Ahh…the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, made tolerable only by a dip in some cool, refreshing water, or just hanging out by the shore. Don’t have your own backyard pool (so few of us do!)? No worries. Relief is right here in your – well, backyard. Here are eight places to enjoy the water this summer in Smithfield & Isle of Wight County.
- Rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board at Windsor Castle Park. Okay, the goal here is NOT to get wet, but somehow it’s refreshing to just be on the water itself, quietly floating in the beautiful marshes and rivers, or paddling along the shore. If you’re not up for that, a peaceful stroll along the park paths with the breeze off the river will be sure to cool you off.
- Hit the beach at Fort Boykin Historic Park. That’s right, we have our very own river beach in Isle of Wight County. The beach is “intimate” as we like to say, and getting there is a bit of a journey, but it’s gorgeous and so is the walk there.
- Enjoy a meal waterside at the Smithfield Station or Captain Chuck-a-Muck’s. So you don’t own waterfront property – that doesn’t mean you can’t take in the fabulous water views from one of our two outstanding waterfront restaurants!
- There’s plenty of fish in our waters and great fishing spots abound. Check out the fishing pier at Windsor Castle Park or Clontz Park, both located in downtown Smithfield, or the pier at Nike Park in Carrollton (a great crabbing spot too!) or Jones Creek Landing. Or for a really dramatic view while you fish, head to Ragged Island Wildlife Refuge, located at the foot (southern end) of the James River Bridge.
- If boating is your passion, Smithfield & Isle of Wight County have lots of choices for marinas and boat ramps. There’s the marina at the Smithfield Station, recognized as the Best Resort Marina by Chesapeake Bay Magazine for 5 consecutive years. There’s also Brown’s Marina located in the lovely village of Rescue. Boat ramps include the Jones Creek Landing Boat Ramp & Fishing Pier and the Tyler’s Beach Boat Ramp. In fact, with so many marina and boat ramp choices, you could make your way by water for a weekend visit! Stay at the Smithfield Station where you can easily walk up to the downtown area to enjoy its great shops, attractions and restaurants.
- Visit Historic Fort Huger. How about a hike along paths through some lush woods to a unique historic site that sits on a bluff overlooking the historic James River? Exercise a few neglected brain muscles too and learn about this strategic fort’s role in the Civil War, see mounted cannons and walk in the very earthen-works fort itself – unchanged since its abandonment during the war.
- Birdwatching in Smithfield & Isle of Wight County is very popular because the area hosts a variety of wonderful water fowl and other species of birds. Several osprey, heron and egret nests are visible from the Smithfield Station and Windsor Castle Park. Check out the “Tidewater Loop” on the Virginia Birding & Wildlife Trail website for details.
- If there’s a special event in your future, consider booking the Smithfield Center as your venue. There is no better view in town than from the Center’s back deck, and use of the deck is included with your rental of the facility.
Well, that’s our list. Did we miss anything? Let us know. Better yet, post photos of you and your family and friends enjoying yourself in one of these spots on our Facebook page. And enjoy the last few weeks of this glorious season!