Virginia State Parks offer recreation, programs, history, camping and more. Each of the 39 state parks is unique, providing its own opportunity to slow down and enjoy nature or even hit the trails for a quick jog.
Priced inexpensively, parking is $5-$7 per one day visit. Those who plan to frequent the parks can save by purchasing the annual pass, $75 ($40 for seniors). Fortunately, for Richmonders there are several state parks within an hour or less. Between the short distance and low price, state parks are an easy way for Richmond families to explore nature regularly. Here are a few within an hour of the Richmond area:
Pocahontas State Park: (10301 State Park Rd., Chesterfield, VA 23832) has over 90 miles of trails, attracting cyclists, runners and walkers. The park also boasts three lakes for boating and fishing, a nature center, and The Civilian Conservation Corps Museum. Additionally, young children will love the large playground, Aquatic Center with slides and a toddler pool. The park runs several programs, including the popular Caterpillar Club (virtual at this time) for ages 3-5 where children participate in hands-on activities to explore the outdoors.
High Bridge State Park: (1466 Camp Paradise Rd., Rice, VA, 23966) is home to the longest recreational bridge in Virginia. Formerly a railbed, High Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. The park’s 31 mile trail is popular for cyclists, equestrians, and hikers. Park visitors will enjoy crossing the bridge and stopping at the overlooks to take in the beautiful views. After walking the bridge, kids will enjoy checking out the Appomattox River and playing in the sand. ATTENTION: The trail and High Bridge will be closed several months during winter 2021 from the River Road parking lot to Camp Paradise for a bridge decking renovation project.
Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park: (6541 Saylers Creek Rd., Rice, VA, 23966) is located close enough to High Bridge State Park that one could make a day out of visiting both parks. Sailor’s Creek attracts history enthusiasts as well as hikers and explorers. It was here that nearly a quarter of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army were wounded, killed, or captured. Lee surrendered 72 hours after the battle. History buffs will enjoy driving and stopping along Lee’s Retreat. Signs explain the historical significance of each stop. The visitor’s center offers a wealth of artifacts and relics and knowledgeable rangers to answer questions in great detail. Explorers of all ages will take in the miles of trails, ideal for families yearning for a place to let children run wild and free.
Twin Lakes State Park: (788 Twin Lakes Rd., Green Bay, VA, 23942) is an alternative to the beaches and pools, as the park offers guarded swimming Memorial Day through Labor Day. In addition to swimming, park goers can enjoy fishing, boating and hiking. The scenic 6 mile trail provides views of the lake.
Bear Creek State Park: (22 Bear Creek Lake Rd., Cumberland, VA, 23040) allows Richmond families to enjoy a day on the water without traveling far. Renting a paddle boat, canoe or kayak in addition to swimming in the lake makes an excellent summer day. Within the park, hikers may access the Willis River Trail, and hike through Cumberland State Forest. Programs are offered throughout the year, check website for offerings that interest you.
Nearby Virginia State Parks offer Richmonders many opportunities to explore nature, discover history, and create memories. Families searching for budget-friendly adventures are sure to enjoy the various options at our nearby state parks. As you travel to each park, remember to sign up for Virginia State Parks Trail Quest to earn your free pin.
Richmond on the Cheap contributor Lindsay Garrison is a Richmond, Virginia based mom to two young children. A graduate from Chesterfield Schools and Randolph-Macon College, Lindsay is proud to call Richmond home. In the years prior to planning activities and outings with her own children, she was a French teacher. During her tenure she earned accolades for her creative teaching style and ability to connect with her students. Lindsay now applies the skills she learned when she was planning student trips to France, to her own family adventures. She can’t wait to take her own children to France one day! Follow her adventures at @thegarrisonsrva
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Chesterfield, VA 23832