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Best Nature Parks near RIchmond

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Oviedo, Florida
posts: 28
reviews: 10
Best Nature Parks near RIchmond

Hi all, We are considering a trip to RIchmond. We want to enjoy the beautiful nature of the area. Looking to do canoeing or kayaking as well as nature trails. From there we will take the kids for a day to Kings Dominion to get their fill on roller coasters (their favorite ride) and then perhaps for the next couple of days spend some time in DC. Thoughts on the most beautiful state parks in the Richmond area?? Thank You!!

Virginia Beach...
Destination Expert
for Suffolk
posts: 1,447
reviews: 152
1. Re: Best Nature Parks near RIchmond

Check out Belle Isle, a city park in downtown Richmond (not to be confused with Belle Isle State Park in Northern Neck). It's an island on the James River but an easy, mostly flat walk, unique spot, easy access. Also within walking distance is the Richmond Flood wall and you can take a short walk along the top for a unique experience. Link to Belle Isle:


An hour or less west of Richmond is Bear Creek Lake State Park. Very nice, big lake, nice trails, rent canoe, camp, here is my review from a recent visit:


Pocahontas State Park is about 30 minutes from Richmond. I've heard good comments about the park but haven't been yet myself. Here is a link:


York River State Park is about 1 hour south of Richmond in the direction of Williamsburg and Busch Gardens and is a wonderful park, nice trails, located on the river, very scenic, more information here:


Lake Anna State Park is not far from Kings Dominion. I haven't been yet but based on these reviews it's a nice park:


Hope this helps.

Edited: 7:36 pm, May 22, 2011
Oviedo, Florida
posts: 28
reviews: 10
2. Re: Best Nature Parks near RIchmond

WOW ---- Thank You SO MUCH for all the great suggestions. I can't wait to start looking up these sites. You have been such a huge help for me. Thanks again!!!!

Richmond, Virginia
posts: 315
reviews: 116
3. Re: Best Nature Parks near RIchmond

Lake Anna is beautiful - was there just two weeks ago. A few short trails to walk on, plus you can actually sit on the beach of the lake. The water is warm enough for wading even this time of year, and will become even more enjoyable as the summer progresses.

And of course - Shenandoah National Park is not to be missed.

Also, if you end up heading toward DC, Luray Caverns is a very different form of nature, and Great Falls (haven't been, but great photos) is another option.

posts: 254
4. Re: Best Nature Parks near RIchmond

Not a State facility, but a Municipal one, Newport News Park, about an hour east of Richmond, is the largest municipal park east of the Mississippi River at over 8000 acres. If you have your own watercraft (non-gasoline), daily launch permits are $4.00. Otherwise, you can rent canoes, jon boats and paddleboats at the Campsite Office.

There are a number of hiking trails to choose from in the park, from historic to nature paths. The Battle of Dam Number 1 was fought in what became Newport News Park and some of the earthworks fortifications are still in existance; there are historical markers as well. Maps of the park can be found on the park website, www.nnparks.com, or at the Visitor Center at the park's main entrance.

Your kids should like the free story walks (Wednesday mornings), while the whole family should enjoy the summer Saturday hayrides and talks by park naturalists (again, *free*...and free is always good!). There's even several free (!) canoe hikes, facilitated by park naturalists, scheduled throughout the summer.

Wherever you go, have a great time! :-)

posts: 273
reviews: 146
5. Re: Best Nature Parks near RIchmond

Not a state park, but if you are in Richmond, Maymont is a beautiful and very large park with a lot of diversity. It has a petting farm/animal area (bears, eagles, bison) in one area, a Japanese garden, an Italian garden and the Dooley Mansion (swan bed). In addition to a nature center and walking areas. It's free too. It's fabulous.

But if you are looking for more rustic walks I second Belle Isle. Great foot bridge just to get there that spans the river here in town.

If you head east towards Virginia Beach, I hear York River State park gets great reviews (mentioned by another poster) and if you head that direction then you should check out Busch Gardens- most people here love it. Historically speaking KD (King's Dominion) has more roller coasters, but BG has some great ones too and has a great reputation of being clean and shady. Don't know about KD (haven't been there in 20 years) but it got a reputation for being "gritty" and dirty. Maybe that's changed though.

Shenandoah NP is about 2 hours nw from Richmond. Not sure if you are going that way. But it's fantastic! Skyline Drive is terrific. Lots of hikes there. Stop in Charlottesville on the way- great college town.

I agree that if you go that way- stop by Lurray Caverns.

If you instead head north to DC, you could stop by Dulles Airport (a little south and west of DC- but just a bit) and visit the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum. It's an amazingly large hangar filled with the Concorde, 747's, Space Shuttle, etc.... It's so large it makes the planes look like toys.

Have fun.

Richmond, Virginia
posts: 315
reviews: 116
6. Re: Best Nature Parks near RIchmond


Just for reference - I was at King's Dominion about a month ago and thought the park was very clean and well cared-for. Haven't been to BG in probably 10-15 years, so can't compare.

7. Re: Best Nature Parks near RIchmond

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