20 Best Things to Do in Harpers Ferry, WV

Harpers Ferry, WV skyline
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There might be just a couple hundred people living in the town of Harpers Ferry in West Virginia, but the amount of history and tales it holds is immense.

The presence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers makes the town an immaculately gorgeous sight to behold.

Did you know that Harpers Ferry happened to play an essential role in the American Civil War as well?

On top of all these, there's much to do and explore in this charming town.

Interested in finding out what it has in store for you?

Check out this list of the best things to do in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia:

Head to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Aerial view Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is something that people come to see from far and wide.

It has been declared one of the prettiest parks in the USA.

People on boats on Harpers Ferry National Historical Park's waters
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The most interesting thing about the attraction is that Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is not a part of Harpers Ferry; rather, the city is just one part of the park.

It comprises places from Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia as well.

You can catch the Appalachian Trail right in the middle of the park.

Historic Appalachian Stone Church in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
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Visit the Famous Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Name board of Appalachian Trail Conservancy
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Nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts worship the Appalachian Trail.

The job of protecting the beloved Appalachian Trail is given to the one and only Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

There are more than 2,000 miles to protect on this trail that runs from Maine to Georgia.

Harpers Ferry also happens to be the location of the headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The middle point of the trail is also located here.

It is an aesthetic point for all sorts of adventure enthusiasts.

Do snap a few pictures of the headquarters.

Go Hiking at the Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Lush greeneries at Appalachian National Scenic Trail
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The beauty of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is truly indescribable and is something you need to see with your known two eyes.

For adrenaline junkies, hiking along this trail is considered an achievement.

This is the only trail in the world that allows only hiking and no other activities.

The officials are quite proud of this trail, and for a good reason; there are very few paths as incredible as this one.

View of Appalachian National Scenic Trail
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Did you know that this path runs through 14 states of the USA?

Take part in this hike and be a part of the American legacy.

Waterbody at Appalachian National Scenic Trail
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This city serves as the middle point in this long hiking trail.

It might not be possible for all to embark on a hiking journey covering the entire trail, but you can go on a short hike from the midpoint if you are in Harpers Ferry.

Check Out Jefferson Rock

Jefferson Rock at Harpers Ferry
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When you walk along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, you will spot a lot of beautiful sights.

Jefferson Rock is one of them.

It also happens to be one of the most Instagrammed spots on the Appalachian Trail.

It is a rock formation with quite a unique shape.

Closer look at the pillars of Jefferson Rock
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There are four pillars of stone above which a wide piece of shale rock has been placed.

It's named after Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the USA.

It is said that the man even stood here while he talked about how beautiful Virginia is.

Far view of Jefferson Rock
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Enjoy Scenic Views from The Point

View from the Point in Harpers Ferry
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The Point is more than just a lookout point with good views.

It's one of the most talked-about places in Harpers Ferry.

This is where the mighty Potomac River meets the beautiful Shenandoah River.

When you look beyond, you can see Maryland and Virginia on the other side of the horizon.

Tourists enjoy clicking pictures from The Point
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The presence of the Blue Ridge Mountains also adds to its beauty.

No matter which season you go, the Point is always one of the most spectacular places to see in Harpers Ferry.

Photographers from all over the world come to capture and appreciate its beauty.

Have a Quiet Moment at St. John's Episcopal Church

Ruins of St. John’s Episcopal Church
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The Civil War destroyed many beautiful structures and works of architecture, including a lot of churches.

Very few were able to hold their dignity and still stand strong.

St. John's Episcopal Church is one of those places.

Closer view of the following building of St. John's Episcopal Church
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It served as a hospital that treated the injured, diseased, and dying during the Civil War.

It went through heavy damages caused by the war, but since it was such a historical place, it was renovated and rebuilt.

Catch a Glimpse of John Brown's Fort

Red brick building of the John Brown’s Fort
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John Brown's Fort was constructed in 1848.

At that time, Harpers Ferry was not yet part of West Virginia.

Everything was under the rule of the government of Virginia.

A stone monument in front of John Brown's Fort
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The Harpers Ferry Armory kept a fire engine in here.

The beautiful fort was almost like a guardhouse to the government.

John Brown's Fort happens to be one of the key factors in the infamous John Brown raid of 1859.

Back view of John Brown's Fort
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In the raid, the protestors got control of the fort and took over 60 hostages.

The initial plan was to take all the weapons too, but it failed when the Marines showed up and took the fort back.

Learn all about the fort's historical importance when you see the fort in real life.

Check Out the Heyward Shepherd Monument

Stone inscription at Heyward Shepherd Monument
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During the horrific John Brown raid of 1859, a man named Heyward Shepherd was the first of many who suffered and lost their lives.

The fact that a black man got a monument dedicated to his memory also raised a lot of conflicts.

Plaque at Heyward Shepherd Monument
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Overall, the Heyward Shepherd monument is one of the most interesting places in Harpers Ferry.

It is also a memorial to show how terrible the Civil War was for everyone.

Pay a Visit to Antietam National Battlefield

Canons at Antietam National Battlefield
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Antietam National Battlefield tells the story of a horrible past.

Its relevance dates back to the Civil War, as it was where one of the major battles was fought.

It also saw the highest amount of blood among any battlefields.

General Robert E. Lee attacked with his full force.

A lot of people lost their lives in just a single day.

This battle marked the beginning of the Civil War in the northern parts.

Before this, there were no battles as severe as this one in these parts.

