We’re continually on the hunt for opportunities to add richness to our lives. In the time of the road trip revival, we are proud to feature a monthly section featuring destinations within driving distance of Charleston that make for a great getaway. We feel that our worldly and devoted readers will find these places interesting.
Thanks to the highest gas prices we’ve seen in years, many families will be looking to take shorter trips this summer and stay close to home. Not to worry, there are some fun-filled towns near Charleston that are great for a weekend getaway, plus they will give you a fresh perspective on the Mountain State. Driving one hour south and gently east brings you to Beckley, West Virginia. Beckley is home to two major attractions, Tamarack and the Exhibition Coal Mine, but there is plenty more for your weekend adventures.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN BECKLEY
Give your muscles a workout and participate in a beloved family-friendly activity at The Chocolate Moose, offering miniature golf and a climbing gym. Golf is a biggie in Beckley, and you’ll not run out of challenging courses to play. Three alone are at Glade Springs, including the Cobb Course, with many lakes, 50+ sand bunkers, and hundreds of feet of elevation change.
Take in the scenic gorge views from America’s 63rd National Park, New River Gorge, only minutes from Beckley. Plan hiking, a bridge walk, picnicking, sightseeing, or explore the Grandview Visitor’s Center. Another fantastic offering in this region is Theatre West Virginia, often still called Grandview Theater, a gorgeous one-of-a-kind cliffside amphitheater. The shows change often, but you can see the Hatfields and McCoys, Rocket Boys The Musical, and Wizard of Oz over the summer months.
Quench your thirst with a cold, tasty craft small-batch ale or lager from Weathered Ground Brewery in Cool Ridge, or sip a glass of locally-made wine from Daniel Vineyards, a farm and estate winery nestled in the Appalachian mountains.
Tamarack is a big draw, a spectacular venue housing art vendors of all types, a restaurant, and a great space to walk around and admire local artisans. It’s something you can’t miss when traveling I-77. The other big draw to the Beckley area is the historic Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, showcasing the mining industry via underground tour, a museum, and store. Several historic buildings have been moved to the property, including a coal camp church, school, and company house. Kids will be ecstatic over the nearby Youth Museum of Southern WV, located in railroad boxcars with a recreated frontier settlement and planetarium.
Lastly, for those wanting an outdoor weekend, whether it be camping, fishing, or boating, Stephens Lake is the perfect place for all three.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
eckley has both old and new restaurants worth visiting and a few classic eateries you won’t want to miss. I always recommend Tudor’s Biscuit World, a WV landmark, for breakfast. Lunch brings about choices—carhop service from King Tut Drive-In or an array of upscale eats and comfort food dishes from Tamarack Marketplace. Try King Tut’s meatloaf sandwich, or the steak hoagie, while Tamarack has classic pinto beans & cornbread, Fried Green Tomatoes, and WV Rainbow Trout. Tamarack’s peach cobbler is to die for and made from a Greenbrier Resort recipe.
Check out Kenzie’s Kakes & Coffee’s cupcakes and gourmet brownies over in Beaver to satisfy your sweet tooth. Or indulge in a luscious flavored cold foam frappe drink, cold brew, or smoothie from The Chocolate Moose on Harper Road.
I’ll throw out a long list for you to ponder for dinner, but rest assured, they are all really good. Pasquale’s is my favorite for Italian foods, namely the antipasto plate and spaghetti with meatballs. In Daniels, the Dish Cafe offers clever burger creations, maybe the best macaroni & cheese in the state, and cherry pepper slaw. For a memorable dining experience, The Char is your go-to for the best steaks, escargot, and French-cut pork chops. It has been a Beckley icon since 1965. If you’d prefer Mexican or Japanese, Campestre Mexican Grill and Fujiyama are excellent choices.
WHERE TO STAY IN BECKLEY
You’ll find several chain hotel choices in Beckley; The Courtyard, Country Inn & Suites, and Hampton Inn. My favorite place is The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, offering indoor and outdoor pools and a long list of activities that will make your head spin, such as archery, bowling, and escape rooms. The resort has multiple onsite restaurants, movies, immaculate grounds to enjoy, and a well-known spa.