West Virginia is home to some of the most beautiful nature in the United States, and its many lakes are no exception. They can be found scattered all throughout the state, and they offer the chance to enjoy almost any water-related recreational activity you can imagine, including fishing, boating, water skiing, and even scuba diving.

We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

1.Beech Fork Lake

Beech Fork Lake
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Set inside a 3,144-acre park, Beech Fork Lake is a man-made reservoir that offers more than 30 miles of shoreline. The park is criss-crossed with an excellent selection of trails for hiking and biking, and a beautiful swimming beach can be found near the dam. The lake is also a popular boating destination; engines greater than 10 horsepower are prohibited, but kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats can be rented from the marina. Visitors who would like to spend the night can do so at one of the lakefront campsites, which come with fire pits and picnic tables and are open year-round.

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2.Bluestone Lake

Bluestone Lake
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Created by a dam across the New River, Bluestone Lake is the third largest lake in the state. The lake is a suitable place to enjoy almost any type of water activity; there are no limits placed on the size of engines that can be used on the lake, and there are several boat ramps and a marina for boaters to use. Fishing is a particularly popular activity here, as the New River that feeds the lake is widely regarded as one of the state's best warm water fisheries. Other popular activities include water skiing, bird watching, and hiking in the adjacent park.

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3.Burnsville Lake

Burnsville Lake
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Located outside the city of Burnsville, Burnsville Lake was originally constructed to help deal with flooding from the Little Kanawha River. However, it's now a popular recreation destination with several public boat launches and a large campground. Many different types of watercraft can be rented here, including canoes, jet skis, and pontoon boats, and the lake is populated with a large variety of fish. Visitors who would prefer to fish from the shores can do so at the Bulltown Recreation Areas, which also offer facilities like a swimming beach, picnic tables, restrooms, and horseshoe pits.

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4.Cheat Lake

Cheat Lake
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Formerly known as Lake Lynn, Cheat Lake is tucked up against the border between Pennsylvania and West Virginia. One of the most popular activities here is fishing; the lake is particularly well-known for its stock of largemouth bass, but it's also home to walleye, sunfish, catfish, and more. Visitors are welcome to fish from the dock at Cheat Lake Park or to put small boats into the water at the boat launch, and several marinas are available for anyone who wants to use a larger boat. No camping is available here, but the park offers washrooms, a playground, and several picnic areas.

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5.East Lynn Lake

East Lynn Lake
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Tucked amidst gently rolling wooded hills, the 12-mile-long East Lynn Lake offers plenty of recreational activities both on the water and along its 44 miles of shore. It's a great destination for fishermen and hunters alike; the lake is known to be home to approximately 30 species of fish, and the hills that surround the lake are home to animals like deer, rabbits, and bears. Visitors who want to spend more than one day at the lake can stay at East Fork Campground; there are 167 sites to choose from, and the campground offers amenities like a playground, a boat launch, and sports courts.

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6.Jennings Randolph Lake

Jennings Randolph Lake
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Situated in a valley that stretches from Maryland to West Virginia, Jennings Randolph Lake is a reservoir along the North Branch Potomac River. The lake is surrounded by a 4,500-acre park that offers almost endless recreation opportunities; highlights include horseback riding, hiking, hunting, biking, cross-country skiing, and picnicking at Howell Run Picnic Area, which features stunning views of the lake. Visitors who prefer to simply relax can do so on Shaw Beach, a beautiful 200-foot beach with amenities like picnic tables, washrooms, change rooms, and a children's playground. There are also two paved boat launches available, one in Maryland and one in West Virginia.

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7.Lake Sherwood

Lake Sherwood
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Lake Sherwood can be found inside the Monongahela National Forest, and with an area of 156 acres, it holds the honor of being the forest's largest lake. A small island sits in the lake and is connected to the shore by a footbridge, providing an excellent opportunity for enjoying a picnic or a stroll. Stand-up paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, and boats can be rented during the summer months. Simple campsites with fire pits and picnic tables can be found along the northeast side of the lake; advance reservations are recommended, and visitors should be aware that no hook-ups are available.

