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Water Sports in West Virginia

The New River Gorge is home to a number of different water sports besides our (slightly biased) favorite of white water rafting. We suggest that all whitewater enthusiasts experience the water in as many different ways as possible, and these different options range from relaxing fishing trips to high excitement kayak adventures!

Want to learn more about some of our favorite water sport options on the New River Gorge? Keep reading!

Some of our favorite other water activities include:


Kayaks are relatively small when compared to most whitewater rafts. It features a covered deck and one (or several) cockpits, each of which fit a single paddler. Kayaks come in a variety of different forms, each designed to fit certain goals and skill levels of the participants. However, in general, they are split into two main forms: “Sit In” (which are closer to traditional designs) and “Sit on Top” which have evolved more from paddle boards. A hybrid of the two versions is also used by many.

Scenic Floats:

These are a low-key way to travel across the water while also experiencing all the beauty and nature that the river has to offer. In some cases, a guide can have an oar-assisted raft that means guests can just sit back and enjoy – but usually trips can feature some active participation from visitors. The natural tranquility of the Upper New River makes it a great option for outings like this. Scenic floats are a great option for those who are a bit nervous about being on the water.


A ducky is essentially a cross between a traditional raft and a kayak. They are inflatable like a raft with the maneuverability of a kayak! This makes them a great option for both those who are new to the water and the more seasoned adventurer. One of the benefits of a ducky is that the rafters are in complete control, allowing almost total freedom of motion with the water. They are safe for beginners, but they also make waves seem bigger since they sit riders lower into the water.


The New River Gorge is home to many different species of fish, and also holds a “catch and release” policy so that future generations will be able to experience this awesome variety. However, the New River is renowned for its smallmouth bass fishing. This is a great way to relax, unwind, and let the gentle waters wash away your worries down the river! For more information about fishing in the New River, check out our blog post here.

These are some of our favorite things to do (besides whitewater rafting, of course!) on the New and Gauley Rivers. Do you have another fun water sport you enjoy participating in? Leave a comment telling us why!

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