For the couples that love a little adventure in their vacations, a kayaking tour in Virginia may be the perfect getaway. Consider “roughing it” with affordable campsite accommodations or add a bit of luxury to your agenda with a stay at a bed and breakfast or spa retreat. Book one of these tours and kayak some of Virginia’s most beautiful and romantic waterways during your next couple’s vacation.

SouthEast Expeditions—Cape Charles

Photo Credit: Sam Dean, @sdeanphotos

A kayaking trip with SouthEast Expeditions on the Eastern Shore of Virginia can range from a quick 2 hour paddle to a multi-day excursion, but their most romantic options involve wine and local seafood. The Winery Kayak Tour includes a bottle of your choosing at Chatham Vineyards, where you’ll take a break from kayaking the Chesapeake Bay to savor delicious Virginia wines. The tour has proven to be extremely popular, and they have since added another winery tour to Holly Grove Vineyards.
On the Clam Aquaculture Kayak Tour, you’ll dig up some of Virginia’s tastiest Littleneck clams to eat for dinner at a local family owned clam farm. For a more natural approach, sign up for the Wild Clam Wrangling Kayak Tour and search for clams out in the public open waters of the Bay.

Places to eat:

  • The Shanty
  • Fig Street Inn
  • The Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery

Places to stay:

  • Hotel Cape Charles
  • Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles
  • Northampton Hotel

Bay Country Kayaking—Williamsburg

Bay Country Kayaking is an eco-tour kayak company that believes in sharing their love of the scenic waters of coastal Virginia with every visitor. The tours focus on educating guests about ecological, cultural, and historical significance of the Virginia coastline and each tour is personalized for the guests to experience the Historic Triangle of Virginia. Tours range from about two and a half hours to about four hours, but the tour guide will work with you to plan a trip that suits your schedule and preferences.

Places to eat:

  • Cochon on 2nd
  • Second Street Bistro
  • Fat Canary
  • Traditions
The Williamsburg Lodge

Places to stay:

  • The Williamsburg Lodge
  • The Williamsburg Inn
  • Fife & Drum Inn
  • Applewood Colonial Bed & Breakfast

Adventure Kayak Tours—Chesapeake

Photo Credit: John Henley

Explore one of the geological wonders of the East Coast. The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Preserve is viewed by naturalists and scientists as one of the “best outdoor laboratories in the world”. For a more romantic experience, book a Paddle Under the Stars or Full Moon Paddle Tour and enjoy some of the most picturesque sunsets in Coastal Virginia.

Places to eat:

  • Off the Hook Steamer & Raw Bar
  • Lockside Bar & Grill

Places to stay:

  • Delta Hotels by Marriott Chesapeake
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Chesapeake-Battlefield Blvd

Atlantic Kayak Company—Alexandria

Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson

Off of Piscataway Creek on the Potomac River, the Atlantic Kayak Company takes guests on chartered tours that show off a wide array of wildlife, such as beavers, turtles and great blue herons out on the water.

On the tour, you can see several national landmarks, including Mount Vernon and the Washington Monument. The path on the Potomac leads through quiet, slow-moving waters that provide a relaxing paddle perfect for beginners.

Atlantic Kayak gives you several options for dining out on your tour, including boxed lunches, light hor d’oeuvres, dinner buffets, and beer and wine tastings for afterwards.

Take the Mallows Bay Shipwrecks Tour and discover the largest ship graveyard in the Western hemisphere, containing hundreds of shipwrecks dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Although this may seem a bit morbid, the shipwrecks are teeming with breathtaking wildlife, flora, and fauna.

There are also a few different Sunset and Moonlight Tours available, and on the 4th of July, the company leads a kayak tour to an open view of the fireworks without the crowds of Washington, D.C.

Places to eat:

  • 219 Restaurant
  • Landini Brothers
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar
  • Vermilion Restaurant
  • Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier

Places to stay:

  • Hotel Monaco Alexandria
  • Morrison House
  • Lorien Hotel and Spa

New River Outdoor Company—Pembroke


If you’re looking to spend more than a few hours kayaking with your significant other, consider booking through New River Outdoor Company, a river outfitters that specializes in overnight canoe and kayak trips. They currently have a few special offers that are geared towards couples, such as Two for Tuesday, where during summer months you can rent one kayak and get the second for 50% off. This portion of the New River provides over 70 miles of river available to kayak, and the tour guides combine over 12 different trip options to create your ideal overnight kayaking getaway.

Places to eat:

  • The Palisades Restaurant
  • Preston’s Restaurant

Places to stay:

  • Mountain Lake Lodge & Conservancy
  • Inn at Riverbend
  • The MacArthur Inn

Surf & Adventure Company—Virginia Beach

Photo Credit: Bryan Hopkins, @gokayakvb

Sign up for the Sunset Tour with Surf & Adventure Company for an evening paddle that launches from the private boat dock into the scenic Back Bay. Marine animal lovers can book the Dolphin Tour and discover pods of dolphins, sea turtles, and other ocean wildlife that call the coastal Virginia waterways home.
There are Lunch & Dinner Kayak Tours for those looking to incorporate a meal into their waterfront adventure. The Lunch Tour has packed meal options available for you to choose from, while the Dinner Tour takes you to Blue Pete’s Restaurant, a local spot known for serving up fine seafood and steaks. The passenger van will pick you up at Blue Pete’s and then drive you to Surf & Adventure Company, where you will take a one-way kayak tour back to the restaurant for dinner.

