With the notoriety of the newly accredited New River Gorge National Park, many road trip lovers are beginning to take notice of the beautiful state of West Virginia.
While New River Gorge has plenty to offer, it would be worth your while to explore the entire state, including Davis, West Virginia, and the surrounding area.
The area in and around Davis has something for everyone. If you’re into adventure and the outdoors, there is hiking, biking, rock climbing, and skiing/snowboarding. And if you just want to take it easy, there are great restaurants, antiquing, breweries, and even cavern tours.
Here is a guide to some of the best places in and around Davis for when you’re passing through West Virginia on your next road trip.
Antiques and Art Galleries in Thomas, WV
The former home of one of the largest railroad stations in the state is now a bustling little artist community. Along a little strip of highway, you’ll find a concentration of galleries and antique stores to pique your creative interests.
From art prints to custom jewelry, textiles to used art supplies, each storefront includes unique offerings. Spend an afternoon, or a day and you’re sure to find something that you have no choice but to take home.
Relax and Listen to Music and the Purple Fiddle
Another must-stop in Thomas is the Purple Fiddle – Cafe, Brews & Stage. The historic building is home to an outstanding concert space devoted mostly to local talent encompassing all genres. If you’re in the area for a few days, you’re more than likely to encounter an acoustic performance, as the schedule is packed.
Or feel free to stop by and try a delicious homemade sandwich or wrap. Beer connoisseurs will go bug-eyed when they see the enormous list of craft beers from around the globe.
Eat Farm-to-Table Food at Farm Up Table
Our favorite restaurant on our entire West Virginia road trip also happened to be in Thomas – Farm Up Table. Using local seasonal ingredients, they cook up some of the best, most exquisite comfort food we’ve had anywhere.
The one-of-a-kind Sea Fries epitomize upscale comfort food by combining hand-cut fries tossed in butter, olive oil, and parmesan with tender sauteed shrimp. The pit beef sandwich topped with pickled onions and cracked pepper and salt was bursting with flavor, yet so unbelievably tender, the meat seemed to melt in your mouth.
Of course, if you’re looking for lighter fare, you can also order amazing salads chock full of fresh vegetables (and sometimes even fruits), topped with house-made dressings.
Visit Blackwater Falls State Park
If you’re looking for a single stop to enjoy both the majesty of the Allegheny Mountains and have a relaxing evening with dining and lodging, you’ll find it at Blackwater Falls State Park.
Arrive early and hit the trails. There are 21 trails to explore, including the namesake Blackwater Falls trail, where you’ll find the breathtaking 57-foot cascade from multiple vantage points. We also really enjoyed the Elakala Trail that leads to Elakala Falls. If you’re up for an adventure, keep descending to find all three levels of the falls.
There is ample opportunity for word-class mountain biking in this vast mountainous region. Davis has been known by some as the East Coast mecca of mountain biking due to its miles upon miles of trails.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned biker, trekking through Blackwater Canyon, the Monongahela National Forest, and the Canaan Valley trail systems will be an experience of a lifetime.
Blackwater Bikes in Davis is a fantastic option if you need to rent a bike, no matter your size or skill level. If you’ve brought your own bike, don’t fret if something should go wrong, as their full-service repair shop will get you back on the trails in no time.
Hike Through the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge was established to preserve the unique uplands and wetlands only found in this particular climate. If you enjoy wildlife, then this is a must-stop on your road trip to Davis, West Virginia.
Twenty-five trails of all lengths and difficulty levels meander through wetlands, forests, and grasslands where you’ll find rare plants and animal species. The Blackwater View Trail is particularly scenic and often active with belted kingfishers flying along the river and eagles soaring above.
Try Bouldering at Outdoor Boulder Park
Have you been interested in rock climbing or bouldering, but perhaps it seems a little intimidating, and/or expensive? Then I suggest you try it out for free at Tucker Boulder Park in Davis.
Thanks to generous donations, this public park includes three climbable boulders suitable for all ages and skill levels. Even if it’s not your thing, you can still take in the scenery while high up in the Allegheny Mountains.
Check Out Local Breweries
Whenever and wherever we go on road trips, checking out the local breweries and beers is always on our to-do list. We were treated to some exceptional brews in Davis.
If you’re a hop head, then I beg you to make a stop at the hop-centric Stumptown Ales. Their double and triple IPAs (Multiple Hopgasms and Big Boy Pants, respectively) were out of this world. They do carry other non-hoppy beer styles and even wine if that’s just not your thing.
Another local brewery stop is in nearby Thomas: Mountain State Brewing Company. You’ll find their beers in cans around town, but they can’t get any better coming fresh from the taphouse. Their approach to making very approachable beers in many styles will please any beer lover.
Explore Smoke Hole Caverns
A great way to spend a rainy day is by exploring the natural beauty of the Smoke Hole Caverns in the nearby town of Cabins. The natural cave was once used by Native Americans to smoke wild game and later used by settlers to make moonshine.
The caverns are part of a larger resort that not only offers lodging and a conference center, but also a gift shop, boutique, and gemstone mining.
