Skip to Content
RECREATION PLANNING

Water Access and Water Trails

Water Access

Whether on Virginia's Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean or on Virginia's lakes, rivers or streams, recreational waters are places of solitude. They're restful settings for picnicking, walking, running, sunbathing, swimming, fishing, surfing, boating, sail-boarding and camping. Because water access is a recreation resources in great demand throughout Virginia, planning forvarious types of water access is a priority. Because much of Virginia's shoreline is privately owned, to meet the growing demands on water resources, partnerships between private and public landowners are a necessity. Click the links below to learn about water access in Virginia.

Water Access

Water Trails

Simply stated, water trails are managed systems of access points and support facilities that allow trail users to plan overnight trips with assurances that access points, campsites, rest stops and re-supply sites are clearly identified on maps and on signs visible from the water. Many canoe liveries and outfitters operating in Virginia rent canoes and kayaks and provide transportation to and from access points. Maps guide the user along water bodies indicating points of interest and support facilities. There are about 1,160 miles of water trails in Virginia. The establishment of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail added more than 2,300 miles throughout the multi-state Chesapeake Bay area. Water trails provide access along rivers, streams, the bay and lakes while providing educational opportunities about local and regional history. They also support local economies. Click the links below to learn about water trails and blueways.