Connect with the James
Connect with the James is a guided river trip program provided by James River Association that fosters a deep and profound relationship between river lovers and Virginia’s most precious natural resource. Through Connect with the James, participants have the opportunity to relax with a beautiful journey on the water while learning about the fascinating history, wildlife, culture, and natural resources of the James River and its tributaries. They also get an inside look at how we all play a critical role in preserving the river’s health.
By supporting Connect with the James, you are helping to ensure that we have a swimmable, fishable, and drinkable river to share, protect, and enjoy now and throughout future generations.
James River Rx
Spending time in nature, especially near water, offers great benefits to our emotional, mental, and physical well being. Take care of yourself and join James River Association staff members on an upcoming program to learn about the river and become a better steward of our natural resources.
FAQ’s and Paddle/Boat Registration Information
Preregistration is required for all programs. Participants must review and agree to the Essential Eligibility Criteria and the Release and Waiver of Liability to participate. The James River Association will provide canoes and kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices to participants. Participants are encouraged to bring sunscreen, a hat, a reusable water bottle, and wear comfortable clothing appropriate for being outdoors and getting wet. All proceeds go directly to our programing and connecting others to our river. Join our mission and ‘Paddle to Protect’.
Registration fees are not refundable, in the event of a cancellation, we will change your fee to a tax deductible donation. Please cancel your trip a minimum of 72 hours in advance so we have ample time to alert our staff. In the event a program is canceled, James River Association staff members will make an effort to reschedule it.
Sign up for notifications
Interested in a paddle that hasn’t opened for registration? Our guided Connect with the James paddles fill up quickly, sign up here to receive a notification when trip registration open.
Connect with the James FAQs
I received an email about a trip, but I do not see it listed below. How can I find it?
Some of our trips fill up very quickly. If you received an email about an open trip, but the booking information is not listed below, the trip has been filled. Some trips fill within 12 hours of an announcement.
What ages can participate?
Anyone ages 16 and over may participate on a Connect with the James paddle. We do require a parent or guardian to register and fill out the waiver on the minors behalf.
Do you supply all the equipment?
Yes, JRA supplies the vessel, life jacket, paddle and shuttling of equipment. Participants are required to wear closed toe shoes, and are encouraged to wear sunscreen lotion, a hat and attire appropriate for the weather and bring a water bottle.
Can I move to a different trip?
We can possibly move your trip registration to a later date, if spots are available. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about a rebooking, at least one week in advance of your scheduled trip.
Can I get a refund?
In the event of a weather cancellation, we will do everything we can to rebook you to a new trip date. If you are unable to make your trip, please let us know at least three days in advance and we can move you to a different trip. Registration fees are not refundable, in the event of a cancellation that can not be rescheduled, we will change your fee to a tax deductible donation.
Where do I meet the trip guide?
Each paddle below has a google map to the location site. Please use those directions to guide you to the appropriate location.
Have you ever wondered who came up with some of the street and town names around Richmond, words like Hugeunot and Manakin? Is there a magic wheel somewhere to spin that compiles letters into words? The answer is no, these names represent the settlers and people that came to Richmond when it was the Frontier, the unknown west. Join our guides on a paddle through the historic Huguenot Flatwater as we discuss the rich history of the region and the settlers of earlier times that traveled the James River to the edge of the frontier!
Tuesday, July 12, 2022: 5:30 pm
Tuesday, July 26, 2022: 5:30 pm
Paddle Through History – Manakintowne and the Huguenots
JRA Hosted Kayak & SUP Eco Tour with Riverside Outfitters
Whether you are new to kayaking/ stand up paddleboarding or you are a seasoned pro, Riverside Outfitter’s Flatwater Kayaking & SUP Trips offer a chance for anyone to experience Richmond VA in an exciting way! Two things Riverside’s guides are passionate about are spending quality time on the James River and sharing it with others. Allow them to teach you and your family & friends the basic techniques of Kayaking & SUP, such as safety, hydrology, proper body mechanics and a variety of paddle strokes…all on a flat, calm section of the James River. AND, in these special Eco Tour trips, hear from special guest stars, Justin Doyle & Mike Lyden, who will be sharing many intriguing facts about the rich history of this River City on America’s founding river. Meet at Tredegar Boat Ramp across from 470 Tredegar St, Richmond, VA 23219.
