When you catch a glimpse of your reflection on the clear water of Summersville Lake, you’ll do a double take. Why? Haven’t you ever noticed how attractive you are when you’re having fun? That’s the Summersville Lake effect.
It’s not an illusion. You really are that happy and stress free. Put your selfie stick down (seriously, you don’t want to drop it into the water) and enjoy the stunning vistas and water sports at this beautiful spot in the Mountain Region of West Virginia.
Here’s your to do list (Don’t cringe! It’s all play and no work!), while you’re at this lovely lake.
1. Scuba Diving
The deep, clear waters of the lake make it a prime spot for scuba novices and enthusiasts. Underwater exploration of the steep rocky cliffs that characterize the lake is a must. Seeing the rocks below the surface is as much of a majestic adventure as climbing them. Be on the lookout for underwater geocaches! Located on the lake (literally it’s floating on the lake),Sarge’s Dive Shop is at your service for diving gear and info about instruction.
Catch yourself some dinner! You can rent a boat or bring your own and enjoy the bountiful waters by day, and hopefully some bass or catfish by night (there are plenty of other types of fish in the lake if neither of those are your favorite).
If the temperature suits you (and, ya know … you can swim), jump right in! Who doesn’t love swimming in a large body of water without the nagging thought that a shark could be lurking nearby (it’s not just me—everyone is paranoid about that, right?).
Never kayaked before? No problem! Flat water kayaks are great for first timers and picnics (there’s plenty of room to stow food and such for a long excursion). Rentals are available at Sarge’s Dive Shop.
5. Motor Cat
No, it’s not the title of the video with the cat riding a roomba. It’s a strange new motorized boat … thing. It looks like two surfboards with buckets seats, strapped to a motor, and is decked out with convenient amenities (like storage and shade). It’s fast and nimble and you can pull right up to the rocks and do some climbing or take it out for fishing (there are rod holders). The jet ski may be forever diminished in your mind after spending the day with this fascinating boat … thing.
6. Rock Climbing
Much of the lake’s shoreline is lined with towering rock cliffs that might as well have the words “climb me” carved into them. Isn’t that instinctual when near craggy vertical surfaces? Beginners in need of guides and gear should check with New River Mountain Guides.
If you just desire to enjoy the views without dangling off of the rocks, you can follow one of the hiking or biking trails …
… Or Climb the 122 steps to the top of the Summersville Lake Retreat Lighthouse. It overlooks the lake and boasts 35 miles of stunning views. You know you want your fit bit to clock these steps, so don’t skip the trip up to the only working lighthouse in West Virginia.
9. Pontoon Rental
Ah, pontoons. They’re the boat that says you’re ready to slow down and have fun with friends and family. These floating patios are perfect for group fun on the lake. Fill out a reservation request online.
Take your pick from the variety of campsite options in Summersville. Choose a scenic tent site, or a full hook up location for your RV. Either way, book early so you won’t miss out on lake side sunrises and campfire camaraderie.
After you hit the lake, why not take in a little Civil War History?
Legendary tales of a woman joining a guerrilla unit, storied battles of failed Confederate drives to gain control of a nearby valley, and an important Civil War battle site. All of these can be found right near Summersville, and are a must-see for any history buff.
Whew! Time for a drink! End the day at Kirkwood Winery
Situated in the rural valley, Kirkwood Winery has the distinction of being the first vineyard in this region. They produce a variety of wines and the winery is home to the Isaiah Morgan Distillery which crafts Rye, Southern Moon, and Grappa spirits. Whether you’re stomping grapes at their annual festival or just picking up some gifts for a friend (or yourself), you’ll want to stop at this unique winery!