From its location on a peninsula, experience a wide variety of ecosystems while paddling Mathews County, Va. From the three tidal rivers and 50 navigable creeks to small beaches and preserved marshland, you could spend days exploring over 200 miles of shoreline this summer.
The five established Mathews Blueways Water Trails and 15 public access points will get you out to the best spots in the county. Beginners and families will enjoy the scenic cruising along the Winter & Horn Harbors Trail as you paddle shallow marshes and estuaries. The East River Trail, divided into an upper and lower section, will take you past historic sites, towering estates, and protected coves while the Piankatank River Trail follows the county’s northern border. If you prefer paddling the open waters, New Point Comfort Trail will take you into the Chesapeake and Mobjack Bay as you float past the third oldest lighthouse on the bay. More experienced paddlers will love the challenge of the tidal currents on the Gwynn’s Island/Milford Haven Trail with numerous creeks for side trips.
While you’re traveling to the area, Mobjack Kayaking provides kayak and standup paddleboard rentals for the whole family, as well as bird watching, history of lighthouses, and oyster bar paddle tours. Bay Country Kayaking also covers tours of Mathews and can accommodate larger groups. Book one of the charter boats for more historical tours, fishing excursions, hands on crabbing, and sightseeing led by a local who knows these waters.
Take a break from the water and explore all that Mathews County has to offer on land. Stop at Williams Wharf Landing for a picnic by the shore and fishing from the docks or have some fun in the sand at Haven and Bethel Beach. Paddle up to the dock at Hole in the Wall Waterfront Grill on Gwynn’s Island for a lunch break by the water. At high tide, take out at Put-In-Creek Landing’s kayak launch to access Main Street businesses, restaurants, and a shaded picnic pavilion area. Round out your trip with an oyster farm tour, crabbing demonstration, sunset cruise, or bike tour before cozying up at a waterfront inn, cottage, or campground.
There’s so much to see by water that you’ll want to come back again and again to experience it all. Make Mathews County, Va., your paddling destination this summer and every summer.
Cover photo: Kayaking near the New Point Comfort Lighthouse Restoration Project