Best Boating in West Virginia

Couple pushing a boat onto a lake for a boat ride
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When it comes to the best boating experiences in West Virginia, the Mountain State offers a delightful array of options for water enthusiasts. West Virginia’s picturesque lakes and reservoirs provide the perfect backdrop for unforgettable boating adventures. Whether you’re seeking tranquil escapes on serene waters, thrilling water sports, or the chance to reel in a diverse range of fish species, West Virginia’s lakes have it all. From the stunning Summersville Lake with its sheer cliffs and peaceful ambiance to Cheat Lake’s accessibility near Morgantown, and the pristine beauty of Sutton Lake, the state offers a wide range of experiences. Explore the hidden gem of Big Ditch Lake or indulge in the luxury of Stonewall Jackson Lake’s resort amenities. Each destination has its unique charm, making West Virginia a boater’s paradise waiting to be discovered.



Summersville Lake

In the heart of a captivating natural wonder, Summersville Lake awaits, inviting adventurers and nature enthusiasts to its pristine waters and stunning surroundings. This picturesque reservoir is renowned for its breathtaking beauty, with sheer cliffs rising dramatically from the crystal-clear waters. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Summersville Lake offers a wide array of water-related activities, from serene paddling excursions to thrilling water skiing adventures. Boaters are drawn to this idyllic destination not only for its aquatic allure but also for its rock climbing opportunities and the tranquil ambiance that envelops the area.

Reasons to Boat in Summersville Lake:

  • Scenic Beauty: Summersville Lake is renowned for its stunning beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs and lush forests. The crystal-clear waters of the lake are a sight to behold, making it a perfect destination for boaters who appreciate natural landscapes.
  • Water Activities: Boating on Summersville Lake opens up a world of water activities. You can go for a swim in the refreshing waters, try your hand at fishing for various fish species, or explore the lake on a paddleboard.
  • Camping Options: For those who wish to extend their stay, there are nearby campgrounds that provide an opportunity to experience the serene beauty of the area while camping overnight.
  • Rock Climbing: The lake is conveniently located near the New River Gorge, a popular rock climbing destination, making it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts who want to combine boating with climbing adventures.
  • Peace and Tranquility: Summersville Lake is known for its peaceful and quiet ambiance, making it an ideal location for a leisurely boating experience, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Recommended Gear: Sunglasses, Paddle, Sunscreen, Dry Box, Waterproof Phone Case, Anchor


Cheat Lake

For those seeking the perfect blend of outdoor recreation and accessibility, Cheat Lake stands as an enticing destination. Conveniently located near the lively city of Morgantown, this reservoir offers a delightful escape from urban life without straying too far from civilization. Boaters are drawn to Cheat Lake’s pristine waters, providing a playground for water sports enthusiasts, including water skiing and jet skiing. Fishing aficionados will find joy in the lake’s diverse aquatic life, while the picturesque views of rolling hills add an extra layer of charm to this serene locale.

Reasons to Boat in Cheat Lake:

  • Proximity to Morgantown: Cheat Lake’s convenience is a major draw, as it’s situated near the vibrant city of Morgantown. This makes it easily accessible for both residents and visitors.
  • Fishing Opportunities: The lake is a haven for anglers, offering a variety of fish species to catch, including bass and trout. It’s an excellent destination for those who love fishing while out on the water.
  • Waterfront Dining: Several restaurants and bars line the lake’s shore, providing great dining options for boaters. You can enjoy a delicious meal with a view of the water.
  • Recreational Boating: Cheat Lake is perfect for recreational boating, making it an ideal location for activities like water skiing, jet skiing, and tubing, ensuring an exciting day on the water.
  • Scenic Views: Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful vistas, Cheat Lake offers boaters stunning natural scenery, enhancing the overall experience.

