West Virginia July 07, 2018
The Only Place Where You Can Have A Tropical Vacation Without Ever Leaving West Virginia
Generally, a “tropical vacation in West Virginia” is not a phrase typically uttered — but there is one place where the notion is perfectly sound. It is Summersville Lake, and they don’t call it the “Little Bahamas of the East” for nothing.
Summersville Lake is known as the "Little Bahamas of the East" because it has the clearest waters east of the Mississippi River, with a visibility of 20 to 45 feet.
Because of this, Summersville is one of the most popular destinations in West Virginia.
The lake was formed by a rock-fill dam in 1966 to control flooding along the watershed of the Gauley and Kanawha Rivers. The lake itself encompasses an area of 2,700 acres and is 327 feet deep (max depth) with more than 60 miles of shoreline.
The stone cliffs that border the lake rise above the water like great monoliths capped with dense woods. Some of the outcroppings, like the one below, even look like stony faces with a head of bushy green hair. Because of these gorgeous formations, the lake is frequently photographed.
Aside from its photogenic qualities, the lake has a reputation for being a great summer spot to cool off. People come from miles around to go swimming, climb the rocky cliffs... jumping from the rocks is not allowed.
If you are so inclined, you can rent boats and other water equipment to take out on the lake, either for fishing, swimming, or simply to take a nice ride on the open waters. The lake is big enough that you can spend all day exploring every corner and not see the whole thing.
On the shore of the Lake is Sarge's Dive Shop, which rents out Scuba equipment to guests. It even offers full diving and certification classes.
If you choose to dive at the lake, you will have an opportunity to witness a whole ecosystem of plant and marine life as you pass through underwater caves and tunnels. Be sure to watch the GoPro video below to see what a dive at the lake is actually like:
While visiting the lake, you will probably want to spend at least a couple of days there. At the Summersville Lake Retreat, just offshore from the lake, you will find a campground with some great accommodations.
You will also get to tour the only lighthouse in West Virginia.
At 104 feet tall, this lighthouse is a repurposed wind turbine tower. A journey to the top of the lighthouse offers an impressive view of the surrounding hills and the lake that cuts between the trees and hills like a hand with dozens of fingers.
While at the campground, you can choose to stay in a tent, a cabin, or you can bring in your RV. The campground has several amenities and is even pet-friendly.
So, if you are looking for a way to cool off and enjoy some sun in a tropical paradise, you don't have to travel to the Bahamas or Hawaii — you don't even have to leave the state. All you need is a few days with no obligations and a tankful of gas.
Summersville Lake and Retreat is located at 278 Summersville Lake Rd./Hwy. 129W (GPS Coordinates: N 38.19950 W -80.8660) in Mt. Nebo.
For more information about Summersville Lake and its neighboring campground, check out their web page
here. Have you ever been to Summersville Lake? Feel free to comment below and tell us about your visit.
Does Summersville Lake sound like fun? Check out
this striking blue lake that will make your summer magical.