Elkins in West Virginia embodies what a mountain oasis looks like.
This mountain city on the tip of the Monongahela National Forest boasts a vibrant culture of arts and tradition vividly seen in its art galleries, theaters, music, and dance.
The city has a long history of railroads and logging, but the community has preserved the beauty of its natural surroundings.
It has a sleepy appeal and is considered a jumping point for those who want to explore the Appalachian Mountains.
However, the city itself teems with cultural attractions, giving visitors a fresher perspective of what a small-town charm is all about.
Elkins is a small city with roughly seven thousand inhabitants, but don’t be deceived by its sleepy appeal because they are known for being passionate about their culture, heritage, and arts.
With all that in mind, Elkins is an astonishing place to find hidden gems and get ahead of everyone before it becomes a popular tourist destination in the future.
To find out what awaits you in this small West Virginia city, here are the 20 best things to do in Elkins, WV.
Go Inside the Halliehurst Mansion
Halliehurst Mansion along Campus Drive is a historical site that’s worthy of visiting on the campus of Davis & Elkins College.
Also called by locals as the Senator Stephen B. Elkins House, it's one of the five historical landmarks found in the Davis & Elkins College Campus.
Completed in 1890, Halliehurst Mansion served as the residence of former U.S. Senator Stephen Elkins.
Today, the mansion houses the Davis & Elkins College’s Development Office, Office of Admission, and Office of the President, while other sections serve as function areas for private events.
Aside from rich history, the mansion is known for its beautiful Victorian-style architecture that nicely designed this three-story building.
Even though it’s a historical site, the mansion is not a museum but an administrative office of the college.
A guided tour is available for visitors to the mansion, so it would be great to include this historical place on your itinerary.
Relax at the Elkins City Park
The Elkins City Park, situated along Sycamore Street near the downtown, is considered a historical site.
This park is more than a century old after it was deeded to the City of Elkin back in 1893 by then-senator Henry Gassaway.
Elkins City Park is considered the center for local activities in the city.
It's where most events in Elkins happen, such as the Forest Festival and the Augusta Festival.
In addition, this 9-acre park is equipped with pavilions, picnic shelters, a basketball court, a playground, and a horseshoe pit, which makes it a nice place to do outdoor activities.
In addition, it’s also an excellent place for a photoshoot because of its century-old oak trees that are surrounded by landscaped flower beds.
Visit the Elkins-Randolph County Tourism, Convention, and Visitors Bureau
Once you have completed touring West Virginia on a train, it would also be best to visit the Elkins-Randolph County Tourism, Convention, and Visitors Bureau, also located along Railroad Avenue.
If you’re not entirely familiar with what places to visit in Elkin, this place offers visitors an itinerary.
Their staff assists in planning your trips and offering more tourism opportunities to everyone.
They will provide you with a brochure featuring all the must-visit attractions in Elkins, including the list of shops, restaurants, and services to give you the best travel experience in the city.
Before heading out, make sure you drop by the Elkins-Randolph County Tourism, Convention, and Visitors Bureau.
Taste Authentic Italian Dishes at the Gino’s Pizza & Spaghetti House
Since 1973, Gino’s Pizza and Spaghetti House has satisfied Elkins’ locals with mouthwatering Italian dishes.
This family-owned restaurant has proudly served the city with its top-notch Italian food such as pizzas and pasta prepared from scratch daily from the freshest ingredients sourced from local farmers.
Aside from their signature pizza and pasta dishes, their calzone is also a must-try.
Their pizza dough is made fresh every day using top-quality flour, sauces, and toppings.
In addition, Gino’s Pizza and Spaghetti House also serves fresh homemade salad, a wide selection of sub sandwiches, and loads of appetizers to complement their best dishes.
Support Local Farmers at the Elkins Farmers Market
The Elkins Farmers Market situated along Railroad Avenue offers locals and visitors a diverse selection of local vendors who are always excited to offer their freshest produce, crafts, baked treats, meats, eggs, and dairy products.
The farmer’s market is open every Saturday morning and runs through May to October.
It’s one of the busiest places in the city on Saturday, where many locals rub elbows and buy the best products from local farmers in West Virginia.
Elkins Farmers Market isn’t just about fresh fruits and vegetables.
You can also buy local specialties from food, accessories, to souvenirs that you can bring home from your trip.
So, if you want to immerse with locals, this is the perfect place to go.
Tour West Virginia Aboard a Train at the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad
An exciting way to discover the beauty of West Virginia is by train.
The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad offers visitors in Elkins a Mountain Rail Adventures that runs through April until December.
Its main station is situated in Elkins along S. Railroad Avenue.
A vintage diesel-powered passenger train or an old steam-driven locomotive will tour you through the beautiful places of the Mountain State, especially in areas where vehicles don’t have access.
