A bearded and scruffy Shawn Hash launched his outfitting business 20 years ago with a spartan collection of four bicycles, two canoes, and a pickup truck. Tangent Outfitters now oversees a small flotilla of aquatic craft as it leads guests to all the outdoor adventures the New River and its surrounding valley have to offer. Tubing trips afford a leisurely 1- to 2-mile jaunt down the river, with plenty of pit stops at sunny beaches, swimming holes, or riverside nail salons. Instructors bring a slice of Hawaiian watersports to Virginia with standup paddleboard lessons or teach guests to snag unsuspecting smallmouths with guided fishing trips. The surrounding mountainous trails invite bikers to speed through their dirt-stained paths, and the riverbeds host seven different types of kayak and canoe day trips. Adventurers can stock up on excursion rations at Tangent's onsite deli.
Claytor Lake Water Sports' fleet of rental boats and water equipment lets customers float, relax, and play amid the local wildlife and camera-ready sights of Claytor Lake. Canoes, kayaks, and motorized vessels such as pontoon boats snake along the lake's 21 miles of narrow and winding waterways, where spotted bass swim and test scuba gear beneath the surface. Flanked by lush trees, speedboats race across the water and lure adventurous riders perched atop water skis and other towables.
In addition to renting boats and gear, the staff at Claytor Lake Water Sports takes sightseers on scenic lake tours. They also maintain a commitment to the environment, equipping most of their watercrafts with electronic fuel injections and four-stroke engines that produce lower emissions and brighter rainbows.
New Tech Aviation Inc.'s squadron of flight instructors and Cessna 172L aircrafts whisk aspiring pilots into the wild, blue yonder for introductory and advanced flight lessons. Their seasoned airmen explain to students the many advantages of owning a pilot’s license, describing the ability to fly as a gateway to career opportunities and a means of collecting golden eggs laid by geese in tall trees. The company's certified pilots guide students toward earning their licenses through on-ground instruction and regular scheduled flying excursions.
Carved into the rolling landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Auburn Hills Golf Club's 18-hole course features 6,534 yards of elevated tee boxes and breathtaking views of the Southwest Virginia countryside. Throughout the course, players encounter tantalizing high-risk-and-high-reward shots straight from the architectural mind of Algie Pulley, such as the par-4 13th hole, which dares big hitters to drive for a half-visible green hiding 306 yards in the distance. More straightforward challenges await at the 190-yard, par-3 17th, where duffers must calm gun-shy golf carts before sending tee shots somersaulting over two large ponds that stand sentry in front of the green. The pristine par-72 opens its arboreal arms to golfers of all ages and experience levels with four tee options.
PGA instructor Werner Riemer uses Auburn Hills' sunlit green as a classroom, where the master dispenses his golf wisdom to students. Werner’s teaching techniques have bolstered the talents of LPGA Hall of Famer Sandra Handy, and also earned him special PGA certification in golf instruction, a feat obtained by only 1% of PGA members and 3% of computer simulators.
Course at a Glance:
At Adventure World Skate & Fun Center, kids and adults alike entertain both muscle and mind-matter in through a variety of heart-pounding activities. In the laser tag arena, players strap on receivers, holster a laser-emitting gun, and re-enact the galactic phase of the Crimean War on a phosphorescent battlefield. Competitors have the option of playing the four 10-minute games consecutively or spacing them out to fuel grudge matches or plan for potential roommate border disputes. With an additional admission fee ($3–$6), zapped compatriots can take backward victory laps around the skate rink ($3 skate rental) or purchase tokens to conquer the arcade room.
Designed by Ray Vaughn, Sr. in 1955, Meadows Golf and Swim Club is among the oldest continually-run golf courses in the New River Valley. That distinction doesn't just mean the course is a good role model for younger courses: it also means challenges here are a bit different than modern-day facilities. Water comes into play on 15 holes, and fast greens make reading and executing putts a necessity for lower scores. No matter what happens from one hole to the next, though, the layout incorporates mountain views and lush rippling terrain. Away from the links, visitors can also warm up and stock up at the practice range and pro shop, or they can take a dip in the heated pool.