If your heart is in the outdoors, Chesterfield County is the right place for you. The county boasts more than 50 park and athletic facilities for the adventure-seeking kayaker, woodland hiker and dedicated athlete, alike.
Whether you’re here for a day or a weekend, we have some exciting ideas to help you plan your time. The following three-day guide offers lots of ideas on how to enjoy a trip built for the outdoor enthusiast. Be sure to check out the newest seasonal experience for up to date events happening around the county!
Begin the ultimate outdoor adventure at Robious Landing Park, which is in the western portion of Chesterfield County and includes property along the James River. The park also boasts multiple access points to the river for canoeing, rowing and fishing.
Hiking: The 102-acre park, adjacent to James River High School, includes 3.4 miles of hiking trails – including a scenic 1.5-mile loop that goes around the park and has great views of the James. The White Trail is a multi-use trail for runners, hikers, bikers and strollers.
Fishing and Boating: This park provides easy access to the James River for kayaking, canoeing, rowing and stand up paddle boarding, or SUP.
Check out Black Dog Paddle for SUP rentals, SUP classes and SUP yoga.
If you are looking to fish, there is a dock at the park perfect to cast a line and catch smallmouth bass, redbreast sunfish, rock bass, bluegill, channel catfish and gar. A valid Virginia Fishing License is required to fish.
Tree identification: Arborists and would-be botanists can spend a few hours on the Tree Identification Trail learning the common trees of Chesterfield County. The trail was developed by the Salisbury Garden Club and Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation. Along the trail, 27 plant species are identified and visitors with a mobile device and QR code app can scan the code at the trailhead to download a map of the trail. They can also get more information about the trees identified along the trail. Can you find them all?
Picnicking: There are several good spots to eat, including three shelters you can reserve by calling the park information line at 804-748-1623.
Paddlers can expect to spend most of the day on the water here, exploring what the James River has to offer, while hikers and other park users might want to plan to spend the morning, and pack a picnic lunch.
Don’t forget to check the Parks and Recreation Program Guide. The program guide is a great resource and lists outdoor adventure programs available throughout the year. For more information or to schedule a group tour, contact Greg Velzy at 804-748-1124 or Mark Battista at 804-318-8735.
For those looking for an afternoon adventure, head to Windy Hill Sports Park for a game of footgolf. Play nine or 18 holes of the family-friendly game that combines soccer and golf. Similar to mini-golf, win by sinking the ball into the hole with the fewest kicks. Windy Hill Sports Park also offers additional activities.
Rainy day alternative:
Peak Experiences: Discover the great indoors at the largest indoor rock climbing center in the U.S. Climbers of all skill levels are challenged by more than 125 top-rope routes, lead-climbing and bouldering. All-day passes and climbing gear rentals are available.
Pack your overnight bag and plan to camp tonight at Pocahontas State Park after an adventure-filled day exploring all that the more than 8,000-acre park has to offer.
The park is open from 7 a.m. to dusk. There is a small fee to enter the park, which can range from $4-7 depending on the season and day of the week. Click here for more information.
After you pitch your tent or set up your RV, start your morning exploring the park. No matter what you’re looking to do, Pocahontas State Park has it.
Hiking and Biking: The park has more than 52 miles of multi-use trails for hikers and bikers, as well as a paved trail for those with disabilities. There’s a 2.5-mile hiking-only trail, as well as 60 miles of double track and 22 miles of single track mountain bike-only trails for all levels. The park is quickly becoming a destination site for mountain bikers in the mid-Atlantic region, with the recent addition of seven miles of bike trails dedicated to beginners and people with adaptive bikes.
Equestrians: Pocahontas offers 13 miles of bridle trails. Bring your own horse and enjoy the serene path system. Horses may be unloaded at the Bright Hope Horse Complex, the horse trailer parking lot on Beach Road or the Dvorak Forest Trail parking area. The park doesn’t offer horse rentals or overnight accommodations for horses. Don’t have a horse? There are two farms, Brandywine Farms and Beaver Hollow Farm, nearby that offer trail rides through the park.
