Appalachian Travel: A Guide to Visiting the Surprise-Filled Region on Columbus’ Doorstep

Discover natural treasures, dynamic cities, charming towns, unique eats and more in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

Columbus Monthly
Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia

Appalachia is more than meets the eye. The eponymous ancient mountain range is the star attraction, with peaks and plateaus stretching from Georgia to Southwest New York. But you can find many other treasures, including dynamic cities, charming towns, fascinating history, unique eats and more. Read on for beguiling destinations and activities to experience this spring, focusing on the areas closest to Columbus: Southeast Ohio, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Kentucky.

Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest

West Virginia

Dolly Sods

Discover the joys of backpacking in this stunning region in the Monongahela National Forest.

Western Pennsylvania

PNC Park

A Pirates fan shares why this downtown stadium with a spectacular skyline view stands above its Major League Baseball peers.

PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is viewed by many fans as the best stadium in Major League Baseball.


Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic architectural marvel comes alive in spring. Explore the seasonal wildflowers that surround the architectural landmark and former home in Western Pennsylvania.

Eastern Kentucky

Glamping Near Kentucky’s Red River Gorge

Stay in a yurt, treehouse, geodesic dome or even a “glamp wagon” in the stunning region, which has been named a National Natural Landmark.

The Canopy Crew offers geodesic dome rentals in the Red River Gorge area near Lexington, Kentucky.

Read Your Way Through Kentucky

Columbus bookstore manager and indie publisher Gary Lovely suggests five books to better understand the Appalachian region of his home state.

Morehead, Kentucky

This charming town in the Appalachian foothills—the site of one of the most famous feuds in U.S. history—has gone from feisty to friendly.

The Kentucky Folk Art Center in the Union Grocery Building is operated by Morehead State University.

Southeast Ohio

Springtime is Wild Ramp Season

The region is ground zero for the native delicacy, also known as wild leeks and wild garlic.

Sunset at 58 West in Logan, Ohio. The restaurant, located in a former car dealership, is one of the region’s recent notable dining openings.

New Food and Drink Options Near Hocking Hills

Three new restaurants and wine and coffee shops have brought a boost to the business climate in Logan.

Ohio’s Moonshine Capital

New Straitsville celebrates its corn whiskey heritage with an annual spring festival and more.

This story is from the April 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.