West Virginia is an eastern U.S. state in the tree-covered Appalachian Mountains. The town of Harpers Ferry, where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac River, is the site of a famous Civil War–era raid.
Did you know that West Virginia is the northernmost southern state and the southernmost northern state? It’s a very happy medium! There are lots of happy medians in the state of West Virginia, median household income is near the national average at $41,750 and median crime rates are excessively lower than many other states.
When it comes to finding a place to live there are certain factors that must be taken into consideration. Factors like access to high achieving public schools, infrastructure, and commuting options, as well as the quality and cost of housing.
Finding all the information you need about the best places to live in West Virginia can be tricky to track down all in one place.
Hence why we have created our list of best places to live in West Virginia; all the information you need in one place!
1. Cheat Lake
According to statistics, Cheat Lake is the best place to live in West Virginia, and in turn, the best place to raise a family. There are 10 public schools in the Cheat Lake area offering parents a great amount of choice for their little ones.
The top four schools in the neighbourhood all proudly hold an A-rating, with those lower down the list still performing in line with government expectations.
In terms of diversity, Cheat Lake is home to a wide range of people. Being an affordable and accessible area of West Virginia meaning the resident population of 9,200 people are diverse both in terms of ethnic background and ecumenic standing too.
Residents are quick to note that the road infrastructure could do with improvements but its’ a small price to pay for living in the best neighbourhood in West Virginia.
Although in second place statistically, in terms of real resident satisfaction levels, Morgantown far surpasses Cheat Lake. Morgantown is home to 30,000 people, the town has a large community of college students too.
Although a relatively large town, Morgantown proudly retains its small town atmosphere. If resident happiness was the only factor to consider when looking at the best places to live in West Virginia, Morgantown would be the outright winner.
Morgantown is a greatly affordable and therefore an accessible area. Median home value is $172,000, considering that the average annual household income is $34,000, investing in property is not aspirational for residents here.
The majority of people who live in Morgantown live in rented properties. Unsurprisingly this is a very popular area with millennials, with average monthly rent coming in under $700, we can’t blame them.
3. Star City
Following the flow of the Monongahela River in Monongalia County in West Virginia, we find the endearing named Star City.
It may be a city by name but Star City is home to just 2,000 people and as such is technically classed as a town. With outstanding public schools, low crime rates and a reasonable amount of socialising activities in the area, there is little not to love about Star City.
Homes in Star City are humble and cosy, most importantly they are greatly affordable. An investment of $167,000 would see you gain a detached, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom family home, in a friendly area of the town. That said, all areas of Star City are friendly and welcoming.
More affluent than many other areas of West Virginia, Bridgeport is home to 8,338 people. This affluence is reflected in the 80% of residents who live in owned homes. Although the demographic is more affluent than other areas of the state, the cost of living and median home value in Bridgeport is not excessively above the national average.
For just $70,000 you can move into a detached 3-bedroom family home, with off road parking and spacious garden area.
Crime in Bridgeport is uncommon. The small population of residents prides themselves on the safe, open and neighbourly community atmosphere they have created here.
Although a small town, there are ample shops, entertainment outlets, working opportunities and churches to provide residents with a fulfilled and active lifestyle.
Bethlehem is an area of West Virginia with a great selection of public schools. Although there are only six schools in the area, all are rated with an impressive A status. Given that there are only 2,500 people who call Bethlehem home, that is a lot of education options for parents to consider.
Residents claim that crime in the area is on the rise, this could just be gossip for Bethlehem has been branded with a B+ rating for their low crime levels.
There is a wide range of properties on the market in Bethlehem. A quaint 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom family home can fetch $499,000. On the other hand, a 2-storey 3-bedroom home in Bethlehem can also be found for $289,000. If you do your research you can get great value for money here.
6. Teays Valley
With 80% of the 13,000 residents in Teays Valley living in owned homes, it won’t surprise you to hear that this neighbourhood is not yet popular with millennials.
The median household income is $70,000, so it is safe to say that the Teays Valley is one of the more affluent areas of West Virginia. By no means exclusive, however, this area is popular with working families and newly retired couples.
Being a small town in West Virginia, teenagers would claim that there is little to do around here. Residents note that the family-oriented atmosphere is prevalent wherever you go and that the community is open and welcoming.
Teays Valley is connected to Charleston and Huntington via Route 65 which greatly opens up commuting options for the local workforce.
Just a stone’s throw away from Morgantown and Star City is the small town of Brookhaven. Offering residents access to outstanding housing options, quality schooling and good commuting options, it is hard to find fault with Brookhaven.
From Chinese to Indian and classic all-Amercian Steakhouses, residents of Brookhaven have a solid choice of options for dining out to join with friends and family. The Classic’s 3 Hot Spot Lounge and Restaurant is a firm local favourite.
