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Life is Better on the Water in Advantage Valley, WV

Discover Advantage Valley's thriving riverfront communities and all they have to offer. 

By Lindsey Hyde on October 31, 2022

Aerial shot of the Advantage Valley region of West Virginia.
Gary Wendell Photography

Nestled along the banks of the Ohio river and its tributaries, the Kanawha, Guyandotte and Big Sandy, are a slew of thriving riverfront communities in Advantage Valley. And while people have historically migrated toward bodies of water to help meet their basic needs, these cities and towns have used the rivers to evolve, relying on them for everything from outdoor recreation to transportation of goods and much more. So let’s explore some of the advantages these waters are pouring into residents. 

Recreation

Beautiful riverfront parks can be found in Point PleasantRavenswoodCharleston and Huntington. While the views themselves are gorgeous, the parks offer several activities. For example, Point Pleasant boasts must-see historical murals and statues and an amphitheater for musical performances. Washington’s Riverfront Park in Ravenswood offers a play area, a walking path and picnic tables.

As for other great outdoor spots, East Lynn Lake Wildlife Management Area in Dunlow is the perfect place to go kayaking, fishing and birdwatching, and Cabell County’s Barboursville Park is home to superb hiking and biking trails, a fishing lake and outdoor amphitheater, among other things.

“The riverfront provides a huge asset to our community.”

Ashley Alford Glance, Putnam County Chamber of Commerce

“(The park) is very family friendly. It’s always kept very clean. There are a lot of low-cost or free activities for folks in the community, or even outside of the community, to be able to utilize, which we receive a lot of positive feedback on,” says Brandi Beasley, executive director of Barboursville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Entertainment

In addition to outdoor recreation, several riverfront communities in the area, like Barboursville and Point Pleasant, have developed quaint downtowns full of cute mom-and-pop shops, delicious dining options, and community events that people of all ages love to attend.

Plus, within many of the cities and towns are local museums that offer a look into the area’s past, such as Ravenswood’s Great Bend Museum and Point Pleasant’s River Museum.

Shot of the Village of Barboursville, which is located in the Advantage Valley region of West Virginia.
Village of Barboursville

Business & Infrastructure

While mom-and-pop shops have gained popularity in these areas, several new businesses related to water sports — in communities like Scott Depot and Winfield — have opened, thanks to newly created access points to the riverfront and recently added boat ramps.

Examples include Get Hooked Tackle, which sells fishing equipment and apparel, and Kanawha Watersports, which offers wakeboarding, tubing and waterskiing, both in Winfield. In addition, Appalachian Boarding Co. in Scott Depot is a husband-and-wife-owned business that provides stand-up paddleboard classes, tours and rentals.

Additionally, many businesses are attracted to riverfront communities because they can use the body of water to ship their products.

The Port of Huntington-Tri-State, one of the nation’s largest inland ports, moves more than 80 million tons of cargo annually from docks along 100 miles of the Ohio River, 90 miles of the Kanawha River and 9 miles of the Big Sandy River.

Jackson County Maritime & Industrial Park on the Ohio River has a 25-acre barge loading/unloading facility with road and rail access.

“The riverfront provides a huge asset to our community,” says Ashley Alford Glance, president of the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve had a number of small businesses pop up specifically due to the increased river access and boat ramps that have been added, and a number of large companies in towns like Buffalo have commercial, industrial river parks and rely on river access to move their product; they utilize the river for business purposes.”

Visitors along the banks of the Ohio River at Harris Riverfront Park in downtown Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington is located in the Advantage Valley region of West Virginia.
Jeff Adkins

Riverfront Living

As these cities and towns have grown over the years, many of them have added a variety of gorgeous homes on and off their riverfronts.

And whether individuals are looking to start from scratch and build their dream home or score one that’s already been built, Putnam, Cabell and Clay counties have several affordable properties for sale — not to mention larger communities, like Huntington and Charleston, have rental options close to their bustling downtowns.

“I live in Barboursville (in Cabell County) myself, and it’s a very close-knit, small-town feel,” Beasley says. “We’ve had a lot of development in the last couple years, which has made it more exciting to live here. There are so many things to take advantage of … and it just continues to grow and get better the longer we’re here.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Advantage Valley region, check out the latest edition of Livability: Advantage Valley, West Virginia

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