West Virginia is well-known for its coal mining industry and you can learn much about it right in Beckley, which houses the Exhibition Coal Mine. The exhibition includes a guided underground coal mining tour as well as a traditional, reconstructed coal camp complete with the buildings and layout typical of an early 20th century coal mining town. The Youth Museum is on the same grounds and has a four-car railroad train on display and also science themed exhibitions, among them a Planetarium. New River Park, a more recreational facility, complements and completes the coal mining history focus of the town.
Hiking and Outdoors
Ideal for those who love the outdoors, you will not find more scenic hiking than in West Virginia's New River Gorge, the scenic mountain area to which Beckley belongs. The New River Gorge Bridge, which is stunning for how it stands out amidst all of the mountain greenery, is less than a half hour's drive away. There are also plenty of trails right near town, as the Brooklyn to Southside Junction offers a partially paved weave through abandoned mining towns. For a weekend challenge farther out of town, try the 77 mile Greenbrier River Trail an hour and a half drive to the northeast.