Recommended Gear: Sunscreen, Cooler, Paddle, Sunglasses, Marine Radio, Waterproof Phone Case, Dry Box


Sutton Lake

Located in a captivating natural setting, Sutton Lake welcomes visitors to its serene waters and tranquil surroundings. This charming reservoir is celebrated for its scenic beauty, with peaceful waters framed by lush forests and idyllic landscapes. Beyond its natural allure, Sutton Lake provides a variety of water-based activities, from leisurely kayaking to fishing for a diverse range of fish species. Boaters appreciate this destination not only for its recreational opportunities but also for the abundant wildlife and the sense of peace that permeates the area.

Reasons to Boat in Sutton Lake:

  • Peaceful Setting: Sutton Lake is known for its tranquil and serene setting, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxing boating experience. The calm waters and serene surroundings create a peaceful ambiance.
  • Wildlife Observation: The lake is home to various bird species and offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife photography. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the chance to spot diverse wildlife in their natural habitat.
  • Fishing Opportunities: Anglers can try their luck catching a variety of fish species, including catfish and bass. The lake’s waters are teeming with fish, making it a great spot for fishing enthusiasts.
  • Camping Facilities: Campgrounds around the lake provide opportunities for extended stays, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area over several days.
  • Water Sports: Sutton Lake is an excellent place for a range of water sports, including water skiing, kayaking, and swimming, providing a variety of ways to enjoy the water.

Recommended Gear: Compass, Anchor, Cooler, Rope, Tarp, Snacks, Sunscreen


Bluestone Lake

Amidst a breathtaking gorge, Bluestone Lake is a hidden gem awaiting discovery by outdoor enthusiasts and boaters. This captivating reservoir is celebrated for its striking beauty, where rugged cliffs and pristine waters create a truly awe-inspiring backdrop. Beyond its natural charm, Bluestone Lake boasts an abundance of fishing opportunities, making it a paradise for anglers seeking catfish, bass, and crappie. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a serene picnic spot, the lake offers a versatile and scenic escape into the great outdoors.

Reasons to Boat in Bluestone Lake:

  • Scenic Gorge: Bluestone Lake is situated within a picturesque gorge, offering boaters breathtaking views of rugged landscapes and pristine waters, creating a unique and awe-inspiring environment.
  • Fishing Paradise: The lake is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities, featuring an abundance of catfish, bass, and crappie. Anglers will find plenty of opportunities to reel in their catch.
  • Camping: Campgrounds located near the lake provide an opportunity for extended outdoor adventures. You can camp by the stars and wake up to the serene beauty of the lake.
  • Water Recreation: Bluestone Lake is a hub for various water recreation activities. Whether you enjoy boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding, the lake has something for everyone.
  • Picnic Areas: The lake boasts numerous picnic spots, making it an excellent destination for a family day out. You can enjoy a meal in the midst of nature and take in the scenic views.

Recommended Gear: Life Jackets, Compass, Anchor, Tarps, Marine Radio, Cooler, Sunscreen


Tygart Lake

Set against a backdrop of tranquil landscapes, Tygart Lake offers a serene and refreshing destination for boaters and nature lovers. This peaceful reservoir is perfect for those seeking relaxation and outdoor recreation. Boaters can enjoy thrilling water sports such as water skiing and tubing or try their hand at fishing for various species like walleye and catfish. With campgrounds nearby, it’s an excellent choice for those who want to extend their stay and fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area. Whether you’re a birder looking for avian species or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Tygart Lake provides a rejuvenating atmosphere in the heart of nature.

Reasons to Boat in Tygart Lake:

  • Water Sports: Tygart Lake is the perfect destination for water sports enthusiasts. You can enjoy thrilling activities such as water skiing, tubing, and jet skiing, ensuring an action-packed day on the water.
  • Fishing Opportunities: The lake offers excellent fishing opportunities, with the chance to catch various fish species, including walleye, catfish, and more. Anglers can test their skills and reel in their favorite catch.
  • Camping Facilities: For those looking to extend their stay, Tygart Lake offers campgrounds where you can immerse yourself in the natural surroundings and enjoy an extended outdoor experience.
  • Bird Watching: Bird enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to spot a variety of avian species in the area. The lake’s surroundings provide a habitat for diverse birdlife, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.
  • Relaxing Atmosphere: Tygart Lake offers a tranquil and relaxing environment for boaters to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. The peaceful ambiance and serene waters make it an excellent choice for those seeking rest and rejuvenation.

