A Week Road Tripping through Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia

In the Summer of 2019, my husband and I spent a week road tripping through Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. We drove 1865 miles and passed through nine different states during our week on the road, and we loved every second of it!

The following is the detailed itinerary I created for our trip, including some tips for you to use if you decide to do a similar trip! You can also check out my blog post for even more details.

Day 1: New York City to Wheeling, WV

8:00 am Drive to WV.
4:00 pm Explore Wheeling: Walk around downtown and near the Heritage Port, cross the suspension bridge, shop and eat at Centre Market.
7:00 pm Check into hotel: We stayed with family while in town, but I would recommend the Oglebay Resort and Conference Center if you want more of a relaxing vibe or the Wheeling Island Casino and Racetrack if you’re looking for a livelier stay.

Day 2: Wheeling, WV to Cincinnati, OH

9:00 am   Drive to Cumberland, OH: Print directions or set your GPS in advance because you won’t have cell reception as you get closer to Cumberland.
11:30 pm Stop at The Wilds for 12:00 pm tour.
2:00 pm  Grab a snack or lunch at The Wilds or on the road as you continue on to Cincinnati.
5:00 pm Check into hotel: We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn – Midtown, which is near Xavier University. I went to school there and wanted to be near all my old haunts, but if you’ve never visited the city, I’d recommend staying downtown where you can walk around more easily. 
5:30 pm Go sightseeing: 

  • Xavier University – Even if you have no special attachment to the school, it’s still a pretty little campus and worth checking out if you are in the area.
  • Ault Park – One of my favorite parks near campus. There are trails through the woods, an observatory, and a pretty overlook area.
  • Hyde Park Square – A cute area for shopping and dining (and for grabbing some yummy Graeter’s ice cream, which might be the best ice cream you’ll ever have.
  • Eden Park – Another favorite park of mine! There’s a cute little pond and a stunning view of the Ohio River and Kentucky across the way.
  • Mt. Adams – This is an adorable neighborhood on a hill overlooking downtown Cincinnati. Several of the bars and restaurants have patios with great views, and it’s just a super cute place to go for a stroll.
7:00 pm Have dinner and drinks in Mt. Adams:

8:30 pm Have drinks and listen to some live music at the Blind Lemon in Mt. Adams. We ended up arriving in Cincinnati far later than planned, so it was fairly sleepy at most places in Mt. Adams. The Blind Lemon was rocking, but they don’t have food, so we ended up heading to Mad Tree Brewing, which was about 10 minutes from our hotel. They have a great outdoor space and really good pizza and beer, so we had a late dinner and beer flights there.
10:00 pm Dessert at Graeter’s!

Day 3: Cincinnati, OH

9:00 am Have breakfast at the hotel or grab something on the road.
10:00 am Drive to King’s Island for the day (about 20 minutes north of Cincinnati on I-71).
Rain Plan If it’s raining or if you’re not really into amusement parks/would rather see some sights, here are some great activities in the Cincinnati area:

1:00 pm Have lunch at King’s Island – try some coneys or spaghetti from Skyline if you want the Cincinnati experience!
7:00 pm Dinner and drinks at Listermann Brewing Company, which is a 15-minute walk from the hotel. 

Day 4: Cincinnati, OH to Louisville, KY

10:00 am  Drive downtown. We parked at the Mercer Garage on Vine between 13th and 14th street. It will cost you about $6-$7 for up to 5 hours of parking.
10:30 am Breakfast at the B&A Street Kitchen.
11:30 am  Stroll around Downtown Cincinnati.
1:00 pm Go on the Ultimate Queen City Underground Tour. 
4:00 pm Drive to Louisville.
5:30 pm Check into hotel: We stayed at the Econo Lodge Downtown Louisville. Hotels downtown are fairly pricy, but this was pretty reasonable. It’s not super fancy, so if you prefer more luxuries, be prepared to pay (a lot) more. That said, locals don’t hang out downtown, so I’d definitely suggest staying somewhere else altogether if you prefer a less touristy vibe. If we went back, we wouldn’t stay downtown.
6:00 pm Bourbon tasting at the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse.
6:30 pm Stroll through downtown. I recommend walking down to the river to check out the beautiful riverboats docked down there. You could even look into a dinner cruise if you have the time and interest in doing one!
7:30 pm Dinner and drinks downtown. We had dinner at Doc Crows, and it was delicious. Our bartender was great, and he gave us some suggestions for breakfast spots for the following morning. Other spots we bookmarked for potential dinner and/or drinks options are:

