1. Jamestown Island - Williamsburg VA - Ramp launch at private marina (Master Marina see Map 1 in the photo gallery)- very small fee and plenty of parking. Photo gallery with full screen slideshow Paddle out of the marina under a concrete bridge and then under another bridge to the island out into the bay. Turn right toward old Jamestown and see the square sail ships in Jamestown Settlement Harbor. Amazing trip. This is a must do!! We followed a Bald Eagle around the island and shot several pictures...they are in the photo gallery. We landed on Black Point and took a short break. There are pics of the Flagships on the beach. The trip is 11 miles around the island. The water in the bay was calm and the wakes from the ferries were mild. There was little power boat traffic the day we went, but the return around the inland side of the island has blind corners in the narrow channel so watch, listen and stay to the side to protect yourself from high speed power boats.
2. Chincoteague - Osyter Bay - Assateague Lighthouse - ramp launch on Chincoteague at the municipal ramp on Fir Landing Rd. off of Deep Hole rd. - pay a small fee at the community center/Police station at 6150 Community Rd. There is not a lot of parking at the ramp so get there early. Photo gallery with full screen slideshow This is a beatiful trip and combined with some biking or hiking makes a great weekend get away. Ride your bike on a paved trail from downtown to the lighthouse and to the beach along the Atlantic. *** GO TO Chincoteague for a weekend outing...you won't regret it..Hotels abound and are reasonable. Lots of places to eat and all in walking/biking range. You can take several kayak trips around Oyster Bay and Toms Cove or maybe into open water if you are equiped to cross the surf.
3. Onancock Harborfest Kayak Race, VA - use your GPS to find - Onancock Wharf 23417 -Ramp or small craft dock - restroom at the wharf house...suitable for beginners in most weather conditions - some tidal current. We loved Onancock and the festival. See the Photo Album with full screen slideshow here.. Wonderful people, good race and perfect weather added up to a GRADE A experience. Adventure book authors, Bill and Mary Burnam, did a fantastic job organizing the race. See Southeast Expeditions for kayak rental and guide information. We'll soon be testing the bottle of Southeast Expeditions wine we bought while visiting their display at Harborfest. The Harborfest starts Friday evening and runs all day Saturday..great music, car shows, crafts, paper boat race, duck race and good resturauntrs right on the water (see Mallards). Keep an eye out for Harborfest next year and go do the race and festival afterwards!! a great way to finish summer.
***While in Onancock we were honored to meet Frank Havens an Olympic Gold Medalist for Men's Single Canoe 10,000 meter in Helsinki 1952 and Silver in London 1948. He raced in double canoe at Harborfest. See pictures in the photo album.
4. Broadkill River Race, Milton, DE - See the Photo Album with full screen slideshow here The race started near 14109 Oyster Rocks Rd. 19968 (drive all the way to the river) and ended at Milton Memorial Park near 104 Chandler St. 19968. ...GREAT race!!...a good time was had by all. The race supports the Milton Theatre (www.MiltonTheatre.org). There were more than 100 entries. After the race, we browsed the flea market/festival hosted by the city called "Bargains on Broadkill." We highly recommend checking out this race. Check the theatre website for current dates. This is a good location to kayak almost anytime. There is some tidal current, but not too strong. Milton is a beautiful town and a great place to spend the day after a trip down the river. One of the friendliest towns we have seen. - Go to Milton!! - (Check out Lewes and Cape Henlopen while you're in the area. Also, check into the Nanticoke Riverfest Race in Seaford...we'll be there in 2011.)
5. Cape Henlopen, DE - 37683 Cape Henlopen Dr. 19958 See the Photo Album with full screen slideshow here Fantastic trip!!! $8 to enter the park... has a bathhouse with shower and restrooms. This is a beautiful ocean park with urban scenery nearby as well as the wildlife of Cape Henlopen. However, open ocean kayaking rules apply..that is, the water conditions can be unpredictable and change very suddenly, so BEWARE! Check the tide charts and weather predictions very carefully. Also, beware of the ferry and other industrial traffic in the area. We met a school of dolphins at the point of the cape. We saw the Kalmar Nyckel at thr ferry docks...magnificent ship. We have seen many and this is our favorite of all. It's home harbor is in Wilmington and can be seen in Chestertown Maryland, Yorktown, VA and other Chesapeake area ports.Kalmar Nyckel
6. Smith Mountain Lake Virginia - small launch fee at State Park ramp - Photo gallery with full screen slideshow - Jewel of Viginia - Beautiful mountain setting with abundant wildlife. Go early in the morning to avoid the power boat traffic. Some sections of the lake are not as developed and may provide better kayaking during mid day. Camping and other state park amenities are available.
