Tourism & Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor recreation and tourism are woven into the fabric of our culture and define the state as a mecca of natural adventure. Domestic and international visitors flood the New River Gorge each year to enjoy the wild and wonderful attractions the region has to offer. While connecting with the outdoors is a large part of the lifestyle in West Virginia, it is also a significant economic driver. West Virginia’s tradition and passion for outdoor access is due in large part to unparalleled natural resources, as well as a long history of environmental resource development.

West Virginia welcomed 15.3 million overnight travelers in 2013, who spent their dollars racing down world class whitewater, climbing the rocks of the New River Gorge, hiking along the hundreds of regional trails, enjoying the state and national recreation areas, touring historic places, enjoying cultural activities and attractions, experiencing exceptional culinary experiences, and discovering agritourism. In 2013, these visitors generated more than $768 million in local commerce within the New River Gorge region alone.

The most visible outdoor recreation activities for the region are whitewater rafting and touring historic sites and attractions. In addition to our summer whitewater adventures, the region offers numerous opportunities for hiking, backpacking, camping, visiting state and national parks, biking, skiing, fishing, rock climbing and hunting.

The New River Gorge region is an international hub of outdoor recreation, and provides hundreds of local jobs within the region. State and regional development officials are interested in growing this industry, and are motivated to establish the region as a haven for tourism industry leaders.

For the West Virginia University 2015 Tourism Competitiveness Study results CLICK HERE

For the 2013 Overnight Visitor Report CLICK HERE

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