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Fun, Outdoor Activities for Seniors in Richmond, VA

The Best Outdoor Activities for Spring and Summer in Richmond

After so many months cooped up indoors, who isn’t ready for some fresh air and sunshine? Older adults fortunate enough to live in greater Richmond can spend the spring and summer months rediscovering all the wonderful places and outdoor spaces our city offers. There are always exciting things to do in Richmond, VA, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. With the James River cutting its way through the city and plenty of forested land, open green spaces, and beautiful wetlands, you won’t have far to go to find a perfect spring hike. But if hiking seems too strenuous, there’s no shortage of beautiful trails to walk or parks to stroll. Just getting out and enjoying the flora, watching the birds, or maybe reeling in a fish or two will do wonders for your outlook and your physical and mental well-being. Lakewood retirement community has put together a spring and summer tip sheet of local outdoor activities to help get you started. Slip into your comfortable shoes and let’s head out there.

Join your friends from Lakewood this spring.

Another way to get outdoors and active is to join us for National Senior Health & Fitness Day — Wednesday, May 26. It’s a nationwide event involving more than 100,000 older adults and Lakewood is a local sponsor. You’re also welcome to join our Fishing Trip Deltaville on May 25, and if you miss it this year look forward to attending it the following years. We’ve chartered the “Lucky Lady” for an early morning fishing trip on the bay. Just call (804)729-5563 for details about either senior living events. View our monthly Independent Living Activity Calendar.

Hit the trails

An easy walk, a vigorous hike, or anything in between is easy in this beautiful city.

The Belle Isle Trail

300 Tredegar Street

One of the most beautiful and accessible trails, right in the heart of downtown, this is an easy, 1.8-mile trek around the perimeter of the island, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally a Native American fishing site before Europeans arrived in Virginia, the island later served as one of Richmond’s first industrial sites, hosting a nail factory in 1814, a granite quarry in the 18th and 19th  centuries, a power plant from 1904 to 1967, and an ironworks until 1972. Most notoriously, Belle Isle was a Civil War prisoner of  camp, and you can still see the ruins of a Confederate gun emplacement.

Forest Hill Park Loop

4021 Forest Hill Avenue

With terrain that’s perfect for all ages and skill levels, the trail winds through the 105-acre park for just over three miles. It’s a chance to be surrounded by nature without ever leaving the city. You’ll be out among other nature enthusiasts where you’ll cross a walking bridge over Reedy Creek, watch children at play, rest easily on the many park benches, or just sit back and enjoy the passing parade of birdwatchers, picnickers and dog walkers. Forest Hill Park is listed in Virginia’s Historic Register. Over the years, the park has been home to a rock quarry, a private estate, and even an amusement park in the 1920s.

The James River North Bank and Buttermilk Loop

300 Tredegar Street

Though you’re making your way through the city, this trail lets you feel as if you’re a world away. You’ll move through woods, along the riverside, through parks and gardens, past historic cemeteries and along some of the city’s favorite sites. Start from the north bank of the James River, cross over Belle Isle to the river’s south bank, make your way west along Riverside Drive, then head north back across the river, coming out at Maymont Park. There’s an incredible view of the park on the left and the Kanawha Canal on the right. From there, continue parallel to the river, past Riverview and Hollywood Cemeteries, coming right back to the parking lot where you started.

Cast your line

Relax and feel the stillness of the day at any of Richmond’s premier fishing spots.

Deep Run Park

9900 Ridgefield Parkway

Centrally located in the middle of the Henrico suburbs, the wooded setting of Deep Run Park feels secluded and serene, but is an easy getaway for short fishing trips. Its two large lakes are stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish and crappie.

Robious Landing

3800 James River Road,  Midlothian, VA

Spending time at Robious Landing in Chesterfield will reward you with beautiful views of sycamore, ash, and birch trees along the riverbank, as well as potential sightings of ospreys, eagles, hawks and herons. You might even catch a fish. This section of the James River is plentiful with smallmouth bass, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, channel catfish and gar.

Great Shiplock Park/Chapel Island

2803 Dock Street, Richmond, VA

There was a time when locks connected the James River with the Richmond Docks and the Kanawha Canal served as a transport hub for the tobacco warehouses along Dock Street. Revisit it all in restored form at Great Shiplock Park, which was renovated in 2013 as part of the Capitol Trail construction. Across a short footbridge is charming and historic Chapel Island, where there are places to fish in the tidal James for shad, white perch, rockfish, smallmouth bass, herring and several types of catfish.

Belle Isle

Lee Bridge, Richmond, VA

Enjoy sweeping views of the James River and downtown Richmond as you fish multiple spots along the banks or try the stocked quarry pond on the island. You just might land catfish, striped bass, large and smallmouth bass, or shad. This is the prettiest spot on our list, and even if you catch nothing, it’s a great place to pass a lazy morning or afternoon.

Try something unique

As you get out and about this spring and summer, don’t miss some of the sites that make Richmond, Virginia truly special.

The Historic Polegreen Church

6411 Heatherwood Drive, Mechanicsville, VA

This open-air, wall-less structure is also called the “ghost church.” Its long history began in the 1740s when Samuel Morris, a brick mason in Hanover County, built a “reading house” on his property to serve as a meeting place for religious dissenters and named it “Polegreen Church” after George Polegreen, a former landowner from the 1600s. When the colonies were founded in 1607, the Anglican Church was the only recognized religious group. Not until the 1730s did colonists begin exploring other religious ideologies. The Polegreen Church was home to a congregation that rejected the Anglican Church and is considered one of the first non-Anglican churches in the nation.

In 1747, a young Presbyterian minister from Pennsylvania named Samuel Davies arrived to pastor the congregation in Hanover. Davies was the first non-Anglican minister licensed to preach in Virginia and remained with the Hanover congregation for 12 years, during which time he served as a pioneer in promoting education for black slaves, as well as becoming a well-recognized hymn writer and one of the state’s greatest orators. A young Patrick Henry attended the church under Davies and cites him as a mentor for his own oratory skills.

The church stood for more than a century until it was destroyed by fire during the Civil War. The congregants could not afford to rebuild the church, and the site fell into ruin until 1990, when the Presbytery of the James sought to preserve the site by locating the church’s original foundation. In 1991, the site was listed on the Register of National Historic Places, and an open-air steel structure was erected to show the historic structure’s former dimensions. Today, visitors can learn about the religious and historic significance of the site, picnic on the grounds, and even get married in the church.

The Markel Building

5310 Markel Road,  Richmond, VA

Architect Haigh Jamgochian, a Richmond native, was commissioned to design a headquarters location for The Markel Corporation in 1962, and drew his design based on a foil-wrapped baked potato. Each floor of the building’s exterior is wrapped in a 555-foot piece of unbroken aluminum — the material influenced by the presence of Reynold’s Metals in Richmond and the length chosen because it’s the same as the height of the Washington Monument. Much of the aluminum was “crinkled” by Jamgochian himself with a sledgehammer. Today, this giant ode to aluminum foil stands as the only remaining piece of Jamgochian’s work after his “Moon House,” a bulletproof glass house with a crescent moon-shaped roof that he designed for a used car salesman, Howard Hughes (not the eccentric billionaire), was torn down.

Discover more about the area attractions in Richmond, available to you as an independent living resident of Lakewood. It is clear senior wellness in Richmond is important to our community. We invite you to learn more about our beautiful community, contact us today.