Go over, pay your respects to the lost souls, and learn more about how the massacre happened.

Go Back in Time at the John Brown Wax Museum

Exterior of John Brown Wax Museum
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The John Brown Wax Museum attracts a lot of visitors throughout the year.

This is one of the most fascinating modern locations in town.

Would you like to know more about the John Brown raid in detail?

Sign board of John Brown Wax Museum
Billy Hathorn, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At the John Brown Wax Museum, the authorities have taken it as a responsibility to pass down this horrific story via statues, presentations, and animation.

Go to the John Brown Wax Museum to learn more about how the raid occurred, what happened before it, and what followed.

There are even structures of the main characters.

Tour the Haunted Property of Hill Top House Hotel

Harpers Ferry has a lot of spooky spots, but Hilltop House Hotel happens to be one of the most popular ones.

The hotel stopped functioning several years back.

Constructed in 1888, it is one of the oldest properties in town and has seen a lot of ups and downs.

Having faced two fires in its lifetime, it also went through a lot of rebuilding and renovations.

There are a lot of creepy tales about this haunted place—and you can experience its spookiness for yourself.

Look Out for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Ruins of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
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When there were no railroads to connect to the town of Harpers Ferry, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal were considered the place's salvation.

It was believed that this canal would solve the problem of connectivity.

But soon, the railways came, and the canal lost its significance.

Water flowing through Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
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It no longer operates, but you can still see the exact structure while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

You can even see the lockmaster's house, but it is not open to the public.

People strolling around the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
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Take a Walk around Downtown Harper's Ferry

Brick buildings in Downtown Harper’s Ferry
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Haven't bought any souvenirs for your friends or family nack home?

Looking for an excellent place to grab some brunch?

Downtown Harpers Ferry is the best place to go.

Street view of Downtown Harper's Ferry
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It's filled with countless shops and drool-worthy eateries.

Located at the meeting point of the gorgeous Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, Harpers Ferry is quite a beautiful place, and taking a stroll around downtown will make you feel the beauty even more.

Shops at Downtown Harper's Ferry
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Explore the City with "O' Be JoyFull" Historical Tours & Entertainment

One of the best things to do in Harpers Ferry is offered by this tour operator, which has been in business since 1970.

In Harpers Ferry, O' Be JoyFull provides a handful of thrilling excursions.

This award-winning tour company's knowledgeable guides will provide you with a unique city viewpoint.

Seeking some unnerving sights?

Look no further.

Why not enjoy the two-hour Lower Town ghost tour?

You may also take their instructive Historical Walking Tour for a more traditional experience.

Brave the Rapids with River Riders

River Riders, founded in the 1970s, is the place to go if you're looking for a rush.

If you're tired of doing historical tours all day, why not try something new?

Visit River Riders while you're in town.

River Riders offers a wide range of thrills and spills, from rapids to ziplines.

Enjoy kayaking and whitewater rafting on the Shenandoah or Potomac rivers.

Zip lines and mountain bike experiences are available for those who prefer not to get wet.

Take Photos with St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church

Front view of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church
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Since its construction in 1833, St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Harpers Ferry has been regarded as one of the most magnificent churches.

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, isn't complete without this ancient chapel listing great things to do in the area.

Additionally, it's an Instagram-worthy architectural marvel that also rewards visitors.

The Shenandoah River canyon and the Potomac River's confluence are seen from the church's vantage point high above the town.

Steeple of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church
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After being destroyed during the Civil War, St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Harpers Ferry has been rebuilt many times throughout the years in various styles.

You are welcome to join its Sunday morning service.

You may also go at any time of the week to take in the stunning vistas and enjoy the old-fashioned construction.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at True Treats Historic Candy

Based on actual research, True Treats Historic Candy at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia is the only historical candy business in the country.

The store's proprietors are always searching for the most genuine candy options available to ensure consumers leave a positive impression of their establishment.

True Treats Historic Candy's candy selections are made by candy connoisseurs or by going straight to the original suppliers.

There is a chronological layout of the candy store, complete with historical labeling.

The knowledgeable merchants are also an excellent resource for customers.

Try gummy sweets, Napoleon Sours, and licorice pipes from the turn of the century to taste the past.

Aside from these, the shop sells ancient treats, including Native American fruits and mastic resin.

Learn More about the Neighborhood White Hall Tavern

White Hall Tavern in Harpers Ferry
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In the 1850s, the White Hall Tavern served as a hub for locals to meet and socialize.

Historical attractions like this one help visitors learn about the area's history.

An excursion to the White Hall Tavern offers a fascinating peek into the neighborhood's history.

Aside from that, it has a lot of lovely details.

Learn about its fascinating past from the tavern displays and expert interpreters eager to share their stories.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Bloomery Plantation Distillery

Want to check out a place where you can taste different wine samples for free?

The Bloomery Plantation Distillery is not exactly in Harpers Ferry, but if you have some free time on your hands, do make your way to the adjacent Charles Town.

It is just 15 minutes away and is home to the beautiful distillery.

The building where the distillery was built is rich in history.

It is said that this building happened to be the house of several enslaved people back in the 1840s.

Did you know that when alcohol was banned in the States, this was one of the places where the slaves illegally prepared moonshine?

Taste some spirits and hear interesting stories at the Bloomery Plantation Distillery.

Final Thoughts

If you're a history buff or an adrenaline addict, you'll love Harpers Ferry.

Experience this quaint town brimming with exciting activities, from historical tours to river rafting to picturesque hiking routes.