In Virginia's hottest month, find ways to cool down on the water

Staff writer

As the temperatures edge higher and higher throughout July, cool off with a trip to any of Williamsburg’s parks with water access.

From York River State Park in upper James City to Waller Mill Park and Powhatan Creek, there are plenty of places to experience life on the water.

Adventurers can paddle the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail up the James River starting from the Jamestown Marina, according to James City County Parks and Recreation.

The marina offers kayaks, canoes and paddle boards for rent every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Fridays through Sunday when the marina is open an hour longer.

Further up the James River on one of its tributaries, the Chickahominy Riverfront Park has a 290-foot-long lighted fishing pier as well as a 24-hour boat ramp access to the river, according to James City County Parks and Recreation.

Canoes, kayaks and paddleboards can be rented year-round, for a fee. The rentals cost anywhere from $6 to $15 an hour based on the guest’s residency and preferred watercraft. For more information on costs at James City County parks go to:

Across James City County at York River State Park, state park rangers offer up opportunities for visitors to kayak, canoe and hunt for fossils, according to ranger John Gresham. It’s about exploring what’s in front of us — observing nature and touching it too.

The park will continue to host “Pick your Paddle” trips and visitors will be able to choose whether they want to paddle in a canoe or kayak along Taskinas Creek in the daytime or take a sunset cruise on the York River. For information on fees and program schedules call 757-566-3036.

In Bruton, Williamsburg’s Waller Mill Park on the reservoir offers up even more opportunities to spend a day on the water. After a $2 parking fee, kayaks, canoes and paddleboats can be rented for $5 to $8 an hour, according to the City of Williamsburg.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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