If you’re seeking picturesque boating destinations, look no further than West Virginia. With its stunning landscapes and diverse waterways, this charming state offers a range of scenic experiences for boaters of all kinds. From tranquil lakes nestled in the mountains to winding rivers that meander through breathtaking gorges, West Virginia’s boating destinations promise unforgettable adventures and breathtaking views. So grab your boat and get ready to explore the natural beauty that awaits you in the heart of America’s Appalachian region.
Scenic Boating Destinations in West Virginia
West Virginia is known for its stunning landscapes and natural beauty, making it the perfect destination for boating enthusiasts. With its abundance of lakes and rivers, the state offers a wide range of scenic boating opportunities. Whether you prefer leisurely cruising or thrilling water activities, there’s something for everyone. In this article, we will explore ten of the most picturesque boating destinations in West Virginia, each offering unique experiences and breathtaking views.
1. Cheat Lake
Nestled in the heart of Monongalia County, Cheat Lake is a popular boating destination known for its tranquil setting and picturesque surroundings. This 13-mile long lake was created by the impounding of Cheat River, making it a haven for boating enthusiasts. The lake is surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests, providing a scenic backdrop for your boating adventure.
Cheat Lake offers a variety of activities for boaters of all ages and skill levels. You can spend the day exploring the lake’s calm waters, enjoying the serenity and tranquility of the surroundings. Fishing enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to cast their lines and catch a variety of fish species, including bass, trout, and catfish. Water sports enthusiasts can indulge in swimming, water skiing, and tubing, adding a splash of excitement to their boating experience.
As you navigate the pristine waters of Cheat Lake, keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that call this area home. From majestic bald eagles soaring overhead to graceful deer grazing along the shoreline, there are plenty of opportunities to spot a diverse range of wildlife. The lake is also home to various bird species, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars to capture the beauty of these fascinating creatures.
2. Summersville Lake
Located in the heart of West Virginia, Summersville Lake is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Known for its crystal-clear waters and rugged cliffs, this stunning lake offers a truly immersive boating experience. With over 2,700 acres of water surface and 60 miles of shoreline, Summersville Lake is the largest lake in West Virginia, providing ample opportunities for exploration.
Summersville Lake offers a wide range of activities to satisfy any boating enthusiast’s desires. You can spend your day cruising along the lake’s pristine waters, marveling at the majestic cliffs and rock formations that tower above you. Fishing enthusiasts will find an abundance of fish species, including bass, trout, and walleye, making it a perfect spot for angling. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the lake is a popular destination for cliff jumping and scuba diving, offering thrilling experiences and unforgettable memories.
While exploring Summersville Lake, keep your eyes peeled for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area. From graceful waterfowl gliding across the lake’s surface to turtles basking in the sun along the shoreline, there are plenty of opportunities to witness nature’s wonders. The lake is also home to various fish species, including smallmouth bass and channel catfish. As you venture deeper into the wilderness surrounding the lake, you may even spot elusive creatures such as black bears and white-tailed deer.
3. Kanawha River
Flowing through the capital city of Charleston, the Kanawha River is a central waterway in West Virginia that offers a unique boating experience. This scenic river provides a glimpse into the state’s rich history while offering picturesque landscapes and breathtaking views. Stretching over 90 miles, the Kanawha River is a popular destination for both recreational boaters and history enthusiasts.
Boating along the Kanawha River allows you to immerse yourself in the history and culture of West Virginia. You can explore the city of Charleston from a different perspective, taking in the stunning sights of the Capitol, historic buildings, and vibrant riverfront. The river also offers opportunities for fishing, with various fish species such as bass, catfish, and muskie inhabiting its waters. Additionally, kayaking and paddleboarding are popular activities, allowing you to navigate the river at your own pace and soak in the beauty of your surroundings.
While cruising along the Kanawha River, keep your eyes on the lookout for the diverse wildlife that resides in and around the riverbanks. From elegant blue herons and snowy egrets gracefully wading in the shallow waters to beavers busily constructing their lodges, the river provides ample opportunities for wildlife spotting. You may even catch a glimpse of deer and foxes as you navigate the tranquil waters, adding a touch of wilderness to your boating adventure.