Recommended Gear: Rope, Compass, Paddle, Cooler, Sunglasses, Snacks, Anchor


Hawks Nest Lake

Perched on the edge of a stunning canyon, Hawks Nest Lake invites explorers and adventure seekers to its unique and awe-inspiring waters. This reservoir boasts breathtaking views of the New River Gorge, creating a remarkable setting for boating and outdoor activities. Beyond its picturesque surroundings, Hawks Nest Lake offers opportunities for swimming, fishing, and paddleboarding, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse wildlife, and hikers can explore nearby trails, making it a versatile destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Reasons to Boat in Hawks Nest Lake:

  • Scenic Canyon Views: Hawks Nest Lake is known for its breathtaking views of the New River Gorge. As you boat on the lake, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of the deep canyon, making it a unique and awe-inspiring boating experience.
  • Water Activities: The lake provides opportunities for various water activities, including swimming, fishing, and paddleboarding. Anglers can cast their lines to catch a variety of fish species.
  • Trails and Hiking: Beyond boating, Hawks Nest State Park offers hiking trails that allow you to explore the beauty of the surrounding area and witness the breathtaking landscapes from different perspectives.
  • Golfing: The park also features a golf course, so you can enjoy a round of golf after a day of boating, making it a well-rounded recreational destination.
  • Wildlife Watching: Hawks Nest is a great place for observing wildlife. Birdwatchers can spot various bird species in their natural habitat, and there’s a chance to see other wildlife as well.

Recommended Gear: Anchor, Dry Box, Sunscreen, Marine Radio, Paddle , Compass, Rope


Beech Fork Lake

For boaters seeking the ultimate convenience and a well-rounded experience, Beech Fork Lake is an attractive destination. The lake’s marina services provide everything from boat rentals to lakeside dining, ensuring that your boating adventure is hassle-free and enjoyable. Anglers can test their skills by catching various fish species, while swimming beaches offer a refreshing way to cool off. Families and groups can enjoy picnicking and recreation areas, and nature lovers will appreciate the diversity of wildlife in the surrounding area. Beech Fork Lake presents a complete and accessible package for a memorable day on the water.

Reasons to Boat in Beech Fork Lake:

  • Marina Services: Beech Fork Lake offers marina services that make boating accessible and convenient. You can rent boats, purchase supplies, and even enjoy lakeside dining at the marina.
  • Fishing Opportunities: Anglers will find an abundance of fish in the lake, making it a prime spot for fishing. You can target species like catfish, bass, and crappie.
  • Swimming Beaches: The lake features designated swimming areas with sandy beaches. After boating, take a refreshing dip in the clear waters or relax on the beach.
  • Picnic and Recreation Areas: Beech Fork Lake has numerous picnic areas and recreational facilities, making it an ideal place for family gatherings and group outings.
  • Hiking and Biking: Beyond the water, there are hiking and biking trails around the lake, providing opportunities to explore the natural surroundings.

Recommended Gear: Sunscreen, Cooler, Paddle, Sunglasses, Marine Radio, Waterproof Phone Case, Dry Box


East Lynn Lake

In the midst of tranquil surroundings, East Lynn Lake beckons those in search of a serene escape into nature. Renowned for its exceptionally clear water, this reservoir offers an appealing destination for boaters who appreciate a pristine and unspoiled aquatic environment. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines for a diverse range of fish species, and the lake’s secluded coves make for a perfect adventure. With nearby camping facilities, you can extend your stay and fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting various avian species, adding an extra layer of charm to this peaceful locale.