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8.North Bend Lake

North Bend Lake
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Constructed in 2002, North Bend Lake is a 305-acre reservoir ideal for fishing, boating, and swimming. Boats up to 10 horsepower are permitted on the lake, but it's also popular with canoers, kayakers, and pontoon boaters. A paved boat launch is available, but visitors are also welcome to fish from the pier. The lake is almost more beautiful from a distance than it is up close, and excellent views can be had by hiking, biking, or horseback riding along the 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail, which passes by several historic sites and winds through 10 tunnels.

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9.Spruce Knob Lake

Spruce Knob Lake
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Despite being only 23 acres in size, Spruce Knob Lake offers a wealth of recreational activities. The lake is named for its proximity to Spruce Knob, a nearby lookout point that is the highest point in the state of West Virginia. The top of the lookout point is only a short hike from the lake, but it's also possible to drive most of the way. Many visitors come here to fish; boats with electric motors are permitted, but many visitors choose to canoe or kayak instead. A boat launch is available, as is a fishing dock. Swimming in the lake is not permitted.

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10.Stonecoal Reservoir

Stonecoal Reservoir
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Sitting at the base of the Allegheny Mountains, the Stonecoal Reservoir is a popular destination for boating and fishing. Only boats with engines under 10 horsepower are permitted, and boats can be rented at the nearby Jackson Lake and State Park if needed. The lake is regularly stocked with fish and is home to a wide variety of fish species, and a good number of state record fish have been caught here. Swimming is not permitted here because of the lake's location inside a wildlife management area, but other possible activities include hunting, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

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11.Stonewall Jackson Lake

Stonewall Jackson Lake
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Originally built to help prevent floods along the West Fork River, Stonewall Jackson Lake is now a wonderful destination for recreation and relaxation. The lake is excellent for swimming, fishing, and boating alike; there is no horsepower limit for boats, but a section of the lake has been marked as "no-wake" so that it can be enjoyed by canoers and kayakers worry-free. Anyone in search of a more relaxing vacation will be pleased to learn that the lake also offers a luxurious resort with elegant rooms, a full-service spa, and a communal sundeck that boasts gorgeous views of the lake.

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12.Summersville Lake

Summersville Lake
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Known for being the state's biggest lake with a total area of 2790 acres, Summersville Lake was formed by the creation of a dam on the Gauley River. Fishing and boating are popular activities here, and visitors are welcome to put their boats into the water at any of the lake's public boat launches. Because of its warm temperature and the steep cliffs that sink below the surface of the water, the lake is also ideal for scuba diving. Experienced scuba divers are welcome to bring their own boats and equipment, but there is also an on-site dive shop.

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13.Summit Lake

Summit Lake
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Found along Route 39, Summit Lake is a peaceful oasis surrounded by wilderness. Swimming is not allowed in the lake, but it's an excellent fishing spot and the water is well-stocked with bass and panfish. Boat usage is restricted to row boats and low-horsepower boats; visitors are welcome to use the lake's boat ramp, but there is also a fishing pier for those who would prefer to fish from the shore. A hiking trail encircles the entire lake, and several more trails can be found nearby. There is also a small campground, which offers 33 primitive campsites with parking spurs.

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14.Tygart Lake

Tygart Lake
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Tygart Lake sits inside a state park that shares its name, and it's a popular destination for everything from fishing to hiking to scuba diving. Five hiking trails can be found in the park, and many different types of boat are available for rent on site. There is also plenty of accommodation on and around the lake, including furnished cabins and cottages, campsites, and a waterfront lodge. Visitors in the spring and summer are also encouraged to join on of the guided nature tours of the area, which are offered free of charge and led by experienced naturalists.

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14 Best West Virginia Lakes

More Ideas in WV: West Virginia Botanic Garden

The West Virginia Botanic Garden (WVBG) in Morgantown is a unique 85-acre botanical garden that features plants that are endemic to the Appalachian region. Developed on the site of the Tibbs Run Reservoir, which once provided water to the residents of Morgantown in the early to mid-1900s, the West Virginia Botanic Garden includes old growth forest, small designed gardens, hiking trails, and a boardwalk meandering through a pristine wetland area.

