West Virginia is filled with small towns that have a lot to offer, from outdoor activities to art galleries to breweries. At the intersection of the two major highways in the state, Morgantown is a great starting place for day trips in the region.
If you’ve had a taste of outdoor activities around Morgantown and are craving more, Canaan Valley offers excellent adventures year-round just two hours south. In the summer, the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area and Canaan Valley State Park offer short and long trails for hiking and mountain biking. In the winter, Canaan Valley State Park and Timberline Four Seasons Resort offer downhill skiing, and you can snowshoe or cross-country ski at Whitegrass. In nearby Davis, you can rent mountain and fat-tire snow bikes, get a giant burrito at Hellbender’s, or grab a freshly brewed beer at Stumptown Ales.
Close to Canaan Valley and the town of Davis is Thomas, West Virginia. For an easy walk to a beautiful view, drive to Blackwater Falls State Park and take the stairs down to the overlook of the 57-foot (17.5-meter) waterfall. Although the water might look dirty, the dark color is actually from natural tannins in decaying leaves from tributary streams. In Thomas, you can grab a drink at the Mountain State Brewing Company, the oldest micro-brewery in West Virginia. Along the waterfront, you can check out local artists at The White Room, catch a live band at the Purple Fiddle, or warm up with a latte at TipTop.
About an hour south of Morgantown, Buckhannon’s claim to fame might be the amazing donuts and pepperoni rolls at The Donut Shop, open 24 hours for whenever you get a craving. Main Street has antique shops and art galleries, and if you’re there on a Friday or Saturday night or a Sunday afternoon, catch a movie at the Lascaux Micro-Theater, a tiny basement venue that shows documentaries and independent films you can’t see in many other places in West Virginia. Just south of town, you can visit Ron Hinkle Glass and the showroom and glass-blowing studio, or you can explore the West Virginia Wildlife Center, a zoo run by the Department of Natural Resources that showcases local fauna.
Fallingwater is an iconic piece of American architecture. Located in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, about an hour north of Morgantown, the house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has served as a museum since 1964. Tours are offered every day from 10 am to 4 pm, except for Wednesdays, and tickets must be reserved in advance.
Fallingwater, 1491 Mill Run Rd, Mill Run, PA, USA, +1 724 329 8501
Drive into the town of Helvetia, West Virginia, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a village in the Swiss Alps. Settled by Swiss immigrants in 1869, this village of about 50 people is worth a visit at the beginning of Lent for the Swiss carnival celebration known as Faschnacht, when everyone makes paper-mache masks, dances to the Helvetia Star Band, and burns Old Man Winter in effigy. If you miss the carnival, you can visit during other Swiss-inspired fairs or get a meal at the Hutte restaurant anytime.
Spruce Knob and Seneca Rocks
Deep in the Monongahela National Forest, Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area offers two of the most scenic views in all of West Virginia. About 2.5 hours south of Morgantown, the Seneca Rocks visitor center serves as the starting point for a 3.4-mile (5.5-kilometer) hike to the top of the rock formation. You can also rent climbing gear or get a climbing lesson to scale the rocks. A little farther south is Spruce Mountain, the tallest mountain in West Virginia. You can drive your car to the top and get an expansive view of the 1,500-square-mile (3,700-square-kilometer) national forest.
Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, Riverton, WV, USA, +1 304 567 2827