Camping and Kayaking, Canoeing, Rowing

Camping – If spending the night in the woods is your thing, there are some campgrounds in the area, as well as on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive.

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.

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