Dive into the busiest boating destinations across Virginia with a wealth of data gleaned from thousands of boat rentals.

Table of Contents

Virginia hosts many excellent boating opportunities thanks to both coastal and inland waterways. It boasts over 3,000 miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay and numerous rivers, including the James and Potomac. Lake Anna, Lake Gaston, and Smith Mountain Lake are some of the top boating lakes in the state, where people cruise on pontoons and powerboats during the summer months. The state is home to over 250,000 registered watercraft and provides ideal conditions for various boating-adjacent activities.

In addition to its natural beauty, Virginia provides abundant marinas, boat ramps, and docking facilities, ensuring easy access to its waterways. Whether sailing, fishing, or cruising, boaters in Virginia can have unforgettable experiences on the water.

About This Report

This report analyzes booking and demand data from Getmyboat, the world’s largest boat rental marketplace, examining the top boating cities in Virginia. We reviewed the demand and number of completed rentals to rank the cities. We included data regarding pricing, the most popular style of vessel, and information about the local boating culture and attractions best enjoyed by boat.

Virginia Boating Cities

The Top Boating Cities in Virginia

#1: Virginia Beach

Average Hourly Rate: $131

Average Trip Price: $511

Most Popular Style of Boat: Pontoons

Virginia Beach is ranked as the busiest boating location in Virginia due to its extensive coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. Boaters here enjoy many activities, including deep-sea fishing, sailing, jet skiing, and recreational boating. Explore Linkhorn Bay, Broad Bay, Crystal Lake, Long Creek, and Lynnhaven Inlet from Virginia Beach. Sunset cruises, crabbing trips, dolphin watching, and cruising past waterfront mansions are top-rated activities you can enjoy by boat in Virginia Beach.

#2: Richmond

Average Hourly Rate: $102

Average Trip Price: $954

Most Popular Style of Boat: Jet Skis

Despite being inland, Richmond boasts a vibrant boating scene centered around the James River and nearby Lake Anna. The river and lake provide ample kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding opportunities, and jet skis are beloved here for high-speed fun on the water. Richmond is also known for its historic landmarks visible from the water, such as the Richmond Canal Walk and Belle Isle. Lake Anna State Park is another attraction for outdoors enthusiasts, where one can enjoy boating, the swim beach, and camping on the shores of the lake in the summertime. To grab a bite, cruise to a waterfront restaurant on the lake, like El Gran Patron or Vito’s on Lake Anna. The James River Park System offers numerous access points for boaters, helping Richmond locals gain access to water recreation.

#3: Norfolk

Average Hourly Rate: $161

Average Trip Price: $602

Most Popular Style of Boat: Fishing Charters

Thanks to the Naval Station here, Norfolk is an iconic maritime city. It boasts access to the Chesapeake Bay, the Elizabeth River, and various inland waterways, with deep-water ports and marinas catering to various boating activities. Here, you can enjoy sailing, fishing, and yacht charters. Norfolk's waterfront area, particularly around Waterside District and Town Point Park, provides ample docking facilities and access to amenities for boaters. You can see many historical sights by boat, including the Naval Station, a popular destination for boat tours in Norfolk.

#4: Gloucester Point

Average Hourly Rate: $127

Average Trip Price: $738

Most Popular Style of Boat: Boat Tours

Gloucester Point is situated along the York River and offers a serene boating experience with a fascinating history that dates back to the Revolutionary War. Boaters here enjoy calm waters ideal for kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. Sailing is another popular choice here, where you can book guided sailing tours with a professional skipper. Check out the birdwatching and watch for dolphins as you cruise the river. Gloucester Point's marinas and public boat ramps provide convenient access and amenities. The city’s proximity to Yorktown adds historical appeal to the boating experience and can make for an educational tour on the water.

#5: Arlington

Average Hourly Rate: $152

Average Trip Price: $286

Most Popular Style of Boat: Pontoons

Arlington might be surprising on this list, but its location along the Potomac River offers a fantastic way to see the city sights on the water. Boaters here enjoy stunning views of the monuments and landmarks of Washington, D.C., cruise under the five bridges that connect Arlington to D.C. and can enjoy an educational, historical tour of this area. The Potomac River is easily navigable, offering sailing, rowing, and power boating opportunities. Watch planes fly into the Reagan Airport or cruise into a waterfront restaurant for a meal after sightseeing on the river.

#6: Hampton

Average Hourly Rate: $236

Average Trip Price: $590

Most Popular Style of Boat: Yachts

Hampton's location on the Virginia Peninsula offers access to both the Chesapeake Bay and the Hampton Roads Harbor, making it a prime location for boating and water recreation. Many locals consider it the best-kept secret on the Chesapeake Bay, thanks to its unique boating culture and offerings. Here, boaters enjoy open waters and sheltered coves suitable for sailing, cruising, and sport fishing. Check out nearby attractions such as Fort Monroe and Buckroe Beach, or take a cruise by Hampton University and the Veterans Hospital along the bank.

#7: Colonial Beach

Average Hourly Rate: $164

Average Trip Price: $410

Most Popular Style of Boat: Yachts

Colonial Beach sits along the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, offering a laid-back atmosphere for boaters. The area is known for its sandy beaches, fishing piers, and waterfront restaurants accessible by boat. Boaters here enjoy recreational activities such as jet skiing, kayaking, and cruising. It’s an excellent destination for historical boat tours because it is the birthplace of George Washington and James Monroe. Colonial Beach's small-town charm and waterfront events attract boaters looking for a relaxed and family-friendly boating experience, with plenty of swimming opportunities and fun activities to enjoy on the water with kids of all ages.

#8: Kilmarnock

Average Hourly Rate: $140

Average Trip Price: $313

Most Popular Style of Boat: Sailboats

Kilmarnock, located in the Northern Neck region, is surrounded by rivers and creeks that lead to the Chesapeake Bay. Boaters here enjoy tranquil waters perfect for sailing and fishing. The town's marinas and boat ramps provide convenient access to the water, while nearby attractions like vineyards and historic sites add to the area's appeal. This town has many charming bed and breakfasts, and family-friendly amenities make it great for a vacation. Kilmarnock offers a quieter boating experience than larger cities, making it popular among those seeking a peaceful retreat on the water.

In Summary

Virginia offers diverse boating opportunities across its busiest locations, each characterized by unique geographical features, historical significance, and recreational amenities. Whether along the Atlantic coastline, inland rivers, or bay areas, boaters in Virginia can find an array of activities and experiences tailored to their interests, making it a premier destination for water recreation enthusiasts.

About Getmyboat

Getmyboat is the biggest marketplace for boat charters and rentals, worldwide.

Launched in 2013 with the vision of making the joy of boating accessible to everyone, the company has since grown into the largest boat rental and charter marketplace globally, with over 150,000 listings in 184 countries covering 9,300 destinations.

By giving a platform to both individual boat owners and professional charter businesses, Getmyboat makes the experience of getting out on the water more accessible to everyone — from a weekend jet ski rental in the local lake to a vacation yacht charter to a bachelor party pontoon, and everything in between.

Citing This Report

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