The Little Bahamas… in WV?!?

Summersville Lake is one of the most popular destinations in West Virginia for boaters, swimmers and waterskiers— but what’s below the lake’s smooth surface is a different experience altogether.

SCUBA divers know it as “The Little Bahamas of the East” for being the clearest freshwater lake east of the Mississippi River.

Explore depths of up to 327 feet with stunning visibility. You’ll be able to see 20 to 45 feet around you, depending on rainfall. It’s about as clear as you’ll find in a lake.

Sarge’s Dive Shop can take you (yes, you— even beginners can learn!) down into these crystal waters from the middle of May until the middle of September.

The water will be nice and warm—usually around 60 to 70 degrees, but can get as warm as 80 during the hottest months. So a shorty wetsuit will be enough to keep you warm.

Summersville Lake is the perfect place to take the plunge. You can see huge cliffs, boulders, overhangs and rock walls, and swim through rock formations as deep as 100 feet below the surface.

There’s also a variety of aquatic life, including bass, walleye, catfish, bluegill, sunfish and musky. You may even spot a few treasures like rings and car keys that have been left behind by boaters and swimmers.

There are several interesting dive sites at Summersville*:

  • The winter access ramp near the dam is accessible for shore diving. There’s even a small sunken boat here, the Thomas Patrick, to give you something interesting to explore.
  • Bubbles Cove is along a large rock wall, and gives you a taste of cavern diving. But you’ll need a good light to get the full effect.

Of course, if you want to start simple but enjoy the underwater view, try snorkeling along the surface for a peek!

Explore the “Little Bahamas” >


*While SCUBA diving underwater is allowed, diving or jumping into the water from above is not!

This post was last updated on July 22, 2020