Bright Hope Horse Complex offers a large parking lot for trailers, as well as picnic tables, a restroom and two exercise rings. A daily fee applies for the use of the rings. Call 800-933-7275 to reserve them. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.
Swimming: Pocahontas offers a public pool, the Aquatic Recreation Center, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. During the summer, campers can enjoy a free day of swimming for every night they stay in the park.
Fishing and Boating: There are two lakes at the state park, Swift Creek Lake and Beaver Lake. Private boats can be used on Swift Creek Lake and launched from the concrete boat ramp. Gas-powered boats are prohibited, but electric motors are allowed.
The park rents paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and rowboats from Memorial Day through Labor Day at Swift Creek. Boat rentals may be available on weekends before prime season, but ask at the park office before your visit.
A valid Virginia Fishing License is required to fish and can be purchased from the park office. Catch some crappie, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, warmouth bass, bluegill and catfish.
Programs: Pocahontas offers a variety of evening programs for overnight guests. Be sure to check out the listing when you check in.
Overnight stays: The park offers 129 campsites, all of which have water and electrical hookups, picnic tables, fire pits and lantern hangers. There are four bath houses in the campground. The park also offers amenities for groups camping, including bunkhouses.
Nearby attractions: The First Tee offers an 18-hole championship golf course, a three-hole practice loop and programs for children learning the game.
Whether you stayed the night at Pocahontas or are looking for a day trip, Dutch Gap Conservation Area is a nearby site that includes a tidal lagoon, spots for hiking and biking, scenic areas for fishing and some of the best birding on the East Coast.
Birding: The abundance of habitats in Dutch Gap creates a rich, diverse population of birds, including bald eagles, red-shouldered hawks, barred owls, blue herons, American goldfinches, eastern bluebirds, ospreys, common yellowthroat and others. Many birders come to witness the heron rookery located in the tidal lagoon. There are two observation platforms along the entrance road, which are a good place to stop and observe the aquatic species throughout the year.
Hiking and Biking: The 4.5-mile Dutch Gap Trail is open to runners, hikers and bikers alike. The easy trail circumnavigates the tidal lagoon and takes visitors along bottomlands, meadows, a small pond and wetlands. Along this trail, visitors may spy wildlife at the observation blind, walk alongside a swamp with majestic bald cypress trees and picnic at the peninsula.
Boating and Fishing: Paddle the 2.5-mile Lagoon Water Trail, to experience the tidal waters of the James River. Paddlers might see the “graveyard” of barges, as well as islands and the heron rookery. The trail provides a safe, flat-water environment and is suitable for beginners. Find out how a bottomland forest was transformed into the Tidal Lagoon by scheduling a kayak tour at 804-318-8735 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black Dog Paddle offers eco-tours, SUP rentals, SUP classes and SUP yoga.
Anglers can fish along the River Trail, and catch a variety of freshwater fish including smallmouth and largemouth bass and blue catfish, and, at certain times of the year, migratory fish such as striped bass and American and hickory shad. There are five docks through the conservation area from which to fish. A valid Virginia Fishing License is required to fish.
Need help planning your day? Check out the Parks and Recreation Program Guide. The program guide is a great resource and lists outdoor adventure programs available throughout the year. For more information or to schedule a group tour, contact Greg Velzy at 804-748-1124 or Mark Battista at 804-318-8735.
Robious Landing Park
3800 James River Road, Midlothian
Windy Hill Sports Park
16500 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday, 7:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Sunday, 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Cost: Footgolf – 9 holes, $12 adults and $10 children; 18 holes, $18 adults and $15 children
Pocahontas State Park
10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield
Hours: 7 a.m. to dusk
Park Admission: $4 per vehicle on weekdays, $5 per vehicle on weekends
Swimming: $5 to $6 on weekdays, $7 to $8 on weekends, group swimming rates available
Camping: $30 per night for Virginia residents, $35 per night for non-Virginia residents
Dutch Gap Conservation Area
411 Coxendale Road, Chester
Hours: 8 a.m.-sunset
11421 Polo Circle, Midlothian
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $19 adults, $12, children under 12, $9 equipment rental