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
The Fall Line of the James River in Richmond is full of history! While today it serves as one of the US’s premier urban whitewater destinations, in the years prior it has provided for a vibrant and prosperous history. Join our guides on a paddle trip from Ancarrow’s Landing up to the Fall Line of the James and hear the stories of world class speed boats, Parisian Bridges and many of the other great wonders the James River has provided.
Wednesday, August 10, 2022: 5:30 pm
Tuesday, August 23, 2022: 5:30 pm
Paddle Through History – The Fall Line of the James
Explore Powhatan Creek by Kayak
Join the James River Association for a guided tour of Powhatan Creek by kayak. Participants will launch from James City County Marina and learn about the natural and historic resources of Powhatan Creek and the James River. Kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices will be provided by James City County.
Demand is high and these trips fill up fast. Because these trips are free – registration will open 2 weeks prior to the trip date. If you would like to be notified when trips open, please register for the notifications above.
Wed. July 6, 2022: 5:30 pm
Mon. August 1, 2022: 5:30 pm
Wed. September 7, 2022: 5:30 pm
We offer a one or three-hour trip on our period-accurate replica of a James River Batteau. This large 40 foot long vessel provides ample room for up to 6 passengers to enjoy the local sights on the James River near Lynchburg. On the trip you will see old structures from the days of the Canal along the James, as well as experience the soaring views of the city as we float by. There are a variety of wildlife species to spot on this trip, and you will learn more about environmental conditions of the river as well as ways to protect the river for future generations. The trip starts and ends right at our office located in RiveredgePark in Amherst County which is directly across the river from downtown Lynchburg. Max Participants – 6; 1-hour trip $25, 3-hour trip $60
1-Hour Trip Dates:
Every Thursday and Friday through September 16th.
3-Hour Trip Dates:
None at this time
Lynchburg Batteau Trips
Guided 3-Hour Paddle Trip in Lynchburg
Spend a morning or afternoon taking a quiet guided trip on the James River in Lynchburg, VA. Our paddle trips last approximately 3-4 hours, depending on river levels, and are guided by our expert American Canoe Association and Wilderness First Aid trained staff. This paddle will take you by the city of Lynchburg and through picturesque Amherst and Campbell Counties. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife such as beaver, eagles, osprey, deer, and fish. And paddlers on this trip have even reported seeing river otters playing in the cool, crisp waters of the James!
Saturdays 10 am:
July 9th, 30th
August 13th, 27th
Pontoon Boat Outing and Bird Tour
The tidal freshwater section of the James river from Richmond to the mouth of Chickahominy River is an Audubon Important Bird Area. Thousands of waterfowl spend the winter in this area around Presquille NWR. Aptly named, Turkey Island is home to both quail and turkey as well as an important habitat for migratory birds especially the prothonotary warbler. Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Kingfisher are also common nesters we can spot from the boat. If we are lucky the pair of Peregrine Falcon that nest on the Benjamin Harrison Bridge may be active. This outing is in high demand and not to be missed! $30 per participant.
None at this time.
You will have a chance to ride on our educational pontoon boat, The Spirit of the James, as well as experience JRA educators doing a fish trawl in Herring Creek. This educational experience will give you an opportunity to learn about and see for yourself the fish that live in the James River! Departing from Jordan Point Marina in Hopewell, VA on our 40-foot pontoon boat. $30 per participant.
None at this time.
Species of the James – Fish Trawl
Celebrate James River Week and the Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon with the James River Association! Join staff members on a guided canoe program or an outing on the Spirit of the James, the James River Association’s pontoon boat. Participants will learn about the natural resources of the James River and the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, which make an annual migration up the James River in late summer where they often can be seen breaching out of the water!
The Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon (Canoe Programs – Ages 16+) $20/participant
Celebrate James River Week and the Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon with the James River Association! Join staff members on a guided canoe program launching from either Osborne Park & Boat Landing or Ancarrow’s Landing. Participants will learn about the natural resources of the James River and the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, which make their annual spawning migration up the James River in late summer.
The Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon (Pontoon Boat – Spirit of the James) $25/participant
Celebrate James River Week and the Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon with the James River Association! Join staff members for an outing on the Spirit of the James launching from Rocketts Landing Marina. Participants will learn about the natural resources of the James River and the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, which make their annual spawning migration up the James River in late summer.