27 Famous Landmarks in West Virginia You Have to Visit

11 min read
A city skyline with buildings and a hill reflected in water with a sunset sky above
West Virginia is home to various landmarks across the state, including in Charleston

Located on the East Coast of the US within the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia is a unique place to visit. However, it is a lesser-known tourist destination, and you may be wondering,

"What is West Virginia famous for?"

West Virginia is famous for its many National Historic Landmarks, cultural attractions, and state parks. Famous landmarks in West Virginia that you should visit include Independence Hall, John Brown's Fort, and even George Washington's Bathtub!

Natural landmarks are also abundant, with places like New River Gorge National Park and Hawks Nest State Park being must-visit locations.

Read on to discover 27 of the Mountain State's most well-known natural, cultural, and historical landmarks.

  • 27 West Virginia landmarks

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27 West Virginia Landmarks

West Virginia Landmarks Map

A map of West Virginia landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

A brown arched bridge stretching over a river with a forest of green trees around it
Daredevils can base jump from the New River Gorge Bridge with a certified guide!

New River Gorge National Park & Preserve

Established in 1978, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is located within the Appalachian Mountains in Southern West Virginia State. The waters here are important as they support a diverse array of aquatic life.

The natural landmark is a much-loved tourist attraction and is one of the best national parks on the East Coast. Visitors can boat, kayak, or paddleboard along the river.

There are also scenic hiking trails that will take you through woodlands and allow you to spot wildlife. If you're feeling daring, you can even base-jump off of the New River Gorge Bridge.

Grave Creek Mound Historical Site

Grave Creek Mound is a significant archaeological site that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. The site was used as a burial ground by members of the Adena culture. It's thought to have been created around 250 to 150 BC.

Interestingly, it's one of the largest conical burial grounds in the United States. Today, you can visit the site and learn more about it. There's also an archeological museum which houses many fascinating exhibits.

A regal stone building with columns and a gold-domed roof on a river bank
The West Virginia Capitol Building has been in Charleston since 1932

West Virginia State Capitol

One of the most important landmarks in WV is the West Virginia Capitol Building. Located in the capital city of Charleston, the Neoclassical building was opened in 1932 and remains the seat of government for the state.

The two capital buildings before the current one had been destroyed in fires, one in 1921 and the other in 1927. Visitors to Charleston can tour the West Virginia Capitol Building and learn more about WV politics, past and present.

West Virginia Independence Hall

Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1988, West Virginia Independence Hall was opened over 100 years earlier in 1859. The historic government building in Wheeling was used as a governor's office, courthouse, and post office.

When visiting today, you'll get to explore the many rooms in the building, decorated as they would have been when used in the 19th century. You can also learn more about political figures at the time and the creation of the state of West Virginia.

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park features an 11-mile-long heritage railway. The railroad and town around it were constructed in 1901 to serve people working in the nearby mountains as lumberjacks.

Those that visit can take a scenic train journey on an old-fashioned locomotive. Other things to do include hiking and biking along woodland trails. The state park also has charming cabins available to rent if you want a fun and relaxing weekend getaway.

Elkins Coal and Coke Company Historic District

One of the historical sites in West Virginia relating to the state’s mining history is the Elkins Coal and Coke Company Historic District. The area in Preston County is the site of the last coke manufacturer in the US to use beehive ovens. Coke is a fossil fuel similar to coal.

Today, you can visit the site that was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1983. You’ll find out more about the mining process and see some of the beehive ovens used by the company.

One of the must-see famous landmarks in West Virginia is John Brown's Fort
John Brown's Fort is one of the must-see famous landmarks in West Virginia

John Brown’s Fort

Sitting within Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is one of West Virginia’s most visited tourist attractions, John Brown’s Fort. John Brown was an abolitionist who led multiple rebellions against slavery in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

Unfortunately, he never got to see the abolition of slavery as he was executed in 1859 for a slave rebellion he incited at Harpers Ferry. John Brown’s Fort is where Brown took refuge and planned future uprisings.

Visiting the fort today, which was originally constructed as a fire engine house, allows you to learn more about this important historical figure.

Matewan Historic District

The Matewan Historic District is a fascinating historical site. The rural town is notably known as the site of the Battle of Matewan in 1920.

