Water trails, or blueways, are marked routes on waterways such as rivers, lakes, canals and coastlines for people using nonmotorized boats, kayaks, rafts or canoes. Water trails require suitable access points and may offer camping, picnicking and rest facilities. In Virginia, the growth in kayaking and water-based sports continues to create a demand for destination water trails. Valued for recreation, education and economic and tourism opportunities, Virginia’s water trails and blueways most often are locally or regionally managed systems.
Virginia is blessed with hundreds of miles of high-quality recreational streams and rivers. Navigable waters are public thoroughfares, the highways of the past. Most often, lands along these waterways are privately owned, and water access from the shore is allowed only with the landowner's permission. Access points for put-in, take-out, overnight camping, viewing, portage or resting are generally located on public property. If a property is not marked public, it should be assumed that permission is needed for use.