About West Virginia ...
West Virginia is a unique state with a diverse and rugged past. It is the only state that was formed out of the Civil War and the only one that ever became a state by presidential proclamation. It is the 41st largest state and was the 35th state admitted to the Union. West Virginia's birthday is June 20, 1863.
The Mountain State is really close to the eastern United States' largest cities, but it is mostly rural, with a lot of countryside and small towns. That's one reason people from big cities like to visit West Virginia – they want to vacation in the mountains away from crowded, busy streets and they can get here easily by car.
West Virginia is sometimes called the most northern of the southern states or the most southern of the northern states because it is right in the middle. It is the only state that is completely within the Appalachian Mountains, which are some of the oldest in the world. Everywhere you look in West Virginia, there are mountains.
In between those mountains, there are beautiful rivers and streams that are great for fishing and whitewater rafting. People come from all across the world to raft here.
We also have massive, thick forests that are home to birds and animals and all sorts of plants. Deer, wild turkeys, bears, songbirds, and even rare salamanders live in these forests, which cover almost 80 percent of the state!
Some of the favorite places that tourists visit are our state and national parks that have lots of hiking and biking trails and swimming holes. In the winter, the mountains are covered with snow and thousands of people come here to ski and snowboard. In the summer, golfing, mountain biking and camping are popular activities for vacationers.
They also come to learn more about West Virginia's Appalachian culture, which includes music, dancing, storytelling, and fine handcrafts. West Virginians are known for making beautiful quilts, glass, pottery, furniture, and musical instruments.
West Virginia is famous for its coal, which is most often used to create electricity. Many of West Virginia's families have worked in the coal mines or lived in tiny coal towns. People visit to learn about our coal mining history and can even tour a former coal mine!
When you travel in West Virginia, you can learn even more about the state's history and scenery. West Virginians are very friendly and are always glad to have visitors drop in to say hello and share stories.