This battle occurred after a miners' strike and was effectively a shootout between local miners and Baldwin-Felts detectives. Ten people, including the town's mayor, died in the massacre.

The area is now a historic district where visitors can learn about life in this mining town during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You can also find out more about the Matewan Massacre and the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud.

A bridge across a river stretching into a green forest on a clear day
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has historic landmarks and hiking trails

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is one of the many outdoor famous places in West Virginia managed by the National Park Service. This popular attraction is found where the Potomac River converges with the Shenandoah River.

The part of the 3,660-acre attraction located in West Virginia primarily sits within the Shenandoah Valley in Jefferson County. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park also crosses into Maryland and Virginia.

In the park, you can find some landmarks, like John Brown’s Fort. You can also hike, go wildlife spotting, and learn more about Harpers Ferry history.

Bethany College

Founded in 1840, Bethany College was West Virginia’s first higher education institution. Its founder was Alexander Campbell, a minister and part of the Restoration Movement, a religious movement in the 1700 and 1800s.

The private liberal arts college sits on the border of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It remains an active college to this day with about 650 students.

A snowy mountain with snow-covered alpine trees
The most popular place to ski or snowboard in West Virginia is Snowshoe Mountain

Snowshoe Mountain Resort

Snowshoe Mountain Resort is a winter sports attraction popular with locals and visitors. The resort is found in the Appalachian Mountains and has 244 acres of terrain perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and other snow sports.

After a day on the slopes, you can head into the resort village to shop, eat at various restaurants, and enjoy the apres-ski atmosphere. Snowshoe Mountain Resort isn’t just a winter destination, though! In the summer, you can hike, mountain bike, and relax at the resort spa.

George Washington’s Bathtub

A rather unusual landmark is George Washington's Bathtub in Berkeley Springs. The attraction offers "the only outdoor monument to presidential bathing!"

At the site, you can see a replica of where the first US president would bathe using water from local springs when visiting the town. If in the area, a trip to George Washington's Bathtub is one of the unique things to do in Berkeley Springs that should be on your to-do list!

© EyeMark via Depositphotos
A white hotel building with columns and a path, grass, and colorful flowers in front
The Greenbrier is a five-star luxury hotel that first opened in 1778

The Greenbrier

Named “America’s Resort,” The Greenbrier is a five-star hotel and resort, popular since 1778. It is located in White Sulphur Springs near the Allegheny Mountains. The hotel building you see today was built in 1913.

Those that stay at The Greenbrier can enjoy a luxurious spa, golf courses, and access to outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking. Other amenities include a bowling alley, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and restaurants serving high-end dishes.

If you’re looking to splurge a little on your accommodation, staying at this famous place in West Virginia should be top of your list!

Wheeling Suspension Bridge

Constructed in 1849, the 1,010-foot Wheeling Suspension Bridge crosses the Ohio River. It was once a famous world landmark as it was the largest suspension bridge in the world until 1851.

Wheeling Suspension Bridge became a National Historic Landmark in 1975 and is a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The bridge remains in use today by cars, cyclists, and pedestrians, making it the oldest vehicular suspension bridge still in use in the US.

Hills covered in trees with a meandering river between them on a cloudy day
The Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park is surrounded by forests and rivers

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park

A must-visit landmark for history enthusiasts is Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park. The area is the site of a Civil War battle that took place in 1861. It’s notably one of over 300 historical sites that make up the Civil War Discovery Trail covering 16 states.

Those visiting the 156-acre park can find out more about the battle and follow some trails through the area. The site is also a popular place for Civil War re-enactments.

Museum of the Berkeley Springs

Another of the famous landmarks of West Virginia found in Berkeley Springs is the Museum of the Berkeley Springs. The museum is housed in a Roman-style bathhouse built in 1815 and is the oldest public building in the area.

Exhibits at the museum cover the history of the area, its natural resources such as its famous mineral springs, and stories of town residents past and present.

A waterfall cascading into a rocky pool with trees and a wooden bridge above
Blackwater Falls State Park has multiple beautiful waterfalls, like Elakala Falls

Blackwater Falls State Park

The most famous attraction in Blackwater Falls State Park is its namesake falls. Blackwater Falls reach 62 feet in height and cascade into the Blackwater River. Other features to see include the Pendleton Point Overlook and Elakala Falls.