Surround Yourself in Nature at Dolly Sods Wilderness
The Dolly Sods Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest is unlike any eco-type you’re likely to find on this side of the Canadian border. Along your hikes, you’ll encounter plant communities usually only found in Southern Canada. Sphagnum bogs, groves of red spruce and yellow birch, heath barrens, grassy sods, rhododendron and laurel thickets, and rocky barren plains await.
After doing some research, we chose to hike the 7 mile Rohrbaugh Trail, and we were not disappointed. During our trek in the rain, we encountered a canopy of broad-leaf vegetation, scenic, rocky overlooks of the green mountain valleys, and even a few stream crossings.
This was just one of the ten major hikes in the area – all of which offer picturesque scenery and wildlife uncommon to the area.
Test Your Fear of Heights at Seneca Rocks Via Ferrata
You’ve probably seen all of the scenic views of the Appalachian and Allegheny Mountains while driving through West Virginia on your road trip, or while hiking. But if you really want to get up close and personal with nature, then try climbing straight up the Nelson Rocks with Via Ferrata in Circleville.
While this might not be for the faint of heart, it will surely get your heart pumping as you gain 1085 feet in elevation during your 3.5-hour climb. The beauty of Via Ferrata is that you don’t need to be an experienced climber. The entire route has been permanently equipped with steel rungs and cables, making it extremely safe so that you can focus on the magnificent views.
Things to do in Winter in Davis West Virginia
Try a Ton of Winter Activities at Canaan Valley Resort
There are a lot of great reasons to take a summer road trip to Davis, West Virginia. But did you know it’s also a premiere winter destination?
Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center is home to a 4,280-foot mountain that offers 47 skiing and snowboarding trails ranging from beginner to advanced. They offer lessons for first-timers so you can feel comfortable on the slopes in no time.
If you’re interested in other ways to enjoy the snow, try snow tubing in the tube park. You’ll fly down the mountain in a dedicated area and be taken back to the top on the magic carpet lift.
There’s also a covered ice skating rink with an unbeatable view of the Canaan Valley and Allegheny Mountains. Or hit the trails and explore the mountain in snowshoes or cross country skis.
Sledding in Blackwater Falls State Park
Everyone loves sledding in the winter, but the Blackwater Falls Sled Run takes it to a whole new level. For more than a quarter-mile (the longest sled run on the East Coast), you’ll speed down the groomed hill without having to worry about any obstacles getting in your way.
And don’t worry, to get back to the top, you simply hop on the Magic Carpet conveyor belt that runs through a beautiful wooded path. Even getting back up the hill is fun!
Where to Stay in Davis West Virginia
There are many, many places to camp when you’re on your road trip to Davis. Perhaps one of the most unique options, especially if you don’t want to haul all of your camping equipment with you, is to spend the night at a Tentrr campsite in Blackwater Falls State Park.
Here you can effortlessly enjoy a camping experience, with a few perks. The tent is already set up on a wooden platform with a nearby private fire pit/grill, chairs, and a solar shower. While inside, you’ll sleep like a log on the queen-size memory foam mattress. The tent is even heated if the temperature drops at night.
If you did bring all of your camping equipment, there are 65 traditional tent/trailer campsites, all with electric hookups. Other amenities include hot showers, a laundromat, and a dumping station.
A bit of pampering might be just what you’re looking for after a long drive during your road trip. Booking a night or two in the lodge at Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center has all of the amenities to make you feel like a queen or king.
Yes, the rooms are spacious and comfortable, but it’s the spa, fitness club, outdoor pool and hot tub, arcade, and shops that set this place apart from the competition. While you’re there, take in a relaxing round of golf and enjoy the one-of-a-kind views.
Hotels, Motels and B&Bs
Bright Morning Bed and Breakfast should be on the top of your list when passing through Davis, West Virginia. In the nearby town of West Newton, this little gem offers up the best cozy accommodations you’ll find.
There are 14 unique rooms, each with a different theme, some more rustic, and some with more amenities. The breakfast is a show-stopper and is prepared by the proprietor, and former chef, Rob.
Book early if you want to claim a room at the ultra-hip Billy Motel and Bar in Davis. The 10-room completely refurbished hotel is a beacon for hipsters and weary travelers alike.
This retro-chic bar and lounge employ some of the most colorful bartenders, each with a unique repertoire of tantalizing cocktails. Even the alcohol-free mocktails are given the same attention to detail and are created using their house-made fruit shrubs.
The Alpine Lodge is a no-frills hotel in the heart of Davis. If you’re looking for comfortable, affordable accommodations near all of the major area attractions, this is the place for you.
The Sawmill Restaurant on the property applies the same principles of providing great value. This is a great stop for an affordable breakfast or lunch, with generous portion sizes to keep you fueled up for the day ahead.
You Got This!
The Davis, West Virginia area is jam-packed with things to do and is a great place to stop for a few days on your West Virginia Road Trip.
Use these suggestions to help you plan your next wild and wonder West Virginia adventure.
CHECK OUT MORE WEST VIRGINIA ROAD TRIP CONTENT:
West Virginia Road Trip: 17 Wild And Wonderful Stops
Best Hikes to Explore New River Gorge National Park
Things to Do In and Around New River Gorge National Park