The east coast is full of history and natural scenery. As you travel through the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, stop by Martinsburg and experience these 5 family-friendly places that everyone will love.
If you are driving through West Virginia, keep Martinsburg on your “must stop and see” list! This post will take you through 5 things you can do with your family while you stop in!
Martinsburg, West Virginia – A Family-Friendly Town
Martinsburg is a busy and growing city in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. It is a city full of history, especially from the early stages of American History like the Civil War.
In addition to the multiple historic places to visit, Martinsburg offers many fantastic things to do for a family with children. A visit to Martinsburg is a combination of experiencing the rich history and just having creative fun. This post is a guide to some of the many activities you can enjoy with your kids and make some great memories in the process.
Read through the list and at the bottom find some extra-helpful tools for making your east coast trip a success!
1. Wonderment Puppet Theater
Who doesn’t enjoy a great puppet show? This puppet theater is one of only 40 dedicated puppet theaters in the United States. It features a collection of interesting puppets and items dedicated to them.
Of course, there is a bunch of stuff about the Muppets here. There is a gift shop, a hands-on play area, and a party room. The main attraction is the fun and entertaining puppet shows that last around 30 minutes. Wonderment Puppet Theater is a must-see place for families with children as well as the young at heart.
Picture a place full of family fun that teaches and encourages kids to embrace some fantastic life principles. BE-Hive is full of fantastically fun activities for families. Kids can enjoy a BE-Town where their imagination can soar while enjoying a pretend bank, market, coffee bistro, sweet shop, bakery, and more. Every activity encourages some life principle. The bank, for example, encourages children to make deposits into their relationships with people they care about.
The book nook encourages kids to read and share stories. The kid’s corner has toys and dress up clothes. The theater is for music, movies, puppet shows, magic shows, etc. The game room hosts fun events such as Uno nights. The whole place is designed to feel like you are home. Families can enjoy time at the dinner table or chill in the living room. This is a place for families to learn how to just BE.
A variety of events are scheduled for every Thursday to Saturday. The full calendar of events as well as more information can be found on their website. We cannot express with words much this place rocks.
3. For the Kids, By George Museum
This fun and interactive museum explores the history and impact of George Washington and his time in the Eastern Panhandle. Children will experience what life was like in part of the nation’s first frontier and learn about the rich railroad history of the area. They will also experience a virtual trip down the Washington Heritage trail which traces the steps George Washington made through the Eastern Panhandle and his work as a young surveyor in the area.
The fun starts in the centralized information station which contains the GW Giles Shay Locomotive which is a model of the type of locomotive used in the timber industry from 1880-1945. A large trail wall map contains information about George Washington’s travels in the area. From here, three paths exist to explore red, yellow, and green.
The red trail takes you across a pedestrian bridge up and over the working tracks and station below. It provides excellent views of the many historic building around the rail yard and is especially fun when a real trail comes through and under the bridge. The rail yard first opened in 1848 and has seen many historic events such as the first national labor strike and destruction of the roundhouse, tracks, and surrounding shops by Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War. On this path, you can experience loading and unloading both freight and passenger cars using the manifest lists.
The yellow trail features a trip through time. You start in a 1600’s Native American village, enter a 1700’s log cabin, and continue to an 1800’s general store. This path ends at the Pedal-a-Watt theater where the virtual 3D bike tour of the Washington Heritage trail takes place.
The green trail takes you into the oldest part of the building, the old hotel, and original waiting area passengers. This patch explores career paths and trades surrounding the rail industry. Many of these jobs are still in existence today.
An admission fee of $6 per person is charged for this museum.
4. DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates
No visit to Martinsburg is complete without some chocolates from this fine chocolate shop. Here you will find a huge variety of chocolates. From truffles to caramels, and everything in between this place is filled with some of the most delicious chocolates you can find anywhere. All of the confections are made on site in a renovated 12,000 square foot factory from the ’30s.
No instant mixes, reconstituted cream powders, or other time saving (but quality compromising) ingredients are used here. Everything is made with fresh whipping cream, real butter, and cooked from scratch. You can taste the difference with the first bite. This is the perfect place to stop for that final little treat to wrap up a visit to a quaint and historic town.
5. Ambrose Park
Finally, if you are visiting the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, take a day to relax and play at the park. The best thing about Ambrose Park is that it has a spacious dog park!
This park has something for everyone. It has picnic tables, shelters, lots of grassy areas for running and playing soccer, and play equipment for children.
As you drive along the eastern panhandle, you’ll all be amazed at the breathtaking mountains. But all the curvy country roads and tall mountains can only keep everyone’s attention for so long.
So as you plan your trip, take some tips from this vacation planning toolkit from Alamo’s Scenic Route with everything you need to know.
Here are my top travel tips, along with a few I found on the Scenic Route’s page.
- Stop Frequently – While it might seem better to reach your destination as quick as possible, plan to stop and enjoy the places along the route. This will allow everyone to stretch. But it also means you really enjoy every single part of the trip – even the drive.
- Rent a Car – There are so many reasons to rent a car, but the biggest one for me is that it saves your car from the extra wear and tear. Here’s a fabulous article about how to rent a car for vacation.
- Pack plenty of games for the ride – There is only so much of car karaoke and “slug bugs” before the kiddos get bored. Break up the boredom with these creative and fun vacation games.
- Learn about the places along your route before you leave – When you learn about all the towns along your route, you will be able to know which ones have the best places to eat and where the bathrooms are – all essential when you are on the road with kids.
- Try an RV Trip – There are lots of RV rentals in West Virginia so you don’t even have to commit to owning one.
What are your travel tips? If you are planning a family trip along the east coast soon, pin this post so you won’t forget things to do with the kids in Martinsburg.
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