7. Virginia Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge - ramp launch - small fee - or a rooftop launch - Photo gallery with full screen slideshow Great wildlife viewing or take a trip to the lighthouse around the corner of the island. Go toward the bridge and then cross the bay. Currents can be strong so beware if you are not a strong paddler.
8. Back Bay Wildlife Refuge VA - beach launch - small fee to enter park - the launch is not the best, but doable...be prepared to get a little muddy. Photo gallery with full screen slideshow The water level was very low when we arrived and we elected not to go out, however we do believe this is an excellent kayak destination. Go to the Atlantic side to see the beach but no launching into the ocean is allowed in the park. Call ahead to ensure the Bay has water before you drive very far. The winds can evacuate the bay in certain weather conditions. Search the internet for park information.
9. Mason Neck Park - Belmont and Occoquan Bay - Photo gallery with full screen slideshow - Just north of Quantico - search the park on the internet for the address - Rooftop car launch area - $4 to enter the park - restroom and plenty of parking. Reasonably protected waters. There is a lot of power boat traffic on nice days. Cane Creek is a good option if the water is choppy or the boat traffic is too heavy...head north (turn right along the shore) after launching.
10. Lake Hartwell, South Carolina ...Photo gallery with full screen slideshow There are several ramps around Lake Hartwell and some parks as well. We launched from George Smith Mill Rd, right off I-85 on Clemson - Public Ramp - 24 hrs. - free, no facilities. Hwy (76) near Anderson, SC. We went early and the steam from the lake created a magnificent surreal environment as we cruised slowly along the shores marveling at the blooming foilage. This is a beautiful lake and the water level has recovered from the drought suffered from 2007-2009. Find a ramp or a park and check out Lake Hartwell while you're in South Carolina.
11. Jacksonville, North Carolina - New River....Photo gallery with full screen slideshow Put in and go left toward USMC Camp Lejune and Morgan Bay or right to go inland. There are alligators in the area and lots of wildlife. Travel to Wilmington, NC and tour the USS North Carolina Battleship and take your kayak, becuase there are several locations to launch in the area. USS North Carolina
12. Wilmington, DE - 1499 E 7th st, 19801 - this address will get you close.See the Photo Album with full screen slideshow hereThere was a public ramp, but it is closed so we put in at a private marina for $10. Ramp. NO facilities. Turn left toward downton Wilmington or to the right toward the Delaware River. There is some tidal current so be prepared.
13. Lewes, DE canal - 278 front st. 19958 - Kayak launch. See the Photo Album with full screen slideshow here No facilities. Pay by hour parking. There is a strong tidal current in the canal, so beware!! You must be prepared for the current as you leave the ramp. There is nice urban scenery in the BEAUTIFUL town of Lewes. Bring your bike. This is a great place to spend a summer weekend. Be sure to checkout Cape Henlopen (above) for some GREAT open water kayaking.
14. Gloucester Point, VA - Launch near 1200 Greate Rd. 23062 - Ramp and hand launch beach - very nice! with park facilities. See the Photo Album with full screen slideshow here - water can get a little rough under the bridge so go to the left to a slightly wider section of the York River to cross over to Yorktown.
15. Yorktown, VA - Launched on the beach at the last section that is not roped off for swimming...nearest the end of the parking lot in Colonial National History Park. 697 Water St. 23690 - You may have to carry or cart the boat for a hundred yards or so to the beach. Parking is free and there are park amenities available. See the Photo Album with full screen slideshow here Fantastic trip...a lot to see, in and out of the kayaks, with nice outdoor eateries and plenty of shops.
16. Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC - Launch at - 100 Ananias Dare St. 27954 - See the Photo Album with full screen slideshow here Good place for a morning or evening trip. Most of the water is protected, but the wind can get strong. Lots to see and a nice little town for dinner afterwards. Great wildlife in the area. Historic location.
17. Kitty Hawk, NC - Launch near 4227 Bob Perry Rd. 27949 - parking lot adjacent to the Recycling Center - Ramp with port-a-pot. See the Photo Album with full screen slideshow hereWell kept little park. Nice picnic spot. Great place for wildlife and intersting beautiful life!!! Follow the canal south toward Kitty Hawk Bay. Look to the east after you pass the Vulcan jetty. Cross the bay to the Wright Memorial on the horizon between the water towers. Strong winds and white top chop - a skirt will help keep you dry. Look for more calm water in the canals. Be wary to mark your way, the canals form a maze through the saw grass. Stay in Nags Head and see the ocean.