Near the James River visitor center, visitors can see one of the restored canal locks. The James River/Otter Creek recreation area is one of five developed areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and is located near two highway crossings, state routes 501 and 130. The area has a campground, restaurant/gift shop, picnic area, and handicap-accessible fishing dock.
The visitor center is a good place to get acquainted with the history of the area. It has an exhibit on the James River and Kanawha Canal as well as background on the actual restoration of the lock. You can grab your hiking boots for the James River Trail and the Trail of Trees.
You can relax next to the James River year-round at any of the several scattered picnic tables located just down the hill from the visitor center. However, open fires are not allowed.