You can also follow hiking trails and spot wildlife when in the park. Visitors can’t forget their cameras either! There’s so much beautiful scenery here that Blackwater Falls State Park is named one of the most photographed places in West Virginia.

West Virginia State Museum

If you want to learn more about the state’s history, the West Virginia State Museum is a famous landmark in West Virginia you can’t miss visiting.

The museum explores the history and culture of the area dating back hundreds of years. Exhibits cover historical events, archeology, geology, and art, among other topics.

Hills covered with trees with a river running between them on a bright day
Hawks Nest State Park is a must-visit site for hikers and nature lovers

Hawks Nest State Park

Hawks Nest State Park is known for its overlook that offers views of the New River Gorge. Surrounding the lookout is 270 acres of forests with scenic hiking trails.

Adventure activities enthusiasts can also go white water rafting. Additionally, a luxurious lodge is nestled within the forests for those looking to relax and unwind in nature.

Berkeley Springs State Park

Berkeley Springs State Park sits in the center of the town of the same name. It’s home to a mineral spa that has been used for centuries.

Around the five-acre park, you’ll find Roman bath houses that offer spa treatments. You can also visit a museum, which exhibits the town's history and its famous springs.

A view over a forest with grey boulders and green trees under a cloudy sky
The view from Bear Rocks Preserve in Monongahela National Forest

Monongahela National Forest

Covering 921,000 acres, the Monongahela National Forest is a must-visit site for outdoor enthusiasts. Established in 1920 as an ecological protection area, the park is home to various animal and plant species.

Creatures here range from black bears and white-tailed deer to over 230 species of birds. The forest also comprises around 75 tree species. Activities to enjoy include hiking, camping, and mountain biking.

Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park

Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park is one of the historical sites to visit in West Virginia for history enthusiasts. This landmark is the site of the Battle of Droop Mountain, a Civil War battle that took place in 1863.

It was the last significant battle of the Civil War fought in West Virginia. Visitors can go to an on-site museum to learn more about the battle before exploring the park.

An overlook surrounded by green forest and mountains under a blue sky with clouds
Coopers Rock State Forest is the perfect place to hike and enjoy views from overlooks

Coopers Rock State Forest

Located between Monongalia and Preston counties, the stunning Coopers Rock State Forest covers 12,747 acres. The park is a great whitewater rafting spot and also has numerous hiking and biking trails to follow.

As you explore the park, you’ll find overlooks offering panoramic views of the forest. In the winter, backcountry skiing is popular here too.

West Virginia Penitentiary

The West Virginia Penitentiary is one of many fascinating historical landmarks in West Virginia. This Gothic-style building operated as a prison from 1876 to 1995. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

Today, the penitentiary is a museum with guided tours allowing you to learn about prison history and life as an inmate. Paranormal tours are also on offer.

A wooden sign that says "Appalachian Trail - Maine to Georgia" with trees behind it
The Appalachian Trail runs from Maine to Georgia and through West Virginia

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is a well-known hiking trail that spans approximately 2,200 miles. It begins in Maine and ends in Georgia, running through 14 Eastern states, including West Virginia.

You can access the trail at various points throughout West Virginia. As you hike, you can admire stunning scenery and spot plants and wildlife, like deer, chipmunks, and even black bears.

Valley Falls State Park

Valley Falls State Park sits along the Tygart Valley River and covers 1,145 acres. The attraction is known for its namesake Valley Falls cascades along the river. Activities to enjoy at Valley Falls State Park include hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking for advanced kayakers.

A large white radio telescope sitting on the grass surrounded by trees and hills
Green Bank Observatory houses the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope

Green Bank Observatory

Home to the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope, the Green Bank Observatory is a fascinating site for those interested in astronomy.

The Green Bank Telescope was built in the 1990s and is still operational today. If you visit the observatory, you can see the telescope and learn about astronomy, space, and the galaxies.

In Summary

As you can see, there are numerous West Virginia landmarks and tourist attractions to visit. Whether you're a history enthusiast, love being outdoors in nature, or want to learn more about the Mountain State, you'll find many places in WV to keep you occupied!

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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