20 Free Things to Do in Huntington, WV

Free Things to Do in Huntington, WV

Get ready to explore, learn, and experience the free things to do in Huntington, West Virginia!

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Jenny Swilley, Maria Sanchez, Jayme Boone, Taylor Lynch, John Harder, Julio Ortiz and Arthur Goff.

Frolic at Ritter Park

Fountain at Ritter Park
Youngamerican at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

"Wow, I stumbled upon a hidden gem today!" That was my first thought upon exploring Ritter Park.

Tucked away in the middle of the city, this park is an oasis of green spaces and trails, complete with a creek, dog park, and two playgrounds.

You can easily spend a whole day here without running out of things to do.

One of my favorite activities is following the trail that encircles the park.

Just over a mile long, I always get rewarded by the serenity of the steam, the beautiful sight of the Rose Garden, and the inviting shelters scattered around the park.

Plus, there's always a chance of spotting deer, squirrels, and a cornucopia of wildlife.

When it comes to parking, there's never an issue.

There are plenty of parking spaces surrounding the park, with even a playground for the little ones.

And for all the dog owners or trainers out there, the park is a great environment for dogs who need a little extra distraction.

view of mansion at Ritter House
Jon Bilous / shutterstock.com

They seem to love it!

One thing that stands out to me is how well-maintained and clean the park is.

You can tell the staff work tirelessly to keep it looking pristine.

It gives off a peaceful vibe, making it a perfect place to unwind after a long day.

Not to mention the fact that there's Xfinity Wi-Fi signal throughout the park, it's such a convenience whether you're working remotely or just want to catch up on social media without using cell data.

Another bonus about Ritter Park is its location adjacent to Marshall University, the city's university.

Strolling around, you'll notice opulent houses, including the Marshall University president's house.

If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of someone wearing a green shirt with a big M or the word 'Marshall.'

If that's the case, don't hesitate to shout 'Go Herd' - it's a university cheer!

large house at Ritter park
Jon Bilous / shutterstock.com

Explore History through Sounds at the Museum of Radio & Technology

In the heart of Huntington, hidden within its bustling streets, lies a treasure trove of history that breathes life into the evolution of radio and technology.

There's a bit of magic in the air as you step into the Museum of Radio & Technology, as if you're being transported back in time.

What struck me first was the sheer range of exhibits - it's so much more than radios!

I've been there multiple times, and each visit has been a fascinating journey into the past.

The Museum of Radio & Technology is packed full of fascinating artifacts, from vintage radio equipment and early electronic components to scientific toys and kits, photographs, computers, and even Walkmen.

The guided tours are a delightful highlight.

The docents are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate, giving life to the history of music players, electronics, and more through their captivating narratives.

On my last visit, they tailored the experience specifically to my interest in vintage computers, showing me a fantastic collection dating back to the early days of computing.

The museum is also a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

I've spent countless hours exploring the displays, each one triggering memories of the radios, TVs, and computers from my childhood.

It's a wonderful way to remember and appreciate the technological advancements we often take for granted today.

Get Inspired at Huntington Art Museum Trails Gate

Every now and then, I crave a little peace and solitude, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

And when I do, the Huntington Art Museum Trails Gate is the place that beckons me.

This enormous museum, tucked away in the heart of the city, is a sanctuary of art, culture, and nature.

But more than Huntington Art Museum Trails Gate, it's the trails that are the real attraction for me.

I often find myself to be the first one to explore these trails in the early hours of the morning.

The only company I have is the occasional spider spinning its web across the trail, giving a surreal and adventurous vibe to my hike.

The trails are well-marked, with some areas narrower than others.

It's a hike that's equally exciting and challenging, with steps leading down that you have to climb back up towards the end.

Covering a distance of 1.41 miles, these trails are mostly shaded, creating a pleasant, cool ambiance even on sunny days.

Starting with the Sensory Trail and ending at the back of the museum, this journey paints a perfect picture of nature's beauty along with a dash of thrill.

The best part? You don't even have to leave the city to experience this little paradise!

And if you're up for it, the museum itself is an excellent option for a day trip.

Take in the Views at Rotary Park

I'll never forget the day I stumbled upon Rotary Park.

I was out for my usual weekend stroll and decided to take a detour that led me straight into this unexpected paradise.

Tucked away in the heart of Huntington, it's a world away from the usual walking trails I'm used to.

I remember the first thing that struck me was the vast expanse of lush greenery stretching as far as the eye could see.

The park is a veritable treasure trove of activities, boasting an impressive baseball field, a lively playground that teems with the laughter of children, and even a Frisbee golf course for those seeking a unique sporting challenge.

