15 Best Places to Live in West Virginia

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Did you know that West Virginia is the northernmost southern state and the southernmost northern state? It’s a very happy medium!

 There are many happy medians in West Virginia, median household income is near the national average, and median crime rates are excessively lower than in many other states.

When finding a place to live, certain factors must be considered. Factors like access to high-achieving public schools, infrastructure, commuting options, and the quality and cost of housing.

Finding all the information you need about the best places to live in West Virginia can be tricky to track down all in one place. Hence, we have created our list of the best places to live in West Virginia; all the information you need in one place!

1. Cheat Lake

Cheat Lake, West VirginiaSource: Steve Heap / shutterstock
Cheat Lake

According to statistics, Cheat Lake is the best place to live in West Virginia and in turn, the best place to raise a family. 

There are ten public schools in the Cheat Lake area, offering parents great choices for their little ones.

The top four schools in the neighborhood proudly hold an A rating, with those lower down the list still performing in line with government expectations.

Regarding diversity, Cheat Lake is home to a wide range of people. Being an affordable and accessible area of West Virginia, meaning the resident population of around nine thousand people is diverse both in terms of ethnic background and ecumenic standing too.

Residents quickly note that the road infrastructure could do with improvements, but it’s a small price to pay for living in the best neighborhood in West Virginia.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Cheat Lake are:

  • West Virginia Botanic Garden
  • Sunset Beach Marina
  • Coopers Rock State Forest
  • Laurel Caverns
  • Lakeview Golf Resort
  • Coopers Rock
  • Cheat Lake
  • Forks of Cheat Winery

2. Morgantown

Morgantown, West VirginiaSource: Steve Heap / shutterstock

Morgantown is located in Monongalia County and is one of the best places to live in West Virginia. Its two major highways for commuting are Highway I-79 and Highway I-68, which connect the city.

Morgantown is home to West Virginia University, with more than twenty-five thousand students enrolled. While living in Morgantown, residents enjoy various indoor and outdoor activities that are great for all ages.

From Morgantown’s historic downtown area to its recreational activities, there is plenty to do in this city when you call it home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Morgantown are:

  • West Virginia University
  • Dorsey’s Knob Park
  • Morgantown Farmers Market
  • Art Museum of West Virginia University
  • Metropolitan Theatre
  • Gene’s Beer Garden

3. Star City

Star CitySource: jmd41280 / Flickr
Star City

Star City is a small town in West Virginia with just over seven thousand residents. Despite being a small town, it has many businesses, local parks, recreational areas, excellent schools, and so much more.

Residents living in Star City love its laid-back atmosphere, tight-knit community, and access to nearby amenities. Star City is known for its college-town amenities, low crime rates, and steady employment opportunities.

Star City’s cost of living is around fourteen percent lower than the national average than the rest of the United States, making it a great small town to settle in and raise a family.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Star City are:

  • Terra Cafe
  • Tug Boat Depot
  • Iron Horse Tavern
  • Edith Barill Riverfront Park & Trail
  • Core Arboretum
  • Launch Pad Trampoline Park

4. Bridgeport

Bridgeport, West VirginiaSource: adonis hunter / ahptical / Flickr

Bridgeport is a small town in West Virginia with a population of a little over eight thousand residents. It’s considered one of the best places to live in West Virginia and is close to nearby cities such as Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Residents living in Bridgeport will rave about its unique charm, outdoor parks, and recreational opportunities. Residents enjoy many amenities in this small town without venturing into the big city. The community in Bridgeport is friendly and loving and holds many local events throughout the year, such as art festivals and parades during the holidays.

Compared to the rest of the United States, the cost of living is around twelve percent lower than the national average.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Bridgeport are:

  • The Starving Artist Studio
  • Cinemark Meadowbrook Mall
  • Meagher’s Irish Pub
  • Valley Falls State Park
  • Mountain State Brewing Co
  • The Social Tap
  • Stone Tower Brews
  • Bridgeport Farmers Market

5. Bethlehem

Bethlehem, West VirginiaSource: Wallyum / Flickr

Located between the rivers of the Ohio Valley and Wheeling Creek, you’ll find the town of Bethlehem, one of the best places to live in West Virginia. As a very small town, it offers its residents a suburban community with plenty of rest.

Bethlehem is an area of West Virginia with a great selection of public schools. Although there are only six schools in the area, all are rated with an impressive A status. Given that there are only 2,500 people who call Bethlehem home, there are many education options for parents to consider.

Residents claim that crime in the area is on the rise; this could be gossip, for Bethlehem has been branded with a B+ rating for its low crime levels.

