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Berkeley Springs is a town known for its thermal waters and natural spas in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Its most popular attraction, Berkeley Springs State Park, contains naturally warm mineral waters first popular with the Indigenous tribes in the area. The park houses what’s considered the country’s first spa, and the first US president was apparently a repeat visitor to its mineral baths. Today you’ll find a variety of rejuvenating services being offered here centered around the therapeutic waters. In the middle of the park stands the town’s oldest building, which now houses a 200-year-old Roman Bath House and the Museum of Berkeley Springs.
The compact downtown area features an array of independent shops, cafes, and local eateries. There are also a handful of art galleries, such as the Ice House Artist’s Co-op, which displays and sells the work of more than 30 local and regional artists.
Berkeley Springs is within 100-200 miles of many Mid-Atlantic cities, making it a convenient base for day trips to places like Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
If you’re flying, the closest airports are Hagerstown Regional Airport (HGR) in Maryland, around 40 minutes away, and the Altoona-Blair County Airport (AOO) in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, just over an hour away. From the airport, car rentals provide the most convenient transport to the mountain town and Berkeley Springs cottage rentals. Although there is a bus service to Berkeley Springs, it is limited. Once in town, the downtown area of Berkeley Springs is easily navigable on foot.
Berkeley Springs experiences all four seasons to some degree, with summers getting hot but not sweltering, and winters becoming cold but not too frigid. Summer days are warm and humid, and this is the time to take advantage of the beach at Berkeley Springs State Park. The state park is also home to weekly free live music performances during July, August, and September. Fall brings cooler temperatures and colorful foliage, as well as the Apple Butter Festival, which takes place over a weekend in October and consists of a parade, games and contests, live music, and an arts and crafts fair.
Winters in Berkeley Springs are snowy and cold, and though daytime temperatures rarely go below freezing, nights can be icy, and you should be prepared with a hat, gloves, and a proper set of boots. Everything starts to thaw in spring, and outdoor concerts and art shows begin in earnest as the temperatures rise.
The Museum of the Berkeley Springs is housed on the second floor of the Roman Bath House, which dates back to 1815 and is the oldest public building in the town. You can explore Berkeley Springs’ history here through exhibits, activities, and publications. The museum provides opportunities to learn about the geology of the springs, historic bathing wear, and how the popular mineral springs continue to impact life in the town.
Roughly three miles west of Berkeley Springs is Prospect Overlook, also referred to as Panorama Overlook, which soars nearly 1,000 feet above the Potomac River. The lookout point offers sweeping views over three states, including West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania and across the Potomac and Cacapon rivers.
The highest peak in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle is Cacapon Mountain in Cacapon State Park, which is only a 13-minute drive from Berkeley Springs. This natural area features forested trails and a lake for fishing and swimming. There are several hiking trails in the park ranging in difficulty from the steep Ziler Trail to the gentler Central Trail.