4. Ohio River
The Ohio River forms a significant portion of West Virginia’s western border, offering boaters an opportunity to explore the history and natural beauty of the state. Stretching over 277 miles, the Ohio River provides a scenic route that connects multiple states and offers picturesque views along the way. Boating on this iconic river allows you to experience the rich heritage of the region while enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
Boating on the Ohio River opens up a world of exploration and adventure. You can embark on a leisurely cruise, soaking in the picturesque scenery and marveling at the historic river towns that line its shores. Fishing enthusiasts will find a variety of fish species, including catfish, bass, and sauger, providing an excellent opportunity to reel in some impressive catches. Water sports, such as water skiing and tubing, are also popular activities on the Ohio River, adding excitement and thrills to your boating experience.
The Ohio River boasts a diverse ecosystem, teeming with an abundance of wildlife. As you glide along the river’s gentle currents, be on the lookout for bald eagles soaring above, their majestic wingspan captivating the imagination. You may also spot great blue herons standing tall on the riverbanks, waiting patiently to catch their next meal. The river is home to various fish species, including paddlefish and sturgeon, which can occasionally be seen breaching the water’s surface. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the countless avian species that call the Ohio River home, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts.
5. New River Gorge
The New River Gorge is an iconic destination in West Virginia, renowned for its breathtaking scenery and thrilling outdoor activities. This 53-mile-long river offers a spectacular boating experience, with its rugged cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant forests creating a picturesque backdrop for any adventure seeker.
Boating through the New River Gorge allows you to witness the true beauty of this natural wonder. You can embark on a leisurely float trip, taking in the awe-inspiring views as you navigate the gentle currents of the river. For adrenaline junkies, white water rafting is a popular activity, providing a heart-pumping experience as you conquer the river’s rapids. Anglers will find ample opportunities to cast their lines and reel in a variety of fish species, including smallmouth bass and catfish. The New River Gorge is also a haven for rock climbers, with its towering cliffs providing an exhilarating challenge for enthusiasts.
As you venture along the New River Gorge, keep your eyes peeled for the diverse wildlife that inhabits this rugged terrain. From ospreys soaring overhead to river otters playfully swimming alongside your boat, there are plenty of opportunities to encounter fascinating creatures. The river’s crystal-clear waters also provide glimpses of fish species such as trout and muskie, adding to the allure of this breathtaking wilderness. Nature-lovers will be captivated by the diverse flora and fauna that thrives in the New River Gorge, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a truly immersive boating experience.
6. Sutton Lake
Nestled in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains, Sutton Lake offers a serene boating experience surrounded by picturesque landscapes. This 1,520-acre lake was created by the construction of Sutton Dam, and its calm waters provide the perfect setting for a peaceful getaway.
Sutton Lake offers a variety of activities to suit every boating enthusiast’s preferences. You can spend your day leisurely cruising along the tranquil waters, taking in the scenic beauty of the surrounding mountains and forests. Fishing enthusiasts will find a variety of fish species, including bass, muskie, and catfish, providing an excellent opportunity for a memorable fishing trip. The lake is also ideal for kayaking and canoeing, allowing you to explore the secluded coves and hidden gems that dot its shoreline.
As you navigate the peaceful waters of Sutton Lake, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area. Herons and egrets gracefully wade along the shores, while turtles can be seen basking on logs near the water’s edge. The lake is also home to various fish species, creating a thriving ecosystem that supports a wide range of wildlife. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the tranquility of this secluded lake, as it provides a haven for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
7. Tygart Lake
Situated in the heart of Grafton, Tygart Lake is a hidden gem that offers a peaceful boating experience in a picturesque setting. The lake spans over 1,750 acres and is surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests, creating a serene atmosphere that is perfect for a relaxing day on the water.
Tygart Lake provides a variety of activities for boating enthusiasts to enjoy. You can spend your day leisurely cruising along the calm waters, admiring the beautiful scenery and enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings. Fishing enthusiasts will find a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and saugeye, providing plentiful opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Additionally, the lake is ideal for swimming and picnicking, offering a serene setting for a family outing or a romantic getaway.
