One way to experience Chesapeake Country up close is from the bow of a canoe or kayak. This summer, opportunities to dip a paddle in the water abound—even if you don’t have your own equipment or launch location. Take a guided kayak or canoe trip this summer and learn about wildlife, ecology or enjoy a wine tasting at the end of your float. This week we highlight two such programs, one with the James River Association in Virginia, and the other launching from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland.
Guided Trips on the James River
The James River Association offers seasonal boat and paddle programs that are open to the public and offer unique experiences for participants to engage with the river through birdwatching tours, photography excursions, historical batteau rides, and sturgeon-watching trips—all while learning about the wildlife, history, and natural resources of the river and its tributaries. It’s a chance for local recreationists, as well as regional travelers, to take a break on the James and enjoy the natural beauty and solace it provides. Trips will take place in each of JRA’s three regions which include Richmond, Williamsburg, and Lynchburg.
In the Williamsburg region, JRA’s Connect with the James program will offer kayaking tours of Powhatan Creek in partnership with James City County, highlighting river birds and other local flora and fauna. In the Richmond region, JRA’s Connect with the James program will offer pontoon boat sunset cruises, wildlife outings highlighting the ever-popular Atlantic sturgeon, and art-themed adventures in partnership with Artspace in which participants can either sketch or photograph the river with the guidance of a seasoned teacher.
In the Lynchburg region, JRA’s James River Adventures, located at Riveredge Park across the river from downtown Lynchburg, will provide guided river paddles in addition to offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to ride back in time on a historic batteau boat along one of the James’ most beautiful and fascinating stretches of water.
Pre-registration is required for all programs. JRA provides canoes, kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices to participants. All fees associated are donations to JRA to help protect and connect people with the James, and to create a healthy river for thriving communities.
For more information: https://thejamesriver.org/whats-happening/connect-with-the-james/.
Paddle the Bay with CBMM
With the weather warming up, the paddling programming at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland, is back with a variety of on-the-water experiences scheduled over the coming months.
Led by American Canoe Association-certified instructors, these registration-required, guided paddles are designed to appeal to both experienced and new participants.
On Saturday, June 3, at 9 a.m., CBMM will launch a Paddle & Tasting from Skipton Landing in Cordova, Maryland. This is a leisurely paddle for beginner and intermediate paddlers exploring a classic Chesapeake landscape along Skipton and Mill Creeks. After returning to the launch site, the fun continues with a wine tasting at nearby Triple Creek Winery. The cost is $55 for those bringing their own kayak and $75 with kayak rental, with the tasting included. Register at bit.ly/PaddleTasting2023.
There are also a pair of Full Moon Paddles on the horizon. These are excellent opportunities for beginner and intermediate paddlers to enjoy the evening sunset and the full moon from the stillness of the water.
On Monday, July 31, the paddle leaves from Oak Creek Landing in Newcomb, Maryland., at 6:30 p.m. and traverses Oak Creek and the Miles River. The Aug. 30 paddle launches from CBMM’s campus at 6 p.m. and heads from the Miles River into Long Haul Creek. The cost for either of these paddles is $30 for those bringing their own kayak and $50 with kayak rental.
Registration is limited for all paddling programs, and anyone age 16 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.Participants are asked to provide their own PFDs if they are not renting one of CBMM’s kayaks and encouraged to dress accordingly for being outdoors, wear sunscreen, and bring water and any snacks they will need for the duration of the paddle.
Museum members are eligible for a discount on paddling programs. Contact Shipyard Education Programs Manager Jenn Kuhn at [email protected] with additional questions.