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.
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.
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.
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.