What truly sets the park apart, though, are the stunning scenic overlooks.

There's nothing quite like standing at the top of a hill, basking in the serene beauty of the landscape below. I often find myself drawn to these spots, especially during the early morning hours when the world is still waking up.

Rotary Park is also a fantastic spot for family outings.

I recall many a Sunday afternoon spent picnicking under the shade of the sprawling trees, watching as families revel in the joy of a game of baseball or Frisbee golf.

Journey through Time at the Madie Carroll House

Front view of Madie Carroll House
Thekingofmice, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You don't have to travel far to discover the essence of our local history.

One of my top recommendations is the Madie Carroll House.

The tale of this early 19th-century homestead is a captivating one - it's hard not to be impressed when you hear that the Ohio River moved the entire house.

Quite a feat considering the lack of technology at that time!

A visit to the Madie Carroll House is like stepping back in time.

The house is filled with intriguing local and regional artifacts that weave an intricate tapestry of the region's past.

The guided tours are particularly insightful, offering visitors a detailed glimpse into the life of the brave Madie Carroll.

What's even more remarkable is the sheer commitment to preserving this piece of our heritage.

The people behind the Madie Carroll House have truly outdone themselves in their efforts to maintain the historical integrity of the house.

Each visit feels like a new opportunity to contribute to the preservation of our local history.

Have a Retreat at Camp Mad Anthony Wayne

I remember the first time I set foot on the vast grounds of Camp Mad Anthony Wayne.

I could hardly suppress my awe, for this place is more than just a lodge; it's an experience.

I was there for a family gathering, and I remember thinking it was the perfect place for our large clan to get together.

The lodge is a stunning sight, with generous amounts of space that never left us feeling cramped, even with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins thronging the place.

What really caught my eye, though, was the beautiful industrial kitchen.

It was a dream come true for my foodie family and me, with every amenity you could think of.

We spent a fair bit of our time in there, cooking up a storm and enjoying hearty meals.

The charm of Camp Mad Anthony Wayne transcends the interiors, sprawling across the green, well-maintained grounds.

And let's not forget about the events they host.

I attended a wedding reception there once, and it was nothing short of magical.

The cool evening air, the soft glow of lanterns, and the lodge as a beautiful backdrop - it was a scene right out of a fairytale.

Even in the cooler months, the atmosphere is simply unbeatable.

It's cozy and warm and somehow always manages to make you feel right at home.

Reflect at Memorial Fountain

Even as darkness begins to settle over the city, one place still radiates a soft light - the Memorial Fountain at Marshall University.

Though the days are hectic and the pace can sometimes be relentless, nothing compares to the serenity of this place on a summer evening.

The fountain, simple in design yet striking in appearance, stands as a solemn reminder of our past and the strength of our community.

Every time I find myself standing by the Memorial Fountain, I feel a wash of emotions.

It's sobering to remember what this monument stands for a tragic event that shook our community to the core.

Yet, there's an inherent peace, a sense of tranquility that settles over you as you watch the water dance and flicker in the evening light.

It's not just a fountain; it’s a symbol of resilience and unity, carrying a significant meaning that resonates with everyone who visits.

Having experienced Marshall University in all its glory, from the vibrant homecoming celebrations to the welcoming ambiance displayed by the new president, I can assure you visiting this place is worth the journey.

It's these kinds of experiences that make me proud to be a part of this community.

Wander around Huntington Downtown Historic District

Buildings along Huntington Downtown Historic District
Wv funnymanCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ever since I can remember, the heart of my city, Huntington, has been the Downtown Historic District.

You wouldn't believe the things you can do here.

It's a world of its own.

The Ritter Park, for instance, is the green lung of our district, a go-to place for relaxation and recreation.

Camden Park, with its charm, quaintness, and tranquility, is another gem in our crown.

You can also soak in the rich history of the district at Heritage Station.

The Harris Riverfront is a sight for sore eyes.

I always find my day brightened up when I stroll along the riverfront park, especially when the sun sets over the Ohio River.

It's a view you have to see to believe.

Pullman Square, in the heart of the city, is the hub of our local life.

It's always abuzz with activity.

And do you know the best part of it all?

We've got the Coldstone Creamery right here! You've got to taste their ice cream; it's something else.

However, the beauty of the Huntington Downtown Historic District goes beyond the sights and the ice cream.

It's about the quiet and peace that cloaks the place.

It's about driving through your hometown, all while taking in the familiar sights and sounds.

It's about the love and the sense of belonging you feel, every time you come back home.

It's about being a part of Huntington.