Locally, they are known as the ‘Durbin Rocket,’ a moniker that became popular when its engineer joked about the train’s slow speed, telling his passengers, ‘’this train’s going to take off like a rocket.”
Riding one of their train trips around West Virginia is a perfect way to jumpstart your Elkins travel adventure.
Experience Authentic Venezuelan Cuisine at El Gran Sabor
Venezuelan Cuisine is unique to most people, but you can taste its authentic dishes in Elkins at the El Gran Sabor along Karens Avenue.
The restaurant offers diners a unique gastronomic experience by serving Venezuelan and Caribbean dishes courtesy of owners Derdlim and Rob Masten.
It has a full menu of authentic Venezuelan dishes with an Americanized twist.
Their Shrimp, Buffalo Chicken, beef cachapa, fried plantains, el gran Goston, five-coconut shrimp, arepa, empanada, and pabellon are all must-tries.
In addition, the restaurant also has a full bar that serves local beer on tap.
It also has live music that brings more fun vibes to the place.
For a unique and delicious food experience in Elkins, dine at El Gran Sabor.
Bring Your Kids to the Old Brick Playhouse
The Old Brick Playhouse, formerly known as the Randolph Garage Company, is known for its summer workshops and programs for kids.
Every year, it organizes exciting original plays where kids portray as actors.
These plays promote self-awareness, anti-bullying, drug abuse, cyberbullying, and cultural sensitivities.
Its unique theme aims to help children become more aware of these issues and develop them becoming good people.
Other programs include literacy and reading.
It’s a nice place to bring your kids to watch or even participate in one of its programs.
Join Workshops at the Augusta Heritage Center
The Augusta Heritage Center along Campus Drive is popularly known throughout Elkins for its top-notch workshops that usually draw around a hundred participants, especially in summer.
Their workshop primarily focuses on teaching attendees how to play musical instruments to play traditional music, folk arts, folklike, and local culture.
Their workshop is run by volunteer staff who work and study at the Davis & Elkins College.
Visiting this workshop is enjoyable, especially if you’re eager to learn and discover the unique culture and heritage in Elkins.
The workshop’s culmination highlights the attendees performing in a concert.
Check Out the Gov. H. Guy Kump House
The Gov. H. Guy Kump House is another historical site situated along Randolph Avenue that you should check out.
The house constructed in 1924 served as the residence of former West Virginia Governor Herman G. Kump.
Due to its historical significance to Elkins and West Virginia, the house was included on the National Historic Register in 1986.
It serves as the Kump Education Center today, aiming to preserve historical artifacts in West Virginia.
In addition, it also offers a sustainability program for everyone wherein people can join bee farming programs, monitor the waters in wetlands, and garden creation.
The program also aims to continue the legacy of Kump, who was known for his works in promoting public work projects and public education in West Virginia at the height of the Great Depression.
Chug Down a Pint at the Big Timber Brewing Company
Big Timber Brewing Company along S. Davis Avenue is a microbrewery for craft beer and a taproom that should be part of your Elkins travel adventure.
The taproom offers visitors the brewing company’s wide array of craft beer that aims to honor the timber industry in Elkins back in the day and its surrounding forests.
Enjoy browsing through its walls adorned with old photos featuring the logging history of Elkins while sipping on a freshly brewed craft beer.
In addition, the taproom also hosts a wide array of traditional music courtesy of local artists.
Learn Interesting History at the West Virginia Railroad Museum
The West Virginia Railroad Museum is situated along Railroad Avenue, particularly in the Darden Mill.
Since Elkins is a city that thrived in railroads, most of its backstory is centered on this industry.
Darden Mill, where the museum is located, is also a historic building.
The museum’s exhibits collect artifacts, locomotives, photographs, rolling stock, and memorabilia relevant to Elkins’ railroad history.
In addition, there are rotating exhibits displaying different pieces of equipment ranging from vintage locomotives and trains preserved by the museum’s curators.
Many exciting things are waiting for you in the museum, so don’t miss visiting this place in Elkins.
Stroll through Elkins Main Street
Elkins Main Street is a vibrant district in the city teeming with art galleries, restaurants, breweries, and shops to discover.
It has a lively but calm atmosphere that will make you appreciate the city’s vibes.
Stroll through this vibrant street and go on window shopping, or perhaps go in a restaurant hoping to find what you craved for.
In addition, Elkins Main Street has a live show every first Friday of the month featuring musicians, theater groups, comedians, and artists that are guaranteed entertaining.
Celebrate the Augusta Heritage Festival with the Locals
The Augusta Heritage Festival is a yearly celebration that highlights Elkins’ traditional dance, music, and arts at the Elkins City Park.
