10 Reasons Southern West Virginia Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List

Southern West Virginia is calling! Our stunning region, recently featured in National Geographic’s “20 Coolest Travel Adventures,” offers something for everyone — from thrill seekers to nature lovers. Fuel your wanderlust and plan your escape with a free travel guide.

Here are 10 reasons why Southern West Virginia should be on your travel bucket list.

1. Conquer The New River

National Geographic isn’t wrong–rafting the New River is an exhilarating adventure! Conquer thrilling rapids, from mild Class I-III on the Upper New (perfect for families) to wild Class II–IV+ on the Lower New (for seasoned rafters). This is a must-do activity for any adventurer, and local outfitters provide everything you need for a safe and unforgettable trip.

2. Hike To Amazing Vistas

Southern West Virginia is home to various hiking trails for every skill level. Breathe in the fresh mountain air on the Hemlock Trail in Wyoming County, a 1.2-mile path gently descending through a vibrant landscape of hemlocks, rhododendrons and wildflowers. For panoramic lake views, tackle the Long Point Trail that overlooks the sparkling expanse of Summersville Lake. Take in the area’s natural beauty on the Grandview Rim Trail in Raleigh County. Or follow the Greenbrier River Trail, the state’s longest rail trail at 78 miles, for a peaceful journey alongside the scenic Greenbrier River.

3. Climb To New Heights

The New River Gorge region is a climber’s paradise with some of the best climbing routes on the East Coast. Certified guides are here to help you conquer cliffs ranging from beginner-friendly to challenging ascents. Witness impressive sights from above, no matter your experience level.

4. Chase Waterfalls

From the majestic Cathedral Falls, a 200-foot plunge off Route 60, to the expansive Sandstone Falls stretching 1,500 feet across the New River, Southern West Virginia is home to many amazing cascades. Follow the West Virginia Waterfall Trail, a self-guided tour with over two dozen stops across the state. The trail includes hidden gems like Finn’s Falls at ACE Adventure Resort and Cranberry Creek Cascades in the Piney Creek Preserve, alongside well-known favorites like Babcock State Park’s Glade Creek Grist Mill Falls and Twin Falls State Park’s Marsh Fork Falls and Black Fork Falls.

5. Discover Unique Ways To See The Bridge

Go beyond the typical overlook and experience the famed New River Gorge Bridge in thrilling new ways! Walk under the New River Gorge Bridge, 851 feet above the picturesque Gorge on a Bridge Walk tour. Get a birds-eye view during a scenic flight in a historic World War II biplane with Wild Blue Adventures. Or cruise down the New River on an exciting jet boat ride with New River Jet Boats and get picture-perfect views from the bottom of the Gorge.

6. Get Off The Beaten Path

Southern West Virginia has off-road options for every rider! Explore the vast Hatfield-McCoy Trails, the largest contiguous trail system in the United States with over 1,000 miles to ride. In McDowell County, experience the rugged terrains of Warrior and Indian Ridge, offering trails for beginners and intermediate riders. For easy access, head to Mercer County’s Pocahontas Trail System, conveniently located near Bramwell just off I-77. Craving even more options? Burning Rock Off-Road Adventure Park sprawls across 8,000 acres with over 100 miles of trails. And for those seeking a guided adventure, New River ATV offers tours catered toward newcomers, families and experts.

7. Experience Small Town Charm

Visit Southern West Virginia’s unique small towns, each with its own story to tell. Stroll the streets of Richwood to view amazing public art and historic sites. Hinton, the southeastern gateway to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, embodies community revival while preserving West Virginia’s small-town magic. Explore the Hinton Historic District, home to 200 buildings in a dazzling array of architectural styles. For a tranquil escape, venture to Monroe County, a quiet haven seemingly untouched by time. In Lewisburg, discover chic bistros and charming sidewalk cafes lining the downtown streets. For a family-friendly outing, enjoy a walk along a scenic rail trail or a round of disc golf in Oak Hill. Meanwhile, Beckley offers a vibrant hub of arts, culture and outdoor recreation.

8. Complete A Foodie Tour

Our towns may be small, but they are full of flavor! Spend a few days taste-testing all the exceptional cuisine available in Southern West Virginia. Savor fresh, locally sourced ingredients in upscale restaurants. Or, grab a quick bite from welcoming roadside diners offering classic West Virginia comfort food. No matter your budget or preference, a culinary treat awaits you in Southern West Virginia.

9. Unplug and Unwind

Escape the hustle and bustle with a remote camping trip in Southern West Virginia. Pitch your tent around stunning mountain scenery at a state park with all the amenities, or opt for a more rustic adventure off the beaten path. Prefer a plush bed and modern comforts? We’ve got you covered! Our area has a variety of cabins, resorts and hotels to suit your needs.

10. Shop Local Businesses

Commemorate your time spent in Southern West Virginia with a unique souvenir! Explore local shops brimming with handcrafted treasures, outdoor gear, quirky antiques and artistic finds. From pottery to primitives, there’s the perfect memento waiting to be discovered.

It’s time to check some incredible experiences off your bucket list. Start planning your getaway to Southern West Virginia now by requesting your free travel guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know about the region’s must-see attractions and hidden gems!