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The states of Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia all contribute to the land area of the Prestonsburg Destination. Prestonsburg, Kentucky, is the namesake of the destination; however, one of the largest cities, based on population, in the region is Charleston, West Virginia. The current population of Charleston is 48,102 people, while Prestonsburg’s population sits at 3,810 inhabitants. Charleston is also the state capitol of West Virginia, with the state capital being one of the draws for tourism. Other attractions include West Virginia State Museum, Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, and the West Virginia Veterans Memorial. Attractions in Prestonsburg include the Van Lear Historical Society Miner’s Museum, East Kentucky Science Center and Planetarium, and the Mountain Arts Center. When visiting the region, it is recommended, based on Weather Spark's tourism score for the Prestonsburg area, that the “best time to visit” is either mid-June or late July to late September. Temperatures throughout the year range from 30 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. December to February is typically the coldest time for the area, while the summer months are generally the warmest.
The Prestonsburg Destination is located in three states in America, namely Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia. The latter state makes up most of the landscape of the region; however, the namesake of the destination, Prestonsburg, can be found in Kentucky. Prestonsburg was originally known as “Preston’s Station” but was later renamed to Prestonsburg after the formation of the “Floyd Court House” in 1816. In the 2020 census, the city reported a population of 3,681 inhabitants; as of 2023, the city has a population of 3,810 people.
Prestonsburg has multiple activities to participate in, such as visiting Mountain Arts Center, Loretta Lynn’s Home, Loretta Lynn’s Birthplace (Butcher Hollow), Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Van Lear Historical Society Miner’s Museum, East Kentucky Science Center and Planetarium, and Middle Creek National Battlefield, among others. Another attraction is the Samuel May House Living History Museum, which is reportedly the “oldest known brick home remaining in the Big Sandy Valley.”
Another notable city, due to its size, is Charleston, West Virginia. Not only is the city reportedly the biggest city in West Virginia in terms of population, but it is also the state capital. The city was reported to have a total population of 48,864 people, according to the 2020 census. Charleston is also the “center of government, commerce, and industry for the Kanawha County, of which it is the county seat.” The city began to be inhabited after the American Revolutionary War and was eventually named after Col. Clendenin’s father, Charles. At the time, it was known as “Charles Town” but was renamed “Charleston.” The alteration of the name was prompted due to another town in West Virginia having the same name.
People are drawn to the vicinity of Charleston for various reasons, one being that the area is generally known for its “stunning scenery,” as it is characterized by natural features including the Kanawha River and the Appalachian Mountains. Other draws to the area include attractions such as the state capital, which is located near the aforementioned Kanawha River; West Virginia State Museum; Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, which is home to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra; West Virginia Veterans Memorial, intending to pay tribute to the four "20th-century military conflicts"; and East End Historic District. The Governor’s Mansion is another attraction built in 1925 and is adorned with antiques, silver, crystal chandeliers, and porcelains.
The Prestonsburg Destination covers a relatively diverse ecosystem, considering it encompasses parts of three different states. West Virginia makes up a considerable portion of the region, bordering both Kentucky and Virginia. However, the namesake of the destination is located in Kentucky, near the western edge of the region. Other cities in the area, specifically in Kentucky, are Pikeville, Paintsville, and Salyersville. As previously mentioned, the West Virginia portion makes up the most land mass of the region and contains more cities within its borders than the segments of the other two states. Cities in the West Virginia area of the destination include Gilbert, Madison, Beaver, Logan, and Charleston.
Weather in the Prestonsburg Destination varies depending on the time of year. Generally speaking, the weather averages between 30 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit in Prestonsburg throughout the year. The city’s warmest time of the year is between the end of May to September, with 78 degrees Fahrenheit being the average daily high temperature. In contrast, the coldest time is from December to the end of February, having an average high of 53 degrees Fahrenheit. March to August is classified as Prestonburg's wet season, with each day having a 34% probability of precipitation. July, in particular, has the most rainfall on average. The other primary type of precipitation that the area experiences is snow, with January being the month to receive the most snowfall on a typical basis. Based on the tourism score in the area that was provided by Weather Spark, the acclaimed “best times of year to visit Prestonsburg” is either mid-June or late July to late September.
A diverse range of wildlife resides in the destination. Raccoons, squirrels, skunks, beavers, coyotes, snakes, deer, and multiple species of birds are some of the fauna that inhabits the area. Types of flora that are fairly common throughout the destination include eastern coneflower, galium species, daylilies, hostas, hibiscus, peppers, and Japanese maples.
In the early 1700s, a grant was given to John Preston’s family, which ultimately led to the area being referred to as “Preston’s Station,” nowadays known as Prestonsburg—the namesake of the Prestonsburg Destination. The location was originally inhabited by Native Americans in the area, who initially expressed resistance against the Preston family. Eventually, the town was settled by John Spurlock in 1791. After being settled, multiple buildings were constructed in the town, such as the “Floyd Court House,” also later renamed Prestonsburg.
Prestonsburg has continued to grow since first being settled in the 1700s. The population of the town was reported in the 2020 census to be 3,681 inhabitants. However, this number has grown at a rate of 1.14% annually, making the current population 3,810 people. Prestonsburg has the ranking as the 107th largest city in the state of Kentucky. Charleston, West Virginia, another city in the destination, has a larger population, as it currently serves as the home to 48,102 residents. This current number is a result of a -1.56% decline since the 2020 census, which originally reported 48,864 people living in the city.
In 1773, William Morris first arrived in the Charleston area. After being settled, the area was used during the American Revolution. Charleston was “incorporated by the Virginia House of Delegates” in 1794. Less than a century later, the city was established as the state capital of West Virginia in 1870. Since its early history, the town has continued to grow not only in the number of residents but also economically. The “Robert C. Byrd Federal Building, Haddad Riverfront Park, and Capital Market” are attributed to aiding in the growth of the area. Other contributors to the economy include the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, Charleston Distance Run, Yeager Airport, West Virginia State University, and Marshall University.