I mean, we’re called “River City”. What do you think everyone’s going to do when it’s 100 degrees outside (feels like 500) and the city is composed of broke college students…or in the case of my friends, broke late 20’s/early 30’s party people? We grab a towel (blanket, nothing, whatever), a cooler, a dog, a way to play music, and we go lay on some rocks and dip our lower bodies in our semi polluted James River waters. Once you’ve been sweating for about 15 minutes, you just kinda embrace the filthyness and go with it. And it’s kinda great. I’ve met some awesome people and had some great times on Belle Isle (specifically “Dead Rock”), Texas Beach, 42nd Street, and the Pipeline. I was shocked to meet someone recently who was in his late 20’s, had grown up in Chesterfield, but was on his first river visit ever. That just doesn’t make sense. If you’ve lived here for even a year and haven’t been to one of our lovely river spots yet, ask someone (most likely ANYONE) how to get to one, and get down there. Oh, bring bug spray….like, a lot of bug spray. And DON’T BRING GLASS unless you know you’re cool enough to not break it and fully intend to take it with you when you leave. Don’t you dare litter or hurt anyone on these blessed spots.
Also, besides white water rafting (which I've written about) and kayaking, companies like Riverside Outfitters and Black Dog Paddle now offer long boards/paddle boards and canoes to rent out. I'm very excited to try this soon.
For maps and more information on our wonderful river, check out the James River Park System website.
One of the main things I love about Richmond is its proximity to both the ocean and the mountains (see section below for the latter). If there's no traffic (which is a biiiiiig "if" on a Friday evening or Saturday morning/afternoon) you can be laying on sand and feeling the salty ocean breeze in an hour and a half...depending on how you drive. Virginia Beach, Sandbridge, First Landing National Park, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and so many other nearby areas can feel like a vacation, even if you only go for the day or a weekend. With so much to do from mini golf, great restaurants, amusement rides, shopping, go-karts, aquariums, parasailing...I mean, there's no excuse to be bored. And if you're broke, hey, just go lie on the sand. Seriously, it's better than being in Richmond all day every day all summer. IMO.
We live in a concrete jungle, right? So sometimes it's perfectly refreshing to escape the city on a hot summer day and drive out west to the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Thanks to the Appalachian Trail, there are numerous hikes with waterfalls, pools to soak in (like, rock pools, not swimming pools), and breathtaking views. Plus you at least have the chance of being somewhere a few degrees cooler.
For more info on the Appalachian Mountains and the beautiful (sometimes scary) Blue Ridge Parkway, check out this site.
My favorite place in the summer! If you’re a Virginia resident, you can go once at the very beginning of the season (April) and then get in free the rest of the summer! Sure you have to pay again if you want to go back for Hollow Scream, but who cares in the summer? If you’re bored out of your mind but have gas in your car, in 45 minutes you can be riding amazing coasters in the most beautiful amusement park on the East Coast, or cooling down on the log flume, Roman Rapids, or Escape from Pompeii….actually, a lot of the coasters will cool you off (at least for a few minutes). And depending on how early you go, you may not even have to worry about buying food! Or do what I do and sneak in a bottle of water and some trail mix and you’re good to go lol.
For more info, go to the official Busch Gardens website.
Good beer, food, and lots of people (and dogs). What more can I say? …well I could mention how every Thursday in the summer they have the Food Truck court starting around 5:30 and it’s an excellent time to go. At the beginning of the summer, Project Yoga?? Would host yoga sessions in the brewing area, and that was pretty cool. And besides the bar in the main Hardywood building, they also bought the building next door and opened up another bar with an indoor seating area. Check, check, check, check it out. For more info on their events and hours, go to the Hardywood website.
There are also a wide array of other breweries if you’re looking for a less popular/crowded hang out, including Strangeways Brewing and Isley Brewing Company. And I can't forget the classic, and probably my forever favorite Richmond brewery, Legend Brewery. Also a restaurant now, its patio offers amazing views of the city skyline. It's just usually a bit crowded on evenings and weekends, just like Hardywood.
Everyone knows "Virginia is for lovers", right? Well I ask you, lovers of what? The answer: drinking. Apparently. Over the past few years I've been to out-of-town breweries, wineries, and "cideries" more than I've been to D.C., the beach, and the mountains combined. A few of my favorite wineries include Veritas Vineyard & Winery, Barboursville Vineyards, Keswick Vineyards, and the Williamsburg Winery (honorable mention: Trump Winery. Even though I don't like that man, the views at that winery are gorgeous). As far as cider goes, I've been to one place out of town called Castle Hill Cider that was just gorgeous. But we also have our own local cidery called Blue Bee Cider, which just happens to be next door to Legends and boasts itself as "Virginia's first urban cidery".
Flying Squirrels Baseball Games
It seemed like everyone was bummed out when it was announced Richmond's baseball team would no longer be known as The Braves. It seemed like everyone was even more bummed out when it was announced the new team would be known as The Flying Squirrels. I mean...c'mon, really? And some people still aren't biting (at least I've personally heard a few people still complaining that it was a poor decision and shitty change). But I, for one, love the changes made to game days and embrace the quirky new(ish) team! I don't remember having nearly as much fun at Braves games as I do at Flying Squirrels games. I also don't remember us winning any more or any less, so who cares? Go buy yourself a cheap beer (bring cash! while the concession stand beers have long lines and seem a bit pricey, the 2nd floor of the stadium has a beer cart/stand that only accepts cash but gives you a great deal on a large beer).
For more information on game times and when they have promotions/fireworks, check out the Flying Squirrel's site.
Buuuuuuut I haven’t been in FOREVER so I don’t have any relevant first hand info for you. So much has changed their in the last few years. All I can say is enough awesome changes have been made/things added that I’m making it a priority to get back there this year!
To get more information and check it out for yourself, take a look at Kings Dominion.com.
There are many, many, MANY other things to do in or around Richmond during the summer, but these are what I believe to be the staples that every Richmonder and visitor should try at least once. But hey, if there's something I missed, by all means, let me know. And if all this fails you and you're still bored....well, have a cookout or go to DC. Or wait for whatever free festival or concert is happening next.