GENERAL INFO: The park is known for its rare and delicate estuarine environment, where freshwater and saltwater meet to create a rich habitat for marine and plant life. It is on the York River and is designated as a Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The pristine environment offers clues to a rich natural and cultural history and hosts fossil beds and Colonial and Native American artifacts. Programs, activities and visitor center displays focus on the history, use, wildlife and preservation of the York River and its marshes.
Nearly 30 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails allow visitors to explore the marsh, river shoreline and forests. A boat ramp, fresh and salt water fishing spots, a fishing pier, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and seasonal boat and recreational equipment rentals are available.
Park Size: 2,550 acres
Weather: Click here to visit the Weather Channel's site for this zip code.
AT-A-GLANCE: The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Click on those of interest or read below for more detail. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or click here to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
LOCATION: From I-64, take the Croaker Exit 231B. Go north on Route 607 (Croaker Rd.) for one mile, then right on Route 606 (Riverview Rd.) about one and a half miles to the park entrance. Take a left turn into the park.
Its address is 5526 Riverview Road, Williamsburg, Va. 23188-6732.
Latitude, 37.405520. Longitude, -76.714323.
Drive Time : Northern Virginia, two to three hours; Richmond, one hour; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, one hour; Fredericksburg, two hours; Roanoke, five hours.
PARK MAP: Click here.
TRAILS: Hiking, bicycle and bridle trails. Nearly 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails provide access to the park’s beautiful and diverse natural areas. There are six bicycle trails, some of which share use with equestrians and hikers. Two are exclusively mountain bike - a six mile single track mountain bike trail (Marl Ravine Trail), which is for advanced riders. Laurel Glen Trail is a 2-mile beginner/intermediate mountain bike trail. The half-mile Black Bear Run Trail connects the other two mountain bike trails. The nearby Bobcat Run Trail is moderate and just over 3 miles long.
Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of York River's trails.
FISHING, BOATING: You'll find great fishing in three areas of the park. Freshwater anglers will find bluegill and largemouth bass in Woodstock Pond. A Virginia fishing license is required. Boats are available seasonally for rent on pond. Only rental boats are allowed on the pond.
The York River, where catfish, spot, croaker, striper and crabs are plentiful, is accessed at Croaker Landing. The landing has a boat launch dock, a 360-foot fishing pier, parking and restrooms. The pier is licensed so those fishing on the pier need no salt-water license. Those fishing from boats and the shore, however, must have a Virginia saltwater fishing license. You can buy an annual pass for parking, boat launching and pier fishing at the park or by calling 1-800-933-PARK. Parking and launch-fishing pier fees are required at all times.
Taskinas Creek, which has catfish and white perch, requires either a valid saltwater or freshwater Virginia fishing license. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at the creek.
Motorboats are allowed only on the river. Rental boats have no motors. Guided canoe and kayak trips begin at the visitor center. Park guests learn about salt-marsh ecology on the Taskinas Creek canoe trip or about the natural and cultural history of the York River on the kayak trip. Paddleboats, jonboats, canoes and kayaks can be rented for use on the pond. Rental equipment is available for use on the creek and the pond from April 1 through the end of October.
WILDLIFE: Virginia State Parks are great places to discover and reconnect with the wild world. Bring a camera and share your captures with the world. But please don't disturb or get too close to the animals. The park is, after all, their home. Here are a few recent natural encounters others have had at York River.
View all wildlife encounter photos from York River.
HUNTING: Click here to learn about this park's hunting opportunities.
EVENTS: Click here to view park events festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP: Visitors to York River can learn more about the value of the coastal estuary to the environment and about the area’s historical significance by touring this facility. Activities in the center focus on the history, use and preservation of the York River and its marshes. A small wet lab and various equipment are available for use by school groups for environmental education activities.
NATURE, HISTORY PROGRAMS: Canoe trips on Taskinas Creek; kayak trips on the York River; fossil hikes; nature hikes/games; wildlife observation and photography; marine life; night canoe trips; ghost trail hayrides; seine netting and estuarine life studies; fishing tournaments; children’s programs; Virginia’s State Parks: Your Backyard Classrooms; various workshops.
Each month from May through October, moonlight canoe trips are offered on evenings with a full moon and starlight canoe trips are offered on evenings with a new moon. Call the park for current fees. Some interpretive offerings have a fee and require reservations - call the park for an up-to-date program guide.
Note: From May through October, two-hour guided canoe trips on Taskinas Creek may be arranged on weekdays and on some weekends for groups of 10 or more.
