West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian Mountains which has shaped its history. The state was created after the Civil War began and the state separated from Virginia to join forces with the Union army.
There are a lot in historical places in the state including many older than the United States as many Native American tribes had lived here before the settlers came. It has also benefited a lot from the development and exploitation of mineral resources that are abundant in the mountains like coal.
There are many places you can visit to learn about the state more, make sure to visit a few from our list below.
1. West Virginia State Museum
A great way to start getting to know the history of West Virginia is to go to the West Virginia State Museum. Here you can find all sorts of artifacts from the past, for example, the telescope George Washington used when he was in the land surveying business, cameras dating from various times (one of the oldest from around 1900!) and various fossils which had been found in the surrounding areas.
Address: 1900 Kanawha Blvd E #435, Charleston, WV 25305
Open hours: Tuesday through Saturday: 9 AM – 5 PM; Sunday and Monday – closed
2. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
The town of Cass has remained untouched and unchanged since its founding in 1901. It was used for loggers who worked in the surrounding forests. Once you’re here, you can take the scenic route in the authentic 19th-century steam-driven train to go through the forests and climb to one of the peaks. It indeed is a sight to see and an experience you should not miss!
Address: 242 Main St, Cass, WV 24927
Open hours: Monday – open 24 hours; Tuesday through Sunday: 9 AM – 5:30 PM
3. Green Bank Observatory
If you are interested in taking a glimpse into the vast universe, then visiting the Green Bank Observatory is a must. An observatory based on radio waves, and they provide tours based on what you wish to see. You can explore the observatory, or you can learn about the technology used.
Address: 155 Observatory Rd, Green Bank, WV 24944
Open hours: 8:30 AM – 7 PM
Price: depending on the tour, in the range of $3 – $40. Public Telescope Tours: Adults – $6; Seniors – $5; Children (10 and under) – free
4. Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry
If you and your family are looking for a thrill, then make sure you visit the Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry. You have a dedicated guide who tells you ghost stories about different buildings and parts of Harpers Ferry. And, the guide also incorporates bits of history in his stories, so you can also learn a bit about the places.
Address: St. Peter’s Church, 100 Church Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
Open hours: Monday through Saturday: 7:30 PM – 10 PM; Sunday: closed
Price: Over 12 years – $14; 8-12 years – $10; Under 8 years – free
5. The Greenbrier Bunker
The Greenbrier Bunker is a facility that was built in the 1950s to shelter the Congress in case a nuclear war occurs. Now declassified, it serves as a great stop to take a tour, as there are not many opportunities to visit a once top secret bunker.
Address: 300 W Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, WV
Open hours: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Price: Adults – $39; Youth (10-18) – $20
6. Lost World Caverns
A fantastic place 120 feet below the Earth’s surface, once you descend, turn on your flashlight and shed light onto the surrounding cave walls, you will see beautiful stalactites and stalagmites all around you. And, the cherry on top when visiting is that you can look at the remains of a prehistoric cave bear. You can go on general tours, or you can take the wild cave tour – if you go for the latter, prepare yourself for some crawling, getting muddy and wet!
Address: 907 Lost World Road, Lewisburg, WV
Open hours: 9 AM – 7 PM
Price: Adults – $12; Children – $6; Children ages 5 and under – free
7. New River Gorge National River
One of the oldest rivers on the continent, the New River offers a lot to see when you come to visit it. You can ride an aerial tram into the New River Gorge descending from the top, and in this way observing the whole picturesque surroundings. It is indeed a sight to see. You can also find zip-lining, rafting and canoeing as activities offered here, you can also hike or organize a picnic with your family. It is a great place to go to escape the fast-paced cities and gather your thoughts and recollect.
8. Exhibition Coal Mine
The Exhibition Coal Mine is a historic place located at New River Park and was in function from 1889 to 1953. It opened to the public in 1962 after some renovations took place to make it as safe as possible for the public. It is a great way to take a peek into what coal mining is all about and to observe for a brief moment the inner working of a mine and the Appalachian Mountains themselves.
Address: 513 Ewart Ave, Beckley, WV 25801
Open hours: 10 AM – 6 PM
Price: Adults – $20; Seniors – $15; Children – $12
9. Heritage Farm Museum and Village
When visiting West Virginia, this is a place to go to if you wish to know how people used to live when they inhabited the Appalachian Mountains. Almost all out of 15 buildings are made of logs, and you can explore blacksmith’s shop, log church, and there is even a petting zoo. The Farm has been established to share the proud heritage of West Virginia and provide an opportunity to learn about it.
Address: 3300 Harvey Road, Huntington, WV
Open hours: Monday through Saturday: 10 AM – 3 PM; Sunday – closed
Price: Adults – $12; Seniors – $10; Children – $8; Children 2 and under – free
10. The Glass Museum
A truly unique museum, it contains over 3 thousand objects made of glass dating from 1829 all the way to the Roaring Twenties era. You can see what kind of glass sculptures, vases, and glasses people in the jazz age and before used – how they made these objects, what they used them for and how the glass blowers were able to form almost perfect glass sculptures. It is a great place to go if you are interested in this era and if you wish to find out more about the art of glass blowing.
Address: 1330 Oglebay Dr, Wheeling, WV 26003
Open Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM
Price: Adults – $7; Children 12 and under – free