Southeast

8 Weekend Getaways in West Virginia with Ziplines, Spas, and Civil War History

Ziplines and a taste of Bavaria. Mountaineer writer Jenn Morson takes you through some of the best weekend getaways in West Virginia.

The air is crisp and still, and I feel well-rested for the first time in months. Last night I enjoyed the company of old friends as we ate and drank with a backdrop of a live band playing classic rock. The evening closed with a predictable number — John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” with the audience doing their part to sing along.

I plan to make up for the overabundance of cocktails and detoxify in natural warm springs. And later, before feasting on fresh pasta, a hot stone massage is on the agenda, and perhaps a manicure.

Although I’ve only traveled about 90 minutes outside of the city, leaving behind the cacophonous prattles of politicians, lobbyists, reporters and restaurateurs, the theoretical distance is immeasurable. Many travel across time zones to find this level of relaxation, yet with these nine weekend getaways in West Virginia, you can experience the secrets of the Mountain State yourself.

Snowshoe

Image courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain Resort

A town with a name like Snowshoe might put images of snow-capped hills in your head, but all year long, visitors can find plenty to do during a weekend getaway. Skiing is the main sport, but since I’m not too fond of flying down a mountain on two fence posts, I prefer the Coca-Cola Tube Park for snow-related fun. Kids love it just as much, and since the equipment is provided with the cost of your two-hour pass, family fun isn’t cost-prohibitive. In the warmer months when the tube park is closed, Camp Wildcat offers plenty of different kid-friendly activities like horseback riding, paddle boarding, swimming, and archery.

Hotels in Snowshoe

333 Hotels
from 69
Destination CTA

Where to Stay in Snowshoe

1/3

Snowshoe Mountain Resort is a wonderful retreat throughout the year. Several packages are available which include discounted lift tickets and a selection of accommodations ranging from single rooms to entire condos. In the warmer months, Snowshoe Mountain Resort has several pools and even a beach on the property where you can swim, sunbathe, or just relax under an umbrella with copious amounts of SPF 100 applied.

Snowshoe Mountain Resort

8.5 Excellent (246 reviews)
Very good Service 8.4 / 10
Parking garage
Outdoor swimming pool
Restaurant
Air conditioning
Hotel CTA

Parkersburg

Photo courtesy of Greater Parkersburg CVB

While visiting Parkersburg, take a riverboat to the Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park. People have inhabited the island for 9,000 years — first the Ice Age hunters, then Native Americans before white settlers arrived in the late 1700s.

When on the island, a horse-drawn covered wagon tour allows you to save your walking feet while covering a much larger area of the island. You should also tour the Palladian mansion-turned museum which was built by Harmon Blennerhassett, the lesser-known co-defendant of Aaron Burr in their trial for treason. Gore Vidal spent a considerable amount of time in the mansion while writing his novel, Burr.

Hotels in Parkersburg

18 Hotels
from 49
Destination CTA

Where to Stay in Parkersburg

1/4

Without a doubt, The Blennerhassett Hotel is the best place to stay while exploring this unique town. Built in the late 19th Century to accommodate visiting businessmen, the hotel has been beautifully restored to its original Victorian style.

The Blennerhassett is a survivor: after falling into disrepair, a fire in 1979 did a considerable amount of damage. But this near tragedy allowed for sponsors to come together and restore the hotel to its former glory. Once the earliest building in Parkersburg to have electricity, this registered historical landmark is outfitted with all modern conveniences its visitors expect in a hotel.

The Blennerhassett Hotel

9.2 Excellent (826 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Gym
Hotel CTA

Blackwater Falls in Davis

Photo courtesy of WVTourism

After a visit to this state park, you’ll see why the state slogan is, “Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.” The Blackwater Falls themselves appear on much of West Virginia’s tourism brochures and postcards thanks to their unique appearance. They’re considered the highest above ground falls in the state, cascading over the uppermost ledge of sandstone and dividing into separate formations halfway down. Seeing them in person is worth a weekend visit.

Hikes through the forest vary in skill level from casual meander to “I own my own hiking poles.” The natural rock formations are delightful to explore and can even provide shelter from an unexpected rainstorm in a pinch.

