip that gives up some beautiful views of this stunning space. The chairlift trip is lengthy (it could take about 20 minutes every means!), and undoubtedly well worth the ticket value if the climate is nice.

Tonight, relying on the place you determine to remain, you possibly can seize dinner at the Canaan Valley Resort, or head into the cities of Davis or Thomas the place there are many native eating places to select from.

Total drive time: 4 hours

Sample prices for right this moment: Scenic chairlift trip: $8 per grownup

Where to remain in Canaan Valley: There are several choices to select from! You might keep on the family-friendly Canaan Valley Resort, e-book a room on the hip Billy Motel in Davis (it personally offers me Schitt’s Creek vibes – in a great way!), or e-book one of many Golden Anchor Cabins in Dryfork in case you’re after one thing extra romantic.

We truly spent 2 nights in a cabin, and 1 night time on the Billy Motel.

Day 6: Waterfalls, Wilderness, And Small WV Cities:

Today can be a form of a grab-bag of issues you can do across the cities of Davis and Thomas. These cities – every with inhabitants of lower than 1000 folks – are cute, artsy cities with a fascinating historical past.

The Davis brothers (one in every of whom was named Thomas Davis) opened a coal mine after which a railroad close to the city of Thomas within the Eighteen Eighties. The Davis Coal and Coke firm introduced jobs and prosperity to Thomas, which lasted via the Twenties.

Start your morning with breakfast at Milo’s Cafe in Davis, which is positioned contained in the Bright Morning Inn. The breakfasts are giant, filling, and scrumptious.

Then spend a while exploring Thomas, which has several stunning previous brick buildings that now home cool retailers and galleries. The Thomas Commercial Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is price exploring for an hour or so.

Next, make the brief drive to Blackwater Falls State Park. This park is known for the 57-foot falls that cascade down the Blackwater River. You can go to the falls and their viewpoints (which do contain a pair hundred steps, FYI), taking a while to admire the tannin-tinted waterfall.

Also in this park, you would possibly wish to go to Elakala Falls, Lindy Point, and the Pendleton Point Overlook, all of which contain brief hikes to achieve.

After exploring the park a bit, head again into Thomas for lunch. The most well-known place to eat right here is the Purple Fiddle, which is a restaurant and residing music venue. Acts giant and small have been carried out on the Purple Fiddle, and so they have to reside music nearly daily of the week. There are sometimes free concert events around lunchtime, so undoubtedly test their schedule to see what’s on.

Other good lunch spots embody Picnic in Thomas and Big Belly Deli in Davis.

This afternoon, head to Dolly Sods Wilderness, a singular spot throughout the Monongahela National Forest that’s fashionable with hikers. Dolly Sods sits atop a big plateau and is thought for its trails that include giant boulders and unbelievable views.

There are several trails right here beneath 5 miles in size, with the preferred being the Bear Rocks Trail.

This night, head again in the direction of the Davis/Thomas space for dinner. If you did not go to the Purple Fiddle for lunch, take into account going for dinner. Or, Farm Up Table can also be a great possibility in Thomas.

Total drive time: 2 hours

Sample prices for right this moment: $10-$20 for music on the Purple Fiddle (although some concert events are free)

Where to remain in Canaan Valley: Again, there are many choices to select from! You might keep on the family-friendly Canaan Valley Resort, e-book a room on the hip Billy Motel in Davis (it personally offers me Schitt’s Creek vibes – in a great way!), or e-book one of many Golden Anchor Cabins in Dryfork in case you’re after one thing extra romantic.

Day 7: Seneca Rocks Select Your Journey:

Today goes to be filled with a journey, so I hope you are prepared!

We’re going to move to the world around Seneca Rocks, the place towering fins of Tuscarora quartzite rise out of the panorama just like the craggy backs of dinosaurs. These fascinating rock formations had been fashioned by rock being folded greater than 250 million years in the past because the Appalachian Mountains had been simply settling into being.

And in a single explicit spot, you possibly can climb these jagged fins of rock on a through Ferrata!

“Via Ferrata” is an Italian phrase that interprets as “iron road” or “the iron way,” and describes a climbing route within the mountains that melds mountaineering with mountain climbing.

The through Ferrata you can do here’s a privately-owned course run by an organization known as Rocks. The course has you climbing on two of these unbelievable “fins” of rock, and crossing an epic suspension bridge between them.

You get a climbing harness and helmet and learn to use the system of metal cables and rungs affixed to the rocks to keep protected as you channel your internal mountain goat. Groups are small (ours consisted of 6 climbers and one information), and the expertise takes on common 3-5 hours (it took our group 4).

