Riverside Outfitters works to get Richmond-ers out on the water, up into the trees, and out on the trails with a variety of natural outdoor excursions. The staff helps locals and visitors engage with the area's rich landscape, guiding fleets of rafts, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and innertubes down the James River, which the Daily Press described as having "the only urban whitewater rafting experience available in the country." High ropes courses and climbing seminars teach first-timers how to nimbly break from gravity's embrace, while outdoor summer camps teach kids to engage wildlife without the scratchy fingers that come from texting with tree bark.
River City Rafting, a whitewater outfitter, showcases the beauty of the James Rivers’ rapids and relaxing stretches through its guided trips. Its guides have traversed rivers such as the Ocoee, the Gauley, and the Colorado, gathering the experience that makes them savvy aquatic leaders and excellent fish impersonators. Rafting trips swirl through up to Class IV waters, though some stick to smaller-scale rapids. Tubing trips, alternatively, peruse the river’s more leisurely segments.
The ships of Norton’s Sailing School surge onward thanks to the winds of Chesapeake Bay and the words of instructors such as Brad Sindle—named one of the nation’s best ASA instructors in 2005, 2006, and 2008. Brad and his colleagues lead educational voyages for students of all experience levels, assisting them as they master techniques and learn the difference between southeasterly winds and sneezing shipmates. The school sends students out on late-model Hunter sailboats, which feature both inboard power and wheel steering for enhanced control on the water.:m]]
Mambo Grill's chefs craft dishes of carne asada, burritos, red beans, and rice from scratch daily using fresh meats and veggies, punching them up with authentic imported seasonings and, when necessary, a burly gentlemen named Bugsy. They eschew the traditional spiciness of Mexican food for the full-bodied zest of Central American and Caribbean cuisine, ensuring each dish's taste and color is faithful to that of its country of origin.
Bunky's has been sailing the open seas since purchasing his first charter boat in 1978. Naming it after his wife, Kathy, he used that boat to catch oysters that he subsequently sold in their marina shop. Over time, his fleet grew to 3 charter boats and 16 rental boats. With more boats, Captain Bunky's able to share his love of the water with his community and one of the ways he does this is by inviting people to try their hand at captaining a ship for a day. Tourists can also come aboard his 40- to 47-foot vessels to indulge in an afternoon of cruising, crabbing, or fishing for selkies on the Patuxent River or Chesapeake Bay.
Throughout the centuries, Virginia's James River has served as a home to native Powhatan, Monacan, and Haudenosaunee peoples, followed by early English settlers. Today, the river's waters host leisure and thrill seekers. James River Float Company's experienced guides lead these thrill seekers, plying the waters between Lynchburg and Richmond on a range of aquatic excursions. They embark on whitewater-rafting and standup-paddleboarding trips on specialty crafts designed for the river, and teach classes in basic or advanced sit-in kayaking; during which they teach turning to avoid rocks and rolling to avoid owl rush hour at midnight. On four types of canoe or kayak excursions, paddlers drift past old stone walls, Civil War encampments, waterfalls, and bubbling currents. Guides also pilot flat, handcrafted white-oak bateaus—each up to 60 feet long and 8 feet wide—on guided and overnight trips. On many overnight boating trips, Float Company staffers furnish all tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags, as well as meals.