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7 Best Things to Do in Jefferson County, WV

Located in the Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, Jefferson County is known for its picturesque small towns, Appalachian Trail access, and countless historic sites honoring American history.

The county includes the towns of Harpers Ferry, Charles Town, Shepherdstown, and Bolivar. Our Mountain Mama cabins are scattered around Harpers Ferry, the perfect landing spot for your Jefferson County adventures. Come stay with us and see for yourself why this region is so special.

We’ve got you covered on the seven best things to do when you visit Jefferson County.

1. Visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Photo Credit: Jon Bilous
  • Address: 171 Shoreline Dr, Harpers Ferry, WV
  • Website:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is unique because it is located in three different states at one time. Yes, you heard that right! It sits at the confluence of the Potomac River and Shenandoah River, straddling West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. The town of Harpers Ferry is part of the park, so you are surrounded by history when you stay with us in town.

This historic park consists of over 4,000 acres, paying homage to multiple historical events, people, and places that were crucial to the American Civil War. Visitors can choose a self-guided walking tour throughout the park, wandering from the Harpers Ferry Visitor Center to Lower Town, where you’ll find John Brown’s fort, the St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, and other historic buildings in the area.

From there, you have access to the many biking and hiking trails that make up the park.

2. Go Whitewater Rafting

Photo Credit: Aleksandr Lupin

Harpers Ferry is the place to be if you’re a rafter. Located at the confluence of the Potomac River and Shenandoah Rivers, the area boasts a mix of Class I to Class III rapids ideal for entry-level whitewater rafting.

Visitors can utilize one of the many local companies for rafting rentals, lessons, and guided trips. River Riders offers great options for the beginner, with basic rafting lessons and guided trips along the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Harpers Ferry Adventure Center also offers guided trips for beginners and more experienced rafters.

Pro tip: Both of these local companies also provide kayak rentals, tubing, zip-lining, and more. There’s no shortage of outdoor adventures to be had in Harpers Ferry.

3. Explore the Washington Heritage Trail

Photo Credit: via Google Images CCL

The Washington Heritage Trail follows the footsteps of George Washington through West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. This 136-mile National Scenic Byway passes through three counties, including Jefferson County, and includes multiple historic sites and beautiful natural landscapes along the way.

Starting in Harpers Ferry, the trail follows the Potomac River all the way to Paw Paw, West Virginia. The Washington Heritage Trail Welcome Center is located along the way in Martinsburg. There are many historic sites to visit along the way, but the drive is scenic enough to be worth your while even if you push all the way through without stopping.

4. Hike the Appalachian Trail

Photo Credit: Andriy Blokhin

It’s impossible to visit Jefferson County without experiencing the famous Appalachian Trail. Harpers Ferry is located at the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail, which spans from Maine all the way to Georgia. Visitors come from all over to hike this portion of the trail.

We recommend visiting the Appalachian Trail Visitor Center first, an iconic landmark along the Appalachian Trail with trail experts available to offer tips for your journey.

Some popular trailheads along the route include Jefferson Rock Trail, Maryland Heights Trail, and the Bears Den to Harpers Ferry hike. All vary in length and difficulty level.

P.S. Check out our full guide for the best hiking around Harpers Ferry.

5. Tour the Jefferson County Museum

Photo Credit: picryl via Google Images CCL

Located in Charles Town, the Jefferson County Museum honors the people and events that have shaped the county’s history, and American history as a whole.

The museum is home to a variety of permanent exhibits, paying homage to Native Americans in the Shenandoah Valley, the Washington family, John Brown’s raid, and more. It also features a range of rotating exhibits and educational events on Civil War history.

The museum is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 am-1 pm and Saturdays from 9 am-1 pm.

6. See a Show at the Old Opera House

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons via Google Images CCL

The Old Opera House is a live theater house that has been a staple in the Charles Town community for the past century.

Every year, the opera house hosts six stage productions, a summer family production, a play festival, and ballet. Chances are, there’s a show while you’re visiting!

The Old Opera House is also passionate about education. They run multiple summer camps and classes to teach children dancing, acting, and voice performance. A visit to the Old Opera House will give you a deeper appreciation for the performing arts.

7. Visit Happy Retreat in Charles Town

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons via Google Images CCL

Happy Retreat is a historic landmark that was once the home of Charles Washington, George Washington’s brother – also known as the founder of Charles Town.

The estate offers a range of activities for public use, including a 10-acre park, annual events and festivals, concerts, and tours of the home. Some of the most popular events include the Wine & Jazz Festival and Craft Beer & Music Festival.

Stay in Jefferson County

There’s nowhere like Jefferson County, West Virginia. The area is packed with unique attractions, charming towns, rich American history, and endless outdoor activities.

We might have listed our top 8 favorite things to do, but there’s so much more to discover when you stay at Mountain Mama cabins. Come visit Jefferson County and experience the beauty, history, and adventures that it provides. We promise you won’t regret it!


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