Modern interstates, conquering West Virginia's mountains, are opening one of the country's last tourist frontiers. Visitors are discovering the state's natural beauty, its excellent park system, glass factories, mountain crafts, quaint towns, and country inns.
In the Eastern Gateway, the story of John Brown unfolds against a backdrop of old Harpers Ferry. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park interprets Civil War history through guided tours and living history programs. Charming country inns serve this region, and Washington family homes are set in acres of rich farmland. Horse and auto racing and water sports on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers are popular activities.
Highlights of the Potomac Highlands include: house and garden tours, festivals, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Highland Scenic Highway, caverns, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, and rappelling in the Monongahela National Forest; and some of the best skiing in the East.
The New River/Greenbrier Valley region, in the southeast, is dominated by the New and Gauley rivers, their explosive rapids always challenging to rafters. Other attractions are the famous Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, an exhibition coal mine, outdoor dramas, and a ski resort.
The state's two largest cities, Charleston and Huntington, are in the Metro Valley of the southwest. Visitors focus on the attractive complex of government buildings in Charleston, and in Huntington they may watch glassblowers at work in some of the state's many glass factories. Both cities have museums, theaters, art galleries, and shopping centers.
The Central Lakes Region, the heartland, has beautiful unspoiled lakes, state parks, festivals, historic battlefields, the state wildlife center, and Stonewall Jackson's boyhood home.
West Virginia's crafts are highly touted, and the largest of the state's annual arts and crafts fairs is held in the northwestern Mid-Ohio Valley region. A number of art galleries, glass factories, water sports, and festivals can be found here.
Like a flagpole jutting above the state is the Northern Panhandle, site of West Virginia's first capital, Wheeling. Visitors can explore an Indian mound, a zoo, museums, and enjoy Jamboree USA. Dog and horse racing are major sports, and there are championship golf courses, fishing, hiking, and swimming.
Reconstructed forts, manned today as they were two centuries ago, are in the northeastern Mountaineer Country. This is a land of covered bridges, festivals, and glass factories. Sports include boating, fishing, hiking, and golfing.