Hotels in Davis

337 Hotels
from 65
Destination CTA

Where to Stay Near Blackwater Falls

1/4

The best place to stay when visiting Blackwater Falls is at the nearby Canaan Valley Resort. The hotel is both a ski and golf resort, providing year-round sports. Indoor and outdoor pools are also available at the property. When staying at the Canaan Valley Resort, guests may choose between individual cottages or rooms in the main lodge.

If you spend the weekend in Blackwater Falls during the warmer months, the ski lifts are still operational and an exciting excursion for all ages. As the chairlift ascends the mountain, enjoy the thick treetops from a birds-eye view. Below, observe the interruptions of the ski slopes which are getting a well-deserved rest from the skiers who will be back in the winter months.

Canaan Valley Resort

8.0 Very good (337 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.8 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Berkeley Springs

Photo courtesy of WVTourism

Berkeley Springs is synonymous with tranquility, a respite from the cacophony of the city. Start your Saturday morning with some caffeine at Fairfax Coffee House to recharge from your Friday night out at the Mountaineer’s Sports Bar and Grill.

For travelers in need of some pampering, Berkeley Springs offers several spa options. For those seeking an authentic, natural experience, the Old Roman Baths within Berkeley Springs State Park have private baths of mineral water. Nearby Atasia Spa provides more modern treatment options ranging from mud treatments to traditional massage.

Fall visitors might consider scheduling their trip around the annual Apple Butter Festival, where for two days, the town celebrates apple butter through parades, games in the town square, and yes, giant copper vats of apple butter being cooked in the middle of it all. Attendees can purchase raffle tickets to win the official Apple Butter quilt, handmade then machine-finished by members of Berkeley Springs’ own quilting guild. The quilt raffle has been a part of the festivities for 40 years.

Pasta lovers should make dining at Maria’s Garden a top priority. The menu may be simple, but don’t be fooled, the homemade food is excellent. Owner Peg Perry is a fascinating character who believes providing good food and lodging is her mission from the divine. Iconography and other religious artwork hang on most walls within the restaurant, and the property even has its own chapel. But there’s no religious requirement for enjoying lasagna at Maria’s, so don’t worry: heathens and heretics are all welcome.

Hotels in Berkeley Springs

125 Hotels
from 50
Destination CTA

Where to Stay in Berkeley Springs

1/3

The Country Inn at Berkeley Springs is centrally located and a short walk from all of the town’s shopping and recreation, so you won’t have to lug your new antiques far when bringing them back to your room. Stay in one of the Inn’s deluxe rooms, or for special occasions, several suites are available. (The Inn has two honeymoon suites as well.)

When booking your stay, ask about the many package options, some of which include spa services at the Inn’s own Renaissance Spa. Several dining options are located onsite, including a weekend brunch menu. The eggs benedict is my personal go-to brunch meal, but the local favorite dish is chicken and biscuits. You won’t be disappointed either way.

Hotel The Country Inn at Berkeley Springs

8.3 Very good (453 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA

Charles Town

Photo courtesy of WVTourism

Perhaps the most well-known destination in Charles Town is the Hollywood Casino at the Charles Town Races, where you can enjoy thoroughbred racing as well as slots and tables. I’m not the gambling type, but watching the horses is thrilling, and I’d never had the opportunity to see them in person. What a difference it makes from watching on television.

Harper’s Ferry is a fully immersive experience where visitors can learn 19th-century trades. At different times of the year, children and their caretakers can learn how to run a historical bakery, candy shop, and even try their hand at the blacksmith trade.

Right on the Appalachian Trail, Harper’s Ferry is an ideal weekend excursion for outdoor folks. Although if you prefer enjoying nature from a distance, Potomac Grille serves excellent food and drink while you gaze upon the densely-forested mountains from a comfortable chair.

After enjoying your lunch, make your way to the most famous spot in Harper’s Ferry, John Brown’s Fort. This was the site of an abolitionist revolt against slavery before the Civil War even began. This building has traveled out of state, having been moved to Chicago in the late 1800s before being returned to West Virginia where it has resided on two additional plots of land before finally coming home to its original location.

Hotels in Charles Town

22 Hotels
from 55
Destination CTA

Where to Stay in Charles Town

1/2

The Historic Carriage Inn B&B offers free breakfast for their guests. Staying in a room at the Historic Carriage Inn means sleeping inside the same walls where soldiers lodged during the Civil War. Imagine logging in to your free WiFi in the very room where Stonewall Jackson hid the battle flag from the Battle of Manassas. In any season, visitors are surrounded by both the landmarks of history and the inspirational beauty of nature.

