Ranson’s at the center of West Virginia’s playful panhandle

Harpers Ferry’s Lower Town is part of the national park, while the hills above are full of shops and restaurants.

As historic as it is beautiful, West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle revs up the rural recreation experience, and Ranson is at the center of it all.

Nestled in the Blue Ridge foothills, Ranson is a hub that fuels visitors’ need for full-on adventure. From light hikes along the C&O Canal to whitewater adventures on the Potomac, Ranson pairs rustic pleasure with historical hotspots.

John Brown’s Fort is the building where John Brown and his followers were captured in Harpers Ferry, but their actions would help ignite the Civil War.

If you are looking for more than impressive scenery rooted in rich history, River Riders is Jefferson County’s master of outdoor recreation. The team of adventure guides steer visitors through rapids or zing you around the Eastern Panhandle’s lush canopy on a zip-lining adventure along the Potomac River.

Offering instruction and equipment rentals to cyclists, canoers, kayakers, fishermen, and hikers, River Riders equips thrill-seekers for adrenaline adventures in the panhandle’s great outdoors.

While hiking, biking, and water activities bring spine-tingling fun to every adventure, trails rich in history and local culture can also make for plenty of picture-worthy moments. Take the walk to the top of Jefferson Rock to get a bird’s-eye view of the convergence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Thomas Jefferson deemed the panorama “… worth a voyage across the Atlantic.”


Take it inside

Ranson also offers a range of more “front country” adventures.

Perhaps the county’s most prized entertainment venue, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races features Vegas-worthy slots, gaming, thoroughbred racing, dining, and entertainment. Whether it’s a special date night or an evening spent with family or friends, the event center at Hollywood Casino brings live entertainment each month from A-list comedians and big-name musicians.

Happy Retreat was the home of Charles Washington, George Washington’s youngest brother.

Within the casino, 2,800 slots bring blockbuster payoffs at all denominations. Offering blackjack, roulette, craps, poker, and everything in between, the live gaming is spirited and suspenseful. Racing “reins” at Charles Town. Home to the Charles Town Classic, Race for the Ribbon, and the West Virginia Breeders Classics, Hollywood Casino offers full-field, nine-race cards. You can also see simulcast horse and dog races from around the country 365 days a year.

Add classical music, contemporary theater, a variety of performing arts venues, and historical galleries to the area attractions. Ranson’s people have a passion for creativity in the community, nourishing artistic endeavors to dazzle and delight visitors.

From the exhilaration of American independence to the struggles of the Civil War, the regional history here is triumphant and tumultuous.

Tread the trails of pre-Revolutionary pioneers. March in the footsteps of Civil War soldiers from Harpers Ferry to Antietam. Recall the past and relish the present while exploring sites such as Happy Retreat, the historic home of Charles Washington — George Washington’s youngest brother — or delve into the woodlands at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. When you make the trip to Ranson, you peek into stories of the past.

From shopping to dining, gaming to daydreaming, Ranson is a retreat from life’s routines. Experience firsthand why John Denver called the area’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River “almost heaven.”


Learn more:

Ranson Tourism: ransonwv.us



Whitewater rafting is one way to enjoy the rivers, but tubing is also available for those who’d rather lie back and enjoy the ride.


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