Exploring the James River in the Heart of Downtown Richmond, VA

Richmond, Virginia, is perfect for people who want to live and play along the water

The greater Richmond, Virginia area is home to many outdoor activities. Not surprisingly, many are centered around the James River. While Richmond is a smaller city, when it comes to outdoor activities, it certainly punches above its weight. And the James is one of the reasons. 

Richmond is the only city in the United States with Class IV rapids running right through downtown

The James River begins in the Blue Ridge mountains and spans to the Chesapeake Bay, changing elevation in the middle of the city. This creates a fall line—and makes Richmond the only urban area with IV rapids in the middle of downtown!

Different dams strive to control the roll of the river, meaning you have various classes of rapids running throughout downtown.  But you don’t have to go it alone. There are plenty of options for exploring the James, ranging from guided tours to equipment rentals. 

If you prefer boating over rafting, head above the fall line where the water is calmer. 

The James River Park System offers plenty of ways to explore the James

The James River not only includes rafting and tubing opportunities but miles of natural trails, all part of the James River Park System. There are island parks as well as historical sites on both sides of the river. Many of these sites host annual festivals that promise lots of music, food, and arts.  

Nature lovers will enjoy an abundance of wildlife, and hikers will be thrilled with the number of paths and trails within the park system. Mountain bikers and runners can also find plenty of waterside trails that challenge even the most experienced athlete. 

Get a birds-eye view of the James via its bridges

You don’t have to be in the water to experience your own view of the James. By car or foot is also an option. 

Richmond has its fair share of bridges that cross the James. They are the Mayo Bridge, Robert E Lee Memorial Bridge, Manchester Bridge, Huguenot Bridge, Powhite Parkway Bridge, Edward E “Willey” Bridge, World War II Veterans Memorial, and the Boulevard Bridge, also known as the Nickel Bridge.  (Of course, learning that the almost 100-year-old Nickel Bridge actually costs thirty-five cents is a rite of passage for anyone new to the area.)  

One of the newer attractions to the river system is the T. Potterfield pedestrian bridge in downtown. This allows a very scenic walk across the river and can be quite exciting if the river is roaring.  

Dining along the James River can be an exceptional treat

When weather permits, you can be certain that the restaurants that offer a view of the James will be hopping! It is refreshing to be able to grab a beer and bite to eat while watching along such a scenic backdrop.  

Outdoor dining gained even more popularity and flexibility in the last several years and taking a seat at a table with a view makes the experience even more enjoyable. 

Just know that new restaurants are cropping up all the time, so be sure to stay in the know about what restaurants are open along the river. A couple of our favorites for river views include The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing, Legend Brewing, and along the canal Casa del Barco! Each offers classic Richmond riverfront dining.

Living on the James River

Enjoying The James doesn’t have to be just for play. For those interested in having those views right out your window, you’re in luck. There are some great opportunities to purchase real estate along the James River—both in Richmond and the neighboring counties. Call me to see how I can help you find the perfect home along this iconic riverfront.

Author – Cindy Jez

Cindy has over 25 years of experience focused on the new homes arena. She has assisted builder clients with talent acquisition, land development, marketing, and sales efforts. She has been recognized by the Home Building Association of Richmond as Sales Manager of the Year, Marketing Executive of the Year, and Associate of the Year. Additionally, her marketing efforts were recognized by the National Association of Home Builders with a Silver Award for Marketing Excellence.

Her client portfolio has included Main Street Homes, Finer Homes, DR Horton, Eastwood Homes, Biringer Builders, Bel Arbor Builders, Creative Home Concepts, East West Properties, Boddie Noell Development, and a host of other builders/developers throughout central Virginia.

Cindy has served on the Board of Directors for both the Richmond Association of Realtors and the Home Building Association of Richmond. She is an associate broker with Shaheen Ruth Martin & Fonville Realtors and an active member of the Beran Group where she spearheads the teams’ efforts in builder relations and land/lot acquisition.

Editor – Mair Downing

Mair Downing is the editor at BeranGroupHomes.com. She oversees the development and creation of all of our articles, so if you like them, be sure to let her know!

Mair is also an amazing Realtor with The Beran Group. She’s never met a stranger, so it’s no surprise if you feel like old friends after the first meeting. Mair is passionate about helping sellers and buyers navigate the sometimes complex world of real estate. She is experienced in helping clients buy, sell, invest and rehab-to-sell. Mair is a born problem solver and relationship builder, which helps to make transactions go smoothly!