Sea Kayaking In Hampton Roads|
by: Nicole Munoz
The beautiful Tidewater area of Virginia, also referred to as Hampton Roads, offers a wide variety of sun-filled activities for tourists and locals alike. From sandy beaches and amusement parks to aquariums and zoos, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and the surrounding areas have activities that are sure to please everyone. The Hampton Roads area is also well known for its terrific sea kayaking areas.
The oceans, bays, and inlets of Hampton Roads offer sea kayakers miles and miles of tranquil and scenic waterways. There are a number of kayaking tours available in the area, including ecological tours that examine the wondrous plant and animal life of the Tidewater area. More experienced kayakers can rent equipment from one of the many outfitters located throughout the area or can bring their own equipment to enjoy their own adventure in one of the popular Hampton Roads kayaking areas.
Rudee Inlet is a great launch site for beginning kayakers or those looking for a short, easy paddle. Just outside of the oceanfront area of Virginia Beach, the Rudee Inlet boat launch is right by the popular marine science museum. A variety of fish, birds, and plant life are visible along the shores near the launch and to the south of the ramp. The southern portion of Rudee Inlet ends after about half a mile. To the north of the ramp, another half a mile out, is the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean. Watch out for other boaters while paddling this section. Fishing in the inlet is excellent, especially around the bridge just before the ocean. The Rudee Inlet boat launch provides plenty of parking for cars and trailers and there are two commercial campgrounds nearby as well as a state park with oceanside camping facilities.
At the northern end of Virginia Beach’s oceanfront strip is the Lynnhaven Inlet, which feeds into both the Atlantic Ocean and the Lynnhaven River. The fairly new boat launch charges a $2.00 fee for kayaks and can be quite busy during peak season. The channel leading to the sea is generally full of jet skis and large motorboats, but the river is ideal for kayaking in Hampton Roads. The saltwater marshes of the Lynnhaven River are home to several species of birds, including the Bald Eagle. The river also provides a great view of some of the best residential real estate in Virginia Beach. There are several resorts and hotels nearby, as well as First Landing State Park with a campground. Beware of wind and tides around the Lynnhaven Inlet because it can have a drastic affect on the water condition and depth.
If you are looking for a great area for a weekend kayaking trip in Hampton Roads, try False Cape State Park, a land barrier between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. False Cape is surrounded by the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge, so there is no access to vehicles. There are several ways to enter the park while kayaking, but the waters of the Back Bay are recommended for experienced paddlers only. If you plan to camp in one of False Cape’s four primitive tent campgrounds, you will need reservations and will most likely want to leave from the Little Island City Park boat launch in Sandbridge, just south of Virginia Beach. Overnight parking is permitted as long as your camping confirmation letter is visible in the dash. Barbour Hill Bay is 6.9 miles from the launch and offers a boat ramp and camping, while the bay side of False Cape Landing offers the same and is 8.7 miles away. Ocean camp sites are also available, but there is no boat landing on this side. Fires are not permitted inside the prak, so bring along a small camp stove, like the Coleman Breeze, if you plan to cook during your stay. Kayaking to False Cape is a great Hampton Roads kayaking day trip for advanced kayakers as well. Picnic areas are easily accessible from the boat ramps.
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