Stay Local, Play Local: A Day at the River

Location: Scottsville, Virginia - Albemarle County

Drive Time From Charlottesville: Approximately 30 minutes

After a long, cold winter, warmer weather has finally arrived in central Virginia! As the days continue to get increasingly hotter and muggier, people begin to turn their attention to different ways of beating the heat, while still enjoying the great outdoors. Sure, there are the tried and true methods of staying cool:  running through the sprinkler, sipping ice-cold drinks, or a taking a trip to the local ice cream shop (two scoops, please). As effective as those methods may be, they lack a certain excitement. They lack a certain thrill. They lack a certain relaxation factor. Luckily, we have a solution to this dilemma. This solution allows you to stay right here in Albemarle County, while letting all of your worries "float" away. Catch our drift? We are talking about spending a day at the river! Not just any river - we are talking about the mighty James River! Let's get this "staycation" started!

From Charlottesville, a short and scenic drive southbound on Route 20 will bring you to the charming and quaint town of Scottsville. Small shops and restaurants line the main street through town, as residents and tourists alike can be seen walking up and down the sidewalks, taking in the sights and sounds. In the summer months, Scottsville has a huge claim to fame, owed in large part to its location. Situated on a bend in the James River, this sleepy Southern town springs to life in the summer, offering a wide variety of river-related activities for people of all ages to enjoy! So, what are you waiting for? Let's take a dip!

Although the options are plentiful, in the end, the ultimate goals of fun and relaxation will be achieved. Whether you prefer hopping in a kayak, a canoe, or even a tube, the James River is right there waiting for you. For the sportsman, the fish are always biting...Well, maybe not always. Even if they aren't, what could be more relaxing than casting your lure into the cool waters, while taking in the scenery all around you? Speaking of scenery, you may spot an unusual ferry as you're enjoying your day at the river. This ferry is the one and only Hatton Ferry, which is the last poled ferry in the entire United States. Established in 1870, this ferry has been crossing the river for more than 140 years! Don't miss the opportunity to absorb a bit of history as you soak in the crisp, invigorating water!

Don't have the equipment or the gear? No worries! There are several businesses in Scottsville that specialize in ensuring a safe and relaxing day in the hot, summer sun. James River Reeling & Rafting and James River Runners will hook you up with everything you need to get your day at the river off to a terrific start. Once you have the gear, the river will take care of everything else - just don't forget the sunscreen! Let the cool waters carry you downstream as your worries drift away. The hardest part of the excursion will be when the time in the water inevitably comes to an end. Leaving the water doesn't mean your day at the river has to come to an end. Dry off with a towel, put those flip-flops back on, and head back into town for a delicious meal at Tavern on the James or The Smokehouse Grille. Grab a cold beverage at James River Brewing Co. and reflect on your perfect day ambling down the James River. Of course, there are many different restaurants and shops to choose from, so take your time and explore!

As is the case with any outdoor activities, the weather is always a factor. Average high temperatures during the summer months range anywhere from the mid 80s to nearly 90 degrees. Our humidity can make things feel a bit warmer, so keep that in mind. Additionally, excessive dry weather or prolonged periods of wet weather can cause the river levels to fluctuate tremendously, so always check ahead to make sure that your day at the river can be as enjoyable and safe as possible!

The next time you find yourself wilting in the summer heat, but you don't feel like traveling to the beach, just remember the peaceful, flowing waters of the James River. It's an excellent way to beat the heat in an affordable way, without even leaving Albemarle County. Be a tourist in your own backyard this summer. That's what it means to stay local and play local!