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    #Goodmorning from the #VirginiaBeach Fishing #Pier. It looks like another beautiful day is in store for #Virginia. #LoveVA #sunrise #photooftheday #todaysunrise #vatravel #bigsky @visitvabeach #vaoutdoors
    Behind-the-scenes on today's photo shoot in #VirginiaBeach with photographer @meatkinson. We're #paddleboarding in front of the Cape Henry Lighthouse with Tula Adventure Sports. @tulasports #loveva #photoshoot #behindthescenes #photooftheday @visitvabeach
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  • Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category

    Scenic Motorcycle Drives to Try Out

    by Stefanie | Posted on July 17th, 2014

    There are more than 2,500 miles designated as scenic byways in Virginia. The regions highlighted here offer a very small sample of the wonderful variety you’ll find on these scenic and historic roads across the Commonwealth.

    So where is your favorite place to ride?

    SKYLINE DRIVE IN SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
    Skyline Drive is a National Scenic Byway that runs 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, starting in the northern neck of the Shenandoah Valley at Front Royal to Waynesboro, where it meets the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fall is the most popular time to travel along Skyline Drive, with its colorful foliage from late September to mid-November. But spring offers the most colorful wildflowers along the drive, as well as blooming azaleas and Mt. Laurel. The drive time is approximately three hours.

    COLONIAL PARKWAY
    The 23-mile Colonial Parkway connects important historical sites within Virginia’s Historic Triangle. Free of commercial development, the Parkway is designed to provide an experience – that of motoring through more than 400 years of American colonial history. There is more than six historic sites and attractions to visit along the way.

    Blue Ridge Parkway

    Blue Ridge Parkway

    BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
    Known as “America’s Favorite Drive,” the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway meanders from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The parkway follows the Appalachian Mountain chain and provides some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, ranging from 650 to 6,000 feet in elevation. Scenic overlooks, historic structures, walking trails and waterfalls are just some of the highlights along the parkway. Stops include Peaks of Otter and historic towns like Charlottesville, Lexington and Roanoke.

    GEORGE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL PARKWAY
    Just across the Potomac River from downtown Washington, D.C., is a Northern Virginia oasis in the heart of the nation’s capital – the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It offers walking and biking trails set amid lush vegetation and a rolling landscape. Take the pedestrian bridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island, an 88-acre memorial to our 26th president.

    APPALACHIAN BACKROADS
    Kentucky & Virginia share a rugged mountainous border of jagged peaks rising more than 4,135 feet into the horizon. Pine and Black Mountains create this phenomenal land mass through the Heart of Appalachia region, enticing you to experience the curvy backroads that form these unique travel routes. Traverse through valleys and peaks, forest land, and rolling farms through distinct towns and lots of curves. Many of the Appalachian Backroads’ trails intertwine with rivers and streams that our early pioneer settlers followed hundreds of years ago. The touring and travel is well suited (and chosen for) to motorcyclists. Check out Benge’s Revenge—it’s not for sissies!

    Back of the Dragon

    Back of the Dragon

    BACK OF THE DRAGON
    Experience the unmatched beauty and motorcycle riding enjoyment provided by Virginia Route 16, the two-lane ribbon over the three mountains between Tazewell and Marion. Back of the Dragon features and sponsors several events throughout the year, including the Women’s Motorcycle Rally, which will take place July 24-27 at Hungry Mother State Park.

    ALLEGHANY HIGHLANDS
    Scenic Route 39 carries you up steep mountains and along deep gorges. You’ll come upon the Virginia Horse Center and Goshen Pass, then you can enter the George Washington National Forest and pretty soon, you’ve entered the town of Warm Springs. As you continue on Route 39 toward the West Virginia border, you’ll pass the Hidden Valley and Blowing Springs recreation areas, with opportunities for camping, hiking and fishing.

    VIRGINIA CIVIL WAR TRAILS
    Virginia has more important Civil War battlefields and sites than any other state. The Virginia Civil War Trails consist of 260 stops in five interconnected campaign driving tours marked with trailblazing signs. Many stops are located on or near Virginia’s scenic roads.

