With more than 40 parks, most beside some type of waterway, there’s an adventure around every bend at a Virginia State Park. Whether you’re looking for flowing water and rapids, calm floats, or open waters under a wide sky, there’s a park out there for you. Here are some of the top picks for your next paddle.
At Machicomoco State Park, one of the newest parks in the system, you’ll find easy access to Poplar and Timberneck Creek for some coastal paddling. When you get off the water, learn about the culture and movement of the Indigenous people who call this land home, including the Powhatan Chiefdom. Farther up stream, explore the rare and delicate estuarine environment at York River State Park. Canoes and kayaks are available for rental on Taskinas Creek. Discover three miles of shoreline at James River State Park. Swing by the full-service canoe livery on site for canoe, kayak, and tube rentals, as well as shuttles to your paddling spot. This is also a great spot to catch the annual James River Batteau Festival, scheduled for June 18-25, 2022.
Prefer calmer waters? Take a day to paddle the 225-acre Swift Creek Lake at Pocahontas State Park. you might also pack your fishing rod to get some fishing in on the smaller Beaver Lake. When you’re done on the water, there are more than 90 miles of trails weaving their way through the park. Mountain bikers will especially love the variety amongst the singletrack, machine-built flow, and hand-cycle friendly trails. Surrounded by 16,000 acres of Cumberland State Forest, Bear Creek Lake State Park is an oasis for outdoor recreationalists of all types. Boat rentals are available during the warmer months on the 40-acre lake. Those with their own boats can access the Willis River for additional time on the water.
Take in the wonders of Virginia’s Eastern Shore from Kiptopeke State Park. From here, access the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay as you keep an eye out for the local marine wildlife. You might even find yourself paddling around the Concrete Fleet, concrete ships commissioned during World War II that were brought to the beach to provide protection during severe weather.
This is just a small taste of what Virginia State Parks can do for you. Find your spot today.