A blue sky, sunshine and cool, crisp mountain water.

That’s the perfect backdrop for folks who love being outside.

Summer wouldn’t be the same without spending time on West Virginia rivers.

Floating is a peaceful, personal experience but can also be easily shared with friends and family.

Other popular water activities include rafting, canoeing and kayaking.

State companies can also help by providing river access to flat water as well as white water rapids.

It’s really up to you to decide how to spend quality time with Mother Nature.

Grab a float, pick a stream and head out.

1. Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers

River Riders

River Riders

Under the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountain chain, the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers offer the opportunity for both flatwater and whitewater trips in the historic Eastern Panhandle. The streams provide easy access to historic Harpers Ferry as well as nearby popular restaurants and area breweries. River Riders Inc. offers rafting, tubing, stand up paddle boards, canoes and kayaks.  Additional information at www.riverriders.com or 800-326-7238.

2. Greenbrier River

greenbrier

Tubing the River

The Greenbrier River is the longest undammed river in the eastern United States. Peaceful stretches of calm water make floating a dream, but the rush of a whitewater experience is also possible. Day trips of various lengths from Caldwell to Alderson are available and vary depending on the season. Contact the Greenbrier River Campground for more information at info@greenbrierriver.com or 304-445-2203.

3. Tygart River

Tygart River Outfitters

Tygart River Outfitters

North central West Virginia residents and visitors can also enjoy the season on the Tygart River by rafting under two covered bridges or even taking a moonlight trip on the water. Tygart River Outfitters also provides trips on the Buckhannon and Middle rivers. Summer passes for tubing at Audra State Park are just $40 per person. Call 304-613-5557 or check out the company’s Facebook page for additional information.

4. Cheat River

Highland Outdoors

Highland Outdoors

Beat the summer heat by taking a trip down the Cheat Narrows or just lay back and enjoy the majestic beauty of this special mountain canyon. Water levels vary during warm weather months. But floating/paddling or taking a dip are still great ways to spend a hot day, even when the water is shallow. Meet the Cheat in Tucker County courtesy of Blackwater Outdoor Adventures in Parsons (304-478-3775 or www.blackwateroutdoors.com) Or see its Preston and Monongalia County splendor with the help of Albright’s Cheat River Outfitters at www.CheatRiverOutfitters.com (or call 304-329-2024).

5. New and Gauley Rivers

Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor

Every day offers a new experience on the New and Gauley Rivers where whitewater rafting trips can also include special features like a riverside deli lunch, BBQ dinner or even overnight camping, courtesy of the New and Gauley Rivers Adventures. Additional information is available on the company website (www.gauley.com) or telephone 800-759-7238. Another company, Adventures on the Gorge, can provide families with access to the Upper New River. The valley is wider and water is more shallow, thus offering calm pools and easy rapids which are popular for floating and swimming. Visit their website at www,rivermen.com or call 855-318-0070.

6. South Branch of the Potomac

Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor

This is a special place for many folks, especially those who’ve been coming to Smoke Hole Canyon for decades to savor its great trout fishing and rugged beauty. Tubers have a special opportunity to experience the secluded riverscape when summer temperatures drop water levels. Camping information is available by contacting the Monongahela National Forest, Potomac Ranger District in Petersburg at 304-379-8738.

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