CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — After a WalletHub study ranked West Virginia the nation’s economy last week, another study released Monday isn’t favorable to the Mountain State. West Virginians may not like the financial outlet’s “2022’s Most Fun States in America.”
It ranked the Mountain State dead last overall, compared to California, Florida, Nevada, New York and Illinois as the top five “most fun”.
The study assessed states based on two main categories that are broken down into several smaller factors: Entertainment & Recreation and Nightlife. Though West Virginia was ranked 50th overall, the study ranked it 49th in Entertainment & Recreation—with Mississippi ranked last—and 46th in nightlife—better than Utah, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Delaware.
Among other factors, the study used Restaurants per Capita, Movie Theaters per Capita, Golf Courses & Country Clubs per Capita, Performing-Arts Theaters per Capita, Fitness Centers per Capita, Skiing Facilities per Capita, Marinas per Capita, Access to National Parks, Variety of Arts, Entertainment & Recreation Establishments, Personal Expenditures on Recreation Services per Capita and State & Local Expenditures on Parks & Recreation per Capita to rank the states.
The study also broke down how each state performed in those categories separately, and of those, West Virginia was in the bottom five for Performing-Arts Theaters per Capita, Fitness Centers per Capita, Variety of Arts, Entertainment & Recreation Establishments, and Personal Expenditures on Recreation Services per Capita. It was not ranked in the bottom five of any category centered around outdoor recreation.
While California was ranked first overall, it was tied with West Virginia for 47th when it comes to Variety of Arts, Entertainment & Recreation Establishments.
The study‘s methodology also doesn’t mention if the “Personal Spending on Recreation Services per Capita” category was weighted to take into account the differences in states’ economies. States that ranked in the top five included Washington, Colorado and Massachusetts, where the state minimum wages are $14.49 per hour, $12.56 per hour and $14.25 per hour respectively, with some localities setting their minimum wages even higher, like Seattle’s $17.27 per hour. In comparison, the bottom five states included Alabama and Mississippi, which follow the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. West Virginia, where the minimum wage is $8.75 per hour, ranked dead last in this category.
Other factors that may have hurt West Virginia in the study include shoreline mileage and beach quality, where coastal and Great Lakes states would dominate.
Where can you have fun in West Virginia?
Fun is subjective, so here are a few suggestions for those looking for a good time, whether they’re residents of West Virginia or not:
- Visit New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, which is in the minority of national parks where hunting is permitted in certain areas.
- During football season, cheer on the Mountaineers in Morgantown.
- Festivals and events including but not limited to:
- The Rolls on the River Pepperoni Roll Festival and FestivAll in Charleston.
- The Almost Heaven BBQ Bash in Roanoke.
- The Weston Carp Festival.
- The Back Home Festival in New Martinsville.
- The Sounds Good Festival in Fairmont.
- Shinnston Frontier Days.
- The Buckhannon Fall Festival.
- West Virginia has plenty of popular state parks, including Blackwater, Valley Falls and Audra. The state has enough hiking spots and trails that last week it launched its Waterfall Trail.
- The state’s highest point, literally, and to some, figuratively: Spruce Knob in Seneca Rocks, West Virginia.
- Fans of the paranormal can head to Point Pleasant to enjoy all things Mothman, from the TNT area near town to the annual Mothman Festival—which is planned for Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 of this year, or check out the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston.