Paddling through Virginia’s State Parks

Breathtaking mountain views, scenic hikes and peaceful campsites are not all you will find when you visit a Virginia State Park. Various creeks, rivers, and lakes found within the Parks offer visitors a chance to cool off, conquer challenging rapids, and view Virginia’s landscapes from a unique perspective. With 41 State Parks to choose from, you’re sure to find your flow.

New River Trail State Park

Creeks and Rivers

Meander through the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, where you’ll find Shenandoah River State Park. With over 1,600 acres and 5.2 miles of shoreline, this park is popular among families, anglers, and canoeists alike. The Park features a large riverside area with tent campsites and yurts, picnic shelters, hiking trails, and car-top boat launches for easy access to and from the water. Head to the North Fork at Seven Bends State Park, and embark on a kayaking tour. Experience the anticipation around each bend, as you learn about local wildlife and history.

New River Trail State Park

Ride the Rappahannock River to discover tidal wetlands interspersed with farmland and upland forests. Located in Lancaster County, Belle Isle State Park offers guided canoe trips along the Rappahannock, where paddlers of all abilities can show off their skills. For a unique paddle, follow along an abandoned railroad right-of-way at the New River Trail State Park. This 57-mile linear park parallels the New River for 39 miles, and offers plenty of campsites, fishing spots, and trails along the way. Westmoreland State Park, on the Potomac River, is also a one-of-a-kind paddling destination. Rent a raft, and collect ancient shark teeth along the shoreline. 

Bear Creek Lake


Get in and out from the same spot! Virginia’s State Parks are also home to various lakes with calmer waters, and many access points. Explore the clear blue waters at Smith Mountain Lake, or explore the 168-acre lake at Fairy Stone State Park, just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rent a boat at Occoneechee State Park, where you have access to the largest lake in the state! Buggs Island Lake is 48,000 acres of pure fun, and travels through undeveloped Wildlife Management Areas, full of natural splendor.

False Cape State Park

Ranger Guided Programs

For added adventure, plenty of guided tours are available at the Parks. Take an early morning kayak tour at Hungry Mother, watch the sun go down over the water at False Cape, or explore the marshes at night on a moonlight canoe tour on the York River. 

Discover this and much more on a Virginia State Park waterway! 

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