Catch Performances at Ritter Park Amphitheater

Just last weekend, I was blessed to experience the captivating beauty and soul-stirring music at the one and only Ritter Park Amphitheater.

The evening was filled with music that echoed through the natural surroundings, stirring emotions and creating unforgettable memories.

The amphitheater had an inviting ambiance that night, and it was the stage for the talented Arlo McKinley.

As the enchanting melodies filled the air, I was awestruck by the view.

Deer gently grazing in the field behind the stage added an element of magic to the night.

This place is indeed a haven for any nature lover and music enthusiast like myself.

The small, intimate setting of the amphitheater guarantees a fantastic view from every seat.

I made myself comfortable with my own chair and simply lost myself in the beautiful music under the starlit sky.

A Sunday well spent brings a week of content, they say.

And it was just that when I watched The Kind Thieves and JGB play their hearts out at Ritter Park.

The park, encased with a pretty fence, is a wonderful spot to bring along your children for a day of fun and music.

It's always a joy to watch a show here and just dance the night away!

Every visit to this beautiful facility is a unique and mesmerizing experience, always leaving me longing for more.

Whether it's a magical evening filled with good music or a fun Sunday with the family - Ritter Park Amphitheater is the place to be.

Have a Picnic at Harveytown Park

If you're in search of tranquillity, then let me share a hidden gem from my neighborhood - Harveytown Park.

Nestled amidst a quiet residential area, this park is an escape from the busy city life.

Whether you're in the mood for a leisurely stroll or looking for somewhere to have a picnic, this quaint park is perfect for you.

My kids and I enjoy regular visits to Harveytown Park, and they absolutely adore the farm-themed playground.

From climbing frames to sliding ramps, there's a wide range of play equipment that keeps them entertained for hours.

Visiting the park is a breeze!

With a restroom facility on site and several pavilions scattered around, we can comfortably spend a whole afternoon here.

I often bring along a packed lunch so we can enjoy a little picnic while soaking in the beauty of nature.

The park is also wheelchair-friendly.

Let Your Kids Burn off Energy at St. Cloud's All-Inclusive Playground

Oh, I can't tell you how much I cherish the sunny afternoons spent at St. Cloud's All-Inclusive Playground.

With its recent update, it's turned into a wonderful escape for us locals.

You know that feeling when you find something in your area that's so fabulous, you want to keep it all to yourself? That's exactly how I feel.

The first thing that strikes you is its sheer size and beauty. Nestled on the west end of Huntington, this park St. Cloud's All-Inclusive Playground has become a gem in our community.

There's so much to do that every visit feels like a mini-adventure.

The kids? Oh, they go gaga over the play equipment.

And trust me, it's not just your run-of-the-mill stuff; there's a splash pad too.

I can't even count how many times I've had to coax my children to leave.

They just never want to stop having fun. And why should they? It's clean, safe, and has everything to keep them amused.

When we're not splashing around or playing, we love to enjoy a leisurely walk along the creek.

The paved walking trail is just perfect for that. The park also boasts numerous baseball fields and basketball courts.

And for those special family occasions, there's a lodge that can be rented. Now, isn't that thoughtful?

I've heard that in summer, the park transforms into a splash park. Can't wait to see that!

Observe Boats at Harris Riverfront Park

Sunrise at Harris Riverfront Park
TravellingFoodie / shutterstock.com

Have you ever stumbled upon a place that takes your breath away and somehow manages to encapsulate everything you love?

For me, that place is the Harris Riverfront Park.

Nestled in the heart of our bustling city, this green sanctuary offers a much-needed escape.

Each week, without fail, my four-legged companion, Odin, and I find ourselves drawn to this park.

Whether we're romping around the playground, trying our luck at some skate tricks, or simply lounging on one of the numerous picnic tables, we're always having the time of our lives.

Scenic view of Harris Riverfront Park with bench and autumn leaves on the walkway
Wvfunnyman, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

But the real charm of the Harris Riverfront Park lies in its mesmerizing riverside views.

There's nothing quite like the sight of a gargantuan boat silently cutting through the river as the setting sun paints the sky with hues of crimson and gold.

I'm still not sure whether these boats are for dinner cruises or just for tours, but either way, it's an awe-inspiring sight that never fails to leave me spellbound.

I won't sugarcoat it – the river bank could use some tidying up. But in its disarray, there's a raw, unfiltered beauty that's hard to find in our manicured cityscapes.

Plus, Odin seems to have a field day with all the extra sticks and logs that are strewn about.

Play Disc Golf at Rotary Park Shelter

There's something undeniably magical about watching the city from the Rotary Park Shelter.

The panoramic views are just breathtaking, especially when the city lights twinkle as the sun dips below the horizon.

