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  • Charleston West Virginia

    Charleston West Virginia travel guide

    Overview

    Charleston is the capital and largest city in West Virginia, exuding small town charm and friendliness. Located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers, many pioneers made their way to Charleston from their early settlements after the American Revolutionary War, migrating towards the western part of Virginia to capitalise on its resources.

    Charleston is brimming with plenty of urban attractions and amenities to cater to travellers' every need. It's conveniently located just a short drive from spectacular mountain scenery, making it a great travel base. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the water's edge past Capital Complex on the Kanawha River, expand their mind at the Clay Center, head to the Cultural Center to check out live performances or admire the Georgian, Queen Anne and Greek Revival architecture in the East End Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of Charleston's most popular sights.

    Nature lovers should visit the Kanawha State Forest, explore the trails peppered across the Greenbrier River Trail or take a drive along the Midland Scenic Trail where the 120 miles (193km) of breath-taking scenery provides plenty of photo opportunities. The New River Gorge Bridge area features a few great state parks where visitors can immerse themselves in activities like hiking, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing and mountain biking.

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    Charleston has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Its elevation means its temperatures tend to be slightly warmer than the rest of West Virginia. Summers are hot and humid, with average highs of 85°F (29°C) in July. Winters are cool, with average temperatures dropping to 23°F (-5°C) in the depths of the season and regular snowfall in January and February (though it can occur any time between November and April). Spring weather is often unpredictable, with sudden rain showers and large swings in temperature. Autumns are pleasant with cool and crisp evenings and mild afternoons. Summer is arguably the best time to visit as the weather is warmest, despite being rainy.

    Yeager Airport
    Location: The airport is located four miles (6km) from downtown Charleston.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: There is no bus or train service to Yeager Airport. Many local hotels provide free shuttle services to and from the airport, and taxis and rental cars are available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies at the airport include Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, National/Alamo and Budget. Rental counters are located in the baggage claim area.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis provides service to the airport, as well as ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.
    Facilities: Facilities at the airport include a gift shop, ATMs, restaurants, a bar, a cafe, lounge areas, charging stations at each gate, shoe-shine service and a games room.
    Parking Short-term parking is $1 for the first hour, and $2 per hour thereafter up to a daily maximum of $10. Long-term parking is $4 for the first two hours, $5 for two to six hours, $6 for six to 10 hours, and $9 per day. There is a free lot with a 20-minute time limit located across the street from the main terminal.

    Kanawha Valley Regional Transport Authority operates around 24 fixed bus routes seven days a week, however some of these routes do not run on public holidays and Sundays. Schedules vary, but the system runs from about 4.30am to 1am. Flat fares are $1.50 and day, month and value passes are also available. Visitors can also use the Amtrak Railway to get in and around Charleston. Taxis are available in Charleston but must be booked by phone as they are difficult to find on the street. Uber and Lyft both operate in the city while hiring a car is a good idea for those planning to explore outside of the city centre.

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