Five great places to canoe and kayak near Farmville

Published 4:08 pm Friday, September 11, 2020

Central Virginia has a variety of dazzling rivers, lakes and reservoirs that make for a great day trip to enjoy some time out on the water. It would be impossible to rank the area’s best paddling destinations when there are so many great places to visit in the commonwealth, but here’s five locations to canoe and kayak within two hours of Farmville.


Town residents are lucky enough to live in an area rich with paddlesport opportunities. Take a guided canoe or kayak tour via Sandy River Outdoor Adventures and explore the Sandy River Reservoir. Check out Goodwin Lake at Twin Lakes State Park, or float along Wilck’s Lake and see if you’re lucky enough to spot a great blue heron or any of the area’s other wildlife. There’s the Farmville Blueway, Buffalo Creek, the Appomattox River and more. And with the Appomattox River Company, the largest area canoe and kayak specialty store located right here in Farmville, you’ll always have access to whatever equipment you need for your adventure.

Email newsletter signup


Nelson County is known for its variety of breathtaking outdoor attractions. There is something for everybody in Nelson, including opportunities for some time on the water. The local Tye River is one of the most beautiful whitewater streams in the commonwealth, with strong whitewater at the river’s upper section more suited for experienced paddlers and moderate whitewater at the Tye’s middle and lower sections on a seasonal basis. The James River and Rockfish River are also accessible for paddlesports in the county, as is Lake Nelson.


Venture to Charlottesville for a day paddling on the Rivanna River, which runs 46 miles from its headwaters near Charlottesville to its confluence with the James River in Fluvanna County. The Rivanna, known for its beauty and wildlife, was named by the Virginia General Assembly as the first designated Scenic River in the commonwealth. Stop by the Rivanna River Company, just five miles from Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, for rentals of canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and tubes.


The River City truly lives up to its nickname with miles of water for the area’s canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Canoe and kayak rentals are available through a variety of businesses including Riverside Outfitters, which provides two levels of guided tours: a Flat Water Tour for peaceful James River sightseeing and an Upper River Tour that more experienced residents can enjoy, sending paddlers down sections of Class II whitewater rapids in between smoother sections of the river.


There’s a reason why Scottsville is one of the first names to be mentioned when discussing canoeing and kayaking. You can rarely cross the town bridge over the James River without looking down to see scores of outdoor enthusiasts paddling through the water. The local James River Reeling and Rafting offers guided canoe, kayak and raft trips down the river and also rents equipment to visitors. Less than an hour from Farmville, the whole family can enjoy this day trip.

When canoeing or kayaking, remember that your safety is a top priority. Always respect whitewater rivers and other locations where an inexperienced person can run into trouble when on the water. Remember to wear a life vest and stick to calmer waters if you are new to paddlesports, and research the area and plan out your trip with the help of local outfitters or experienced residents in order to avoid mishaps.