5 Great Places to Paddleboard in Virginia

January 24, 2023

In this article, we uncover 5 great places to paddleboard in Virginia!


Virginia is for lovers. it says so right on their license plates. But it’s also for people who love paddle boarding as well. It says so right here on our blog. So, it has to be true.

Seriously though, paddleboarding is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and explore the waterways of Virginia. And whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, there are plenty of places to enjoy this popular water sport in the state. To find your next great SUP experience in the state of Virginia, check out these 5 great places to SUP in the state for lovers!

Chincoteague Island

Chincoteague Island is located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and is home to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Paddleboarding in this area offers a chance to see a variety of wildlife including the famous Chincoteague ponies. That’s right! You can SUP with wild ponies. Well…maybe not with them. But definitely close to them! And that’s enough for Chincoteague to make it onto our number 1 slot for SUP in Virginia.

In addition, the town of Chincoteague has been growing over the last couple of years to include some high-quality food stops, recreational activities, and town events. To see what’s in store for your visit, check out the town’s website here.

Chincoteague, great places to paddleboard in Virginia

Lake Anna

Located in Spotsylvania County, Lake Anna is a popular destination for paddleboarding. With over 13,000 surface acres of fresh water miles of shoreline, the lake offers plenty of opportunities for exploring and enjoying the scenery. It’s a calm, fresh body of water perfect for beginner paddlers or anyone who enjoys quiet time on the water. One thing to keep in mind in the busy season – there can be boat traffic on the water. Keep this in mind as you make your way around.

Once off the water, you can enjoy a meal at one of their world-class restaurants, enjoy partaking in a town event, or simply sunbathe on the shore. This is a great place for a fun, quiet weekend during the Spring or Summer months.

To learn everything you need to know about this body of water, check out their website here.

Lake Anna, great places to paddleboard in Virginia

First Landing State Park

Our first state park location for SUP in Virginia takes us to First Landing State Park. it is located in Virginia Beach and offers a variety of water activities including paddle boarding. Paddlers can explore the park’s lagoons and marshes while taking in the beautiful scenery.

Besides being a great place to paddle, First Landing is steeped in history. On the state parks website, they write, “The park is where English colonists first landed in 1607. Native American canoes, Colonial settlers, 20th-century schooners and modern cargo ships have navigated the park’s waterways. Its cypress swamps were a source of fresh water for merchant mariners, pirates and military ships during the War of 1812. Legend has it that Blackbeard hid in the Narrows area of the park, and interior waterways were used by Union and Confederate patrols during the Civil War.”

So, if you’re a SUP lover who also enjoys a place full of rich history, a trip to First Landing is the place for you!

First Landing State Park, great places to paddleboard in Virginia

James River

The James River is a great place to paddleboard, with a variety of different sections to explore depending on your skill level. The section near Richmond offers a more challenging experience, while the section near Lynchburg is more suitable for beginners.

Paddling on rivers can be a challenge for the beginner. Some parts are swift with a current while others are calm and smooth. Always be sure to take your skill level into account before you head onto any water body with a current. But that’s the great thing about the James River…

It offers the best of both worlds! Plus, with its beautiful surroundings, you’re sure to fall in love with whatever section you decide to paddle. Learn more about this beautiful stretch of river by checking out this website.

James River, great places to paddleboard in Virginia

New River

The New River is a great place to paddleboard, with a variety of different sections to explore depending on your skill level. Just like the James River above, the New River has a section for both types of paddlers – the section near Radford is more challenging, while the section near Galax is more suitable for beginners.

With that said, much of the New River has a few minor class rapids in it. Typically they range from class I-III. Due to this, we recommend only going here if you’re experienced and in the mood for a true adventure. Of course, before you head out, it’s always recommended that you talk with a paddling professional in the area that can give you the ins and outs of what to expect on the water. To do this, find the nearest outfitter in the spot where you are planning on heading out. Give them a call, let them know your plans, ask them what you are likely to expect, and take their advice! The more knowledge you have, the better off you will be.

One interesting fact about the New River – it’s actually quite old! On the Virginia State website they write, “When you plan a trip on the New River in southwest Virginia, you will be floating into the past. The New River is an ancient river system, the oldest on the North American continent and second only to the Nile River in Africa as the oldest river in the world. It begins as two streams in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, before merging into the New River four miles from the Virginia line. And therein lies another quirk of this ancient river – it flows northward rather than southward like most of the other major rivers along the eastern seaboard.”

Pretty neat, right?! Who wouldn’t want to take a SUP trip down one of the oldest rivers in the world? We sure would! To plan your trip into the past, check out more information about this location here.

New River, great places to paddleboard in Virginia


Virginia is full of great places to paddle board – we wish we could cover them all! But no matter where you decide to go, if you choose one of these 5 above, you’re guaranteed to have a great time. Have any questions? Comments? Give us a shout! Our inbox is always open. And in the meantime, remember to adventure on!

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