Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown, Charles Town, and Bolivar boast wonderful architecture, quaint neighborhoods, boutique shopping, historical sites, and delicious, locally owned eateries. However, at our core are the rich history and stunning scenic beauty that are ever present and always celebrated with pride.
In Harpers Ferry, the outfitter River Riders has you covered for just about any adventure, from cycling to a treetop challenge course. But in this town defined by the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, you must get on the water. River Riders’ whitewater rafting trips conquer class I–III rapids—target spring or fall for maximum thrills, when water levels rush. You can even experience whitewater tubing with the River Riders Potomac adventure, which zips you over the river’s rapids alongside the historic town. Slow down with River Riders’ Shenandoah float—a ride so mild, you can bring a picnic. Bed down at night in one of the platform tents located right along the river or rent an entire vacation home, perfect for large groups traveling together.
In the heart of West Virginia’s oldest town, Shepherdstown Pedal & Paddle rents equipment and runs guided excursions. Book a Pedal & Paddle package to cycle along the C&O Canal, an essential access to the Allegheny Mountains—and its coal—between the 1820s and 1920s. Brake for ice cream before paddling back to Shepherdstown via the Potomac River—the waterway affords picture-perfect views of the historic town and surrounding mountains. Shepherdstown Pedal & Paddle also guides historic cycling tours to neighboring Harpers Ferry. Want to explore on your own? The outfitter rents bikes, canoes, kayaks, and even tubes for river floating, plus essentials like helmets, paddles, and life jackets.
The Shenandoah and Potomac rivers are perfect for anglers who want to catch a variety of species of fish. Both self-guided and professionally guided fishing are allowed. Jefferson County also has several wildlife management or wildlife viewing areas where you can get a glimpse of the local fauna. Get a West Virginia fishing or hunting license, and you’ll be ready to hunt and fish on our beautiful public grounds.
DISCOVER Historic Towns
Situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, Harpers Ferry is home to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. This town of fewer than than 100 residents is one of the most popular destinations in West Virginia. Thousands of visitors walk the historic streets and scenic trails in Harpers Ferry each year to catch a glimpse of our nation’s past. Harpers Ferry immerses you in history and nature, and the two combine seamlessly inside Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Take a ranger-guided tour of the U.S. Armory and Arsenal, held by John Brown and his army for three fiery days in 1859.
The Town of Bolivar is adjacent to the town of Harpers Ferry and surrounded by Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Stroll down Washington Street for a homemade lunch or dinner at the Anvil Restaurant or The Country Cafe. If you prefer a vegan meal, check out Kelley Farm Kitchen. Built circa 1770’s, the Light Horse Inn takes you back to a time when George Washington could have been spotted from the windows surveying the land. Complimentary breakfasts are served in the Inn’s warm and inviting common rooms.
Shepherdstown may be West Virginia’s oldest town, but its vibe is fresh. Shepherdstown nurtures a buzzed-about community of artists. In summer, Shepherd University hosts the Contemporary American Theater Festival. This is your chance to see as many as five new plays performed in one month (July)—plays so innovative, critics and fans nationwide are drawn to the festival. Catch a show at the Black Box Arts Center or grab a seat at historic Shepherdstown Opera House for a film screening or live music. For a retro feel, drop into O’Hurley’s General Store on a Thursday evening, when free, live music is always flowing.
Charles Town is an ideal place to slip into the past. Founded by Charles Washington, younger brother of George Washington, the town is rich with Washington history. Stroll past his former residence, a Classical Revival treasure called Happy Retreat, and visit Zion Episcopal Church Cemetery, where numerous Washington family members are buried. At night, head to Hollywood Casino & Inn at Charles Town Races. It’s a thrill to catch live thoroughbred racing under a starry sky—or a headlining act under the spotlights of the first-rate concert venue.