Five reasons West Virginia is a great place to visit in winter

Five reasons West Virginia is a great place to visit in winter
Why visit WV in winter? Winter at Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, in Preston County. Photo courtesy Rick Burgess.

Quiet and peaceful, West Virginia is now a popular winter travel destination, and for good reason. Less than an afternoon's drive from most eastern metros, discounted lodging in the off-season here makes family get-togethers and park escapes all the more alluring, but there's more than that to be discovered.


Manageable winters

You'll find plenty of snow in the mountains, but it doesn't linger in the lowlands. Flakes fall as early as October near ski resorts, but low-lying valleys may see no more than a dusting all year. 

Low lodging rates

Even at luxury resorts such as The Greenbrier, rates are generally least expensive in winter—with the exception of lodging near ski resorts. Many hotels near state and national parks offer winter travel packages.

Half-day from metros

Washington, Columbus, and Charlotte are an afternoon's drive from West Virginia, and New York City is only four hours away. Thanks to the completion of the US-48 expressway, it's only 2.5 hours from D.C. to Canaan Valley skiing.

Ideal rendezvous

Far-flung friends and family groups have made West Virginia a rendezvous. It's also an ideal stop-off for snowbirds. Six interstate expressways cross the state—I-64, I-68, I-70, I-77, I-79, and I-81.

Peace and quiet

Winter may be one of the most changeful and beautiful seasons in West Virginia. More than anything else, it's a land of peace and quiet insulated by the mountains from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the metropolitan east.


Snow blankets a country road through a woodland in West Virginia.
Snow blankets a country road in West Virginia.

Where to find more winter travel information for West Virginia

So, where do you go to in West Virginia in winter, and where do you stay? Here are five exceptional communities that can provide for a variety of options both snowy and mild, accessible and relatively remote. You'll find links to local travel bureaus for each.

Braxton County

At the very center of the state, Braxton County, on I-79, is an ideal rendezvous for families traveling between the Carolinas and western Pennsylvania. Enjoy warm hearths at the Cafe Cimino, tour the Braxton Monster Museum, or explore the eerie landscape at Sutton Lake during its winter stage when waters are low. Find out more here.

Putnam County

Along I-64 between Charleston and Huntington, Putnam County's charming villages are renowned for their great locally-owned restaurants and shops and boutiques. What's more, there's fast access to the Charleston and Huntington metro area to the east and west and beautiful countryside to explore to the north and south. Find out more here.

Tucker County

On the new US-48 expressway, the winter wonderland of Tucker County is now a drive of fewer than three hours from Washington, D.C. Here you'll find snow almost all winter long as well as sleds runs, tubing parks, and downhill and cross-country skiing areas. And there are miles of national forest to explore. Find out more here.

Pocahontas County

Nature's mountain playground, Pocahontas County is one of the state's principal outdoor-recreation destinations and becomes a chief winter destination when Snowshoe Mountain opens in November. There's also the Green Bank Observatory and the restored town of Cass to explore. Find out more here.

Marion County

Off I-79 between Morgantown and Clarksburg, Marion County boasts some of the most diverse beauty in northern West Virginia as well as some of the best ethnic food. Settled by Italian laborers, Fairmont is famous for its pepperoni rolls and restaurants. Scenic locals such as Valley Falls State Park abound. Find out more here.

Read also: The Glory of Winter in West Virginia: The Photography of Rick Burgess

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