RIVER RAVE: Have you ever camped in the James?

Camping out in the James across from Brown's Island in downtown RichmondThere are plenty of little islands and large boulders to be found in the Falls of the James as the river progresses through Richmond. In the warmer weather, it is common to find campsites dotting the river, like with the tent nestled into the trees on an island next to Brown’s Island in downtown Richmond.

For example, one could find plenty of campsites dotting the river between the James River Railway Bridge and Boulevard Bridge the night of the Fourth of July in sight of the Carillon and the fireworks at Dogwood Dell.  The interior woods of Williams Island is another consistent spot.

Have you ever camped on the James River? Is there a problem with people who do? Where are the best places? What kind of thrill does it add being on the James in Richmond instead of off in the wilderness?

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6 responses to “RIVER RAVE: Have you ever camped in the James?

  1. I’ve often wondered why the City doesn’t provide actual campground facilities along the James River Park System. It seems like it could be a really unique opportunity to juxtapose a very urban setting with what is traditionally a backwoods/rural setting for camping. I’ve always though it would be cool to leave my house in Church Hill, go for an urban hike through my neighborhood, down to Shockoe Bottom, walk along the canal system, cross over Belle Isle and make my way over to the south bank of Reedy Creek all while carrying my camping gear in a back pack for an overnight outing on the James River. Perhaps it’s liability reasons, but I really think they’re missing out on something special. Futhermore, the revenue collected from camping fees (tent site rentals, and perhaps even cabin rentals) could be allocated for future river improvements such as the restoration and renovation of the Pump House. Just my two cents.

  2. Excellent comment Magneto. That has never come up in conversations I’ve been involved in, but I will try to bring that up with some of the key river folks I meet with. Thanks!

  3. Thanks, Phil! I hope the idea eventually becomes a reality – it’d be really cool!

  4. or we could leave it the way it is and let people find their own sites. theres plenty, believe me. why destroy more wildlife habitat by building cabins??

  5. I agree with the campsite suggestion. As someone who grew up in a family where at least half our vacations were camping, it would have been really nice to be able to camp but be near a city for exploring. If properly promoted, I feel it could bring a whole new level of tourism to Richmnd. Especially right now when families are trying to find affordable ways to vacation.

  6. Safety could be a concern. Closer to people that would want to rob or do you harm in an urban setting at night. Cabins are not likely, but an organized effort to allow camping would be cool for tourists.

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