The Historic Carriage Inn B&B

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (191 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Air conditioning
WiFi in lobby
Hotel CTA

Shepherdstown

Photo courtesy of WVTourism

Shepherdstown is a quaint university town which maximizes its square footage. Shopping enthusiasts must stop into German Street Coffee and Candlery for coffee, teas, wines, West Virginia-made signs and gifts, and of course, a wonderful variety of candles. The Historic Shepherdstown Museum offers a history of the oldest town in West Virginia, as well as a permanent room for William Payton Smith, the ghost of a young man who died there after being shot during a card game. Visitors swear they can sometimes hear him crying out for his mother.

Hotels in Shepherdstown

14 Hotels
from 50
Destination CTA

Where to Stay in Shepherdstown

Image courtesy of WVTourism

The proprietors of Bavarian Inn spare no detail in presenting an authentic, German experience. The decor, the food, and drink, even the actual architecture with Tudor details and chalets pulsate with Bavarian spirit. When staying here, immerse yourself into the cultural experience fully by dining in the restaurant.

The darkened dining room will bring to mind the hunting lodges and Rathskellers of Bavaria. While every room is lovely, many have gas fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs as well. Request a Potomac River view which can be enjoyed from your balcony.

Bavarian Inn

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (548 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Gym
Outdoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

Charleston

Photo courtesy of Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau

Yes, there’s both a Charles Town and a Charleston — and both are fantastic weekend getaways in West Virginia. If you don’t have a fear of heights, a zip line canopy tour at Ace Adventures Resort provides an otherwise inaccessible viewpoint of the New River Gorge while you walk atop the trees.

You’re fully harnessed as you alternate between short bursts of hiking and zip lining. Walking across the wobbly bridge can be intimidating, but as you shuffle underneath the forested canopy over dirt trail with the sound of squirrels rustling in the leaves and birds chirping overhead, you’ll be too pleasantly distracted.

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

Honoring Veterans

While traveling around the state capital, visit the West Virginia Veterans Memorial honoring over 10,000 West Virginians who served during the 20th Century conflicts.

When hunger strikes, Capitol Market is a year-round indoor/outdoor market which resides in a converted train station. No matter the weather, you can find grab and go sandwiches or have a sit-down meal at the Italian restaurant. Additionally, several stalls sell artisan chocolates and cheeses.

Hotels in Charleston

45 Hotels
from 48
Destination CTA

Where to Stay in Charleston

1/3

Stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Charleston located less than a quarter mile from the city’s center and overlooking the Kanawha River. The rooms are clean and spacious, and after a day of hiking and ziplining, you can relax your muscles in the newly-constructed, heated indoor swimming pool.

Hotel Four Points by Sheraton Charleston

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (1866 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Gym
Indoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

Morgantown

Photo courtesy of Greater Morgantown Convention & Visitors Bureau

​Established in 1867 as an agricultural college, West Virginia University’s (WVU) red brick buildings reflect the architectural style of the post-Civil War era. The school has grown tremendously from its first class of just under 200 students, and while the programs of study have expanded far beyond agriculture, its arboretum remains a testament to WVU’s commitment to nature and industry.

There are crags and hills to conquer at the arboretum, so be sure to wear sensible hiking shoes for your visit. But it’s all worth the effort to see the native West Virginia PawPaw trees, the native moths, and birds.

Forks of Cheat Winery

Tours and Tastings

Forks of Cheat Winery offers visitors tours and tastings, and you’ll want to buy a bottle of the local grappa to bring home.

Hotels in Morgantown

41 Hotels
from 49
Destination CTA

Where to Stay in Morgantown

1/2

The Scholar Hotel-Morgantown, formerly The Chestnut Boutique, is within walking distance to WVU. Visitors will follow the path of the river past just a few shopfronts until reaching one of the many entry points to the campus. The mid-century furniture blends beautifully with modern touches, and the complimentary Starbucks coffee in the lobby will help you start your morning with a jump in your step when you head out to explore the town.

The Scholar Hotel-Morgantown

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (1551 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.6 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Restaurant
Hotel CTA

Feature courtesy of WVTourism