This is a fairly difficult exercise, however, I feel it is some of the distinctive issues I’ve executed when touring within the US!

However, I’m conscious that even probably the most outdoorsy of individuals would possibly take one have a look at this and say “no thanks.” This is NOT an exercise for anybody afraid of heights, and I would not count on everybody to wish to do it!

If you fall into this latter camp, you possibly can nonetheless spend your morning getting an up-close look at a few of these rock fins on the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Here, there’s one giant and spectacular rock fin, with a difficult mountaineering path that takes you near the highest.

Seneca Caverns are additionally close by, the place you possibly can go on an underground cave tour appropriate for the entire household.

After your morning through Ferrata journey or hike, make the drive to the highest of Spruce Knob subsequent, which is the best level in West Virginia Road Trip at 4,863 ft. There’s a brief path right here that takes you across the peak to numerous viewpoints.

This can be a pleasant place to have a picnic lunch (which I like to recommend bringing with you for this present day!).

On your drive again to the Thomas/Davis space, you may also wish to cease into a neighborhood West Virginia distillery. My decision is Still Hollow Spirits, which is a small farm-to-bottle distillery in an exquisite valley within the mountains.

If you desire a beautiful drive to get right here, ensure your Google Maps takes you through Whites Run Road. This is a principally unpaved route (so watch out if it is moist), however severely so, so stunning.

Once at Still Hollow, tastings inside their distillery barn are free. They run an impressively native and sustainable distilling operation and produce several various kinds of small-batch whiskies. Elliot got here dwelling with a pair of bottles!

After this, you have earned a well-deserved relaxation this night after a jam-packed weeklong street journey on West Virginia Road Trip.

Even in case, you’re not staying there, the Billy Motel is a good place to cease for a cocktail and dinner (dinner at present served Wednesday-Saturday) tonight.

Total drive time: 2.5-3 hours relying on the place you are staying

Sample prices for right this moment: The through Ferrata prices are $125 per particular person.

Where to remain: You might keep on the family-friendly Canaan Valley Resort, e-book a room on the hip Billy Motel in Davis (it personally offers me Schitt’s Creek vibes – in a great way!), or e-book one of many Golden Anchor Cabins in Dryfork in case you’re after one thing extra romantic.

If You’ve Gotten Extra Time…

Even though West Virginia is not precisely the most important state, it was unimaginable to cowl every single nook of it on this itinerary. We targeted outside actions on our journey, however, there are several locations already on our “next time” checklist.

If you’ve gotten extra time to spend in West Virginia, listed here are some further locations you would possibly wish to go to/belongings you would possibly wish to do:

Other WV Cities To Go To:

  • Harper’s Ferry – This was the highest place everybody mentioned we must always go to on West Virginia Road Trip, however sadly we did not have time. Harper’s Ferry is within the far jap nook of the state, the place West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia meet (very handy to Washington, DC). The city is stuffed with historical past (it is dwelling to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, a Civil War Museum, and John Brown’s Fort) and sits on the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.
  • Morgantown – This hip faculty city is dwelling to West Virginia University, and sits close to the Pennsylvania border. There are good museums and parks to go to right here, and it is also near extra good whitewater rafting on the Cheat River.
  • Matewan – If you are within the notorious Hatfield-McCoy feuds, you’ll want to head to the southwestern part of West Virginia. The city of Matewan in Mingo County would make a great cease, the place you possibly can go to the Matewan Depot Welcome Center & Museum to be taught in regards to the feuds, in addition to the Matewan Massacre in 1920.

Other WV Experiences To Have:

  • Cass Scenic Railroad – We did not make it to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, and I’m unhappy about it! Here you possibly can trip the Cass Scenic Railroad, an 11-mile lengthy heritage railway the place excursions occur on a practice pulled by a steam locomotive. You have to dedicate half a day to this expertise if you wish to do the total journey.
  • West Virginia Penitentiary or Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum If attempting to find ghosts feels enjoyable, you would possibly wish to make time to tour both the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville and Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston. The West Virginia Road Trip Penitentiary is a gothic-style jail that operated from 1876-1995, whereas the asylum operated from 1864-1994 and is now a National Historic Landmark. They each supply historic excursions, in addition to paranormal-focused ones.
  • Stay at The Greenbrier – Lastly, if it is a historical past and luxury you are after, you may wish to add staying at The Greenbrier to your West Virginia bucket checklist. This iconic mountain resort is a National Historic Landmark and gives the whole lot from {golfing} to spa companies. You may even tour a Cold War-era bunker constructed to carry all of Congress.

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