The festival gathers thousands of people from neighboring towns and cities of Elkins who want to have fun and enjoy traditional dance and music with the locals.
The Augusta Heritage Festival also has a craft fair featuring the best local and regional artisans, musicians, craft demonstrations, workshops, and musical jam sessions.
It is a great experience that you shouldn’t miss in Elkins, where you’ll enjoy a lively atmosphere with the locals who celebrate their unique heritage, culture, and arts.
Pour a Glass of Craft Beer at the Brewstel Brew Shop & Hostel
Brewstel Brew Shop & Hostel along Davis Avenue is known for its excellent craft beer and brew shop that offers customers all the brewing essentials.
In addition, it has a hostel where you can stay during your trip to Elkins.
Visiting this place is worthy of your time, especially if you’re seeking a place to unwind after a tiring day touring around Elkins.
It features 21 taps of craft beer, including rare and seasonal brews.
You can enjoy its excellent craft beer while enjoying live musical performances from traveling musicians at its rooftop.
Check out Brewstel Brew Shop & Hostel for its lively atmosphere, or perhaps spend the night at its cozy hostel.
Experience a Magical Moment at Gandy Dancer Theatre and Conference Center
Gandy Dancer Theatre and Conference Center in Beverly Pike, Elkins, feature shows that are a tribute to musical legends, premier shows, and specialty shows that you can choose from.
They showcase group performances by skilled musicians and dancers who add passion and humor to their Branson-style performances.
They offer several distinct tickets: one is for the performance alone, and the other includes a delectable dinner before the play.
Scrumptious viands in their dinner meals include chicken cordon bleu and rotisserie chicken breast, but they may change without prior notice.
Aside from the shows, they also have a conference center where you can host reunions with friends or family, as they can cater to up to 250 people.
Learn and Explore the Heritage of Appalachian Forest at Appalachian Forest Discovery Center
Venture into the rich cultural forestry heritage of the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Site.
The Discovery Center is constantly evolving thanks to donations of artifacts, the addition of interactive features, and the yearly installation of fresh exhibits.
Visitors can explore how the inhabitants of this area engaged with the forest and how it affected individuals through the permanent display at the Discovery Center.
The exhibition looks at the Appalachian Forest Discovery Center's untouched areas, past, forestry, and culture.
See their interactive maps for outdoor recreation to explore routes, boat launches, rivers, campsites, etc.
Their interactive map of nature identifies regions in their vicinity that are distinct and undoubtedly fascinating.
Breathe and Relax at Stuart Recreation Area
Stuart Recreation area in Elkins, West Virginia, features a mixture of forest, river, and hiking routes, making it accessible to breathtaking views, nearby caves, and falls.
Every campsite has an electrical hookup, a bonfire ring, a tent cushion, and a lamp post.
Visitors during the day can use either of the three picnic shelters, and it has a beach on the riverfront, which visitors are fond of as they offer incredible scenery.
Aside from the breathtaking vistas, you can swim, hunt, hike, fish, and camp during your visit.
Tag along in visiting the recreational area with your friends, family, partner, or even yourself, as this trip is beyond words.
Express Yourself Freely at Randolph County Community Arts Center
Everybody is invited to explore and learn about the value of art at the Arts Center thanks to its pleasant environment and outstanding programs and activities.
They provide workshops for individuals of any age and capability, spanning youngsters to seniors, as part of their mission to make art more available to all.
The Center seeks to enrich life, inspire dialogue and relationships, and go above and beyond your goals in all facets of arts.
Save this spot on your bucket list to visit their excellent art exhibitions in their galleries and monthly concerts with local and visiting performers.
They offer a wide variety of art activities, such as hand and wheel pottery, watercolor workshops, drawing, etc.
Dine and Chill at Beander's Restaurant & Tavern
If you love trying out food from different restaurants, then you better try one of Elkin's known restaurants that offer a wide range of food options yet are deliciously served; the Beander's Restaurant & Tavern is the right place for you.
They have a variety of mouthwatering lunch and supper entrees, including salads, sandwiches, steaks, and many more.
Every weekend, there is entertainment from amazing local musicians, performers, etc., in Beander's Restaurant & Tavern, which allows you to eat and drink while pleasuring your eyes and ears.
Aside from the restaurant being a great place to dine and the entertainment it offers, they have a huge bar that provides numerous drinks, from cocktails to hard liquors.
Catering services are available if you plan to hold weddings, birthday parties, reunions, or other events.
After reading this post, you will have many reasons why Elkins should be your next destination.
Elkins is a lovely city that features nearly everything a big city provides, absent the stressful city life.
Its atmosphere is calm, but its community is lively and passionate about its arts, heritage, and culture.
So, which of the places listed above you’ll be visiting first in Elkins?
Make sure to bookmark this post as your itinerary!