West Virginia Tourism Office are inviting British and Irish visitors to consider the USA Mountain State for their next adventure. From the serenity of placid lakes, rolling hills and luxury retreats, to the thrill of white-water rafting and off-road driving, West Virginia caters for all personalities and ages.
Known as the “The Mountain State” for good reason, West Virginia boasts picturesque mountains that are challenging to mountaineers, rock climbers and hikers of all levels and provide a stunning backdrop to year-round outdoor adventures. The best mountain regions can be found to the south west of the state, in the aptly named Mountain Lakes and Potomac Highlands.
UK and Irish visitors will find it easy to get to West Virginia using connecting flights or by driving from one of the close-by international gateway cities. It’s the perfect state to explore on a road-trip, with easy driving and plenty of interesting stops along the way. Read on to discover the top activities in each region of West Virginia.
New River- Greenbrier Valley
Two waterways give this region its name, which is the perfect first stop for those seeking white-water thrills in West Virginia.
West Virginia offers some of the most diverse white-water rafting experiences in the world. The most awe-inspiring location being the Gauley River. First timers and experienced rafters will find there is plenty to sink their oars into. Kayaking along beautiful stretches of the river offers a gentler experience, without the adrenaline rush.
The New River, contrary to its name, is one of the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge national park encompasses 70,000 acres of land and is steeped in cultural and natural history. New River Bridge is a must-photograph spot, as the longest steel span bridge in the hemisphere and the nation’s third highest at 876 feet above the canyon floor.
Stay in luxury
The spectacular Greenbrier Resort is located at the heart of the Alleghany Mountains, and is considered one of the finest luxury resorts in the world. On the extensive guest list are 26 presidents, and royalty including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The resort also had an underground bunker built, designed to house the entire U.S. Congress in case of nuclear attack during the Cold War. Decommissioned in 1992, the bunker is now open to the public for tours.
Northern Panhandle, Mid-Ohio Valley and Mountaineer Country
The northernmost parts of West Virginia contain a relaxed mix of city pleasures and outdoor treasures.
Unwind in the outdoors
Offering a multitude of outdoor recreational activities, North Bend State Park caters for all the family. Teeming with wildlife, visitors can explore the surroundings on foot or by mountain bike. Boasting a 72-mile trail, a great way to explore is by horseback to truly appreciate the surroundings.
Unleash your inner adventurer
Take a bird’s eye view of Ohio Valley by visiting the aerial adventure park at Grand Vue Park. Challenges include the aerial rope course or the zip line, offering views over the entire park, which will delight thrill seekers.
West Virginia’s bustling metropolis region, home to Charleston, Huntington and Marshall University.
Immerse in state culture
Tour the West Virginia State Museum in Charleston to learn about the history of West Virginia. Artefacts include the telescope that George Washington used to survey the land in West Virginia, a reconstruction of an original settler’s cabin, and a pair of dressed fleas from a 19th century flea circus. Outside, marvel at the 293-foot gold dome of the Capitol building. The dome itself is five foot taller than the dome on the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.
Greenery in the city
Visit Huntington and pass through Ritter Park. Along with lengthy walking trails along Four Pole Creek, there is a 1,000-seat amphitheatre within the confines of the park, which plays host to small concerts and plays. For the sports minded, Ritter Park Tennis Center is open to the public and features eleven outdoor courts and four indoor courts.
Mountain Lakes, Potomac Highlands and Eastern Panhandle
The south eastern regions of the state are home to West Virginia’s highest mountains, biggest lakes, and most dramatic scenery.
The highest point in the state can be found at Monongahela National Forest, where the elevations range from around 1,000 feet to just under 5,000 feet. A diverse ecosystem can be found across its 900,000 acres.
Within the Monongahela National Forest is the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. The Seneca Rocks themselves offer a distinctive 250-foot-deep formation that stands almost 900 feet above the North Fork River.
Formed 460 million years ago, the Seneca Caverns were used as caves for shelter by the native Seneca people beginning in the early 1400s. Descending to 165 feet below the entrance, visitors can take one hour guided tours over the caverns, with the pathways being well-lit and handrails available to help navigation in the particularly steep parts.
For more information please visit www.vwtourism.com. To keep up-to-date on happenings in West Virginia please visit www.facebook.com/WVtourism on Facebook, @WVtourism on Twitter and @WVtourism on Instagram