If you are looking for outdoor activities look no further than the Fredericksburg region! Let’s start with The Rappahannock River, which winds its way through Stafford County, downtown Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania County. In fact, it’s the longest free-flowing river in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed! Did you know that approximately 25 miles of land along the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers are protected by permanent conservation easement? This creates the ultimate outdoor oasis between Washington D.C and Richmond. In addition to the Rappahannock River, we have Lake Anna in Spotsylvania, Louisa, and Orange County. That’s right. This lake is so big that it can be found in 3 counties and is recognized as one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States. We haven’t even touched on historic parks and trails!
Still not convinced? Need more details? Read on for just a few ways you can enjoy the great outdoors, right here in The ‘Burg!
Fishing - If there is one activity that has a definite Fredericksburg following, it’s fishing. Specifically, fly fishing. There are many points along the river where you can wade in and cast. You will need a fishing license, so be sure to procure one before you head out. If you’ve never been fly fishing before and would like to learn, sign up for classes at River Rock Outfitter or through Parks and Rec. There are also several online groups and forums dedicated to Fredericksburg fly fishing.
Now, let's talk fish. Below the city, or the fall line, look for white perch, bass ( striped, largemouth), black crappie, yellow perch, and catfish (blue, channel ). Above the fall line, you’ll find herring, shad and striped bass, smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish. If you’re on Instagram be sure to tag us, so we can see what you catch! @VistFred, @tourstaffordva or @VisitSposty.
There’s just something special about fishing in a river you know our forefathers also fished in.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding- Stand up paddle-boarding (SUP), really took off in popularity, in the area, a few years ago. Today, you can rent a paddleboard from several locations. There are online groups and meet ups, as well as SUP yoga classes. During the summer months, Dragonfly Yoga and The Yoga Foundation of Fredericksburg hold events where you spend a morning or evening on the water, and then meet up at a local brewery afterwards. SUP is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the river, while also getting a great workout!
This image is from Fredericksburg Today and was taken at Mott's Run Resovoir.
Kayak, Tubing, Canoeing- If paddle boarding isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to get out on the water. For starters, there's nothing more relaxing than slowly drifting down the Rappahannock in an inner-tube. If you’re looking for something more fast paced, kayaking or canoeing might be your thing. You can rent all three at the Virginia Outdoor Center. Motts Run Reservoir in Spotsylvania County, and Lake Mooney in Stafford County are also prime locations for canoeing and kayaking (and fishing!).
Rent a boat- Let your stress float away on Lake Anna. This picturesque 13,000 acre lake is perfect for a day of sailing, water-skiing, or fishing. Cast a line for white and yellow perch, bass, pickerel, walleye, crappie, carp, blue gill, sunfish and channel catfish. Whew! Bring your boat or rent one of the many local boat rental shops. Lake Anna State Park also offers 13 miles of horseback riding, bicycling and hiking trails.
Hiking Trails and Walking Tours - The best way to get to know an area, is to walk slowly through it. Put away those phones (well, maybe whip them out for a picture or two) and take in all that the Fredericksburg region has to offer. There are plenty of hiking trails at various levels of difficulty. The Rappahannock Canal Path will wind you around the Rappahannock River and lead you right into downtown. The Salamander Loop on The Ni River Trail, in Spotsylvania, is a great, easy trail. Perfect for kids or those who fancy a quick stroll in nature. If you’re in Stafford County, you won’t want to miss out on Government Island! It’s actually a 18th and 19th century quarry site that provided Aquia sandstone for the construction of the U.S. Capitol, and the White House! Now an archaeological site, the first half of the 1.5-mile trail is handicap accessible, fairly level and paved. Perfect for bird and animal watching!
If a walking tour is more your speed (We don’t blame you. They’re fabulous!), there are plenty to choose from. Think: food tours, ghost tours, history tours, art tours, and now Old Skool Tours- which offers a history tour by day and a pub crawl at night. If you’d rather explore downtown outside of a group and set your own pace, be sure to download a Walking Tour of Fredericksburg Map!
Battlefields- We would be remiss to not include visiting a local battlefield to our list. The Civil War played a large part in Fredericksburg’s history, and the battlefields are a very real, physical representation of that. Four pivotal Civil War battlefields to visit are: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania Courthouse and Wilderness. Interested in learning more about how the Civil War shaped Fredericksburg? Checkout The Stafford Civil War Park and these articles.
Pick your own farms- This one is for the kids… or those who are kids at heart! There’s nothing better than spending the day outside on a farm. Picking your own produce isn’t just for the summer, either. There are farms open each season here in the region! From strawberries, to raspberries, sunflowers to pumpkins, even Christmas trees- Fredericksburg farms have you covered. Don’t forget the sunscreen if you’re picking in warmer weather, and work gloves if you’re chopping down a Christmas tree. Your hands and skin will thank us later. A few farms to keep on your list are: Miller Farms Market, Snead’s Asparagus Farm (They’re more than just asparagus), Braehead Farm, Mount Olympus Berry Farm, Belmont Christmas Tree Farm, and Westmoreland Berry Farm.
Written by Brenda Sapanghila