Summer is almost here and Memorial Day is Monday; that means it’s time to cool off! The James River Parks System has a vast array of access points that stretch along the mighty river and allow visitors to explore different park of the famous Richmond Region waterway. Check out these five spots to get in the James River this Memorial Day!


Belle Isle

This popular island is accessible from a few different points; however the most recognizable is the pedestrian footbridge that hangs suspended underneath the Robert E. Lee Bridge in downtown Richmond. The 1.5 mile loop island is great for joggers, walkers and mountain bikers, and also offers unique fishing areas and even a granite rock climbing wall. Situated near the powerful Hollywood Rapids, rock-hoppers and sunbathers frequent this popular spot for some fun in the sun.


42nd Street/Butter Milk Trail/Reedy Creek Trail

Reedy Creek, the home of the JRPS headquarters and a popular 2.5 mile walking, jogging and biking trail, is a great access point visitors enter from south of the river.  A popular kayaking location, this point also offers a single-track mountain biking trail as well as multiple large rocks for the river loungers!


Texas Beach/Northbank Trail

Accessible five blocks from Maymont Park, this access point is popular for its sandy deposits left as a result of the river turning north at Texas Beach! Follow along the long 2.75 North Bank Trail and find numerous sandy beaches to set up camp.  Great for dogs, the Northbank Trail also is great for biking the James River Trail Loop. Save a two hour drive to the beach and take in the Richmond Region’s own sandy shores.

Pony Pasture Park

Located along the south bank of the river, two miles from the Huguenot Bridge, this access point is really where the mighty James picks up the pace.  The class II rapids make Pony Pasture great for non-powered boat access, whitewater canoeing and kayaking, but also offer calmer areas for swimming, fishing and birdwatching. robious landing

Robious Landing Park

Tucked away behind James River High School in Midlothian, this park is great for kayaking, canoeing, rowing and fishing. A floating dock gives visitors a great place to sit or lay out and has easy water access, and a non-powered boat slide makes entry simple! Situated on a calmer part of the James, Robious Landing also has 3.4 miles of trails, a playground, picnic shelters and sand volleyball courts.


Michael J. Hippchen is a freelance writer based out of Richmond, VA.  Michael has a passion for good bourbon, a firm cigar, live music, and copious amounts of black coffee.