Being the 9th smallest American state, West Virginia is located in the Appalachian region of the country and has a population of only 1.85 million citizens. The largest metro of the state is Huntington whereas its capital city is Charleston. The state is notable for its natural resources including coal mining and logging industries. The GDP growth of West Virginia has been increased significantly over the last two decades. Tourism also plays a wonderful part for the economic boost. The state is lit with some of the most beautiful scenery along its mountainous ranges, along with the year-round facilities and leisure activities offered in these wilderness areas. Apart from the scenic landscapes, the West Virginian towns also feature unusual tourist attractions including penitentiaries and state buildings.
10) The Greenbrier
Known as the America’s resort, Greenbrier Resort is a luxury lodge and motel located in the mountains of Allegheny in the heart of Appalachia, West Virginia. Boasting of an impressive 700+ guest rooms and dozens of lounges, the resort was initially under the ownership of renowned businessmen in early 1900s. The Casino Club and The President’s Cottage Museum located within the lodging are some of the many iconic places which hold annual exhibits to celebrate the landmark’s rich heritage. Twenty-six presidents have been hosted at this destination. It’s also lidden with golf courses, bath spas and sports facilities which are available throughout the year.
9) Seneca Raverns
The formation of these historic karst show caves began millions of years ago in the Germany Valley, West Virginia. The native Seneca people are said to have used the caves for ages. These hollow potholes were later found by a German-American tourist and thus the largest chamber was named in his memory. Tourists at this place can take up guided tours through the magnificent limestone formations and shimmering pathways that descend hundreds of feet deep.
8) West Virginia State Penitentiary
Operated from 1876 to 1995, West Virginia State Penitentiary is a retired, gothic prison house in Moundsville which has now become a very popular tourist attraction, unexpectedly. It’s one of those spooky and grim places that invite visitors during a specific time period. The fortress is renowned for its bloodshed and prison breaks as well as the haunted places which are also accessible for the tourists at night times. Moreover, the penitentiary is also widely visited by paranormal psychologists for a proof of abnormal activities.
7) Summersville Lake Dam
Summersville Lake is a reservoir situated on the Gauley River and happens to be the largest lake in the state of West Virginia with a depth of nearly 330 feet. It was initially constructed to control flooding of the nearby counties and also for hydroelectric power generation. However, Summersville Dam has also acted as an important outdoor leisure destination since its opening. Tourists to this place are offered interesting aqua activities like snorkeling, scuba diving as well as fishing and boating. The Summersville Lake Lighthouse, constructed recently, is one of the largest lighthouses above sea level in the world.
With a vertical drop ranging to a maximum 800 feet, Snowshoe Mountain is a year-round ski resort which is rated amongst the best in eastern USA. Covering a total area of 11000 acres in the Allegheny Mountains, the resort is formed at the interference of two neighboring mountains with the village of Snowshoe located at the summit. Boasting three dedicated skiing quads, snow-biking trails, rugged terrain, as well as convention and vacation-spending hubs. Snowshoe Mountain attracts thousands of visitors during the winters.
5) Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
As the name suggests, Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is a former psychiatric hospital in West Virginia and as unconventional a tourist destination as the West Virginia Penitentiary. This masonry-styled landmark was used for the treatment of mentally ill and its staggering construction according to the availability of natural resources that is still highly spoken of. Tourists to this asylum not only explore the history and heritage of this place but can also go on guided trips to the most haunted places and ghost hunts within the sanctuary.
4) Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
Cass Scenic Railroad is a State Park located in Cass, West Virginia. It consists of the nationally famed Cass Scenic Railroad, an 18 km long heritage road along with the former company town of Cass. Tourists can explore the working systems of some of the oldest locomotives and rail engines in the country. The full five hour trip features a train round along the State Park, overlooking spectacular views including the state’s third highest point. A special museum in the basements has been dedicated for restored company houses that can be rented for tourism purposes.
3) Blackwater Falls
Located in the Tucker County of West Virginia, Blackwater Falls refers to a state park with dark water bodies, colored by fallen tannic acid. It is amongst the most photographed destinations in the state and well known to tourism groups. The river rushing through the beautiful gorge offers wonderful recreation and a picturesque vacation. There are natural trails that ultimately lead to other iconic spots in the park, including Pendleton Falls and Lindy Point. Camping, fishing and hiking are some of the most practiced activities here.
2) Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry is a National Historic Park located at the interference of Shenandoah and Potomac rivers in West Virginia. The Park boasts of pieces of rich American history and heritage. Surrounding this place are fascinating rivers with green-lidded mountains and beautiful railroads meandering through the woodlands. As far as its historical side is concerned, Harpers Ferry features an extensive series of museums and historical museums alongside primeval trails and battlefields. The place offers simultaneous adventures for both nature and archaeology lovers and thus receives over half a million tourists every year.
1) New River Gorge Bridge
Contradictory to its name, the New River is one of the oldest water bodies in the planet’s history. It is located in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia and features the third-longest steel-bridge in the country. Seeking outdoor recreation, tourists to this place can enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, zip lining and water activities like snorkeling and swimming. The highlight of the New River is its 800+ feet high bridge which is also the most photographed structure of the state. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking, picturesque scenery of the surrounding woods while wandering over this metal structure.