    NELSON SCENIC LOOP
    Attention history buffs, naturalists, architectural hounds, hikers, and wine aficionados! The Nelson Scenic Loop—comprised of four scenic byways—is a 50-mile auto and bike tour that features Nelson County’s bounty of natural, cultural, and historic attractions. Encompassing the Blue Ridge Parkway, Patrick Henry Highway, Beech Grove Road and Crabtree Falls Highway, the Nelson Scenic Loop traverses both the verdant foothills of the Piedmont as well as the summits of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Along the loop, you can encounter the landscape that was shaped by the clash of two planter cultures, the Scotch-Irish and Anglicans, who left a legacy of diverse farming practices, architecture, and local craft. There are a number of registered national historic landmarks along the way.

    CAPITAL COUNTRY
    Take a rides through Capital Country, connecting the state and Confederate Capital of Richmond with the colonial Capital of Williamsburg. This byways tour starts with a visit to the Capitol Building in Richmond, or with St. John’s Church. You can stop by Civil War sites within the Richmond National Battlefield Park, then drive by the historic plantations along Route 5. The Byway ends in Colonial Williamsburg where you can park your bike and travel centuries back in time to the first days of our new democracy.

    SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS
    A typical byway drive in Southwest Virginia would be Route 52 north out of Wytheville. As you weave through Big Walker Mountain Byway, stop at the Big Walker Mountain Lookout for a breathtaking view. Then follow Route 42 southwest to Route 16. Going south will take you to Mount Rogers. North on Route 16 takes you toward Tazewell and Burke’s Garden.

     



    Destinations, History, Outdoors, Outdoors, Travel Ideas, Uncategorized, Virginia Destinations | 0 Comments

    30 Freshwater Swimming Holes

    by Casey | Posted on July 14th, 2014

    Summer calls for a dip in the water, and we have fresh mountain streams and rivers that you’ll find most refreshing on a hot day. Our list has been compiled through various avenues of research, including tips from local residents. If they love these swimming holes, you’re sure to as well!

    Dismal Falls

    Dismal Falls

    If you are unfamiliar with mountain streams, let me tell you that they’re cold. Pack a picnic and refresh yourself in the Maury River at one of these public access points in Rockbridge County:

    Swim or wade at the base of a waterfall!

    Choosing your James River access point can be tricky, as this gem can roar mightily in certain areas, especially after a heavy rain upstream. Try these locations, but never swim alone.

    Splash around in the oldest river in North America, the New River.

    Blue Hole – many river towns have a special swimming hole they dub “Blue Hole.” Aforementioned Goshen Pass is sometimes known as Blue Hole by locals and here are two more:

    • A site James Madison University students and Harrisonburg locals call “Blue Hole” is located on Dry River off Rawley Pike (Route 33) in Rockingham County. A large boulder makes a fantastic jumping platform into this deep swimming hole.
    • University of Virginia students love their own “Blue Hole” on Moormans River near the Sugar Hollow Reservoir in Crozet. This swimming hole is within the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park.

    Dunlap Creek flows beneath the renowned Humpback Bridge in Alleghany County. When the water’s high enough, it’s a great place for a dip. Otherwise, dipping your toes works, too, at this beautiful, historic site.

    Dunlap Creek flows beneath Humpback Bridge.

    Dunlap Creek flows beneath Humpback Bridge.

    Craig Creek Recreation Area is 130 acres in Botetourt County that’s available for camping, picnics, and of course, swimming! The water is gentle and perfect for families.

    Blackwater Creek at Hollins Mill in Lynchburg is shallow for wading in to cool off on a hot summer day and is also an access point for the Blackwater Creek Natural Area and Trail.

    While there’s no designated swimming area (like a beach) at Shenandoah River Raymond R. “Andy” Guest Jr. State Park on the Shenandoah River in Warren County, you can wade out and splash around or tube to your heart’s content.

