Harper’s Ferry, WV, is best known as a historical site for a quite horrible and bloody abolitionist raid in 1859, but has since turned into a beautiful historic town with beautiful views. It sits right on the border between West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia, where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet.
I went to Harper’s Ferry on a day trip from Washington D.C., where I was living, and it was only about a 2-hour drive. It’s a beautiful drive and you pass along many historical Civil War battlefields and sites.
Harper’s Ferry is actually a National Historical Site and you must pay the National Park Service to visit. It’s $15 to drive in and park at the Visitor Center. When you park, you can either walk a while until you reach the actual historic site or you can wait and take a busy shuttle to the site for free (included in admission), which I recommend. The park is open year-round, except federal holidays, although the area does snow so that’s something to keep in mind for your visit. I went in the middle of summer so it was very hot and very busy.
When you get off the shuttle, there are many historic and old-timey stores where you can buy souvenirs.
There are also many museums, like the African American History Museum and Civil War Museum. Of course, each of the museums cost extra if you want to go inside and tickets can be pricey.
The town is basically on a mountainside, so bring good walking shoes, lots of water and be prepared to walk up and down stairs if you want to see all of Harper’s Ferry.
At the bottom of Harper’s Ferry is part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Trail. There’s a plaque detailing the expedition in Harper’s Ferry.
Harper’s Ferry is also a stop for hikers on the Appalachian trail, a 2,200 mile long-distance hike. You can hike a little bit of it by walking on the bridge from Maryland to West Virginia, or continue onward a few miles if you have some extra time.
If you go up the mountain, you’ll see St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, and a little further past that is the ruins of St. John’s Episcopal Church and Harper’s Ferry Cemetery.
Near the cemetery and ruins is the landmark, Jefferson’s Rock. It’s called Jefferson’s Rock because on October 25, 1783, Thomas Jefferson stood in that spot for the first time and admired the state of Virginia, which you can see across the river. It is now a popular spot where tourists take photos.
If you spend all day at Harper’s Ferry like I did, then you’ll likely end up eating there. Food is pricey, but there’s the typical American cuisine that pretty much anyone can eat at. I ended up buying a delicious ice cream as well.
I also bought a really nice Harper’s Ferry “Explore” hat. I think that it was around $25, which is kind of pricey, but it’s ended up being my favorite hat and I wear it all the time. Also, personally, I don’t mind spending a little extra money for the National Park Service.
There are so many other things to see in Harper’s Ferry that I didn’t get to see or mention in this post, so be sure to check out the National Park’s website on Harper’s Ferry before you visit and make a game plan of what you’d like to see. I recommend this a visit for anyone who loves either history, nature or both! I really enjoyed my visit!
Thank you for reading! Have you ever been to Harper’s Ferry? Do you want to?? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!