Get Out on the Water!

April 04, 2022
Trip Ideas

The small mountain city of Waynesboro is located just three miles from the intersection of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, and Appalachian Trail. In addition, the spring-fed South River flows through downtown, drawing anglers from all over the country looking to catch trophy-sized trout, and providing fun on the water for kids of all ages.


Day 1: Fly Fishing 

Kick off your adventure by trying your hand at one of Waynesboro’s specialties: fly fishing. The South River Fly Shop on Main Street offers full-service guiding and instructing for every skill level, as well as a wide selection of gear. In addition to full-day excursions along the Shenandoah, James, and Jackson rivers, they also offer guided trips into Shenandoah National Park. For today you’ll want to schedule a half-day excursion on the South River, which runs through downtown Waynesboro and is one of only two urban trout fisheries in the state. Once Tommy or Kevin lead you to the sweet spots along the river, we think you’ll agree that its stocked waters make it an angler’s playground! 

After spending your afternoon on the river, it’s only appropriate to cap off your day with dinner downtown at The River Burger Bar for an elevated burger experience, or a tasty salad or wrap. Pair your meal with your choice of a craft beer or fun cocktail.


Day 2: Discover New Trails

The Waynesboro Water Trail is the newest addition to the city's park system and allows visitors the chance to see the city from the vantage point of the water. Put in your canoe or kayak at Ridgeview Park and paddle the scenic four-mile stretch of the South River to the convenient take-out at Basic Park. Shorter trips can be taken by, if desired, by utilizing other river accesses along the water trail. This stretch of the river is perfect for beginners or those looking for an easy paddle. You’ll encounter class I and class II rapids along the way and glimpse some of the historic homes and bygone industries of the city. If you need gear, talk to the folks at Rockfish Gap Outfitters. Be sure to check the water table of the South River before planning your paddle. A PDF version of the Waynesboro Water Trail, along with maps of popular hiking trails and historical walking tours, is available on our Maps page.

Following your float, you’ll need to refuel and a delicious deli sandwich from Mister Jamison’s is just the ticket. Eat in the restaurant or take your lunch to go and enjoy it at a picnic table in nearby Constitution Park. 

Walk off your lunch with a tour of Waynesboro’s world-class murals on the Waynesboro Street Arts Trail. Download the free Traipse app for a fun, interactive scavenger experience that the whole family will enjoy. 

Mosey back downtown for a massive "Virginia Slice" of delicious pizza from Benny Stivale’s for dinner. They always have the classics on deck (cheese and pepperoni), but they also rotate monthly specials such as broccoli with beer cheese or bacon mac n’ cheese, and they have a stellar line-up of local craft beers on tap and in cans. Grab a slice and a cold one and catch some live music in their outdoor beer garden on select summer weekends. 


Day 3: One More Adventure

Before you leave town, you absolutely have to check out the newest trail in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail takes you 700 feet underground through an abandoned railroad tunnel. If you’re up for a challenge, try the 4.5-mile out and back beginning from the Western Trailhead. If you’re feeling a more leisurely stroll, begin at the Eastern Trailhead. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight, as the trail gets pitch dark inside!


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