Places to eat:

  • Margie & Ray’s
  • Rockafeller’s Restaurant
  • Waterman’s Surfside Grille

Places to stay:

  • Turtle Cay Resort
  • Barclay Cottage Bed & Breakfast
  • Beach Spa Bed & Breakfast

Riverside Outfitters Rafting and Recreation—Richmond

Photo Credit: Sam Dean, @sdeanphotos

Based in Virginia’s capital on the James River, Riverside Outfitters is a popular hub for water activities in the region. They offer two levels of guided kayak tours; the first is the Flat Water Tour, which is best for those looking for a serene, peaceful experience on the river. On this two hour kayaking tour, you’ll get a glimpse of wildlife and can take a break on one of the islands to eat lunch. For more experienced kayaking couples, book the Upper River Tour to ride down Class II Whitewater rapids in between smoother sections of the river. You’ll still have the opportunity to stop at the small islands dotting the water to take breaks, and this trip can range from two to three hours.

Places to eat:

  • Casa del Barco
  • Rappahannock Oyster Company
  • Pasture
  • Black Sheep

Places to stay:

  • Quirk Hotel
  • The Berkeley Hotel
  • The Graduate Richmond

Clinch River Adventures—St. Paul


In the Heart of Appalachia region, Clinch River Adventures offers kayaking tours that range from a short 45 minutes to over seven hours on the water. And with four access points along the Clinch River where you can get in the water, you can decide to stop or continue your journey to suit your needs.

Places to eat:

  • Cliffside Grille
  • Mood Dog Brick Oven

Places to stay:

  • Mountain View Lodge
  • The Ole Nickelsville Hotel

Shenandoah River Outfitters—Luray

Photo credit: Jonathan Kozowyk

Kayak down this scenic bend in the Luray area with Shenandoah River Outfitters. Rent a kayak for just a few hours with the Sampler Trip, a kayaking escape perfect for beginners that features spectacular mountain views and abundant wildlife. Or plan a trip that lasts several days and takes you all the way from Bixler’s Ferry to Front Royal. If you plan an overnight trip, there are campgrounds and cabins available on-site. Camp Outback borders the George Washington National Forest and has 25 campgrounds available for more modest accommodations. The cabins sit on the Shenandoah River and range from a simple two-room cabin to larger retreats that offer comforts like a hot tub in a private gazebo, picnic area with a charcoal grill, and a fire pit for you to snuggle close during the cooler evenings on the river.

Places to eat:

  • The Restaurant at the Victorian Inn
  • The Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant at the Mimslyn Inn

Places to stay:

  • The Shenandoah Lodge
  • Mountain Breeze River Chalet
  • The Mimslyn Inn

Twin River Outfitters—Buchanan

Kayak the James River in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Twin River Outfitters. They offer trips from two hours to five full days in length along one of the most scenic sections of the James, including recommendations for campsites that sit on the river banks.

Places to eat:

  • Pomegranate Restaurant & Gathering Place
  • Red Fox Tavern
  • Brink of the James Bistro
Natural Bridge Hotel

Places to stay:

  • Natural Bridge Hotel & Conference Center
  • Peaks of Otter Lodge
  • Fincastle Vineyard Bed & Breakfast
  • The Hummingbird Inn

Fairy Stone State Park—Stuart

Photo Credit: Chad Williams, @echadwilliams

Like many Virginia State Parks that have waterways running through them, Fairy Stone State Park has rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks, and canoes available for rent during the summer season. Take your own private tour of the 168-acre Philpott Reservoir for a romantic kayaking adventure.

Places to eat:

  • Papa’s Pizzeria
  • Ten Pin Café
  • Mabry Mill Restaurant

Places to stay:

  • Escape at the Reserve at Fairystone
  • The Mountain Rose Inn
  • The Virginia Home Inn

Rapidan River Kayak Company—Orange

Located in Orange, Rapidan River Kayak Company is just a few miles outside of the downtown area and four miles from James Madison’s Montpelier. Book a couple’s kayaking trip before exploring the historic estate of the former Virginia-born President.

The Inn at Willow Grove, Photo Credit: Hope Scibal

Places to eat:

  • The Inn at Willow Grove
  • The Inn at Meader Plantation
  • The Light Well

Places to stay:

  • Inn on Poplar Hill
  • The Inn at Willow Grove
  • Walden Hill
  • The Inn at Westwood Farm

Eco Trek Adventures—Prince George

Couples looking for an outdoor adventure may consider renting kayaks from Eco Trek Adventures and paddling down the lower Appomattox River just south of Richmond. As part of the adventure, Eco Trek offers a five-hour “Gourmet Paddle” by reservation with a guide and a box lunch provided by one of five Petersburg restaurants. Couples will stop for lunch on a private island and paddle on to the Hopewell City Marina.
For the nature-lover, bird-watcher or the adventure-seeker, the lower Appomattox River offers a multitude of opportunities. Eagles nest here, along with ospreys, cormorants, heron, hawks, geese and ducks. Deer also inhabit the area.

Places to eat:

  • Wabi-Sabi
  • Buttermilk Bake Shop
  • King’s Barbecue

Places to stay:

  • Baymont Inn & Suites
  • Comfort Suites Southpark
  • The Ragland Mansion Bed & Breakfast

Discover more kayaking adventures for couples, or tell us about one of your favorite tour companies in your region. A final note: Many State Parks have kayak rentals available at low costs, allowing you and your loved one to explore some of Virginia’s pristine, untouched territory.