Whether you’re looking for an urban adventure through town or a remote paddle away from the crowds, Charlottesville and Albemarle County offer beautiful views in central Virginia. Pair your river trip with mountain hikes and craft beverages for the ultimate summer destination.
Starting in the foothills of Central Virginia, the Rivanna River flows through the city of Charlottesville marked by calm stretches of scenic beauty and fun whitewater for more experienced paddlers. Along the way, you’ll see signs of heron, osprey, smallmouth bass, turtles, and more. Get set with kayaks, canoes, or standup paddleboard rentals or a guided trip from Rivanna River Co., conveniently located right off a paved section of the Rivanna Trail. After a full day on the water, hop over to all the amenities of the walkable Downtown Mall, including dozens of restaurants, galleries, shopping, and bars.
From the city it’s just a 30 minute drive to the town of Scottsville on the historic James River. You’ll find this stretch of river relatively quiet and undeveloped as you make your way past farmland and paddle some small rapids. Scottsville’s charming main street offers restaurant options and a brewery for that perfect post-adventure hangout with friends. The best way to experience this river is with a trip from one of the area’s outfitters. James River Reeling and Rafting offers something for every age, including a variety of boat options and trip lengths. Let the experts at James River Runners hook you up with the perfect trip, from a float in a tube to a relaxing paddle in a raft. Both outfitters offer shuttles to the put in and camping by the river to extend your trip. You can even book a river tour or sunset cruise from the James River Batteau Company, where you’ll float in a flat-bottomed boat historically designed to navigate these shallow waters.
Still haven’t gotten your fill? Several lakes and reservoirs in the area offer calm flatwater for a relaxing jaunt, including Beaver Creek Reservoir and Walnut Creek. When you’re all paddled out and filled up with delicious eats, pick from a variety of lodging options. Ranging from high-end resorts and vacation rentals to bed and breakfasts, inns, and chain hotels, there’s a spot to fit your adventure. It’s time to start planning your trip today.