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As summer heats up, it’s time to pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the Mountain State. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking natural wonders, West Virginia is a treasure trove of fun and adventure waiting to be discovered. Here’s why Charleston, Morgantown, Harpers Ferry, White Sulphur Springs, and Berkeley Springs are the West Virginia summer vacation spots you must have on your list this year.

Charleston, the State Capital

Nestled at the intersection of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers is West Virginia’s capital, Charleston. If you’re looking for arts and culture, the downtown region is the place to go. Not only is it home to the famous State Capitol golden dome, but downtown also includes the State Museum and the State Theater for some regional heritage and Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, home to Avampato Discovery Museum, the Juliet Art Museum, and the Maier Foundation Performance Hall.

But Charleston is more than a bustling city. Just seven miles from downtown is the Kanawha State Forest, a perfect haven for nature lovers. The park includes 60 miles of trails, diverse flora and fauna and a bounty of recreational amenities like swimming pools, playgrounds, picnic areas and camping grounds. If you’re willing to trek a little further away from the city, you can venture 60 minutes to one of the state’s beloved parks. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve are chock full of natural and historical sites, such as the 3,030-foot-long New River Gorge Bridge, the transcontinental Midland Trail, and the hidden Sandstone Falls and Brooks Falls.

Morgantown, a City of Home Runs

Morgantown is primarily known as the home of West Virginia University. However, there’s far more to this charming college town. Just off the Monongahela River’s banks, Morgantown offers beautiful natural spaces and outdoor activities around every corner. WVU’s Core Arboretum is a must-visit with its three-and-a-half miles of hiking trails and botanical gardens. Dorsey’s Knob is another local and tourist hotspot. The park’s main draw is Sky Rock, a towering 600-foot landmark that can be climbed for an unforgettable view of Morgantown and the surrounding areas.

A trip to Morgantown in summer isn’t complete without catching a West Virginia Black Bears game at Monongalia County Ballpark. This collegiate MLB Draft League team is returning this summer after a championship-winning season last year. With themed nights and events included with an admission ticket, a night at The Mon is always more than just another day at the ball game.

Harpers Ferry, a Step into History

Harpers Ferry is a gorgeous small town at the meeting point of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. It’s also rich with history, as it’s the location of John Brown’s abolitionist raid that was one of the catalysts for the American Civil War. That history, along with Harpers Ferry’s scenic splendor, is commemorated in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Guests can explore museums and exhibits, hike trails through the Blue Ridge mountains, and stroll along these two mighty rivers.

In summer, tubing is one of the best ways to enjoy the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. There are several tour companies across the city and nearby areas that shuttle guests to a launch point and send them down the rivers. Some even offer floating coolers along with the tubes so tubers can enjoy snacks and drinks as they take in the views around them.

Berkeley Springs, Dip into America’s First Spa

If history, relaxation and spas are on your summer checklist, look no further than Berkeley Springs. The beautiful town has colonial roots tracing back to the 1700s, as its mineral spas were said to have restorative properties. Even George Washington made frequent trips to the town, and his bathtub still exists there to this day! Now, visitors can check out newly renovated bathhouses for massages, facials, sauna sessions and other treatments. Berkeley Springs State Park, which houses Washington’s bathtub, is another must-visit. The charming little park has plenty of green spaces and a swimming pool to help beat the summertime heat.

White Sulphur Springs, the Gateway to the Greenbrier

White Sulphur Springs is an enchanting community tucked away in the hills of the Allegheny Mountains. Aside from its own therapeutic mineral springs, the town is most well-known and traveled to for the famous Greenbrier Resort. This sprawling campus, called America’s Resort since 1778, has a casino, gourmet dining, golf courses, pools, tennis courts and much more. Just a stone’s throw away from the property is Greenbrier State Forest, which encompasses more than 5,000 acres. The forest has plenty of recreational activities ideal for a summer day, like fishing, swimming, hiking and mountain biking. After a day in the woods, enjoy a pint, a burger and live music at Big Draft Brewing!