Leisure at the lake (or river!): 6 best boating escapes

There’s a lot to do on West Virginia’s waterways, from tubing to kayaking. But have you tried any of these unique activities?

1. Houseboat Rentals

Why rent a house when you can rent a houseboat? Explore Sutton Lake’s 1,440 acres on a boat roomy enough to comfortably sleep the whole family.

Sutton Lake Marina houseboats feature private cabins, a full kitchen and baths, upper deck lounge, a propane grill and even a water slide for the kids.

Boat traffic is low, so it’s a perfect opportunity for water skiing, wake boarding, jet skiing and tubing. If fishing is your love, bass and crappie are plentiful. Sutton Lake’s 44 miles of shoreline form hundreds of quiet coves where you can spend the day or night in seclusion.

2. Airboat Tours

Learn the fascinating story of the nation’s most famous feuding family with Hatfield-McCoy Airboat Tours.

The airboat tour of the Tug River begins at the historic Matewan Depot. Enjoy an exhilarating ride on the river as you bask in the natural beauty of the area and its diverse ecosystem. The tour guide will entertain you with stories about the region’s colorful history of coal mining, feuding and moonshining.

3. Sailing

The Sewell Mountain Sailing Association believes all people should be able to experience the joy of sailing, regardless of whether they have a boat of their own. They offer free sailing lessons, so beginners can learn the basics to get out onto the water and enjoy the blissful sensation of being adrift in the wind.

The group leads sailing events on Summersville Lake, which, with its 2,700 acres and more than 60 miles of shoreline, leaves plenty of room for exploration!

4. Pontoons and Aqua Cycling

Picture riding a big tricycle on the water. That’s the Aqua Cycling experience.

These fun and quirky water vessels seat 2 people and operate like a paddle boat. Simply turn the handlebar to steer. At Stonewall Jackson Lake, you can rent Aqua Cycles and pontoon boats– both of which are perfect for a leisurely outing on the water.

Bring the whole family out on a pontoon, and don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch and a tackle box!

5. Wakeboarding and Waterskiing

If you’re partial to the kind of lake experience that leaves your heart pounding and your blood rushing, strap on a wakeboard or a pair of skis and zip along where the speedboat tows you.

Sunset Beach Marina rents skis, wakeboards and ski boats on Cheat Lake, a 13-mile-long reservoir on the Cheat River. Cheat Lake, just north of Morgantown, also is also a popular hangout for students from nearby West Virginia University.

6. Jetboats

At Hawks Nest State Park, New River Jetboats zips you through the rapids to just below the base of the majestic 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge.

The trip to board the boat is almost as fun as the ride itself. From the lodge at the canyon rim, you’ll take the aerial tram down to the river. It’s a unique chance to experience the beauty of the gorge from both the top and bottom— all in the same day.

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This post was last updated on October 7, 2021