Monthly rent here in Brookhaven is just $689, perfect for young couples looking to save to put a deposit down on a house. The only issue is that there are few properties available for tenants, 81% of residents live in owned homes.
The city of Lewisburg falls in Greenbrier County in West Virginia. Follow Route 64 eastbound for 45-minutes to reach the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest; the reserve is a section of the Appalachian Mountain Trail and is the perfect place to get outdoors and explore.
The humble community of Lewisburg is comprised of 3,900 people. This suburban neighbourhood is very much working class with median income at $49,900.
Residents are quick to mention that Lewisburg is the kind of place where people stop to chat in the street and smile and laugh with one another. Described as a ‘very warm, small, and friendly little town’.
With access to good schools, reasonable working opportunities and access to the wild right on your doorstep, many people would find Lewisburg a lovely place to call home.
Although there is a Charleston in North Dakota and South, this Charleston is very much in West Virginia. This state capital falls on the confluence of the Kanawha and Elk rivers, as such, fishing is a popular hobby for many residents.
There is plenty to keep Charleston residents occupied in their free time. The Clay Centre for Arts and Sciences for example and the Capitol Market in the downtown area too.
Being the state capital, there are plenty of job opportunities in Charleston and naturally, the commuting times are rather low too.
You may be surprised to hear that Charleston is a very affordable city to live in. Median home value is just $144,00 and rent is on average $690 a month; almost unheard of in a modern day American city.
The number ten spot is awarded to Wheeling. Confusingly part of Ohio County, Wheeling belongs to West Virginia. This mid-sized city is transited north to south by the Ohio River and east to west by Route 470 and 70.
Tenants will be over the moon at the discovery of Wheeling, monthly rent is just $560 on average! Likewise, the property is very affordable too. For a staggeringly low investment of $39,000, you would be the proud owner of a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhouse…perfect!
There are 37 public schools in Wheeling and the top five all have been awarded an A-rating, performing above and beyond government expectations.
Being a major city in the state, there are lots of restaurants and cafes for residents to enjoy. From bistros serving classic American dishes to international curry houses, there is so much to choose from.
Just across the river from Morgantown lies the city of Westover. From the high-rises, you can wave across at the worker ants in Morgantown!
Considering there are only 4,145 residents, there are all the facilities and amenities you would expect to find in a city within the limits of Westover.
Everything about this small city is agreeable at first glance. Median home value is $137,000, affordable for many. Plenty of rental properties on the market and a months rent averages at $700, again, more than agreeable.
Local people note that there is a quietness to the area but it is no less atmospheric than bigger cities like Morgantown; that neighbours are friendly and incidents of crime are few and far between.
12. South Charleston
If you were tempted by Charleston but still have reservations, then perhaps South Charleston is worthy of your consideration.
Although the crime statistics for the area are a little higher than newcomers would ideally like, residents are quick to reassure that the area is quiet and friendly, most importantly safe. They say that it seems everyone knows everyone in a way you would expect a village to be.
Being an affordable area, South Charleston has developed a diverse collection of residents. 13,200 people live in the neighbourhood, some of which commute into Charleston central daily, others who serve their immediate community. Job opportunities are in no short supply in this neighbourhood.
Despite its turbulent name, Hurricane is a quiet and calm place to live, the weather too hardly in keeping with the name. It is hard to find fault with Hurricane, home to 6,388 people who love their lives here.
There is a wide range of properties on the market in Hurricane catering to every budget. For those seeking to get change from $100,000, there are detached 3-bedroom homes in Hurricane waiting to be inhabited. For potential buyers with a larger budget, your money will go far here in Hurricane; a 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom stately family home costs $415,900.
Tucked away on a bend of the Potomac River is the charming settlement of Shepherdstown. This small town is steeped in history; the Ramsey Monument honors James Rumsey, a steamboat pioneer from the 18th-century.
Characterised by red-brick buildings and the Little House and Barn, there is plenty to fall in love with in Shepherdstown. The high street is buzzing with community activities and really is at the heart of this neighbourhood.
Not the most affluent group of residents in our top fifteen places to live in West Virginia, the median household income here is just $31,500. Humble and wholesome, Shepherdstown is a lovely place to live if you’re seeking a more laid-back pace of life.
15. Charles Town
Not Charleston, our final place in our list is Charles Town.
Only a stone’s throw away from Washington DC, there are ample work opportunities and commuter options from a base in Charles Town. For parents, there is a good selection of schools in the neighbourhood ranging from elementary level right through to high school.
The area is very safe and crime is seldom an issue.
Median home value is $201,000 which is pretty steep compared to many other neighbourhoods featured in our top 15, this cost of living is on par with the median household income of $59,500.
Being a city, there are plenty of entertainment facilities in the area, from a horse racing track to casinos, restaurants, and cinemas. There is plenty to like about humble Charles Town.