Even during the day, the sights are equally captivating.

Aside from the great views, the park is a veritable playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

The hiking trails are a delight, winding through beautiful landscapes that change with the seasons.

Each one has its unique features, making every hike a new adventure.

Disc golf is another crowd favorite, with sprawling views that make every game truly enjoyable.

The park is also home to several ball fields, the scene of many intense matches and friendly games.

The fields are always in top condition, ready for athletes and aspiring sports stars to strut their stuff.

For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, the park also offers peaceful picnic areas, perfect for a quiet afternoon with a good book or a lively weekend BBQ with friends.

One of the things I appreciate most about Rotary Park Shelter is its cleanliness.

The park bathrooms, in particular, are always spotless.

Their maintenance team really does a fantastic job.

The water fountains scattered throughout the park are quite nice, too, providing a simple but essential convenience for the park's visitors.

The Rotary Park Shelter also features a large dog park, making it a favorite spot for local dog owners.

There's nothing quite like the sight of dogs romping happily around the park, making new friends, and burning off energy.

Ride the Rails with Huntington Railroad Historical Society

I've got to tell you nothing beats the thrill of embarking on a train journey through the heart of West Virginia, especially when you're traveling with the Huntington Railroad Historical Society.

Trust me, the trips they offer are something straight out of a storybook.

My favorite has to be the fall excursion, it's such a treat.

The train chugs along the tracks, giving you a front-row seat to watch the hills transformed by the changing foliage, a riot of reds, oranges, and yellows.

It's not just the scenery that's mesmerizing, Huntington Railroad Historical Society also gives you a glimpse into the past, narrating stories about the historical sites you pass by.

The history buff in me just can't get enough of those tales.

And then there's the New River Bridge. I've watched folks repel off it, seen them parasailing and bungee jumping.

It's a dash of adrenaline in the otherwise peaceful journey and always gets the train buzzing with excitement.

Just another element that makes these trips an unforgettable experience.

Let me tell you, there's no better way to appreciate the beauty of West Virginia and its rich history.

I hope you get to experience it for yourself someday.

Go Fishing at Sky Lake

I can't help but reminisce about the many weekends I've spent at Sky Lake.

I've spent countless hours there, casting my line and waiting for a bite.

While I must admit, there have been days where I've sat for hours without so much as a nibble, it's all part of the game.

The fun, after all, is in the thrill of the chase!

Yet, when it comes to Sky Lake, it's not just about the fishing.

What truly makes this place special is the wonderful community.

The owners and staff have always been nothing but warm, welcoming, and eager to lend a helping hand.

They stock quality tackle at competitive prices and maintain the lake with admirable dedication.

Sky Lake has always been more than just a fishing spot for me.

It's a place where I've created some of my fondest memories.

Despite the occasional slow day, the joy of being surrounded by fellow fishing enthusiasts, the kindness of the staff, and the tranquil beauty of the lake always beckoned me back.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Play Ball Games at Barboursville Park

Calm waters of Barboursville Park
Collective Arcana / shutterstock.com

Just another Saturday in my hometown, and I find myself gravitating towards my ever-favorite green retreat - Barboursville Park.

It’s a splendid place, brimming with life, laughter, and activities all around. I have always admired the versatility that this park offers, as it has a little bit of everything for everyone.

Are you in the mood for a bit of sport?

You can't go wrong with a friendly game of tennis or a baseball match with the local kids.

The soccer fields are always buzzing with energy. Those looking for more unique activities can try their hand at frisbee golf or even pickleball.

The splash park is the perfect place to cool down on hot summer days, and it's a hit with the children, too.

Picnics here are as charming as they get.

Each shelter spot comes equipped with a charcoal grill – perfect for a family barbeque, and they are conveniently located close to the restrooms.

For a quieter time, I love to take my fishing rod and enjoy the tranquility of the pond.

Barboursville Park is also blessed with scenic trails that are ideal for a leisurely walk or even a short hike.

The sight of the gentle pond, as I swing on a bench, is the most soothing experience.

The playgrounds are a bustling corner of their own.

Kids delight in the adventures offered by the play structures, while the rest of us enjoy the blissful sight of their joy.

Not to forget, the park has always maintained its restrooms and all other facilities impeccably, contributing to an overall pleasant environment.

Journey through the Wilderness at Chief Logan State Park

Wild and wonderful: that's the way to describe my experiences at Chief Logan State Park.

Nestled quietly amidst an expansive 4,000-acre spread, it's an ideal haven for outdoor enthusiasts like me.

Over the years, I've found myself returning time and time again to its pristine grounds.