As you explore the peaceful waters of Tygart Lake, be on the lookout for the abundant wildlife that calls this area home. Blue herons and kingfishers can often be spotted near the shoreline, while fish such as muskie and crappie thrive in the lake’s waters. The wooded areas surrounding the lake are home to a variety of woodland creatures, including white-tailed deer and various bird species. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the opportunity to spot a wide range of avian species, as Tygart Lake provides a haven for both resident and migratory birds.
8. Monongahela River
The Monongahela River meanders through the Allegheny Plateau, offering boating enthusiasts a unique opportunity to explore West Virginia’s diverse landscapes and rich history. This picturesque river stretches over 128 miles, providing a scenic route for boaters to enjoy.
Boating on the Monongahela River allows you to experience the beauty of West Virginia while immersing yourself in its rich heritage. You can explore the river’s gentle currents, taking in the stunning views of rolling hills and charming river towns. The river also offers opportunities for fishing, with a variety of fish species, including bass, muskie, and walleye, inhabiting its waters. Additionally, kayaking and paddleboarding are popular activities on the Monongahela River, allowing you to navigate the river at your own pace and soak in the beauty of your surroundings.
The Monongahela River supports a diverse ecosystem, providing a habitat for an array of wildlife species. From majestic bald eagles soaring overhead to beavers busily constructing their dams along the riverbanks, there are countless opportunities to witness nature’s wonders. The river is home to a variety of fish species, making it a prime destination for anglers. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the countless avian species that call the Monongahela River home, adding to the charm of this scenic waterway.
9. Bluestone Lake
Nestled amidst the scenic beauty of the Bluestone Wildlife Management Area, Bluestone Lake is a hidden paradise that offers a peaceful and secluded boating experience. This pristine lake spans over 2,088 acres and is surrounded by lush forests and rolling mountains, providing a truly immersive escape into nature.
Bluestone Lake offers a range of activities for boaters to enjoy. You can spend your day leisurely exploring the calm waters, taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and enjoying the peaceful ambiance. The lake is also an angler’s paradise, with a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and crappie, providing a rewarding fishing experience. Boating enthusiasts can also indulge in water sports such as water skiing and tubing, adding a touch of excitement to their tranquil boating adventure.
While boating on Bluestone Lake, keep your eyes peeled for the abundant wildlife that thrives in and around the area. From the gentle rustle of leaves as a white-tailed deer cautiously approaches the water’s edge to the melodic chirping of birds hidden amongst the towering trees, the lake is home to a diverse range of creatures. Birdwatchers will have the opportunity to spot various avian species, including bald eagles and great blue herons. The lake’s crystal-clear waters also provide glimpses of fish and turtles, adding to the allure of this unspoiled wilderness.
10. North Bend State Park
Located near Cairo in Ritchie County, North Bend State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a variety of recreational activities, including boating, hiking, and camping. The park encompasses a pristine, 305-acre lake that provides a tranquil setting for boating enthusiasts to enjoy.
Boating in North Bend State Park allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while enjoying a range of recreational activities. You can spend your day leisurely cruising along the calm waters, soaking in the peaceful ambiance and taking in the scenic beauty of the surrounding forested hills. Fishing enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to cast their lines and reel in a variety of fish species, including bass, crappie, and bluegill, making it a perfect spot for anglers of all ages and skill levels. The park also offers kayak and canoe rentals, allowing you to explore the lake’s secluded coves and winding channels at your leisure.
As you navigate the serene waters of North Bend State Park, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area. From lively squirrels scampering through the trees to the graceful flight of a great blue heron skimming the water’s surface, there are countless opportunities to witness nature’s wonders. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, creating a thriving ecosystem that supports a wide range of wildlife. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the opportunity to spot various avian species, including woodpeckers and waterfowl. The park’s tranquil atmosphere and unspoiled surroundings make it a haven for wildlife, offering a truly immersive boating experience.
In conclusion, West Virginia offers a wealth of scenic boating destinations that cater to the desires of every boating enthusiast. From the serene waters of Cheat Lake and Tygart Lake to the adrenaline-filled rapids of the New River Gorge, there is a destination for every preference and skill level. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful getaway surrounded by nature or an action-packed adventure on the water, these ten boating destinations in West Virginia are guaranteed to offer unforgettable experiences and breathtaking views. So grab your boat, gather your friends and family, and set sail for an adventure of a lifetime in the picturesque waterways of West Virginia.