Fayetteville, West Virginia is a charming town located a little over an hour away from Charleston. Although Fayetteville is a small town with a population of 2,772 and known for the epicness that is Bridge Day, there are certainly a lot of other big things to do! Outdoor adventure sports, historical sites and museums, and a flourishing arts scene are just a taste of what you’ll find when you visit Fayetteville. Nestled next to the New River Gorge National Park, there’s truly something for everyone when you visit Fayetteville, West Virginia.
We had the pleasure of exploring Fayetteville during Bridge Day weekend, and let’s just say that we had more than our share of excitement. However, if you’re not an adrenaline junkie like us, and want to explore this charming town (and you should!), we’ve gone ahead and pulled together a list to make sure that you get the most out of your time there!
WHERE TO STAY IN FAYETTEVILLE
We highly recommend getting a vacation rental (there are a ton of houses in beautiful neighbours) instead of hotels. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you’ll get to really explore what it’s truly like to be fully immersed in all things Fayetteville.
19 Things to Do In Fayetteville, West Virginia
Here are 19 things to do on your next visit to Fayetteville.
Plan the perfect weekend with Bridge Day
Obviously, we’re going to start with our favourite activity, way to spend the day! While it’s not for the faint of heart, Bridge Day is every thrill seeker’s dream day as thousands of spectators flock to the New River Gorge Bridge. Not only can you walk across the bridge with countless other visitors, but you’ll witness one of the most extreme sporting events in the world. Witness as extreme BASE jumpers fly 876 feet into the Gorge and rappellers ascend and descend from the catwalk. Or, our favourite, get catapulted off the bridge!
In 2019, more than 350 jumpers jumped more than 700 times- some jumping as much as 6 times.
Bridge Day takes place once a year on the third Saturday in October. You’ll get to take in one of the best views in the country, watch BASE jumpers fly off the ledge of the New River Gorge, all while enjoying a fair like atmosphere.
Things to note: Because the bridge is closed for the entire day, you’ll want to either buy a VIP pass to get from end of the bridge to the other, or put on your walking shoes and get ready to get your steps in.
Enjoy all the Things at Taste of Bridge Day
This fun foodie event takes places the night before Bridge at Taste of Bridge Day and it is definitely not one to miss. It’s a great way to try out some really great food from local restaurants, and listen to live music (be sure to bring your party shoes).
The lines tend to get long so be sure to get there early unless you want to stand around for a while.
Cast your Vote for the Best Chili at the Chili Cook-off
Taking place right after Bridge Day (it’s a 15 min walk away), the chili cook-off is a one of the most interesting things to do in Fayetteville for foodie.
Visit the New River Gorge National Park
The New River Gorge National Park is a must-see for any Fayetteville visitor. There’s plenty of things to do at the National Park, so plan to spend at least a full day seeing all it has to offer.
You can attend a ranger-led program to learn more about the Park and the species and plants that live there and walk the boardwalk to view Sandstone Falls. Nuttallburg, one of the most extensive coal town ruins in the country, is also worth a visit. If you’re up for an adventure, take half a day to hike the Endless Wall Trail to Diamond Point.
Walk around the Historic District
Check out Fayetteville’s famed Historic District, which includes several historic buildings such as Jack’s Garage, the county jail, the old Post Office, a War Memorial Building, and the Historic Fayette Theater.
Lose yourself in Fayetteville’s rich history by strolling through these buildings. So many aspects and features have been meticulously preserved that you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back in time!
Attend World War II Weekend in Downtown Fayetteville
Downtown Fayetteville will host World War II living history weekend on Saturday, May 4. Hosted by the World War II Living History Foundation Inc, World War II Weekend is a great way to further your education about this important time in United States history. Learn more about World War II by visiting reenactments of Allied and Axis army encampments, hear from stories from veterans, and view the World War II Biplane that will be on display!
Catch some live music
Fayetteville has a thriving live music scene. Check out The Grove, Southside Junction Tap House, or the Burrito Bar at Breeze Hille to grab a drink and a bite to eat while you listen to some amazing bands.
You’re likely to hear country music, string bands, and Appalachian mountain music – it’s up to you if you’ll join in on the dancing!
Take a culinary cooking class
There are a number of kitchens in and around Fayetteville that offer live cooking classes. Learn to make some local dishes with locally-sourced and organic ingredients and then take your skills back home to impress your friends and family!