    Off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Rockbridge County at Petite’s Gap (milepost 71) is an unmarked gravel road (Petite’s Gap Road). Descend, winding, for several miles until you cross East Fork Elk Creek in Sulphur Spring Hollow. At the second crossing, pull off – your swimming hole is in that vicinity.

    St. Mary’s River is home to St. Mary’s Falls, which can be found in Saint Mary’s Wilderness in Augusta County. This swimming hole includes a rock slide, which can be great fun if the water level is just right.  It’s just south of the falls.

    Please enjoy Virginia’s swimming holes with a friend; never swim alone. Also, follow “leave no trace” practices when experiencing any part of Virginia’s outdoors.

    Which of these have you been to? Which do you love that aren’t listed here? Leave a comment to tell us all about it.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a Free Travel Guide.



    Family, Locals, Outdoors, Video clips | 3 Comments

    Stand Up Paddleboarding Spots

    by Stefanie | Posted on July 10th, 2014

    You’ve heard the buzz and read the magazine articles.  Maybe you’ve even seen some stand up paddlers down at the beach or know someone who has hopped on a board.  Whatever your exposure to Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), the odds are pretty good that it has piqued your interest.  So what are you waiting for?

    Stand Up Paddleboarding, also known as SUP, is the incredible combination of canoeing, kayaking and surfing. Using a canoe-like paddle and standing atop a stable and balanced long board, paddlers propel themselves through the water with smooth alternating strokes. SUP offers an alternative core workout similar to swimming and cycling. In a short time you will become one with water, finding yourself living in the moment. Stand up paddleboarding offers a new perspective of Virginia’s natural surroundings and an escape from your daily stress.

    Coastal SUP Tours, Virginia Beach
    Coastal SUP Tours offers a personalized SUP experience for every group.  Take a relaxing tour of First Landing State Park for the beginners, or tour the Bay/Ocean and watch dolphins as they migrate on their daily feeding routines around Cape Henry Point. The Coastal SUP Tours staff strives to provide their customers with a safe, comfortable and relaxing experience. They also offer one-on-one lessons for a more private and focused training.

    Black Dog Paddle SUPer Sisters

    Black Dog Paddle SUPer Sisters

    Black Dog Paddle, Midlothian
    Black Dog Paddle brings the fun and excitement of stand up paddleboarding to the James River and many other surrounding waterways in Richmond. Black Dog Paddle offers SUP lessons, fitness classes, ECO-tours, ECO-trips, SUP fishing, SUP yoga and stand up paddle rentals. Black Dog tours the inland waterways, the James River, Dutch Gap, the Chickahominy River, Lake Anna, Lake Chesdin, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, Mathews County, and Deltaville on their new, well-balanced (and very fun!) stand up paddleboards.

    Tula Adventure Sports, Virginia Beach
    Home of the Drifter SUP Tour, Tula Adventure Sports is the only downstream paddle in the Virginia Beach area. Paddle along the shoreline of First Landing State Park on Broad Bay and Long Creek—a side of Virginia Beach that not everyone gets to explore. You will be surrounded by beauty while paddling along friendly waters, and getting a little push from the tide. While you’re on the Drifter Tour, you’ll never see the same shoreline twice and never paddle against the current. This paddle is great for first timers and wildlife enthusiasts. Tula also offers lessons (private or group) and rentals.

    Riverside Outfitters, Richmond
    Ready to see the James River from a whole new perspective? Join Riverside Outfitters’ expert guides on a thrilling instructional trip from Pony Pasture to Reedy Creek (Class I-II whitewater). In this relatively easy whitewater section of the river you will experience a fun, challenging workout among some of the prettiest urban wilderness in the U.S. Come see why Outside Magazine awarded Richmond the “2012 Best River Town in the U.S.A.” The guides provide plenty of instruction (dry land and on-the-water) so that paddleboarders not only have a great trip, but learn skills that can be applied to future paddleboard outings.

