Blue Hole

Blue Hole is loved for its flat, warm rocks and cool waters, but infamous for the dangerous bridge-jump.

Summer is just around the corner, and in just two weeks West Virginia University students will be done with classes. With the weather getting warmer, students are itching to take a break from studying to spend time outdoors.

The wild and wonderful West Virginia offers hundreds of places to kick back and relax in the sun. Here are a few of the most popular swimming holes only a short drive away from WVU.

Blue Hole

If you ask around, chances are you will hear the best place to hangout by the water near Morgantown is Blue Hole. Once a hidden gem in the Preston County woods, Blue Hole has grown to a outdoor college party palace. On hot days, students cool off with a couple of beers and a few hours playing in the secluded paradise. There is a sandy beach with plenty of large boulders for those looking to work on their tan.

Hundreds of Mountaineers travel to Blue Hole. With increasing frequency, students are taking the plunge and jumping off the 63-foot high bridge that crosses the water. Although this activity is exhilarating, the number of student injuries and fatalities from jumping off the bridge has skyrocketed. "A moment of pain, but a lifetime of glory" is not a good mindset to have while visiting Blue Hole. Please use caution.

Blue Hole ranked as one of the best swimming holes in America, according to an article in National Geographic Adventure magazine. It is located about 30 miles southeast of Morgantown in northern West Virginia’s Big Sandy Creek right above the Cheat River.

Arden Falls

Located in the Tygart Valley River, Arden Falls has large, flat rocks that create quiet pools to swim in. Every season, there is a designated "party rock" where students congregate. Notorious for cliff jumping, Arden Falls has become one of the most sought out destinations to soak up the sun.

Countless warnings caution incoming students to stay in calm areas to avoid drifting downstream.

Wonder Falls

WVU students often travel the short journey to Wonder Falls, a waterfall with a clear stream swimming area within a forested valley around Cooper’s Rock. The heavily shaded area has numerous swimming locations downstream from the waterfall. Many require some climbing to get in, but scouting out this location is worth the small challenges.

Summersville Lake

A little further in distance, Summersville Lake is one of West Virginia’s most famous destinations. Skin Diver magazine even called it "The Little Bahamas of the East Coast" due to the fact that it’s one of the cleanest and clearest freshwater lakes east of the Mississippi. Massive cliffs tower over the water and offer scenic views reminding one of a caribbean island.

Every year, WVU students make the trek to Summersville Lake and spend the day listening to music on the shore and taking advantage of the perfect photo opportunity.

Most of these locations require a truck or an SUV to endure the bumpy back roads. For detailed directions to these swimming holes, visit diyoutdoors.wvu.edu.

Add these four destinations to your bucket list and find your little slice of paradise close to WVU.

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