Discover nature as you’ve never seen it before. Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore unique wildlife and much more—and we have some of the best adventures in the country.
For instance, SouthEast Expeditions (SEE) in Cape Charles has been featured in Chesapeake Life magazine, Washington Post and the Denver Post, and everywhere in between. SEE offers a unique kayak winery tour, where it teams up with Chatham Vineyards and each pair of participants receive a bottle of their choosing. SEE also offers tours for first-timers, as they are guided through shallow, sheltered waters. They are perfect for family outings and are a wonderful introduction to both the sport of sea kayaking and the beautiful coastal ecosystems of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Trips are also available for the intermediate and well-seasoned kayaker.
For those looking to get a rise out of their trip to Cape Charles, spend a weekend in a century-old working waterman’s cabin, courtesy of SEE. Recently featured in Garden and Gun magazine, take your winery trip to the cabin, once dotted the Eastern Shore’s marshlands, which were outposts for oystermen guarding their grounds. Upon arrival, dive into a feast of local oysters and steamed clams; and of course, a glass of Chatham’s Chardonnay to pair.
Did you know the second oldest river in the world lies right in our back yard? Contrary to its name, the New River flows through the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, beginning in West Virginia, drifting to its end in northern North Carolina.
New River Campground Canoeing and Kayaking, located in Independence, gives visitors a perfect opportunity to explore diverse wildlife. Whether you are interested in a leisurely day of paddling, riding some rapids or an overnight trip on the river, the company can create custom outings for a trip like no other.
Take an eco-tour at Bay Country Kayaking in Williamsburg, where the family owned and operated company’s mission is to educate kayakers on Virginia’s ecological, cultural and historical significance; all while enjoying tours on the James, York or Piankatank Rivers, or Mobjak Bay and the Eastern Shore. Bases are positioned on both the mainland and Eastern Shore.
Head to Kayak Nature Tours in Virginia Beach and experience a trip out to sea. Featured in Southern Living magazine, the company boasts tours for newcomers, all the way to expert level, including a dolphin adventure tour.
Also near the Atlantic, Adventure Kayak Tours feature trips off Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore. Personalized trips are available, meeting the unique needs of its clients. Exclusive tours include fishing and geocaching, as well as a paddle under the stars and full moon. For those who are looking for a little something extra, a kayak camping adventure is perfect. Take a two-day, one-night guided tour of the Great Dismal Swamp and Lake Drummond. Adventure Kayak Tours has won the Virginia Green Travel Leader award and also offers guided eco-tours for PITO—Paddle In Trash Out—an excellent opportunity for those who a looking to help keep coastal Virginia clean.
Located on the Potomac Shore, Algonkian Regional Park is an ideal spot for a kayak trip. Flow through the upper reaches of the scenic Potomac River and paddle among the islands that are stretched out on this beautiful section of the river. Learn about the natural world around you and the general ecology of the area.
The mighty James River begins its majestic journey in Botetourt County, winding through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains on its way to the Chesapeake Bay. The unspoiled beauty of the river is more accessible than ever through the Upper James River Water Trail. Paddlers, anglers and families can get back to nature and enjoy the sights and sounds of 45 miles of the Upper James, including 14 pristine miles designated as a Virginia Scenic River. See the mountains like you’ve never seen them before on the Upper James River Water Trail. The Upper James River Water Trail was created by Botetourt County to encourage residents and visitors to experience the beauty and history of one of the county’s greatest natural treasures. Class I and II rapids are part of the journey, as the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers converge to form the James.
Visit Virginia’s largest lake! John H. Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island Lake is more than 50,000 acres of fresh water with more than 800 miles of beautiful shoreline. Surround yourself with natural beauty by heading out on the kayak and see where it takes you. Quiet coves are waiting to be explored.
At Great Falls National Park, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country. Kayaking in this whitewater area is meant to be used by very skilled kayakers.
Also nestled along the shores of the Potomac River, Leesylvania State Park offers many water-related activities, more specifically, kayaking. Listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, take in the history of the grounds, while enjoying the tidal, freshwater river.
Massanutten Adventures Canoe and Kayak provides kayaking services to the Shenandoah Valley and Harrisonburg areas. Explore the Shenandoah River and take in the natural wildlife. The facility is a part of the popular Massanutten Resort, with plenty of camping and lodging available to spend a weekend on the water.
White water kayaking at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center is the ideal place for guests in good physical condition, looking for a more challenging adventure. You will explore Class I-III (sometimes I-II+) rapids on this seven-mile stretch of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers near Harpers Ferry, W,Va., where two rivers (the Shenandoah and Potomac) and three states (Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia) come together for a thrilling Shenandoah and Potomac kayak experience. For a more relaxing experience, try out the Flat Water tour. Kayakers will enjoy the scenic stretches of the Potomac and paddling at their own pace.
© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014