Jimmy Crews, Roger Nelson, and Stephanie Tyson grew up on the James River, paddling along its tree-lined banks to find the most scenic spots and best fishing holes. Now the masterminds behind Howardsville Canoe Livery, the trio outfits outdoorsmen for their own explorations by renting tubes, 10’ Perception Pescador kayaks, and 16’ Old Town Camper canoes. Most trips go down the James River, though adventurers can also explore the Rockfish and Tye Rivers when water levels permit. Abundant wildlife roams the banks, including the occasional bald eagle. Though trips are self-guided, one of the livery’s team members can join groups for a guided tour, narrating in the group’s choice of accent about the rivers’ rich history, geography, geology, and fishing spots. Though all trips include shuttle service, staff can also give a lift to those who already own a tube, kayak, or canoe.
The Shenandoah River is a churning, ever-moving playground. Its waters take kayaks, canoes, and tubes passed tree-lined banks, allowing passengers to relax or maybe pause for some fishing. Shenandoah River Adventures continuously launches watercraft for these types of adventures. Back on shore, the company's grounds also encompass a 2-acre campsite filled with trees and vegetation. Aquablazing combines the best of land and water activities by letting people hike and kayak through portions of the Appalachian Trail.
As the James and Maury Rivers wind through the Blue Ridge Mountains, they carry kayakers, canoeists, and inner-tube riders past sheer rock walls, boulder-studded rapids, and tree-blanketed mountain peaks. For more than 30 years, the outdoorsmen at Twin River Outfitters have facilitated adventures for explorers of all experience levels on the nearly 100 miles of these rivers in the upper James River Basin. In addition to renting watercraft for independent exploration, Twin River's team leads guided outings, including overnight excursions. The headquarters also encompass a paddle shop, where a knowledgeable staff advises outdoorsmen on gear such as boats, life jackets, and oars autographed by local salmon.
Perched on the banks of Smith Mountain Lake, Bridgewater Marina & Boat Rental launches and lends a variety of lake skimmers to pleasure-seeking pontooners. Peruse and patrol the waters for the elusive Bigfin from atop a four-stroke pontoon boat, whose flat deck area gives a surface for chips and dip and heated canasta competitions. Hedonists, meanwhile, can crank hydroplaning into high gear with a runabout ski-boat rental that?when brought up to speed?can quickly dry hair still soaked with Gatorade from last night's solitaire victory. Bridgewater gives pilots a free safety and instructional orientation before launching them onto the lake, and allows boaters to upgrade one-hour rentals to two hours, or even full days, for an extra fee.
Located near the James River, Kayak Richmond offers kayaking instruction and guided tours in the river?s diverse water conditions. Beginner?s kayaking lessons stick to the river?s more placid stretches, giving first-time paddlers a safe environment in which to learn the basics. Tours, meanwhile, are led by Kayak Richmond?s team of experienced kayakers, who guide groups through gentle whitewater, rapids, and portages on trips up to five hours long.
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.