    Outdoor Adventure Experiences, Dayton
    Outdoor Adventure Experiences offers introductory expeditions, usually spanning two hours, on flat water. Half-day lessons on small, gentle rapids are also available.

    SouthEast Expeditions at Onancock Wharf

    SouthEast Expeditions at Onancock Wharf

    SouthEast Expeditions, Cape Charles
    SouthEast Expeditions offers small, introductory lessons to ensure individual attention. Each introductory lesson lasts one hour. A second class is included in the fee, where paddleboarders are able to explore the open waters on their own—perfect for families and group gatherings.

    Paddleboarding at Pohick Bay, Lorton
    Pohick Bay Regional Park has recently added SUP to their long line of rentals. As part of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the Park is now able to give SUP discounts to residents in the surrounding areas—Fairfax, Arlington and Loudoun Counties, City of Alexandria, and Falls Church.

    Great White Water Sports, Norfolk
    Rent a paddleboard and relax and unwind. Great White Water Sports offers tranquil paddle yoga, also known as aqua yoga.

    Fredericksburg SUP

    Fredericksburg SUP

    Fredericksburg SUP, Fredericksburg
    While you’re discovering Northern Virginia, spend at day at Fredericksburg SUP, where their paddleboarding lessons cater to people of all ages and skill levels. Various lessons are available, as well as tours and sales.



    Beaches, Destinations, Family, Outdoors, Outdoors, Travel Ideas, Uncategorized, Virginia Destinations | 2 Comments

    Experience primitive tent camping

    by Stefanie | Posted on July 1st, 2014

    There is no other way to get back to nature than to pitch a tent and take on wilderness the primitive way. You’ll find hundreds of camping facilities around the state, but how about taking a trip to some tent-only campgrounds? They’re worth the experience.

    Virginia Camping

    Virginia Camping

    CAMP OUTBACK – LURAY
    Take in the breathtaking views of the mountains encompassing Luray. A strictly tent-only campground, Camp OutBack has 25 wooded camp sites, each accommodating up to 10 campers, offering a picnic table, charcoal grill and fire pit. Take a hike to the Shenandoah River or a 10-mile trip into Luray. A fishing lake is available nearby, as well as Shenandoah River Outfitters, offering canoeing, kayaking, rafting and tubing. Essential amenities are available, such as restrooms, shower, and available firewood for purchase.

    BLUECAT ON THE NEW – DRAPER
    Bluecat on the New offers Tipi rentals and primitive camping sites. The tipis have river rock floors and can have up to 4 single or 2 double cots (which are provided). Six campsites are equipped with grills and picnic tables. All sites are located on the scenic New River and have river access, as well as canoe, kayak and tube rentals. For those who are looking for a day of fishing, guided services are available. Also close by is the New River Trail State Park, perfect for those who would like to do some hiking, biking or horseback riding during their stay. A bath house with men and women’s showers is located on the grounds.

    CAMP KARMA CAMPGROUND – BEDFORD
    Check out the upscale camping experience at Camp Karma Campground in Bedford. The campground, located on 42 acres in the southwestern region of the state, offers 36 campsites, which are primarily for tent campers. The property offers hiking trails, a recreation field and visitors can swim and fish is Goose Creek. Standard amenities are available on the grounds.

    OUTLANDERS RIVER CAMP – LURAY
    Enjoy primitive camping along the Shenandoah River at Outlanders River Camp. The camp offers activities ranging from kayaking to hiking, and everything in between. Primitive sites, as well as electric tent sites are available on property. Looking to spend a day outside the grounds? Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest are just 15 minutes away.

    Greenwood Point Campground

    Greenwood Point Campground

    GREENWOOD POINT CAMPGROUND – WARM SPRINGS
    Those who enjoy the solitude of an isolated and remote location will be drawn to Greenwood Point Campground. With no road access, the adventure is just getting there! Strap on that pack and take the 3.3 mile hike, or paddle a canoe directly to the shores of the campground. Wooded campsites encircle an open and grassy common area, and lakeside views make this a popular private and quiet camping destination.

