When it comes to weekend getaways, West Virginia is one state that’s often overlooked. This state boasts natural beauty with scenic mountains covered in lush green trees, as well as plenty of outdoor activities throughout the year. You can find an incredible West Virginia vacation rental within minutes of a state park, which offers miles of hiking trails. Accordingly, opt for a cabin tucked away on the side of a mountain, where you can enjoy fresh air and pleasant weather. Consider these eight best weekend getaway spots in West Virginia.
Home to West Virginia University and situated on the Monongahela River, Morgantown provides a young and hip vibe with plenty of outdoor activities. The Cheat Lake Trail is a hiker’s haven that runs around the lake. You can see deer, raccoons, and a variety of birds as you hike all or part of this trail. If you arrive in the spring, check out the flowers and plants in full bloom at the West Virginia Botanic Gardens. The Monongalia Arts Center offers art classes and frequent performances for the creatively minded family member. Grab mouth-watering takeout from Puglioni’s Pasta and Pizza for a quiet dinner back at your vacation rental.
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See where the state of West Virginia officially became a state with a trip to Wheeling. This city was actually the first capital of the state, and the paperwork for statehood was signed at the West Virginia Independence Hall. If you have a golfer in the group, there are six golf courses in the surrounding area, including the Crispin Golf Course at Oglebay Resort and Oglebay Park Golf Club. See some rare and endangered animals at the Oglebay Good Zoo, or opt for an afternoon of nostalgia at the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum with its display of vintage toys and model trains.
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If you prefer to see the current capital city of West Virginia, then Charleston is the place to go. Although it’s the capital and the largest city in the state, it’s relatively small compared to other major cities and offers that friendly, small-town vibe. Stop by Capitol Market, a farmer’s market that’s open on the weekends, to pick up some fresh produce, cheese, baked goods, and honey to make a farm-to-table meal at your vacation rental. As you’re shopping, check out the structure that houses the farmer’s market. It used to be the Kanawha and Michigan Railroad yard. The West Virginia State Museum opened its doors in the late 1800s and continues to provide visitors with a wealth of information about the area and state.
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Located in the western part of the state, Huntington is another college town with a lot to offer. Satisfy your need for a little retail therapy at the Huntington Mall with stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Pier 1 Imports. Learn more about the local area with a living history lesson at the Heritage Farm Museum and Village, where you can see demonstrations and participate in family-oriented activities. Check out the cool selection of vintage radios at the Museum of Radio and Technology with a guided tour. In the early evening, stroll around the Ritter Park Historic District, and stop at the park for a picnic dinner from Fat Patty’s of all your favorite comfort foods.
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Settle into Parkersburg for a quiet weekend and some quality time with family. Hop on a boat for the brief ride out the island in the center of the river. The Blennerhassett Island Historic Museum, a small museum that documents the area’s rich history and has many artifacts on display sits on the island along with a historic plantation home that offers tours. When the sun shines, visit the Parkersburg City Park, where you can take a walk on one of the trails, enjoy a picnic lunch, or join a game of pick up basketball. Start each morning with a hearty breakfast at Mary B’s Diner of hotcakes, eggs, and all your favorite breakfast meats.
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The small town of Martinsburg on the eastern panhandle of West Virginia offers a rich military history. This area saw battles and clashes during the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War, and some of the more historical buildings remain. Take your little ones to the For the Kids by George Children’s Museum for the chance to learn by playing. The Adam Stephen House dates back to the 1770s and offers tours of this 2.5-story stone home. Check out the Greek Revival architecture at the Belle Boyd House that dates from the mid-1800s, and explore the exhibits about the life of Belle Boyd.
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Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Bluefield has a rich history as part of the coal mining industry. Before checking into your vacation rental, stop at the East River Mountain Overlook. From this observation deck, you have a stunning view of the mountains and town, and there’s a concession stand to get a snack. In the afternoon, take the family to the Lotito City Park. There’s a large playground for young kids to play while you take a walk on one of the paths or read a book on a blanket. The Ridge Runner Train is a pint-size train for young kids that runs around the Lotito City Park.
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Learn more about life in a coal mining town and the railroad that supports it in Princeton. Located in the southern part of the state, this small town boasts the Princeton Railroad Museum to teach visitors about its history. Just outside of town sits the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. It’s one of the abandoned parks in the area, but the owner allows people in to take photographs each year around Halloween. In the evening, grab a table at Bellacino’s Pizza and Grinders for some good Italian food.
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