Harpers Ferry is a quiet, charming mountain town with views so legendary, Thomas Jefferson reportedly called them “one of the most stupendous scenes in nature.”
Located about an hour outside of Washington, D.C., Harper’s Ferry is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, a strategic location for the troops that occupied it during the Civil War. Today, the luminous history of Harper’s Ferry is a big draw for vacationing families, who wander between the town’s many museums to learn about the town’s storied, abolitionist past.
Right next door, the majestic Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has 22 miles of hiking trails for all experience levels and breathtaking outlooks of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River valley. Entrance fees are by vehicle ($20), or per person if you’re arriving on foot or bicycle ($10), and are valid for three full days.
There's also Lake Shannondakle, a 55-acre lake outside Harpers Ferry where you can get a beach day pass for $5 (ages 5 to 17) to $8 (18+). Kids five and under get in free.
Be sure to stop by True Treats Historic Candy for a dose of nostalgia. Lauren Hough, public relations manager of the West Virginia Department of Tourism, says it’s “the nation’s only research-based historic candy store, specializing in candy from the first in history through the mid-1900s.”
SHOP: True Treats Historic Candy; Tenfold Fair Trade Collection
EAT: Kelley Farm Kitchen; The Rabbit Hole Gastropub; Harpers Ferry Ice Cream Shoppe
DRINK: Harpers Ferry Brewing; Battle Grounds Bakery & Coffee