Day 5: Louisville, KY

9:00 am Breakfast at Highland Morning in the Highlands (recommended by our bartender – it was fantastic!)
10:00 am Drive the 2.4-mile scenic loop and enjoy a stroll through Cherokee Park. 
11:30 am Take the e-bike tour at the Louisville Mega Cavern.
1:00 pm Drive to the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs. 
1:15 pm Grab some lunch in the Museum cafe and wander through the two floors of exhibits (there may also be a couple horses outside that you can visit!)
2:10 pm Watch the Greatest Race Video at the Museum.
2:30 pm Take the Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs
3:00 pm Drive back to hotel and park car. 
4:00 pm  Take the distillery tour at Angel’s Envy.
6:00 pm Dinner at Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse. This is right across the street from Angel’s Envy. It’s attached to the minor league baseball stadium, so if there’s a game, it may be more crowded. We had flights and enjoyed our meal here, especially the strawberry shortcake for dessert!

Day 6: Louisville, KY to Summersville, WV

8:00 am Grab some breakfast at the hotel or on the road.
8:30 am Drive to New River Gorge, WV. On the way, stop in WV at:

2:30 pm Stop at the New River Gorge Bridge and Canyon Rim Visitor Center. Walk down to the overlook areas to enjoy the view!
3:30 pm Drive the Fayette Station Road. Normally, you can drive down to the bottom of the gorge, cross the river, and then drive back up on the south side of the river to Fayetteville, WV. However, the section on the south side of the river was closed during our visit, so we had to go down and back up on the same road, but it’s still worth the trip! There are a few different pullouts on the way. Check in with the Visitor Center before driving down to see whether the south side has reopened yet.
5:00 pm Beer tasting in Fayetteville – both breweries are within 10 minutes’ drive of each other:

  • Freefolk Brewery – We didn’t enjoy the beer as much here but we liked the bartender and vibe more – they also had good (and cheap!) guacamole.
  • Bridge Brew Works – This place is fully outdoors with a covered patio. Their beer was definitely better than Freefolk, and they had a wider selection, too, though we didn’t enjoy the vibe quite as much.
7:00 pm Dinner in Fayetteville. I had found both of the places below in my own research and they were also the top two places recommended by one of the brewery bartenders!

8:00 pm Drive by and walk around Summersville Lake.
9:00 pm Check into hotel: We stayed at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Summersville, which was nice and affordable. We took advantage of their hot tub after our long day on the road! They are located in a shopping plaza and you can get discounts at some of the plaza restaurants by showing them your room key in case you decide not to have dinner in Fayetteville and want another option nearby.

Day 7: Summersville to Davis, WV

8:00 am Free breakfast at hotel. You can make your own waffles, which is always a plus in my book!
8:30 am Head to Green Bank, WV via the Highland Scenic Highway. On the way, stop at the following:

1:00 pm Take the public or SETI tour at Green Bank Observatory.  
4:00 pm Drive up to the Germany Valley Overlook and then head for the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center to take a rest and snap some photos.
5:00 pm Drive up to Bear Rocks Preserve in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.
6:30 pm Drive to the Canaan Valley.
7:30 pm Check into hotel: We stayed at the beautiful Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center for our last night on the road. 
8:00 pm Have dinner at the lodge or 20 minutes away in Davis, WV. We were tired from our long day of driving and had dinner in the lounge at the lodge. You can order off the dining room menu in the lounge as well, and it was delicious!

9:30 pm Relax in the lounge or sit around one of the firepits outside.

Day 8: Davis, WV to New York City

9:00 am Buffet breakfast at the lodge.
10:00 am  Take the scenic chairlift ride at Canaan’s ski area across the highway from the resort.
11:00 am Drive to Blackwater Falls.
12:00 pm Head to Harpers Ferry for lunch. We tried to stop in to eat here, but it was sooo crowded so we just kept moving. Be prepared for crowds if you visit on the weekend or during any special events
4:00 pm Drive back home to NYC.
9:00 pm Home sweet home!