Trail News

Rentals, Tours, and Outfitters: How to get out on the water if you don’t own gear

May 12, 2021

If you’re new to paddling and you don’t have your own kayak or paddleboard, there are still several ways to explore Virginia’s water trails.  You can explore on your own by renting, reserve a spot on a guided tour, or make your first purchase from a local paddling retailer.  We’ve rounded up a list of outfitters from the Eastern Shore to the Northern Neck to help you plan your next adventure.

Some of these outfitters are listed as Certified Virginia Ecotour Guides.  Learn more about what this means and how you can become a certified guide here.

 

 

Belle Isle State Park

Northern Neck

Rentals (Canoes & Kayaks)

Explore Belle Isle State Park, Mulberry Creek, and the Rappahannock River on your own, with canoe and kayak rentals right in the park!  There is even an ADA-accessible kayak launch on Mulberry Creek.  Paddlers can meander through tidal wetland and upland forest habitats, packed with wildlife-viewing opportunities.  The park also features hiking trails, picnic areas, cabins, and a campground.

 

Bay Country Kayaking

*Certified Virginia Ecotour Guide*

Eastern Shore, Middle Peninsula, and more!

Guided Tours

Bay Country Kayaking is a family owned and operated kayak eco-tour company founded for the purpose of sharing their love of the scenic waters of coastal Virginia and educating others on their ecological, cultural, and historical significance.  Their tour locations range from Mathews County to the Eastern shore!  From historic tours near Colonial Williamsburg to trips out to the protected barrier islands of the Eastern shore, they have tours for all interests and ability levels.

 

Burnham Guides

*Certified Virginia Ecotour Guide*

Eastern Shore

Rentals (Kayaks & SUPs), Guided Tours

While Burnham Guides leads guided tours from Assateague all the way to the Florida Keys and Costa Rica, they call home Onancock, VA from spring through fall.  They offer kayak and SUP rentals from the historic Onancock Wharf, but they’ll also deliver.  They offer a variety of guided tours, but one thing that seems to set them apart from other outfitters is their multi-day tours!  From kayak camping on Assateague to exploring Virignia’s seaside water trail (and staying in B n B’s along the way), they certainly know how to cater to their guests!

 

Patriot Tours & Provisions

Middle Peninsula

Rentals (Kayaks & SUPs)

While technically this spot is not located on the Middle Peninsula, renting kayaks and paddleboards here puts you right on the York River, a stone’s throw from Gloucester Point.  Rentals can be reserved online, and a portion of the proceeds directly supports the Watermen’s Museum of Yorktown.

Mobjack Kayaking

Middle Peninsula

Rentals (Kayaks & SUPs), Guided Tours

Mobjack has something for everyone!  In addition to rentals, they also offer a wide range of guided tours.  From early morning birding trips to full moon paddles, and everything in between!  These guys will even take you out see an oyster bar and to the iconic New Point Comfort Lighthouse.

 

Shored Up

*Certified Virginia Ecotour Guide*

Hampton Roads

Guided Tours

If you’re going to be in the Hampton Roads area, you’ve got to check out Shored Up!  This women-owned company tailors their tours to meet your interests.  Tours range from birding and nature-themed, to tours that include beer!  And if you love their tours on the water, you’ll be sure to love their land based tours as well, as they offer history, oyster, and foodie-themed walking tours.

River Rock Outfitter

Fredericksburg, VA

Guided Tours, Retail

Head on over to River Rock if you’re in the market for some new gear.  They not only specialize in paddling, but also hiking, climbing, and fly fishing!  And even if you’re not quite ready to purchase a new kayak or paddleboard, they’ve got guided experiences to help you get your feet wet.  Follow them on their facebook page for the latest updates on guided adventures.

Southeast Expeditions

Southeast Expeditions

Eastern Shore

Rentals (Kayaks & SUPs), Guided Tours

If you’re spending time on the Eastern shore, Southeast Expeditions will DELIVER your rental directly to your doorstep.  Or hotel, boat ramp, or wherever you tell them to – how convenient!  They also offer a variety of guided tours including sunset creek tours, trips through the wildlife refuge, or their extremely popular journey to Chatham Vineyards.

 

Oak Tree Outfitters

Middle Peninsula

Retail

If you’re in the market for a new kayak or paddleboard, Oak Tree Outfitters is the place to be on the Middle Peninsula.  Their shop is fully stocked with a variety of brands, models, and accessories.  Also, if you’re thinking about getting into kayak fishing, you’ll definitely want to talk to these guys, as that is one of their specialty areas!

 

Assateague Adventures

Eastern Shore

Rentals (kayaks & SUPs), Guided Tours

Assateague Adventures is a family-owned kayak company on Chincoteague Island that specializes in historical and educational eco-tours and rentals.  They provide routes only accessible by kayak to see the best wildlife!  They also offer FREE delivery of rentals anywhere on Chincoteague Island – how convenient!

Great Outdoor Provision Co.

Virginia Beach

Retail

The Great Outdoor Provision Co. doesn’t just sell gear – they show you how to use it! Every boat purchase comes with a free orientation. They’ll cover the basics of paddling technique and even offer free on-water orientation at their events. Their staff uses a multi-point Quality Assurance Checklist to make sure the basics are covered – transportation, storage, adjustment, outfitting, and more. Their “try before you buy” program offers a unique opportunity to rent their boats before purchasing.

 

Big Papa SUP

Eastern Shore

Rentals (Kayaks & SUPs), Retail

Looking to purchase a paddleboard on the Eastern Shore?  Big Papa on Chincoteague Island has got you covered.  In addition to SUP retail sales, Big Papa also offers tours, lessons from ACA-certified staff, SUP and kayak rentals, and even bike rentals!

 

Tula Paddle Sports

Virginia Beach

Rentals (Kayaks & SUPs), Guided Tours

Although we don’t have any official water trails established in the Virginia Beach area, we still need to mention Tula Paddlesports!  The staff at Tula lead tours along Long Creek which passes the interior, southwestern shoreline of First Landing State Park, an area that few get to experience.  Tula also offers SUP lessons, as well as rentals – they’ll even deliver.

 

No matter where you’re spending your time on the water in coastal Virginia, we hope this list gives you the tools you need to connect and explore.  Be sure to tag #VirginiaWaterTrails as you document your adventures with any of these awesome outfitters.  Happy Water Trails!