Explore Pocahontas: The Park & The Story
Spend a wonderful outdoor weekend at Pocahontas State Park, where Swift Creek is the nucleus and you are sitting in a wildlife management area!
Bring your mountain bikes and your hiking shoes to explore the 60+ miles of trails, from easy to expert. To cool off, there is a huge pool and aquatic center to "bring you back". Those preferring a slower pace will enjoy kayaking, canoeing, paddleboats and paddleboards on two beautiful lakes. There are camp sites, but wouldn't it be fun to stay in a yurt? The Park's Heritage Amphitheater hosts concerts from spring thru September.
Then there is the story of Pocahontas, told at Henricus Historical Park; it is this region's 1st LOVE story. She met John Rolfe here, the 2nd oldest English settlement in the New World high on a bluff overlooking the James River and next door to the Dutch Gap Conservation Area. You will want to visit the English village, Indian village and the fort.
The charming Chester Village offers dining and fun shops. Make time for a very special lunch or dinner at the historic Half Way House - it is a WOW experience!
Pocahontas State Park rents campsites, yurts, watercraft, and has a camp store.
- Test your mountain biking skills on the Little West Virginia Trail. Miles of Trails at all levels.
- Kayak, canoe, paddleboard or fish on beautiful Swift Creek Lake.
- Those tight muscles will relax in the Olympic-size pool.
- Meet Pocahontas and experience life in 1611 at Henricus Historical Park - a walk back in time.
- A special lunch or dinner at the Half Way House puts you in the seats of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette, among others.
Upon arrival at Pocahontas State Park, a walk along the trails with stunning views of Swift Creek Lake will allow you to see all that is available for your weekend adventure. Explore the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum in the park and discover the stories of the workers who built VA's state park system. A quick swim to cool off and then a short drive to the village of Chester. Howlett's Tavern is a comfortable, casual restaurant with a varied menu of American cuisine.
If you are not doing breakfast at camp, try the Village Café in Chester; it's open at 7:30. If not breakfast check them out later; they are known for their great burgers.
Early morning might be the better time to get on those mountain bikes and challenge yourself on the Lakeview Trails, the shorter Morgan Trails, or the Tall Oaks or Morel Ravine courses. You could get on the water and really relax in canoes or kayaks, or try paddleboarding. I hope you brought your fishing license so you can take full advantage of the huge lake.
Dinner at the Half Way House tonight will be a special treat and a step back in time - to 1760 to be precise. Don't worry, it's not pretentious, just delicious. People rave about the crabcakes, the prime rib, the chicken and more. An early dinner will be needed if there is a concert at the amphitheater.
A visit to Henricus Historical Park brings you to the story of Pocahontas, her father Chief Powhatan, her husband John Rolfe and Sir Thomas Dale. Explore the Indian village, the English village, see Mount Malady, the first hospital in the New World. The views from the bluff are spectacular and you are right next door to Dutch Gap Conservation Area, with trails for a lovely walk - the longest at 3.5 miles, but the others are much shorter.
You can continue to enjoy the magnificent river views by enjoying a late lunch at The Boathouse Restaurant in Hopewell, just 11 miles east. From the expansive patio, you will be looking at the Appomattox and James Rivers coming together - one of the BEST views in the region! All of the seafood is fresh and delicious, whether in soups, salads or entrees.
SUGGESTED PLACES TO STAY
- Pocahontas State Park has camping facilities, bunkhouses for groups, and yurts.
- There are hotels at Exit 61 at the I-95/Route 10 interchange.
This outdoor adventure was submitted by Petersburg Area Regional Tourism
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