Last Summer Splashes
Posted on September 5, 2018
It’s almost football, leaf-raking, and corn maze season, but don’t break out the pumpkin spice latte just yet: we still have a few weeks to catch the end-of-season sun and fun on the water. Whether you enjoy kicking back and relaxing, learning a new sport, or the spray-in-your eyes thrill of whitewater, we’ve got some destinations for your final summer splashes. Don’t forget to conclude each outing with a stop at one of our Beerwerks Trail breweries.
Fortunately, the Beerwerks Trail lies close to a number of natural gems that remain open well past Labor Day.
Sherando Lake Recreation Area
25 minutes from Seven Arrows Brewing.
If you’re looking for a safe place to swim in a beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains setting, Sherando Lake ought to be on your shortlist. Nestled in the George Washington National Forest, Sherando Lake Recreation Area offers a gradual-entry sandy beach with plenty of room to lounge, a roped-off swimming area for the kiddos, bathroom and shower facilities, a picnic area, hiking trails, and camping. You can also kayak, canoe or fish on the 25-acre lake. Day use fee applies.
Riprap Trail Swimming Hole
15 minutes from Stable Craft Brewing.
Hikers who enjoy working for their swims should check out the magnificent, ice-cold swimming hole on the Riprap Trail. Access the trail from Rt. 612 in Crimora for a family-friendly round trip of four miles. Determined hikers can make a day of it by taking on the entire 9.5-mile circuit hike, which starts in Shenandoah National Park and includes Riprap Trail and Wildcat Ridge Trail. Many consider this hike one of the best loops in the southern end of Shenandoah National Park.
Todd Lake Recreation Area
45 minutes from Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.
It’s not private enough for skinny dipping, but Todd Lake is a small, quiet lake northwest of Staunton that’s a great fit for a family swimming adventure. The 7.5-acre lake was constructed in 1963 to control flooding, but now features a sandy beach with picnic facilities, hiking trails, a bathhouse, camping, and a playground. Day access fee applies.
Cave Mountain Lake
25 minutes from Great Valley Farm Brewery.
The Civilian Conservation Corps created Cave Mountain Lake Recreation Area in the 1930s. Now maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, seven-acre Cave Mountain Lake is a prime destination for swimming, fishing, camping, and hikes of various lengths and difficulties. Families can enjoy the cool mountain water and the sandy beach set against a forested background. Day use fee applies.
Canoeing & Kayaking
Beerwerks Trail adventurers who thrill at grasping a paddle or slicing through whitewater should check out these sure bets.
45 minutes from Redbeard Brewing Company.
When the Maury River cut Goshen Pass through Little North Mountain, it made both a beautiful gorge and the site of one of the most popular whitewater adventures in Virginia. On this six-mile trip, expect some serious class II, class III, and even class IV rapids when you hit Devil’s Kitchen and Corner Rapid. Need to slow your racing heart? Tie up your kayak and lounge on the rocks to view the dramatic scenery.
Middle River from Westview to Verona
15 minutes from Bedlam Brewing.
The Middle River runs north through the Shenandoah Valley and merges with the South River to become the South fork of the Shenandoah River. Stretch your arms on a relatively gentle section of the Middle River in Augusta County running from Westview to Verona. The rapids along this 25-mile float top out at class II. Enjoy the lovely country scenery and the easily accessed put in and put out spots.
Waynesboro Water Trail
10 minutes from Basic City Beer Co.
The Waynesboro Water Trail is the City’s newest park, which extends along four picturesque miles of the South River from the Ridgeview Park Boat Ramp to the Basic Park Boat Ramp. The ramps make putting your boat in the water a cinch, and the mild class I and class II rapids are great for beginners. During the summer pool season, paddlers without gear of their own can rent kayaks from the Paddle in the Park program. Another good place to rent equipment is Rockfish Gap Outfitters.
Guided Trips with Massanutten Adventures
25 minutes from Three Notch’d Valley Collab House.
Massanutten Adventures has been leading guided canoe, kayak, and tube excursions for 19 years along the Shenandoah River as it runs parallel to Shenandoah National Park. The canoe/kayak season runs from April to October and the tubing season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. What better way to see the Shenandoah Valley than from the perspective of its namesake river?
Here’s the deets on stand-up paddleboarding, rafting, tubing, diving, and waterslides!
Stand-up paddleboarding at Douthat State Park
45 minutes from Great Valley Farm Brewery.
Want to blast your core while having a blast? Looking for a sport you can get comfortable doing in an hour or so? Stand-up paddleboarding might be for you. A cross between surfing and kayaking, this sport can be enjoyed on both flat and rougher water. A great spot to test your balance is the 50-acre lake at Douthat State Park. You can rent SUPs (and canoes, paddle boats, and hydrobikes) from Memorial Day through Labor Day or bring your own. Even if you don’t get on the water, this park is worth visiting for its beauty and historical significance.
White Water Rafting or River Tubing with Outdoor Adventure Experiences Inc.
20 minutes from Pale Fire Brewing Co.
Gather your friends and family for a shared and thrilling experience of the Shenandoah Valley from one of Outdoor Adventure Experiences Inc.’s guided white water rafts.While you won’t stay dry, the size of the rafts makes them easy to steer and difficult to flip, so you probably won’t end in the water. If it’s cold – these trips launch as long as the temperature is above 50 degrees – you can rent a wetsuit! If you’d rather float in a tube, you can do that from May to September along a quiet section of the river. Participants ride on private tubes, but also have a chance to play and bounce on a giant communal tube. This company also offers full and half-day kayaking trips from April to November.
Scuba Diving Lessons from Scuba Buddies
10 minutes from The Friendly Fermenter.
If you’re itching to breathe (and see the Valley from) underwater, or if you are already an experienced scuba diver looking for additional certifications, equipment, or information about diving spots in the area, contact Scuba Buddies (Harrisonburg) or Dive Connections (Charlottesville).
Ride the Slides at Massanutten Resort Waterpark
25 minutes from Brothers Craft Brewing.
Since the indoor pool at at Massanutten Waterpark is always a balmy 84 degrees, you can hit the slides and wave pools even after coat weather arrives. The park, a top-ten favorite of Parents Magazine, Budget Travel Magazine and USA Today, offers indoor, outdoor, and waterless arcade-game fun. Rocket headfirst down the Rockingham Racer slide, avoid water cannons in the Massanutten Meltdown, or surf in a wave pool. The youngest members of your party can splash in the Frog Pond.