Here are a couple of culinary cooking classes to look into:
- Gourmet on the Gorge
- My Kitchen WV
Shop till you drop
Fayetteville has no shortage of boutiques and shops to browse while you vacation. You’ll be sure to find art, clothing, books, candles, and crafts to take home as souvenirs or gifts for loved ones.
Visit the Fayetteville Farmers Market
The Fayetteville farmers market is open year-round and offers a unique experience to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies and artisan crafts, listen to live music and grab a meal from the food court vendors.
All produce is locally sourced from the Fayetteville area.
Take a Bike Tour with New River Bikes
Fayetteville offers the perfect setting for a scenic bike tour in nature. New River Bike Tours offer bikers of all experience levels a thrilling mountain bike ride. Soak up the beauty of the New River Gorge National Park. Beginners can take in the serenity of nature, while more experienced riders can take on the challenge of an Appalachian Trail.
Tours are available for either half-days or full-days.
Relax and enjoy a unique restaurant experience
There’s no shortage of restaurants when it comes to Fayetteville dining.
The Station: locally sourced restaurant with a great seasonal menu, and wonderful cocktails.
Wood Iron Eatery: perfect place to enjoy a lunch on the patio. We highly recommend the burger- they are big and messy- but delicious.
Cathedral Cafe: an old church that’s now a hipster looking restaurant. We highly recommend heading here for breakfast.
If you want a fine dining experience, make a reservation at Bordinos. If you want to tuck into a giant plate of BBQ, Sassy’s Red House is the place for you.
Whatever your culinary tastes, Fayetteville has something to satisfy every palate!
Ride or watch at the skate park
Whether you like to skate or like to watch, it’s worth a visit to Fayetteville’s skate park to check out the talent and maybe try some new tricks of your own.
Book a white water rafting trip
Feeling adventurous? Book a white water rafting trip on the Upper New River. Known for its friendly Class I-III rapids, white water rafters of all experience levels will find a trip that satisfies their desire for adventure. Take in the beauty of West Virginia as you make your way down the New River.
Enjoy art-in-place throughout the town
With its thriving music scene, it’s no surprise that Fayetteville also has a vibrant art scene as well. Everywhere you look, you’ll find beautiful art displays all over town. Downtown Fayetteville showcases local artists’ work and you’ll see unique sculptures and colorful murals as well.
Art is a wonderful reminder of past trips, so be sure to check out the Famers Market and the artisan craft fairs to pick up a souvenir (or two or three!) to remember your trip by.
Go rock climbing
With its proximity to the Appalachians and the New River Gorge National Park, it makes sense that Fayetteville is home to some of the best rock climbing in the country. There are countless routes to select from, so be sure to find a route that fits your experience and expectations.
Fayetteville is near a multitude of routes that range in difficulty from 5.6 – 5.13, with the majority of them falling in the 5.10 – 5.11 rank.
In a city brimming with Civil War history, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better site for serious antiquing.
See what bits of history and vintage goods you can salvage in the antique shops of Fayetteville. Some of the most popular shops include:
- The New River Antique Mall
- The Hobbit Hole
- Hickory Tree Antique Mall
- Tickety Boo Mercantile
- Antiques at Aide’s
History is everywhere in Fayetteville, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for antiques and vintage items to take home with you!
See a play at the Historic Fayette Theatre
The Historic Fayette Theater is home to a number of festivals, plays, and events. Check out their Community Talent Show to see what the locals have to offer. Or, visit their Jazz and Blues Festival in August.
Go Fishing or Hunting
The unique terrain of the New Valley Gorge offers a wide variety of fishing and hunting experiences. Fish for trout, bass, and walleye in the river. Or hunt for whitetail deer, turkey, pheasant, and more.
There are many companies you can book with for a full-day or overnight hunting experience. The West Virginia mountains offer no shortage of options for even the most avid hunters, whatever the season, so bring your A-Game!
Last but not least – do absolutely nothing at all. There is no better place than Fayetteville to rejuvenate and rest.
Make a visit to a local spa or practice your breathing at a yoga or meditation class. Fayetteville is full of natural beauty and wonder – let your senses relax by breathing in the fresh mountain air that West Virginia has to offer.
Fayetteville, West Virginia might be easy to miss on the map, but there are countless things that make this charming and vibrant small town the place to be on your next vacation. Don’t miss out on all that Fayetteville has to offer! After one visit, you’ll find yourself coming back, again and again, to soak up as much nature, art, and adventure as possible.
This was sponsored by West Virginia Tourism Office, all opinions are my own as always.