Founded in 1983 by a group of volunteers, the Garden did have a site until 1999 so was established on the rented site of the Tibbs Run Reservoir property where it was developed over the following years. The 15-acre reservoir basin was drained in 1980 with small pools of water forming during periods of heavy rain, which helped contribute towards the growth and development of the garden. Today, the old water basin has been transformed into two smaller pools with several small islands and a range of diverse aquatic plant displays, but the old water works are still present and stand as a link to the past.

The Garden

By the Master Plan as set out when the garden was established, the WVBG features a variety of native meadows, woodlands, and wetlands, as well as an Eclectic Garden, a Butterfly Garden, and a Shade Garden. The gardens are crisscrossed with several walking and hiking trails through the old forest and woodlands, which are free and open to the public daily, from dawn to dusk.

There are five, slightly less than mile-long marked trails and a boardwalk through the wetland, all of which are looped and connect to other trails, including the Reservoir Loop Trail which is a 3/4-mile, universally accessible gravel path. The Reservoir Loop connects to several other smaller trails, while the Hillside trail begins at the upper parking lot down behind the Welcome Center and connects with trails to the Rhododendron and Shade Gardens. Noah’s Trail, which is on the far side of Tibbs Run is a popular walking and running track, and all trails are marked with new maps and guides.

The West Virginia Botanic Garden offers several educational programs, ranging from summer camps, school programs, monthly family walks, and group tours. Five Summer Nature Camps are run throughout the year that focuses on learning about and exploring nature and cover topics such as nature conservation, trees and flowers, insects and birds, and mammals. Campers learn about leadership, stewardship, and teamwork. The Garden also offers school programs for students in grades pre-K through fourth grade that are designed to provide fun, engaging, and meaningful outdoor experiences. Social and recreational Monthly Family Walks are held the second Friday of each month and include nature education and exploration opportunities for children and their families.

Visitor Information

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is located at 1061 Tyrone Road in Morgantown and is open to the public daily and year-round. Admission is free, and parking is available on Fridays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

Bicycles, motorized vehicles, horses, fishing, hunting, and camping are not allowed in the garden, and there are signposts throughout the arboretum that detail the fauna and flora that reside within the park. Group tours of the garden are available for an additional fee and focus on different topics such as the gardens, wildflowers, insects, trees, amphibians, pollination and nature in general.

More Things to Do in West Virginia, Best Things to Do in Morgantown, WV

1061 Tyrone Road, Morgantown, WV 26508, Phone: 304-322-2093

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More Ideas in WV: Snowshoe Mountain

Snowshoe Mountain is the leading destination for fun and adventures in West Virginia. The mountain resort, with its location at 4,848 feet above sea level, operates by the mountain rules. This sometimes means visitors getting a bit of snow on their faces or possibly fist-bumping total strangers. It always means, however, answering clear and loud whenever the Mountain calls.

There is so much more to the winter season than snowboarding and skiing at Snowshoe Mountain. Among the numerous activities available are snowmobile tours, split rock pools, tube park, adventure dining, the big top, and much more. Yoga classes and the Spa at Snowshoe offer opportunities for relaxing and rejuvenating. Visitors can seclude themselves from everything during an adventure dining experience in the Backcountry Hut. There's plenty for children to do as well, from pools and climbing walls to the resort's Teen Center.

Guests can experience the thrill of snow tubing at Snowshoe Mountain without having to walk all the way back up to the top. The Coca-Cola Tube Park features eight lanes on its six-story tubing hill. For those seeking a more adventurous winter experience, snowmobile tours just may be the answer. The resort's adventure guides lead guests on a memorable journey through a dream for anyone who loves snow.