Estuaries Day: August. Held in coordination with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuaries Research Reserve System in Virginia, Estuaries Day is an annual celebration of estuaries or tidal rivers. Activities include displays, children’s activities, boat trips on the York River and guided canoe trips.
Canoe and Kayak Sock Burning, April. Estuaries Day, August. Harvest Day, mid-October. Click here to view park events festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Island and Yorktown offer extensive opportunities for history and touring. Williamsburg Pottery, Lightfoot and Williamsburg Area Outlet Shops on Route 60 offer shopping opportunities. Busch Gardens, Water Country, Go-Karts Plus (miniature golf, etc.), Williamsburg Winery, etc., offer many opportunities for a range of entertainment. There are several restaurants, hotels and campground accommodations in the area.
The closest swimming is at James City County’s Upper County Park Pool (Memorial Day - Labor Day) or the County Recreation Center (indoor pool). Swimming is also available at the Chippokes Plantation State Park pool in Surry County, or at Yorktown Beach in Yorktown.
National Estuarine Research Reserve: Taskinas Creek and the surrounding watershed totaling 525 acres, is one of four sites along the York River designated as a Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Cooperatively managed by the park and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the reserve is the first of its kind in the state and offers added protection and research opportunities.
PICNIC SHELTERS: Three picnic shelters that overlook the picturesque marsh or York River may be reserved by calling the Reservation Center. They can be rented for the entire day, 8 a.m. to dusk. Shelters 1 and 3 hold up to 35 people; shelter 2 holds about 75. Also, 40 picnic tables throughout the park are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Playground equipment also is available (two sets conveniently near picnic areas).
Prices: Click here for park fees. The parking fee is not included in the shelter rental fee.
Amenities: All shelters have grill, picnic tables and access to restroom and playgrounds.
Shelter 1 (small): Near a playground, it overlooks Taskinas Creek with a partial view of the York River. Shelter can accommodate about 35 people under the shelter. Shelter is universally accessible with universally accessible parking and an adjacent walkway. Shelter is adjacent to shelter 2 and near the parking area. Vehicles may not be driven directly to shelter. There's no electricity at this shelter.
Shelter 2 (large): Located near playground, the shelter offers a partial view of Taskinas Creek. Shelter can accommodate approximately 75 people. Shelter is universally accessible with universally accessible parking and an adjacent walkway. The shelter is adjacent to shelter 1 and near the parking area. Vehicles may not be driven directly to shelter. There's one electric outlet at this shelter.
Shelter 3 (small): This shelter is close to a pond where rental boats are available seasonally and fishing available year round. It is situated atop a high bank above the York River, offers a partial view of the river and is near a playground. It can accommodate about 35 people. It is not universally accessible because it is 150 yards from parking area and restrooms. Vehicles may not be driven directly to the shelter unless accompanied by park staff. There's no electricity at this shelter.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
Amphitheater - This special offering can accommodate 100 people. It contains tiered bench seats, a stage and a partial view of the York. Wheelchair accessible. Call park, (757) 566-3036, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
Supply description and fees (plus tax):
CONCESSIONS: There's a gift shop at the park's visitor center. T-shirts, snacks and drinks are available in the contact station and the rental office. Paddleboats, jonboats, canoes and kayaks can be rented for use on a 7-acre pond, and canoes and kayaks can be rented and used on Taskinas Creek. No bicycle rentals.
HISTORY: York River State Park takes its name from the river along its border, which is formed from the joining of the Pamunkey and Mattaponi rivers at West Point, 10 miles upriver from the park. Croaker Landing, found within the park, is an archaeological site included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Known in its early history as Taskinas Plantation, this was the site of a 17th and 18th century public tobacco warehouse where local planters stored their crops to be shipped to England. Remnants of wooden "corduroy" roads dating from this period can still be seen along Taskinas Creek at low tide. The park was opened in 1980 to preserve the unique environment and the land that was so significant to the early history of the state.
FRIENDS GROUP: Consider joining the Friends of York River State Park. This nonprofit, citizen group's mission is to provide voluntary assistance to DCR for continued preservation and conservation of the park. The group tells the community about park offerings and supplies funds, materials and labor for special projects. The group's success depends on people like you who treasure the outdoors and wish to preserve this special place for the future. Members enjoy special friends-only events throughout the year.
Master plans must be written for parks before they're built.
The plans are updated at least once every five years thereafter.
The plans cover the size, types, infrastructure and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources.
Three public meetings are held during the initial development of each plan.
Click here (PDF) for this park's master plan.
yorkriver. Learn more about park offerings by calling 1-800-933-PARK or email resvs. Be sure to specify the park of interest.