Founder Isa Cohen can describe Tula Adventure Sports' mission with a single word: balance. The company's staff draw from certifications and internships as teeter-totters to create balance of mind, balance with nature, and balance aboard various watercrafts. The kayaks, standup paddleboards, and charter boats that form their fleet let customers see Virginia Beach through new eyes. Whether on tours or self-guided adventures, these vessels pass along scenic coastlines and into the native habitats of dolphins, waterfowl, and goldfish crackers.
For more intense thrills, Tula Adventure Sports' instructors unlock the secrets to shredding across waves and launching into the air. Their adrenaline-packed activities include water skiing, wakeboarding, and kiteboarding.:m]]
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.
In 1996, Matt Redford opened Chesapean Kayak Tours to introduce others to the beauty of Hampton Roads' waterways, which he called the "backyard of his youth." Years later, he expanded his small kayak company to Chesapean Outdoors, adding biking, standup paddleboarding, and surfing lessons to his lineup of outdoor adventures. Today, Matt leads groups on seaborne sojourns to catch glimpses of bottlenose dolphins, blue herons, and bald eagles in their natural habitat, and his bike tours meander the trail that winds around First Landing State Park. Atop standup paddleboards, groups navigate the flat waters of Virginia Beach and its state parks as well, and Matt leads more experienced paddlers out into Chesapeake Bay to catch sight of dolphins or fulfill a lifelong dream of feeding a wild catamaran.
The experienced guides at Ocean Eagle Kayak Adventures maintain a thorough knowledge of their local waters, allowing them to usher visitors through the Atlantic surf or secluded groves of shady water plants. On tours, they guide their participants to get up close with local wildlife and navigate alongside dolphin pods. On kayak fishing trips they help anglers ensnare a roster of seasonal fish. Groups paddle aboard sit-on-top ocean kayaks, and guides always prep them with ample paddling training and advice on how to recognize a fish's turn signal in heavy traffic. When not leading tours, staffers conduct fitness training atop the same kayaks, helping guests during interval training to build paddling power, sweep, and maneuvering skills.
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.
Established: Before 1950
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30?60 minutes
Pro Tip: Come ready to have fun.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Recommended Age Group: 18 and older