RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — The first official week of summer was in full swing at Lake Stephens on Thursday, June 1, 2023. Beach attendants said visitors were happy to feel the sand under their feet — maybe, for the first time since Labor Day.

“They really enjoy the aqua pad,” said John Smith, a beach attendant at the lake. “Yeah, saying, ‘The water’s a little bit cold,’ but they get used to it, after awhile.”

Emma Pavlik of Kopperston said she drove an hour and a half to come to Lake Stephens and has plans to do so, throughout the rest of the summer.

“It’s like a good place to have birthdays and like a good place to hang out with friends, see family that’s out here,” added Pavlik. “It really is. [It’s] fun to fish.”

Smith said delayed openings at pools in the region, including New River Pool in Beckley, seemed to bring more sun seekers to the lake.

“We’ve seen a definite rise in beachgoers, because of it,” said Smith.

Olivia Snuffer said sunbathing is one of her favorite Lake Stephens pastimes.

“I like coming and laying out with my friends, which is what I’m doing today,” she said. “We just come out, listen to music and have fun.”

Water lovers said Thursday temperatures were just right for people who like to make a splash.

“I like to swim, a lot,” said Sarah Smith. “And I like to play on the aqua pads.”

Beach workers said the waterfowl who call Lake Stephens home, including a gaggle of geese who “invaded” the sandy stretch of beach on Thursday, do not seem bothered by the return of the summer crowds.