Situated on a lofty plateau surrounded by green valleys in southern West Virginia, Beckley is the state's coal heritage capital. The small town is an important stop on the Coal Heritage Trail, a National Scenic Byway, detailing life in the region when coal was king. While mining was once Beckley's primary occupation, the town is now a commercial, medical and tourist center.
Coal car tours of underground mine passageways conducted by veteran miners at Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine introduce visitors to the area's industry from April through October. Located in Beckley's downtown New River Park, the site also features a coal company house and superintendent's home. The Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia, at the same location, has hands-on exhibits and a planetarium.
West Virginia arts, crafts, music and foods are showcased at Tamarack. The cultural center features year-round festivals, performing arts, theatre and fine dining. In addition to fast food, other dining options at Beckley include fine dining at The Char, a family-owned steak house and Pasquale Mira Restaurant featuring lasagna, fettuccine, steaks and seafood.
Tennis, swimming, trails and a campground are available at New River Park. Lake Stephens, west of town, is a 303-acre lake with swimming, fishing and boating. Nearby, the northern end of the New River Gorge National River is surrounded by 90 wooded acres with overlooks of the gorge and Horseshoe Bend. The area features hiking, picnicking and playgrounds. Whitewater rafting is popular on the New and Gauley Rivers. Skiers will want to try nearby Winterplace Ski Resort on southern West Virginia's highest peak.
Beckley is located about one hour southeast of Charleston, WV. Take East 60 to I-64E to exit 44.