Whether it's setting up camp on one of the sprawling pitches or just dropping in for an afternoon hike, I've always savored the park's unique ambiance.

The grounds are exceptionally well-kept, with the dedicated rangers ensuring a safe and clean environment for all visitors.

Hiking is my preferred pastime, and the park's trails have never disappointed me.

Whether you're a novice or an experienced hiker, there's a trail here that will challenge you.

Not just that, the park's wildlife center offers a fantastic opportunity to come face-to-face with the park's permanent residents, especially the graceful deer that wander freely.

A special mention goes to the amphitheater, where I've spent many a delightful evening under the stars.

From local bands to theater productions, the range of performances has added a rich cultural layer to the park's wild allure.

Visiting the lodge perched atop the mountain has been another one of my favorite experiences here.

There's something about the quiet solitude that lets you reconnect with yourself, far removed from the constant buzz of urban life.

And, of course, I can't fail to mention the Chief Logan State Park's swimming pool, a refreshing escape during those hot summer days.

Marvel at the Heritage of West Virginia at the State Museum

Whether I'm seeking a dose of culture, a lesson in history, or simply a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, the West Virginia State Museum is always my go-to.

This beautifully renovated landmark is an emblem of our state's rich history and vibrant culture, and every visit leaves me feeling proud of my roots.

The exhibits are a joy to navigate, each meticulously curated to tell a captivating tale of our past.

I've journeyed through coal mines, stood alongside laborers, and swayed to traditional tunes numerous times, but each visit feels as fresh and fascinating as the first.

West Virginia at the State Museum leaves no stone unturned in recounting our story - an immersive experience that deserves more time than you'd think.

One of my favorite times to visit is before Labor Day when the museum outdoes itself with the annual quilt show - a vibrant spectacle that's as heartwarming as it is visually stunning.

Also, the gift shop is always a pleasure to explore.

Every item on the shelves is high-quality, and many are locally sourced - perfect for finding a unique gift or keepsake.

As an advice, don't rush your visit. I’ve spent countless hours with interesting people, artifacts, and history, and I still find something new each time.

The museum's expansive and detailed approach to history paints a comprehensive picture, even if it might seem a little rosier at times.

But that's just a part of its charm - this is a place that not only celebrates our past but also inspires hope and pride for the future.

I can't wait for my next visit and see what new stories I'll uncover then.

Make a Splash at Beech Fork Lake

My home isn't just where I live, it's a haven of natural beauty that I am lucky enough to experience every day.

Imagine waking up to the serene views of Beech Fork Lake, it's a sight that never fails to take my breath away.

The calmness of the lake, the lush greenery bordering it, and the striking sunrises and sunsets make it a perfect escape.

On most days, you'd find me fishing near the Marina, it's a quiet spot that's always been generous with its fish.

Beech Fork Lake also doubles as a fantastic picnic spot. Who wouldn't relish a meal amidst such scenic beauty?

A recent discovery has been the small beach at the edge of the lake.

It might not have a lifeguard, but it's an ideal spot for a quick swim or to just relax on the sandy shore.

If you're lucky, you might even spot some wildlife!

Kayaking or boating on the lake, surrounded by Mother Nature's finest artistry is an experience that's hard to describe.

Step back in Time at Ramsdell House

I am no stranger to the enchanting allure of the Ramsdell House, a place that holds a significant piece of our local history.

This beautiful residence, now a beacon of Virginia and West Virginia's Civil War history, is a treasure in the heart of the Ceredo Kenova area.

I've spent countless afternoons exploring its majestic grounds and marveling at the grandeur of its architecture.

It's a place that's deeply intertwined with the history of the Underground Railroad, being one of the last stops for many brave souls seeking freedom across the Ohio River.

I remember my first tour, guided by the lovely Debbie Wolfe, who passionately walked us through the rich history that permeated every corner of the house.

It was a moment that truly brought the past to life.

Each visit offers up new secrets and stories, from the hidden door to the tunnel that still stands, a testament to the courage of those who once passed through.

Walking the same halls, it's impossible not to feel a profound connection to the history that unfolded within these walls.

The Ramsdell House isn't just a historical home; it's a living testament to our past.

Final Thoughts

After years of exploring my hometown, I've found that Huntington offers a plentiful array of unique activities that won't cost you a single penny.

This city is full of rich history and natural beauty, from the historical treasures of the Museum of Radio & Technology and the Madie Carroll House to the beautiful landscapes of Ritter Park and Chief Logan State Park.

Whether you're planning to visit or you're a long-time resident like me, there are always new things to discover and enjoy in our beloved Huntington, West Virginia.

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