There is a wide range of properties on the market in Bethlehem. A quaint 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom family home can fetch $499,000. On the other hand, a 2-story, 3-bedroom home in Bethlehem can also be found for $289,000. If you research, you can get great value for money here.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Bethlehem are:

  • The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum
  • Oglebay Institute Glass Museum
  • West Virginia Independence Hall
  • Oglebay Good Zoo
  • Suspension Bridge
  • Capitol Theatre
  • Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center
  • Wheeling Park
  • Wheeling Artisan Park
  • WesBanco Arena

6. Teays Valley

Hurricane, West VirginiaSource: Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) / Wikimedia

Located in the southwest corner of West Virginia, you’ll find the city of Teays Valley, a city with a population of around twelve thousand residents and one of the best places to live in West Virginia.

Teays Valley has plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities for its residents and one of the best attractions in the area, Valley Park. Valley Park is the top spot in the city for outdoor activities, dining, shopping, and annual celebrations.

Teays Valley is known for its low cost of living, small-town atmosphere, and amazing downtown area. The city’s unemployment rate hovers just below the national average, while its cost of living remains nine percent lower than the national average.

If you’re looking for a peaceful community and a low cost of living, Teays Valley is a great place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Teays Valley are:

  • Teays Valley Cinemas
  • Fat Patty’s Teays Valley
  • Whiskey Taco
  • Fairways Bar & Grill
  • Waves of Fun
  • Dough Daddy’s Pizza

7. Brookhaven

Morgantown, West VirginiaSource: jkoon / Flickr
Morgantown, West Virginia

If you’re looking for a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere, you’ll find everything you need in Brookhaven. Brookhaven has a population of over six thousand residents and is filled with stunning views and outdoor activities.

With its small community, getting to know your neighbors around town is extremely easy. You’ll quickly find out that residents are always helping those in need. Even with Brookhaven being a small town, its economy thrives because of major retailers such as Walmart and Target.

While living in Brookhaven, you’ll enjoy many outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and yearly festivals. Brookhaven is known for its college town amenities, low crime rates, and steady unemployment, making it a desirable place to live in West Virginia.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Brookhaven are:

  • Deckers Creek Trail
  • West Virginia Botanical Garden
  • Henry Clay Furnace
  • Monongalia Arts Center
  • Tropics Restaurant

8. Lewisburg

Lewisburg, West VirginiaSource: flickr
Lewisburg, West Virginia

The city of Lewisburg falls in Greenbrier County in West Virginia. Follow Route 64 eastbound for 45 minutes to reach the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest; the reserve is a section of the Appalachian Mountain Trail and is the perfect place to get outdoors and explore.

Lewisburg is a small town in West Virginia with a population of over four thousand residents and was once named one of America’s coolest small towns. While living in Lewisburg, you’ll find local boutiques, antique shops, great restaurants, and plenty of historic architecture.

Residents are quick to mention that Lewisburg is the kind of place where people stop to chat in the street and smile and laugh with one another. Described as a ‘very warm, small, and friendly little town.’

With access to good schools, reasonable working opportunities, and access to the wild right on your doorstep, many people would find Lewisburg a lovely place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Lewisburg are:

  • Lost World Caverns
  • Carnegie Hall
  • Greenbrier Valley Theatre
  • The Wild Bean
  • North House Museum
  • Lewis Theatre
  • Thunderbird Tacos
  • The Livery Tavern
  • Lewis Theatre
  • Greenbrier Bowling and Recreation Center

9. Charleston

Charleston, West VirginiaSource: Henryk Sadura / shutterstock

Although there is a Charleston in North Dakota and South, this Charleston is very much in West Virginia. This state capital falls on the confluence of the Kanawha and Elk Rivers; as such, fishing is a popular hobby for many residents.

There is plenty to keep Charleston residents occupied in their free time. For example, the Clay Centre for Arts and Sciences and the Capitol Market in the downtown area also exist.

Charleston is West Virginia’s Capital city and has well-defined neighborhoods that make it easy to bike and walk around. Charleston is also popular for outdoor skiing, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting.

With a population of just under fifty thousand, Charleston is large enough to offer its residents many interesting options and is very easy to navigate.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Charleston are:

  • Clay Center
  • Capitol Market
  • West Virginia State Museum
  • Haddad Riverfront Park
  • Kanawha State Forest
  • Mountain State Distillery
  • Charleston Town Center
  • Magic Island Park

10. Wheeling

Wheeling, West VirginiaSource: David Byron Keener / shutterstock

Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, you’ll find the city of Wheeling, one of the best places to live in West Virginia. Residents living in Wheeling take pride in its history by restoring its old buildings and keeping every tradition alive.

You won’t need to worry about commuting in this city. Wheeling has Highway I-70 that connects to the major cities of Columbus and Pittsburgh.

