Kayaking, Rowing, and Canoeing – If you want to get out on the water, you won’t have to drive far. Even better, the bodies of water listed below prohibit gas-powered watercraft, so you’ll be able to row in peace and quiet.
Rivanna Reservoir – Located just a short drive from Charlottesville, this 450 acre reservoir is one of the sources of the city’s drinking water. Explore miles of forested shoreline and secluded coves.
Chris Greene Lake – This lake is located north of town near the airport. Bring your own or rent a canoe.
Mint Springs Lake – Located west of town, near Crozet. Canoe rentals available.
James River – If you don’t own a kayak or canoe but want to give water sports a try, James River Runners and James River Reeling and Rafting (both near Scottsville) can hook you up for an outing on the water.
Swimming – Virginia’s hot, humid summers are the perfect time to go jump in a pool. And luckily, there are plenty of pools, lakes, and swimming holes in the area.
Onesty Pool and Washington Park Pool – These municipal pools are new and offer water park-like attractions in addition to lap lanes. Little ones will enjoy the zero-entry pools, while bigger kids will spend hours careening down the water slides.
Chris Green Lake – This lake north of town near the airport feels far more remote than it is. Pack a picnic and spend a day splashing in the water or hanging out on the sand beaches.
Mint Springs Lake – This lake west of town near Crozet is a locals’ favorite, as it is pleasant in the summer and a great place to cool off.
Blue Hole – This swimming hole is one of the closest to Charlottesville. It is in a section of the Moorman’s River above the Sugar Hollow Reservoir, approximately a 20-25 minute drive west of town. A series of waterfalls cascade from above into a large deep swimming hole that is surrounded by large rocks that make perfect jumping platforms.
Walnut Creek –
Tubing on the James – Okay, this isn’t actually swimming, but you can’t live in Charlottesville and not go tubing on the James River at least once a summer. Head down to Scottsville to either James River Runners or James River Reeling and Rafting for a tubing excursion. You can even load some cold drinks into a cooler and let it float with you down river.