Both the state nickname, the Mountain State, and state motto, .Mountaineers Always Free,. of West Virginia describe the landscape perfectly. This is a land of rugged hills, where the level land areas are usually just flat strips next to the major rivers. West Virginia has the highest mean altitude east of the Mississippi, and it also boasts the largest single natural outdoor recreational area in the country: the Allegheny Highlands, which contains more than 110,000 square miles of forest and mountains.
West Virginia has a small population--about 1.8 million residents--but a surplus of natural beauty for those locals to enjoy. The mountains, hills, rivers and countryside form a scenic landscape that visitors admire and residents feel lucky to call home.
Coal production is a major force in West Virginia's economy, ranking second in the United States and providing about 15% of the nation's total supply. It is also a leader in the manufacture of steel, glass, aluminum and chemicals. Agriculture plays a small part in the economy, with major farm products including poultry, eggs, apples and dairy. Tourism is an increasingly significant industry, with more and more visitors coming to the state each year to appreciate its scenic beauty. Numerous state parks, state forests and recreation areas provide ample room for outdoor recreation. Popular pastimes include hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, rafting and skiing.
West Virginia is the sixth most affordable state, with an overall cost of living 9% below the national average, and housing costs--including apartments for rent--at a very affordable 21% below average.
The capital city of West Virginia is also its largest, with just over 50,000 residents. Charleston is a small city with rural charm and beauty combined with urban amenities. Its location in the lush Appalachian Mountains offers an unparalleled setting of natural beauty. The city offers many interesting destinations, including the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, golf courses, historic sites, the capitol building and Charleston Town Center, one of the largest urban malls in the nation. Those looking to move to this charming city will be happy to know that apartments tend to be affordable, with the median price for apartment rentals at $450 per month.
The second-largest city in the state, Huntington is located on the Ohio River, where a port serves as a commercial center for shipping coal. Huntington's East End Bridge is the most noticeable landmark. It's one mile long and was built in a distinctive asymmetrical girder design, only the third of its kind in the country. There are a lot of features to appeal to newcomers, including the beautiful, award-winning Huntington Rose Garden and the Ritter Park Playground, a specially designed children's playgroup that has received many awards and has been proclaimed by Child Magazine as one of the 10 best playgrounds in America. Huntington is also home to Marshall University, the second-largest university in the state. Where there are college students, there are always plenty of apartments, and the apartments for rent in Huntington are among the most affordable in the nation. The median price for apartment rentals is $415. One-bedroom apartments for rent start at about $350, with two-bedroom apartments starting at about $450.