    ED ALLEN’S CAMPGROUND & COTTAGES – LANEXA
    Ed Allen’s offers a tranquil, 85-acre shaded retreat, featuring some of Virginia’s finest camping, fishing, recreation and wildlife. Try your luck on our two fully stocked ponds located in the campground, or one of Virginia’s greatest fishing retreats, the Chickahominy Lake. Peaceful evenings around the fire, fishing, boating, canoeing, or kayaking will make for enduring memories.

    NEW RIVER TRAIL STATE PARK – FOSTER FALLS
    New River Trail State Park has four primitive campgrounds: Cliffview, Millrace, Baker Island and Double Shoals. If you’re looking for a most unique tent-camping trip, this is the place to visit. Enjoy the amenities and adventures of the state park and retreat to a peaceful campsite to take in the serenity of nature. There is no vehicular access to the campsites and any showers or bathhouses. Access to the campground is hike-in or boat-in.

    Shenandoah National Park Camping

    Shenandoah National Park Camping

    BLOWING SPRINGS CAMPGROUND – WARM SPRINGS
    Offering both sunny and shaded camping sites, visitors to Blowing Springs Campground will be amazed by the phenomenon for which this site is named. A unique geological feature creates a duct that blows air out of the rocks at a constant 58 degrees, which may feel warm or cool depending on the season. Direct access to trails leading to swimming holes, and a stream stocked with trout are a few of the many reasons to visit this campground.

    BURKE LAKE PARK CAMPING – FAIRFAX STATION
    Take a camping trip to remember at Burke Lake Park. The campground, which offers nearly 100 campsites, is surrounded by acres of forest and one of Virginia’s most popular fishing holes. Fairfax Station offers convenient access to the Metrorail, which can put you in our nation’s capital within minutes. Enjoy the primitive tent-camping experience, and the excitement and history D.C. has to offer.

    NORTH CREEK CAMPGROUND – ARCADIA
    Located along the edge of North Creek, this campground offers shady campsites and a relaxed atmosphere. Prop your feet up and listen to the stream as it gurgles past, or take advantage of the fishing just outside your tent. The nearby trails include Whitetail, Cornelius Creek and Apple Orchard Falls. Enjoy a large expanse of National Forest land for hunting and hiking.

    LEWIS MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND – LURAY
    Lewis Mountain, located within the Shenandoah National Park, is the smallest campground in the park. This site especially appeals to those who want a little more privacy without venturing deep into the back-country, yet it is within seven miles of the popular Big Meadows area of the park.



    Destinations, Family, Outdoors, Travel Ideas | 1 Comment

    Helmets On! Virginia Biking Resources to Get You On Your Way

    by Casey | Posted on June 20th, 2014

    Pump up the tires and secure your helmet for great biking around Virginia. Whether you’re into the challenges of mountainous terrain or are more of a bike path easy rider, these resources will help you roll out for the day.

    Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail, Henry County

    Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail, Henry County

    Mountain Biking Trails for Everyone – Take it easy with a rental and custom tour or hit it hard on single tracks.

    7 Most Bike Friendly Cities and Towns – Bike lanes and trail rides through scenic cities.

    Hikes, Bikes & Brews – Quench your post-ride thirst with a pint of Virginia craft beer.

    Mountain Biking in Virginia – Get acquainted with various places to ride and the outfitters who can assist you in your quest.

    Bicycling in Virginia – Cycling the Commonwealth – Get the map, ride the roads. Did you know that 838 miles of US Bicycle Routes 1 and 76 run through Virginia?

    Looking to get out on the bike this weekend? Check out the Bike Virginia Tour traveling from Chesterfield to Williamsburg June 20-25. The Tour takes a different route each year, offering you a laid back way to experience the beauty of the Commonwealth. Registration required.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Travel Guide.



    Outdoors | 1 Comment