Reasons to Boat in East Lynn Lake:

  • Water Quality: East Lynn Lake is known for its exceptionally clear water, making it an attractive destination for boaters who appreciate a pristine and unspoiled aquatic environment.
  • Fishing Diversity: The lake offers diverse fishing opportunities, with various fish species available, including bass, catfish, and muskellunge, ensuring an exciting angling experience.
  • Secluded Coves: Boaters can explore the lake’s many secluded coves, providing a sense of adventure and the opportunity to find quiet spots for relaxation or fishing.
  • Camping Facilities: The lake boasts campgrounds, which allow boaters to extend their stay and camp in nature.
  • Wildlife Observation: East Lynn Lake is home to a range of wildlife, and birdwatchers will find it particularly appealing for spotting different bird species.

Recommended Gear: Life Jackets, Compass, Anchor, Tarps, Marine Radio, Cooler, Swim Bag


Stonewall Jackson Lake

Embracing a realm of luxury and recreation, Stonewall Jackson Lake offers a complete resort experience for boaters. With a golf course, spa services, fine dining, and top-notch marina services, it presents a well-rounded destination for those looking for indulgence and relaxation. Water sports enthusiasts will find excitement in activities such as water skiing and wakeboarding. The lake’s marina provides fishing equipment, boat rentals, and guide services, making it a convenient choice for boating and fishing enthusiasts. Wildlife lovers can explore the nearby nature trails and observe various bird species, while history enthusiasts can visit the area’s historical attractions and museums, offering an educational and cultural experience.

Reasons to Boat in Stonewall Jackson Lake:

  • Resort Amenities: Stonewall Jackson Lake is home to a resort, offering amenities such as a golf course, spa, and fine dining, providing an all-inclusive experience for boaters looking for luxury and relaxation.
  • Water Sports: The lake is perfect for water sports enthusiasts, with opportunities for water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing, adding excitement to your boating trip.
  • Fishing and Boating Services: The marina at Stonewall Jackson Lake offers fishing equipment, boat rentals, and guide services, ensuring a hassle-free and enjoyable boating and fishing experience.
  • Wildlife and Nature Trails: The lake area is abundant in wildlife, and nature enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the nearby trails and observing various bird species.
  • Historical Attractions: The area around the lake features historical attractions and museums, making it an educational and cultural destination for those interested in history and heritage.

Recommended Gear: Sunglasses, Paddle, Sunscreen, Dry Box, Waterproof Phone Case, Anchor


Burnsville Lake

This picturesque reservoir is celebrated for its scenic beauty, offering boaters breathtaking views of the surrounding natural landscapes. Beyond its aesthetic charm, Burnsville Lake presents a haven for anglers, boasting a diverse fish population that entices fishing enthusiasts to its shores. From thrilling water sports like water skiing and tubing to peaceful kayaking and extended camping adventures, this lake offers a versatile range of recreational opportunities. With designated picnic areas and opportunities for wildlife observation, Burnsville Lake promises an all-encompassing escape into the heart of nature.

Reasons to Boat in Burnsville Lake:

  • Scenic Beauty: Burnsville Lake is set amid picturesque rolling hills and lush forests, offering boaters stunning natural vistas and a serene environment for a peaceful getaway.
  • Fishing Opportunities: The lake is known for its diverse fish population, making it a popular spot for anglers to catch various species, including bass, catfish, and bluegill.
  • Recreational Boating: Boaters can enjoy a wide range of water activities, such as water skiing, tubing, and kayaking, making it an exciting destination for water sports enthusiasts.
  • Campground Facilities: Burnsville Lake features campgrounds near its shores, providing the perfect opportunity for extended stays and camping adventures, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the outdoors.
  • Picnic Areas and Wildlife Observation: The lake has designated picnic spots, making it a great destination for family outings. Additionally, nature enthusiasts can enjoy nature and observing the local wildlife in the area.

Recommended Gear: Compass, Anchor, Cooler, Rope, Tarp, Snacks, Sunscreen

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