Learn more about the amazing outdoor destinations in the Central region of Virginia by clicking the links below:
- Bear Creek Lake State Park
Bear Creek Lake was built in 1938 as a project of the Virginia Department of Agriculture through the State Forestry Division. Although this project was undertaken during the closing days of the Great Depression, the 100 men who built the lake were not members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. They were simply carpenters, farmers and unskilled laborers seeking jobs. Along with the lake, these men built two pavilions, a concession stand and six fireplaces. The land was given to the Division of State Parks in 1940, and it was operated as a day-use recreation area. In 1962 the division added campgrounds and the area's name was changed to Bear Creek Lake State Park.
- High Bridge Trail State Park
High Bridge Trail State Park is a multi-use trail ideally suited for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Its centerpiece is the majestic High Bridge, which is more than 2,400 feet long and 125 feet above the Appomattox River. The bridge was built in 1853 as part of the South Side Railroad and played a significant role during Lee's retreat in the final days of the American Civil War. It was the site of two battles in April 1865. The new High Bridge opened in 2012 which completes the 31 miles of this park's linear trails. The High Bridge is one of the longest recreational bridges in the United States and the longest in Virginia. the bridge was reconstructed with 330,000 screws, 13,000 bolts of various sizes, and 1,065 railroad ties replaced. Visitors are strongly encouraged to be sure to bring plenty of drinking water. No drinking water is available on the trail.
- Holliday Lake State Park
Deep in the heart of Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, Holliday Lake State Park is a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast. Fishing for largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill is a popular activity in the 150-acre lake within the park. The park also features excellent hiking trails and one multi-use trail open to hikers, bikers and equestrians. Swimming is a popular summer activity at the park's life-guarded beach where the "Critter Hole" play area is a favorite of young visitors. Park facilities include two campgrounds, a large shaded picnic area, two picnic shelters, two playgrounds, a boat ramp, a seasonal concession stand and campstore, and canoe, rowboat, kayak and paddle boat rentals. Interpretive and environmental education programs also are available for school and scout groups. This park is just minutes from the famous Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, the site of General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant in 1865.
- James River State Park
James River State Park is located in the rolling hills of Buckingham County, Virginia along the James River. The park has numerous options for overnight stays, and offers access to 15 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. River fishing and boating can easily be enjoyed along 8 miles of the James River and canoes, kayaks, tubes, and mountain bikes can be rented at the Outdoor Adventure livery seasonally. The park has four camping areas and two of them; Branch Pond and Canoe Landing are open year-round for primitive camping. Bring your horses and camp in one of five primitive horse campsites at Canoe Landing; or stay in one of 10 water and electric sites at Horseshoe Campground. For those who don't camp; stay in one of 18 modern cabins and enjoy all four seasons of the year.
- Pocahontas State Park
Just 20 miles from downtown Richmond, the capital of Virginia, Pocahontas State Park has been one of the more popular parks in the state park system. Swift Creek forms the nucleus of the park, which is centered in a wildlife management area.Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), this was the first recreational park in the Richmond-Petersburg-Hopewell area. The National Park Service donated the facility to Virginia State Parks in 1946, making it the largest Virginia state parks with more than 7,600 acres and two small lakes. The area was renamed Pocahontas State Park and Pocahontas State Forest and was operated under a cooperative management arrangement with the Department of Forestry. In 1989 a new master plan, funded jointly by the Commonwealth of Virginia and Chesterfield County, called for expansion of park facilities to accommodate the large urban population surrounding the park.
- Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park
Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park is a great place to stop for lunch because it's midway between Petersburg and Appomattox Court House. General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia lost 7,700 men, including eight generals, in the three separate engagements that occurred here on April 6, 1865. This battle was instrumental towards Lee's decision to surrender at Appomattox Court House 72 hours later, thus ending the war in Virginia. The Battlefield has a Visitor Center with an exhibit hall featuring detailed information about the fighting that took place here between Union and Confederate forces. The exhibits also include several, rare artifacts and relics that were discovered on the property. In addition to the Visitor Center, guests are welcome to tour the grounds of the historic Hillsman House which was used by the Union Army as a Field Hospital during the battle. Thousands of men from both sides of the conflict were treated by surgeons stationed at this location. Amenities include picnic tables, charcoal pedestal grills, hiking trails and public restrooms.
- Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Although situated on the second largest body of freshwater in the state, Smith Mountain Lake State Park is not just for water enthusiasts. In addition to a full range of water related activities, including swimming, fishing and boating, the park offers miles of hiking trails, housekeeping cabins, primitive camping, picnicking, a visitor center and interpretive programs.Smith Mountain Lake itself was created in 1960 when Appalachian Power built a dam on the Roanoke River in Smith Mountain Gap. Construction of the dam was completed in 1966, and in 1967 Appalachian Power donated the first parcel of park's land for the proposed park. The state bought the rest of the park's land over the next six years. The park opened to the public in 1983.
- Twin Lakes State Park
Twin Lakes State Park, centrally located in Virginia's Piedmont region, provides visitors from all over the Commonwealth with a variety of lakefront activities in a secluded setting. Swimming, camping, fishing, canoeing and hiking are popular activities. The park is home to Cedar Crest Conference Center, a perfect facility for group meetings, family reunions, wedding receptions and company picnics. Call (434) 767-2398 for details.The land for Twin Lakes State Park was initially bought from struggling farmers by the federal government during the Great Depression. Two parks, Goodwin Lake and Prince Edward Lake, were founded in 1939 and until the early 1960s were run as two racially segregated parks. The parks merged in 1976 and became Twin Lakes State Park in 1986.
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