Eco Tour Guides

Hire an Ecotour Guide

You’ve made your decision. You want to take the day – perhaps the weekend – and paddle coastal Virginia’s waterways.

But you don’t want to do it alone. You want to have someone well versed in the ecosystem science help point out what you are seeing. You want to understand the natural and cultural history of the region. And you want to be led.

Consider hiring a guide. Certified Virginia Ecotour Guides share fun facts about our beautiful coastal ecosystems and their wild inhabitants. They have received training in wildlife and habitat protection, customer service, interpretation, and planning – so you are sure to have a safe and enjoyable time, naturally!

Eastern Shore Northern Neck Middle Peninsula VAB & Other
Seaside Ecotours, Capt. Meriwether Payne


The Tides Inn, Rebecca Wojtach


Bay Country Kayaking, Jackie Collins


Paddle On of Williamsburg, Lori Erwin


Captain Dan’s Around the Island Tours, Capt. Dan & Capt. Ray Davis


Mark Boikin Sally Shoemaker


Bay Country Kayaking, Shannon Alexander


  Friends of the Dragon Run,

Molly Broderson & Janice Moore

Big Papa SUP, Chris Nacy


  Essex County Parks and Recreation, Katherine Carlton & Fred Birchett  
Beach and Bay Tours, Paul & Pat Brabazon


  Chesapeake Bay Paddling Company, Jim Warwick


Onancock Sailing Adventures, Capt. Tom Bunino


Cape Charles Boat & Tour Company, David Lee


Adalberto Rodriguez      
David Denny      
Edwin Powers      
Jennifer Elmer      
Zachary Mallette      
Tony Fleck      

Become an Certified Ecotour Guide

Want to turn your passion for paddling Virginia’s rural coastal waterways into a paycheck? Consider training to become an official – and certified – Virginia Ecotour Guide.

The next course offering begins in January of 2020. Registration will open in the fall of 2019. To learn more contact: or visit the VDEQ VCZMP page.

Why now?

Tourism is a major driver in Virginia’s economy and ecotourism is especially important in rural coastal Virginia as it connects people to the very natural resources we strive striving to protect, instilling a strong will to take care of these life-sustaining resources.

Virginia offers an eight-week, “live” online class to provide students the certification credentials they need to lead their own ecotours. The course focuses on various aspects of ecotourism, including ecosystem science, customer service, business marketing, interpretation skills, culture and natural history. Guest speaker presentations are incorporated into the course and active discussion is encouraged and required. Interpretive materials and resources for the course are provided.

In order to qualify for an ecotourism certification, a CPR & First Aid Certification is required and can be obtained at the student’s convenience. The guide certification lasts for three years, after which time the guide must re-certify.

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