For nearly two million West Virginia residents, wild and wonderful is more than a tagline. Many are quite fond of the state’s natural beauty, scenery, and rustic charm. With emerging cities and numerous college towns, there is much to appreciate about the Mountain State.
That said, West Virginia is not always a state known for being accessibility-friendly.
Below, we will consider some myths about accessibility travel within West Virginia. We will also offer information of events and activities that are accessible to most travelers.
Three Myths About Accessible Travel in West Virginia
Myth 1: Lack of Public Transportation
West Virginia is, geographically, a reasonably-sized state. That said, it does not have any major sports teams, only two research universities, and no cities over 100,000 residents.
In fact, some data suggests that no city within the state has a year-round population above 50,000.
It comes as no surprise, then, that public transportation in West Virginia is limited.
Unfortunately, if you are living in small towns (or villages) like Man, Welch, or Winfield, your options for getting around will be limited. This is true of most rural areas, however.
West Virginia Cities with Reputable Public Transportation
Despite not having any major cities (or even cities the size of Dayton or Akron in neighboring Ohio), many cities within the state have established, accessibility-friendly public transportation.
Cities like Wheeling and Charleston have a variety of options, including daily bus systems. These routes often visit local shopping establishments, making them great choices for individuals who may not have transportation or the ability to drive.
Also, Morgantown and Huntington are home to universities where thousands of college students rely on public transportation daily.
If you are planning to live in West Virginia, or even if you are only visiting, finding public transportation in more established cities is certainly possible.
Myth 2: Mountainous Terrain is Inaccessible
If you have visited West Virginia (or watched videos, looked at photos, etc.), it isn’t hard to see why it is called the “Mountain State.” Why the hills are older and more worn than, say, the Rockies, the thought of travelling the state may be somewhat intimidating.
And, yes, there are plenty of areas within the state where the mountains can be consuming. Some valleys have limited cellular or internet reception. Fortunately, however, this is the exception rather than the rule.
West Virginia is Probably More Habitable Than You Realize
Above, we discussed how cities like Wheeling, Charleston, Huntington, and Morgantown has established public transportation.
Many other cities, including Martinsburg, Parkersburg, and Clarksburg, feel just big enough to offer plenty of amenities and accommodations without being “bustling.” Also, even in smaller towns, you often forget that much of the state sits at higher elevations.
If mobility is an issue, then yes, hiking at popular destinations like Coopers Rock, Spruce Knob, or Dolly Sods may not be advised. If you are staying in most towns or cities, however, the environment will be similar to most places within the United States.
Myth 3: There are No Accessibility-Friendly Destinations or Activities
West Virginia typically isn’t on most peoples’ list of exciting destinations. This is even more true for travelers who may have disabilities or required additional accessibilities.