The online world is a gift that keeps on giving. With social networks, exciting content and online casino games, you will be forgiven for forgetting just how much there is to explore and enjoy out there in the real world. Today, we’re shining a spotlight on the country roads of West Virginia. With picturesque mountains, forests, lakes and a wide array of outdoor activities, it’s easy to see why this sometimes overlooked state should be on every American’s bucket list. Here is a short list of our favorite places to visit in the Mountain State.
The Story of West Virginia
West Virginia has a bold history that many people are unaware of: it is the only state that was formed as a direct result of the Civil War. While the North fought against the South, the western and eastern parts of Virginia were engaged in their own battle, rooted in deep-seated unhappiness with its government. As the state voted to secede from the US, western Virginia opposed the move and formed its own state, West Virginia. On June 20, 1859, Congress granted it statehood.
Much of American history is told through iconic landmarks in this state – from the Greenbrier Hotel & Resort, which functioned as a hospital during World War II, to Harpers Ferry, the location of the famous Virginia raid. West Virginia’s roots are still evident in the town today. It remains the top coal-producing state in the US and the iconic New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville still stands as the longest steel arch bridge in the world. The state has four approved state songs, of which three are West Virginia Hills, This is My West Virginia and West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home. John Denver’s beloved Country Roads was adopted as the fourth in 2014.
Even though coal has been the state’s largest industry for a long time, tourism has taken the lead. Keep reading to understand why.
Must-see places in West Virginia
Get those travel notebooks out; here are the best places to visit in West Virginia.
New River Gorge National Park
This is the top travel spot in the state and comprises more than 70,000 acres and one of the oldest rivers in the country, the New River. The park is famous for outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting, fishing, biking, climbing, hiking, family tours and ranger-led activities.
From the park, you can see the 3,030-foot New River Gorge Bridge and the breathtaking Sandstone and Brooks Falls. Grandview State Park is also part of the New River Gorge National Park. This park offers the most stunning views of West Virginia. History buffs can marvel at the Main Overlook and the active railway used to transport coal back in the 1800s.
Blackwater Falls State Park
If you enjoy outdoor adventures, you’ll be spoilt for choice here. There are many fun things to do in West Virginia, but if you’re looking for the hike of a lifetime, visit Blackwater Falls. Hikers can enjoy a real workout while taking in scenic landscapes and the photogenic backdrop is every photographer’s dream. The park’s most attractive feature is the 62-foot-tall Blackwater Falls. Other natural spots to see include Elakala Falls, Pendleton Point Overlook and hiking trails such as the Balanced Rock Trail and Davis Trail.
If you enjoy learning about US history as well as love playing casino table games then look no further than Charles Town, located in Jefferson County (named for Thomas Jefferson,) where you can visit the Jefferson Museum, visit the famous Bozzo Family Vineyards or spend some time at the River Riders Family Adventure Resort. Thrill-seekers can take part in rafting, hiking and biking.
The historic town is also famous for the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. This luxurious establishment boasts 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games and live thoroughbred horse racing.
Lost World Caverns
If you want something more extreme, venture deep beneath the earth’s surface into the Lost World Caverns. This magical cave is filled with megalithic and awe-inspiring rock formations that you won’t find anywhere else. Join a tour to see the world’s most magnificent stalactites and other unique crystal formations.
Make sure you see the iconic 28-foot ‘Bridal Veil’ stalagmite formation and pop into the venue’s natural history museum to see exhibits of prehistoric cave dwellers.
The Greenbrier luxury resort in the Allegheny Mountains is an all-in-one vacation spot. The resort has 710 guest rooms as well as 20 restaurants and lounges. It also offers more than 55 exciting indoor and outdoor activities to keep you entertained. The 11,000-acre land has golf courses with mountain views, historical suites, geocaching, spas, arcades, indoor pools, escape rooms, Cold War bunker tours and much more. When you see it, you’ll understand why it’s generally considered one of the state’s most wonderful and popular attractions.
To top off the extravaganza, you can also play casino games here. The Casino Club at the Greenbrier is a breathtaking 103,000-square-foot venue that offers live entertainment, world-class cuisine, endless gaming options and boutique shopping. The Casino Club is America’s only private casino and the interior design and architecture make for a unique and timeless work of art. Even if you prefer immersive live dealer casino games, taking in the atmosphere at the Casino Club is something that can’t be replicated.
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