Visitors to Snowshoe Mountain can jump into a Polaris RZR for more fun. Guests can experience driving the ultimate machine in off-roading during an Off-road Adventure Tour, featuring some of the best areas of the mountain's backcountry. With an array of interesting terrain and scenery, the laid-back RZR tour starts with a ride along the Cheat Mountain Ridge Trail which serpentines its way to a gradual decent down Fire Tower Trail. The ride features some spectacular mountain views, especially from the top of Snowshoe Fire Tower, if guests are up to the climb.

The Split Rock Pools at Snowshoe Mountain Resort offer fun for both children and adults alike. The outdoor/indoor heated swimming area features heated pools, a slide, a hot tub, a sauna, and stunning views of the surrounding scenery. Another option for relaxation is the Spa at Snowshoe, offering a variety of packages and treatments.

Situated within the heart of Snowshoe Mountain's Village, the Hare Racer Zipline features a side-by-side design that offers guests with an opportunity to race against their family and friends, or simply zip down the line on their own. It's an excellent way to view the Village from an entirely new perspective. Visitors can also climb aboard the Ballhooter Lift to enjoy a scenic ride to Shaver's Lake, Snowshoe Mountain's best kept secret.

When the snow from the winter season has melted, the beach of Shaver's Lake welcomes guests with opportunities for swimming, soaking up the sun, and lounging under umbrellas. Visitors can also enjoy the lake during a relaxing evening near the shore. The Boathouse offers bites and brews, where guests can enjoy a pint or a meal while taking in the mountain breeze and view of the lake.

10 Snowshoe Drive, Snowshoe, West Virginia, Phone: 877-441-4386

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More Ideas in WV: Mountain Rail Adventures

Mountain Rail Adventures of Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad is fun for both young and old alike. The journey offers an often much needed escape from the hustle of everyday life, providing guests with an opportunity to sit back and relax by doing nothing by taking in the view of the area's natural beauty. There are a variety of rail adventure options, designed to fit all kinds of itineraries and budgets, and offering something for anyone. The train ride is just the first stop during a weekend of discover and exploration that combines adventure with relaxation, stunning WV scenery with cultures, and contemporary arts with history.

A choice of nine different trains is available from the month of April until December with Mountain Rail Adventures. Guests are easily able to customize their rail journey through a mix and match of train rides, creating the idea vacation in West Virginia, particularly for extended or overnight vacations. For those who can't seem to choose just one trip, customizable overnight packages in Cass and Elkins are available that offer a combination of two rail journeys with one ticket.

Families both small and large will enjoy the Cass Scenic Railroad journey, starting at the historic logging town of Cass. The two-hour train ride aboard the wonderfully restored twentieth century Shay locomotive is Mountain Rail Adventures' most popular option. The picturesque and historic trains transport guests through the dynamic countryside of West Virginia to Whittaker Station, an example of the logging industry in Appalachian featuring an unmatched view of the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Guests can choose to add on an additional two hours to travel further to Bald Knob's peak, high in the Allegheny Mountains.

The New Tygart Flyer offers spectacular views of mountains, dense forests, and curving tunnels in a relaxing, climate-controlled environment. After leaving Elkins, the train crosses over the Cheat River and bridges before stopping at Cheat's High Falls so passengers can take in the sounds and sights of the 150 feet tall waterfall within the hills of West Virginia. The Cheat Mountain Salamander transports guests to Spruce, a historic town only accessible by train, while the Durbin Rocket features the one of only three working Climax locomotives in the world. There is also The Polar Express™, a dinner train, and others.

Guests may wonder where exactly they should start their journey with Mountain Rail Adventures. It's easier to decide where to start a rail adventures if visitors know what they would like to do and see. Elkins, a gem of West Virginia, is one of the most popular choices.

This mountain town if one of the state's most vibrant communities. Once a town focused around the rail industry, Elkins is now an important arts center of the state. The town is also home to music, museums, dining, and heritage crafts among much more. An overnight stay at one of the top-rated accommodations in Elkins can be the perfect end to a full day of adventure. Mountain Rail Adventures is able to create customized packages to meet location preferences and mobility needs.

315 Railroad Avenue, Elkins, West Virginia, Phone: 304-636-9477

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