The tree-covered mountains of West Virginia are a vacationer’s paradise when the weather gets warm in the summer months. From gorgeous winding rivers and charming small towns to rolling hills covered in green, West Virginia offers plenty of places to relax and reconnect with nature. Book a West Virginia vacation rental for a solo adventure, with a special someone, or with your whole family. No matter who you are, you’ll be able to find something exciting to do in West Virginia.
Morgantown is home to the West Virginia Botanic Gardens. The dozens of native species housed in the lush space offer a chance to get in touch with nature in a beautiful and peaceful environment. Five well-marked trails wind through the meadows and woodlands that make up the Botanic Gardens. As you walk, keep your eye open for colorful songbirds in the trees and creeping reptiles in the undergrowth. Stop for a picnic among the trees, or join one of the workshops hosted by Botanic Garden staff and learn about conservation, flora, fauna, or gardening.
2. New River Gorge National River
Located just downstream of Hinton, WV, New River Gorge is home to some of the best whitewater rafting in the United States, some of the best rock climbing on the East Coast, and some of the richest natural history in West Virginia. Even if you’re not the adventurous type who enjoys navigating rapids and scaling sheer sandstone rock faces, there is plenty to do here. Hike, admire the fields of wildflowers, or join one of the many scheduled tours and activities that take place at New River Gorge National River during the summer months.
3. Harpers Ferry
Located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, Harpers Ferry is a historic town and National Park that gives visitors a chance to step into the past. Visit historic trade workshops and learn blacksmithing, woodworking, cooking with traditional local ingredients, and more. There are also plenty of hiking and recreational opportunities around Harpers Ferry. Wander gorgeous nature trails or join a guided tour to active archaeological digs in the areas. There is nowhere to eat or sleep inside Harpers Ferry, so be sure to book a nearby vacation rental before heading out to the park.
Charleston is the largest city in West Virginia, but it still retains a welcoming, small-town vibe. It is a major cultural hub for the region, and a great place to schedule a visit if you want to take in concerts, museums, sporting events, and local eateries. Be sure to book a vacation rental in town for a cozy home way from home in Charleston.
Riverton, WV offers easy access to Seneca Caverns, a massive underground cave structure in West Virginia. Guided tours take you deep beneath the earth, where you can marvel at amazing geological structures, and eventually make your way down to a massive underground lake. Kids can also take part in hands-on gemstone mining, and keep whatever they find as a unique souvenir.
6. Gauley River National Recreation Area
If you’re looking to get wet this summer, the Gauley River National Recreation Area is a great place to experience whitewater rafting. The river is only open to rafters for a limited time each season, so book a spot early if you want to be sure you’ll get a chance to ride the rapids. In addition to rafting, Gauley River National Recreation Area also offers opportunities for fishing, hiking and nature photography. You don’t have to travel far from your vacation rental to enjoy the recreation area. Gauley River is located less than an hour from the cozy town of Summersville, WV.
The charming mountain town of Douglas offers easy access to one of the most-photographed landmarks in West Virginia. The enigmatic Blackwater Falls can be found in the Allegheny Mountains of Tucker County. The area surrounding the falls offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, and hunting, all in the shadow of a gorgeous black double waterfall.
8. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
Hop on a scenic train ride that winds through the mountainous wilderness to the overlook at Bald Knob. Riders are treated to a relaxing tour of West Virginia scenery, complete with plenty of opportunities for photography. The train will have you back by the end of the day, with plenty of time to head back to your vacation rental for a home-cooked dinner. During the summer months, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park also hosts are wide range of special events from themed train rides to concerts by local bands.
9. Greenbrier Valley
Don’t worry about having to choose between wilderness adventures and the comforts of a luxurious resort; the town of Greenbriar Valley is home to both. The Greenbriar State Forest offers plenty of outdoor hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking, but is only a short drive away from an assortment of relaxing day spas, including one located inside a therapeutic salt cave. The summer months in Greenbriar Valley are host to a wide variety of arts and cultural events as well, from local music, to theater productions, to art festivals.
10. Kanawha Falls
The town of Kanawha Falls takes its name from the waterfall that courses past the nearby power plant. Tough not a particularly tall set of falls, Kanawha is wide and voluminous, making it an impressive sight for boaters and kayakers who venture close to it. It’s also a great area for fishing, well-stocked with trophy-class muskies, walleye, striped bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and largemouth bass. Bring your rod and cast it into the crystal blue waters below the falls for the best catches.
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