What’s the first thing that comes in mind when one hears the word Virginia? Well, as a kayak enthusiast we imagine wanderlust among the vast rivers and lakes of the state. Virginia is home to a number of amazing kayaking destinations from Open Ocean to secluded rivers and streams in the mountains.
Whether you are looking for some exciting and challenging whitewater kayaking or a leisurely paddle, you are sure to find something that meets your needs. We are going to focus more on river kayaking in this article. If you are looking for something more wide open, the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic coastline will have what you are looking for.
Here are some of my favorite kayaking spots in the state of Virginia:
1. Gauley River
Without wasting any time let us take you to the majestic Gauley River, the central feature of the river is its surrounding imagery of never ending mountains coupled with moderate water currents. Once you gear up in your kayak what you’ll witness is tall mountains and waterways that are just out of this world! Entry spots are few and far between and not easy to get to, consider using an inflatable kayak to get to some of the easier places to enter the river. This is top pick for your kayaking adventure. If you’re a fisherman, then you’re in luck, the Gauley offers some of the best fishing in the state of Virginia.
2. Bull River
Located in Northern Virginia, the Bull River is not really a river, more of a large stream. However, what it brings to the table is something exceptional; from scenic views to historic sites, the Bull River is a superb spot to spend your time on the water. Although the name of this river sounds a bit dangerous you’d be surprised to know that this is a perfect spot for beginners. So if you’re looking to try out kayaking, then this is the place to learn.
3. Great Dismal Swamp
Don’t let the name scare you away, the Great Dismal Swamp might just be one of the best if not the best places for kayaking. We’re not saying this because you’ll face challenging currents and waterways; we claim this because of the fact that the Great Dismal Swamp is home to a numerous endangered wildlife species and is one of the last truly wild areas left in the Eastern half of the United States.
4. New River
The New River is located in the Southern part of Virginia and is also considered a great place for kayaking. The distinct feature of the river is that it gives you fog in the morning which might be cause for worry for beginners but if you’re willing to try new things then kayaking in the fog should be on the top of your list. It’s a surreal experience kayaking here in the early morning, this is something that you shouldn’t miss.
5. Pocahontas State Park
The Pocahontas State Park is a very popular location for paddlers because of the fact it contains around 174 acres of lake area to be explored via kayak. The lake is easily accessible, being located only 20 miles from Richmond. If your interested in a longer stay, the park offers numerous campsites. It also has some of the best fishing in Virginia. The lake is stocked with crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill and pickerel. The lake is also quite popular among paddle boarders.
If you are going to try whitewater kayaking and are not an experienced, you may want to consider a guided kayak trip. There are numerous companies that provide expert guides to make your experience a good one.