Whether it’s along the James River, the York River or on any of the creeks in between, there are plenty of places in Williamsburg to escape for awhile and connect with nature on the water.
So grab a paddle and get out there.
At Waller Mill Park, you can rent canoes, kayaks, paddle boats and row boats, or you can bring your own. Waller Mill Park will hold two kayaking classes for beginner to intermediate kayakers later this spring on May 11 and 19.
“Canoeing and kayaking can be a good workout and also a nice stress reliever,” said Sarah Cochrane, park manager. “Waller Mill Park is the perfect place to come for someone who may be new to kayaking or canoeing, or wants a calm, relaxing time out on the water. Since it is a reservoir, there aren’t any currents or tides to worry about. As long as the wind isn’t too strong, the water is very flat.”
James City County also offers rentals at several of its parks including the James City County Marina, Little Creek Reservoir Park, Chickahominy Riverfront Park and Jamestown Beach Event Park. Visitors can also launch their personal paddlecrafts at any of these parks as well as Powhatan Creek Park and Blueway, Diascund Reservoir Park and Brickyard Landing.
“We offer a wide variety of opportunities for paddling on multiple different waterways in our area,” said Alister Perkinson, James City’s park operations manager. “Little Creek Reservoir is calm and peaceful, and with no tides or wake from large boats to contend with, can be great for beginners. Powhatan Creek, which can be accessed from the James City County Marina or Powhatan Creek Park and Blueway, is one of the most naturally diverse areas in the county and is popular for wildlife viewing. The Chickahominy River is also great for viewing birds and other wildlife.”
New Quarter Park and York River State Park are two other popular places for kayaking and canoeing.
For safety and comfort, kayakers and canoers are reminded to dress appropriately for the weather; wear a life vest; bring sunscreen, insect repellent, snacks and water; pace themselves on the water and be aware of their surroundings; and let others know where they are going and how long they plan to be gone.
Springtime is an ideal time to be out on the water — before the weather becomes too hot and before the summer crowds arrive at the parks.
“Spring provides a unique chance to watch nature wake up after the winter's frosts, and see the return of migrating bird species, including likely a bald eagle or osprey sighting,” said Perkinson.