What to show your family while they’re in town

New River Gorge Bridge View

New River Gorge Bridge View

Southern West Virginia is a treasure trove of unique activities and sights to share with your family while they’re in for the holidays.

Even if some of your family was raised around the area, there’s probably a lot they haven’t yet explored. So while you’re all stopping into the nostalgic old hangouts around town, show them what else they’ve missed!

Here are some of the must-sees this season for anyone visiting Southern West Virginia:


The New River Gorge is the epicenter of adventure in a state known for its vast outdoors. And even in the cold, there’s plenty to do— zip lining, skiing, horseback riding, biking and more. The obvious attraction is the New River Gorge Bridge, the architectural marvel that spans across the canyon. You can take a hike out to view it from the boardwalk (by the New River Gorge visitor’s center) or out to one of the many sweeping overlooks. You can even walk across the catwalk that runs below it with Bridge Walk.

The gorge isn’t the only pristine mountain land to explore. There are plenty of state and national parks. Find the cascading waterfalls that give Twin Falls its name, explore the iconic gristmill at Babcock, hike to the cliff top for an overview at Pinnacle Rock, or explore ruins of settlements from the 1700s in Bluestone.

Caving is another great outdoor activity everyone can enjoy in the fall and winter months. Underground caverns maintain constant temperature year-round. At Lost World Caverns, you can walk through and spot unique rock formations, or get really adventurous on a wild cave tour.

And if you don’t want to get out in the cold at all, a quick scenic drive could expose sweeping landscapes across the West Virginia hills.


Southern West Virginia is home to plenty of award-winning small towns. Take everyone for a trip to Lewisburg, named “America’s Coolest Small Town,” to get your holiday shopping done. Browse fine American craftsmanship at the many galleries, and duck into the old houses-turned-antique-shops that line the main street. A cup of coffee from Wild Bean will perk you up to keep looking, and you can even catch a performance at the prestigious Carnegie Hall before a dinner at one of the many quirky culinary gems.

And if you’re looking to warm up with wine & spirits, you can find plenty of locally crafted flavors flowing around the region. Stop into Smooth Ambler to try their artisan vodkas, gins, bourbons and whiskeys. Or taste the mountain-picked flavors of Kirkwood Winery and distillery. Or enjoy the elegant setting and classic sips at Daniel Vineyards.


Ride the rails in a luxury car with New River Train Excursions. They ride the rails through the New River Gorge to stop into the historic Greenbrier. Then they motorcoach everyone home so that on the way back, you can also visit Tamarack to see all the best of WV crafting, including live demonstrations from in-residence artisans.

Or, delve into rail history near some of the industry’s hot spots from back in the day: visit  Princeton Railroad Museum, Hinton’s Rail Museum, Bramwell’s restored depot and museum or the old rail town of Thurmond.


The Appalachian Coal Town Christmas is a perfect time to delve into our mining history, too. Learn about this key point of our heritage, and how it has evolved into the industry it is today. Then enjoy a marshmallow roast and some holiday caroling as you take a carriage ride around the grounds.

That’s one of many Christmas events to enjoy this season. The Holiday of Lights will illuminate Bluefield, and you can hop atop the hay to take in all the glow. Santa’s Christmas Adventure great for all kids, and kids at heart to play games and eat cookies on the way to meet Kris Kringle.   The New River Youth Symphony and Chorus, the classic “A Christmas Carol” and “You Better Watch Out” will all take the stage.

That’s just a glimpse at what you and you loved ones can get into around Southern WV this season. Find out when they’ll be in, and check our calendar to see what’s happening near you.

What about SWV will you be sharing with your family this year?