From museums and train rides to ski resorts and festivals, you'll have plenty of fun things to do in West Virginia to make your first year unforgettable.
You’ve unpacked your boxes in your new home in the Advantage Valley. You’ve met the neighbors and have found your new routine. Now you’re ready to relax and start looking for fun things to do in West Virginia. We’ve got you covered! Here are 10 great activities to try in your first year:
1. Ride a train on the Cass Scenic Railroad.
This heritage railway was originally built in 1901 and was a vital part of the timber industry up until 1960. Today, Cass Scenic Railroad has been reopened as a tourist destination and offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience (because how often do you get to ride a real, live train?), not to mention amazing views (like the one above!).
2. Visit the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences.
This 240,000-square-foot domed venue offers entertainment for all ages and supports the arts and sciences. It offers a Discovery Museum, which features three floors of fun and interactive activities for the kids, and the Juliet Art Museum, which showcases both traveling and permanent exhibits. The Clay Center offers a state-of-the-art planetarium and theater as well as a performance hall for concerts and is the regular home of the West Virginia Symphony.
3. Find nostalgia at Camden Park.
Camden Park, a 26-acre theme park in Huntington, has been around since 1903 and embodies the nostalgic feeling of a classic, wholesome amusement park. Camden Park features over 30 rides — including an old-school wooden roller coaster, the Big Dipper, and its “little brother,” the Little Dipper.
4. Ski or snowboard at Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
This idyllic resort is the perfect winter getaway and features much more than ski trails (did we mention there are 61?). There’s also an amazing cobblestone-clad village with ample shopping, dining and lodging options. Pro tip: Be sure to check out Snowshoe’s lineup of summer activities, too, such as the Grand National Cross Country Racing event, which it hosts annually.
5. Check out FestivALL.
This multi-arts, multi-venue summer festival in Charleston is a must-attend. With over 100 events, 300 performances and 800 artists, there’s no shortage of amazing things to do and experience at FestivALL. Each year, more than 50,000 visitors celebrate music, theater, dance and visual arts through fairs, food and general festivities. And don’t miss the smaller mini-festival, FestiFALL, which — you guessed it — takes place in the fall.
6. Catch a game at Appalachian Power Park.
Home of the independent Charleston Dirty Birds (formerly nicknamed West Virginia Power) baseball team, this stadium can seat up to 4,500 fans. Attendees are sure to have a good time, and not just because it’s fun to indulge in America’s favorite pastime. You’ll enjoy some quirky traditions, such as a local politician nicknamed the “Toast Man” who brings bread and a toaster to the games and tosses toast into the stands whenever the home team strikes out a batter.
7. Explore the pristine Monongahela National Forest.
This federally protected forest encompasses more than 921,000 acres and includes the western section of the Appalachian Mountains. With an extensive backwoods road and trail system, the Monongahela National Forest is ideal for outdoor recreation, including hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, horse riding, fishing and more. There are plenty of established campgrounds as well, so bring a tent and stay awhile!
8. See the symphony, ballet or opera.
Advantage Valley is rich with cultural treasures on par with those of larger metropolitan areas. For music lovers, there’s the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, which performs about 50 concerts each year. There’s also the Charleston Light Opera Guild, a locally produced, volunteer musical theater company that puts on various light opera and Broadway productions. And don’t miss out on ballet performances at Charleston Ballet and River City Youth Ballet & School of Dance.
9. Watch a show at a performing arts center.
Advantage Valley residents are spoiled with options. Besides the Clay Center, there’s also the Alban Arts Center, a small historic theater that produces shows and hosts the Alban Arts Academy twice a year. Also rich in history is the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center in Huntington, which originally featured an organ that accompanied live shows and movies in the 1920s and ’30s. Finally, don’t miss LaBelle Theatre, a South Charleston gem that shows movies at an affordable price.
10. Meander through a museum.
Learn about West Virginia’s history and appreciate a plethora of artful attractions at some of Advantage Valley’s many museums. There’s the acclaimed West Virginia State Museum in Charleston and the Huntington Museum of Art, which feature standout exhibits. However, there are also more niche museums in the area, like the Museum of Radio & Technology as well as the Heritage Farm Museum & Village, which are both located in Huntington. Heritage Farm is the only museum in West Virginia affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.