Where to paddle in the Virginia Beach area
With summer coming up, everyone is looking for some new places to discover while paddling. This list isn’t all-inclusive, but I think there will be something here for everyone.
Lynnhaven Beach- Parking here is $3. There are some docks and a boat ramp for easy launching. Be careful of the currents in this area. Under the Lesner Bridge are some of the fastest currents that you will encounter in our area. I usually hug the west side of the inlet until I get a little farther away from the bridge. One lap around Bay Island from here is a little bit more than 6 miles. A nice little workout if you are ready for it.
The Narrows- located at First Landing State Park at the 64th Street Entrance. This is a very popular place to paddle. Parking is $5 or a season pass is $40. Follow 64th street all the way until the end. You will see a beach on your left after about 2 miles. There is parking around this beach. If it is full, don’t worry, there is a full lot and a boat ramp just ahead. After launching from the beach, there are multiple routes to take. Around Bay Island is barely over 7 miles. Down Crystal Lake is the calmest route and the very end is about 2 miles from the beach. There are many more routes so feel free to explore them all. The current at the narrowest part can move pretty strongly so keep that in mind before you try to battle against it when you are exhausted.
Owls Creek- Located right next to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Parking is free. There is a boat ramp and a couple of piers for easy launching. This gives full access to Rudee Inlet. From the boat ramp around to the end of Lake Wesley is just under 3 miles. If you go out past the jetty, left at channel marker and down to the fishing pier and back to the boat ramp, it is exactly 5 miles. There is more boat traffic here but they usually stay out of the way. Current is minimal but paddling in the ocean will test your balance. Be wary of the tourists on jet skis though. They sometimes come a little closer than wanted.
Great Bridge lock park- if you live in Chesapeake or further this is an excellent option. Parking is free. Around the boat ramp and in towards the condos is a no wake zone. Once you are out a little further there is some boat traffic but the waterway is wide enough to give you plenty of room as long as you can deal with some boat wakes.
Stumpy Lake- Free parking here. 3.2 miles from end to end. There isn’t any wonder how it got its name though. I highly recommend going to the Elbow road end and looking at the dam. If the water is flowing over it or within an inch or so of the top of the dam, you should be fine if you stay in the middle. Just keep your eyes on the water in front of you. It can be an obstacle course dodging the stumps and floating logs.
Haven Creek boat ramp Norfolk- Excellent place to paddle for non-Virginia Beach Residents. Parking here is free. Launching is easy from a dock or the boat ramp. Go out of the little inlet of the boat ramp and go right to calmer waters, or go left and wind your way through many of Norfolk’s little house lined inlets. A trek to Lamberts Point Golf club and back is about 8 miles. There are some wonderful old houses on the water here and the views are pretty good. From my experience the boat traffic is pretty minimal but I haven’t seen it in peak times.
The Bay- Unprotected somewhat open water but not dealing with ocean swell. It can be fun paddling out through the bridges and practicing with your race board on the smaller waves. You must find parking on the side of the road but it is definitely worth it.
Atlantic Paddle Source World Headquarters- We host many meetups and all of our classes at 600 Laskin Road. It is one of the calmest places to learn to paddle. From our docks you can quickly enjoy some wonderful scenery. Wind your way around the Princess Anne country club or the Cavalier Yacht and Country club. Venture out to Linkhorn bay. Set a course for the Narrows or Crystal Lake. All of these options are possible from our wonderful spot. It doesn’t get any better than that.
1st street Jetty- The jetty provides some shelter from the chop on the southerly winds. It can get pretty crowded here. I wouldn’t recommend this spot for beginners. I would also brush up on your surfing etiquette before visiting this spot.
North End- My favorite spot for surfing. A roomy wave can almost always be found here. Parking can be difficult because it is all on the sides of the numbered streets. This is where I would recommend for beginners. You can easily stay far enough away from other people so riding every wave your little heart desires is a possibility. This is where I will be found when a swell roles in.
Remember that if you are paddling outside of the surf zone (or in flat water) the law states that you will have your PFD on. Don’t get caught without it unless you want to pay a hefty fine. If your favorite spot didn’t show up here, feel free to shoot me an email at Kurt@AtlanticPaddleSource.com. I would be glad to add it to our list if you are willing to share because remember, we are not the source, you are.