Gorgeous waterfronts. They are easily one of the most wonderful parts about life in Virginia. We’re not just talking beaches, either. Virginia is home to rivers, lakes, waterfalls, streams, and ponds, and with these places come endless waterfront activities. With summer in full force, there’s no time better to make new memories and travel to one of these fabulous water-filled destinations. Whether you’re in the mood for an adventure or simply somewhere to soak it all in, there’s a little something for everyone on this list. And the best news is, chances are you won’t have to travel too far to get there. Here are 11 spots not to be missed.
1. James River Park (Richmond)
The James River Park System is a glorious 550-acre municipal park in the state's capital. It's the most frequently-visited park in Richmond, providing beautiful shorelines, rapids, and miles of unspoiled nature. One of the most popular spots is along the rapids, where visitors can bask on oversized rocks and admire the downtown skyline.
2. Douthat State Park (Bath County)
Douthat State Park can be found nestled in the pristine Allegheny Mountains. Its 50-acre lake lies among 4,500 acres of park land. Douthat has been open since 1936 and was actually one of the original 6 state parks in Virginia. This area is known for its multitude of activities: boating, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, swimming, and picnicking. This striking combination of lake and mountain views is pretty unbeatable.
3. Assateague Island
For one of the most remarkable views of the Atlantic Ocean, visiting Assateague Island is a must. This protected island contains 37 miles of unspoiled shorelines and is perhaps most famously known for the wild ponies that live there. It's also known for being the home to over 300 species of birds. Visitors can take a wildlife tour to learn more about the island and its inhabitants.
4. Emerald Pond (New Market)
Emerald Pond is one of the state's most striking mountain ponds that actually makes for a (relatively) warm swimming hole. This body of water can be accessed via Bird Knob Trail. The entire hike is nearly 8 miles and will also show off spectacular views of the Harrisonburg Valley.
5. Kiptopeke State Park (Cape Charles)
Kiptopeke State Park can be found on the southern portion of Virginia's beautiful Eastern Shore. In addition to this spectacular swimming beach, visitors can enjoy camping in yurts, hiking, boating, fishing, and bird watching. The park was also voted as one of the Top 100 Family Campgrounds.
6. New Point Comfort Lighthouse (Mathews)
This historic lighthouse was constructed in 1804 and commissioned by Thomas Jefferson himself. Not only is this the 3rd oldest lighthouse in the Bay, it's the 10th oldest in the United States. Public viewpoints are located just off the shore of Mobjack Bay.
7. Chart House (Alexandria)
Waterfronts make for incredible exploring, but they also make for an unforgettable dining experience. The Chart House in Alexandria is one of the most popular local spots for a fantastic view of the Potomac and Old Town waterfront.
8. Falling Spring Falls
This 80-foot waterfall is one of the most visited spots in the area, and it's no mystery why. The Falls is located just 5 miles of Covington and there are plenty of viewing spots available, including a picnic area.
9. Yorktown Waterfront
The Yorktown waterfront includes 2 acres of beachfront readily available for fishing, swimming, boating, and simply relaxing. There's also a 10 acre picnic area nearby in addition to the 300 year old historical village of Yorktown.
10. Ocean View Beach Park (Norfolk)
Ocean View Beach Park consists of 7.5 miles of shorelines, including picnic areas, bait shops, and commercial piers. It's the quintessential shoreline experience and the nearby gazebo often hosts community events and music performances.
11. Lake Gaston (South Hill)
While a portion of the gorgeous 20,000-acre Lake Gaston lies in North Carolina, there is plenty of shoreline in Virginia as well. The lake is actually a hydroelectric reservoir formed with the Gaston Dam was built along the Roanoke River. It also happens to be a great spot for all kinds of recreational activities, including boating, waterskiing, and fishing.