Wheeling is also known as one of the country’s top cities with the most Victorian architectural structures. Some of these unique structures are what residents work so hard to preserve.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Wheeling are:

  • Wheeling Park
  • WesBanco Arena
  • Oglebay Mansion Museum
  • Wheeling Artisan Center Shop
  • Eckhart House
  • Brew Keepers
  • Wheeling Suspension Bridge

11. Westover

Westover, West VirginiaSource: J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Just across the river from Morgantown lies the city of Westover. You can wave across the high-rises at the worker ants in Morgantown!

While living in Westover, West Virginia, you’ll experience the small-town atmosphere and tight-knit community it offers. Westover offers gorgeous Mountain views and many outdoor activities for its residents.

Westover prides itself on having many college-town amenities, low crime rates, and steady employment opportunities. Its unemployment rate is four percent, two percent below the national average.

Local people note that there is a quietness to the area, but it is no less atmospheric than bigger cities like Morgantown, that neighbors are friendly, and incidents of crime are few and far between.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Westover are:

  • Morgantown Escape Room
  • Launch Pad Trampoline Park
  • Mountain Man Ace Throwing

12. South Charleston

South Charleston, West VirginiaSource: WVhybrid / Wikimedia
South Charleston

South Charleston is Located in Kanawha County, a vibrant city with a beautiful historic downtown district. Throughout the city, you’ll notice many opportunities for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Residents in South Charleston like to enjoy many outdoor activities, such as hiking and participating in outdoor concerts at the Clay Center Amphitheater. The city is also known for having excellent schools, from Kindergarten to college.

With its gorgeous landscapes, low cost of living, capital city amenities, and nearby water recreation, South Charleston is a great place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in South Charleston are:

  • Capitol Market
  • Criel Mound
  • Clay Center
  • South Charleston Memorial Ice Arena
  • Kanawha State Forest
  • West Virginia State Museum
  • Little Creek Golf Course

13. Hurricane

Hurricane, West VirginiaSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock

Hurricane West Virginia is a town filled with a lot of history, particularly its buildings in the 1800s. This small town has a welcoming and inviting atmosphere filled with many recreational activities like hiking, camping, and fishing.

Despite its small population of around six thousand people, Hurricane always has something to do for its residents and is a great town if you’re searching for peace. Hurricane is known for its low cost of living, small-town atmosphere, and revitalizing the downtown area.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near a Hurricane are:

  • Waves of Fun
  • Whiskey Taco
  • Hurricane City Park
  • Fairways Bar & Grill
  • Water Ways Waterpark
  • The Pallet Bar

14. Shepherdstown

Shepherdstown, West VirginiaSource: Dougtone / Flickr

Located on the banks of the Potomac River is Shepherdstown, one of the best places to live in West Virginia. You’ll find local attractions such as the historic Shepherdstown Museum and the Shepherdstown Public Library in Shepherdstown.

Characterized by red-brick buildings and the Little House and Barn, there is plenty to fall in love with in Shepherdstown. The high street is buzzing with community activities and is at the heart of this neighborhood.

Not the most affluent group of residents in our top fifteen places to live in West Virginia, the median household income here is below the national average. Humble and wholesome, Shepherdstown is a lovely place to live if you’re seeking a more laid-back pace of life.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Shepherdstown are:

  • Shepherdstown Opera House
  • Shepherd University
  • Blue Moon Cafe
  • Alma Bea
  • Shepherdstown Train Station
  • Morgan’s Grove Park
  • Shepherdstown Battlefield

15. Charles Town

Charles Town, West VirginiaSource: Dougtone / Flickr
Charles Town

Not Charleston, our final place on our list is Charles Town.

Only a stone’s throw away from Washington, DC, there are ample work opportunities and commuter options from a base in Charles Town. 

For parents, there is a good selection of neighborhood schools ranging from elementary to high school.

The area is very safe, and crime is seldom an issue.

Median home value is below the national average, which is pretty steep compared to many other neighborhoods featured in our top 15; this cost of living is on par with the median household income hovering around the national average.

Being a city, the area has plenty of entertainment facilities, from a horse racing track to casinos, restaurants, and cinemas. There is plenty to like about humble Charles Town.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Charles Town are:

  • Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
  • Jefferson County Museum
  • Paddy’s
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • Charles Town Ghost Tours
  • River Riders Family Adventure Resort
  • Evitts Run Park
  • Rocking S Ranch

15 Best Places to Live in West Virginia:

  • Cheat Lake
  • Morgantown
  • Star City
  • Bridgeport
  • Bethlehem
  • Teays Valley
  • Brookhaven
  • Lewisburg
  • Charleston
  • Wheeling
  • Westover
  • South Charleston
  • Hurricane
  • Shepherdstown
  • Charles Town