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Virginia Seaside Water Trail Route Rating System

Beginner: Kayaking with a child

Trails indicated as “Beginner” are short paddling trips through mostly protected waters that are suitable for paddlers who are relatively new to the sport.  Beginner paddlers should always paddle with a partner, and are encouraged to seek guidance from area outfitters and other resources such as the Coast Guard. 

These trips are meant to be less than 3 hours in duration in optimum conditions.  Environmental conditions should always play a role in determining the wisdom and safety of any outdoor endeavor including kayaking and canoeing.


Trails indicated as “Intermediate”are generally paddling trips meant to be between 2 and 6 hours in duration in optimum conditions and require paddlers to safely deal with challenging conditions such as strong currents or winds, large open water crossings, or high volumes of power boat traffic. 

These trips are recommended for paddlers with some experience who are comfortable in their boats and can perform all necessary rescue techniques in open water.  It is recommended that all paddlers seek guidance form area outfitters and other resources such as the Coast Guard.

Advanced: Kayakers

These are the most challenging paddling trips included in this water trail guide and are intended for paddlers with a great deal of experience who are comfortable navigating with a map and compass.  It is strongly suggested that paddlers carry maps and a GPS unit.  These trips will often take a full day to complete. 

Paddlers should not paddle these routes solo and are encouraged to paddle with a certified guide or to seek guidance from area outfitters regarding tide, wind, and other environmental conditions, as well as advice about wildlife viewing and other opportunities along the way.  In most cases these trips follow the most easily navigable route.  There are many alternative routes through the seaside, and it is strongly recommended that any paddler undertaking one of these trips ask a local outfitter for advice about which of these alternative routes are accessible and most desirable.

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For comments or questions concerning this program's web pages, contact Virginia Witmer.

This website is provided by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program through a Coastal Zone Management Act grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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