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A Traveler’s Guide to Berkeley Springs, WV

A Traveler’s Guide to Berkeley Springs, WV Featured Image

Originally known as the Town of Bath, Berkeley Springs is easily one of the most underrated small towns in West Virginia, if not all of America! Nestled in the state’s eastern panhandle, this lively town has it all. Steeped in history, flooded with charming shops and restaurants, and surrounded by picturesque mountains, Berkeley Springs is the perfect getaway for all types of travelers!

With just a two-hour drive from the Baltimore International Airport and plenty of cozy vacation rentals to make you feel right at home, a visit to Berkeley Springs should be at the top of your getaway list!

Best Time to Visit Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

While being encapsulated by the stunning Appalachian Mountains is one of Berkeley Springs’ many perks, it also requires some extra preparation. Every season offers visitors a whole new version of the town, each seemingly more impressive than the last. 

With seasonal activities and transformative views, deciding which season is best can be hard. In fact, it is one of the places that you might find yourself coming back to time and time again just to experience all of the seasons.

Soak in the warm baths as the snow falls around you, marvel at the fall foliage decorating the town, go for a spring hike to see the flowers in bloom, and cool off in the summer under the pine trees at Cacapon State Park. The opportunities are endless!

Magical Things to Do in Berkeley Springs

1. Berkeley Springs State Park

Considering that the mineral water brought Berkeley Springs to life, it’s no surprise that Berkeley Springs State Park is located right in the heart of town. 

Home to the town’s largest concentration of mineral springs and soaked in American history, there is more to this park than just a scenic stroll. Walking amongst the scenic grounds, you will stumble across many inviting opportunities such as the public pool, historical museum, and, of course, the full service spa.

Located within the Main Bathhouse, the spa offers a wide array of services, including a large variety of massages, reflexology sessions, access to the sauna, and soaking in the historic Roman baths. Prices and availability vary, so be sure to call ahead to make an appointment if you want to treat yourself!

2. Visit George Washington’s Bathtub

A stop at George Washington’s bathtub during your visit to Berkeley Springs State Park is an absolute must! 

With a luxurious spa day on the brain, it’s easy to forget that this historic landmark exists, but do yourself a favor and make sure it’s at the top of your list. Besides, how else can you truly appreciate your Roman bath soaking without reflecting on how our first president was here once doing the same exact thing? 

It only takes a few minutes to marvel at this historic structure, and then you can make your way over to the Main Bathhouse to enjoy your well-deserved spa treatment. And just like George Washington, you might find yourself coming back for a soak time and again!

3. Explore Cacapon State Park

If you think Berkeley Springs State Park is amazing, just wait until you step foot into Cacapon State Park! It may not be famed for housing George Washington’s bathtub, but it’s got 6,000 acres of picturesque forest to make up for it. 

The Prospect Trail, starting just north of the overlook and spanning 12 miles, is predominantly a flat, fire road that easily accommodates both hikers and horseback riders. It culminates at Prospect Rock, which boasts breathtaking views of the Potomac and Cacapon rivers, drawing numerous tourists and residents alike. This spot was notably one of George Washington’s preferred destinations for riding, thanks to its remarkable vistas.

Spread out amongst the park; visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities like hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, geocaching, golfing, and more. A property is located within the park for those looking to grab a quick bite to eat or indulge in a spa treatment. It also hosts other fun activities like boating, shooting, and disc golf. There really is something for everyone to enjoy at Cacapon State Park!

4. Check Out the Museum of the Berkeley Springs

Also located within Berkeley Springs State Park, the Museum of Berkeley Springs is an adventure of its own! Here, you can walk through the oldest historic building in Berkeley Springs as you learn about the town’s famed inventor, James Rumsey, and travel back 8,500 years to the time when Native Americans called this place home. You’ll also get to learn about the town’s geology and chemical composition (aka warm springs purity test) and get a taste of more recent history.

Make sure to ask for a souvenir booklet and map when you get there to get access to four self-guided tours and inside information on Morgan County’s iconic Washington Heritage Trail.

5. Wander Around Historic Downtown

When an entire town is a living relic, simply walking the streets of downtown can be an all-day event. Travel back in time as you walk along the cobblestone streets and admire historic buildings that date back multiple centuries. 

History buffs can admire the preservation while the shoppers of the group zigzag their way through local shops and galleries. A town highlight is the Berkeley Springs Antique Mall with an impressive size of 7,000 square feet and featuring more than 30 local dealers. You can spend an entire day in the antique mall alone!

Once you have shopped until you dropped, head to the local brewery or one of the town’s cozy cafes to keep the good times rolling.

6. Attend a Festival

Considering Berkeley Springs is a small town geographically, its festival scene makes it feel more like a big city. 

With a fun event happening nearly every month, there is never a bad time to visit! Be sure to check the event calendar when planning your trip so you can plan accordingly. 

Don’t forget the sandals if visiting during the month-long spa feast in January, wear your Thanksgiving pants to eat your way through the Annual Uniquely West Virginia Wine and Food Festival in April, don’t forget your cowboy boots for July’s Morgan County Expo, and bring your binoculars for the September Berkeley Springs Fall Birding Festival

Where to Eat in Berkeley Springs

With almost every restaurant owned and tenderly cared for by locals, you would be hard pressed to find a bad meal in Berkeley Springs’s Historic Downtown. But even with plenty of tasty restaurants to choose from, these local favorites stand out amongst the crowd.

1. Fairfax Coffee House

Whether you are grabbing a latte to go, starting your day with a big breakfast, or popping in for a light lunch between adventures, Fairfax Coffee House has got you covered. Sit outside, sipping on your Father Richard’s Mocha and munching on a delicious quiche as you watch the locals come and go. It’s always busy for a reason!

2. The Country Inn of Berkeley Springs

It’s time to break out the formal attire because the Country Inn of Berkeley Springs is the place to go when you have someone to impress. This historic inn doesn’t have to work for its romantic atmosphere, but the real showstopper here is what the chef brings to the table. 

From Shrimp and Grits to Meatloaf Wellington, plenty of mouth-watering options will have you daydreaming about your next visit. Just don’t forget to make a reservation!

3. Berkeley Springs Brewing Company

A classic choice in any small town, the brewery in Berkeley Springs leaves nothing to be desired. This lively brewery fills up with visitors and locals alike, all brought together by tasty craft beer, delicious pub food, live music, and the occasional trivia night.

What to Pack

Depending on the time of year that you plan to visit, packing for a trip to Berkeley Springs is not as simple as throwing a few pairs of jeans and a couple of T-shirts in your suitcase. 

Winter and early Spring tend to be the coldest, with average highs in the 40s and 50s (Fahrenheit). By the time late spring rolls around, warm temperatures are usually in full swing and stay this way until the end of September. But this isn’t always the case! Always pack these few items so you are prepared for the unexpected and ready to take on the day.

  • Raincoat (A must on any vacation because you just never know!)
  • Layers (More needed during the colder months, but even summer nights might have you throwing on that sweatshirt!)
  • Hat/Sunglasses (Because the winter sun is strong too!)
  • Good Pair of Walking Shoes (For both the city and state park adventures)
  • Sandals (For easy come-and-go access to the warm springs!)

Stay and Explore Berkeley Springs

Sometimes, escaping the hustle and bustle of city life is exactly what the doctor ordered, and Berkeley Springs has got the remedy. Unwind and slow down while you take in the charm of this small town and wrap yourself in all that it has to offer.

History buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and downtown wanderers alike will find something to love in Berkeley Springs!

Book your dream getaway with Blue Maple today! 

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