Author: Nathan Heinicke-Peart
As the weather warms up, we all want to find a safe place to swim! With its location on the river and its great facilities, Richmond is the ideal place to look for safe swimming spots. The city boasts terrific swimming in outdoor and indoor settings, and of course, in the James River. Here are some great, safe places to swim in Richmond!
If you are looking for outdoor swimming, Pocahontas State Park is the place for you. The park includes almost 8,000 acres of land and water traversed with trails and pathways, and is home to the multi-functional Aquatic Recreation Center.
The center has activities for all ages, including a pool for toddlers, a fountain wet deck, a three-foot and five-foot-deep leisure pools, an activity pool and two water slides. The park also boasts three lakes for fishing, boating, and swimming. Boat rentals are available during the summer season!
If you prefer indoor swimming and are into fitness, check out the Natatorium at the University of Richmond. The university hosts aquatic programs to help members of the Richmond community live “healthy, balanced lives through access to outstanding facilities, fitness, and wellness programs.”
Open at various times throughout the week, the University’s Weinstein Center encourages members of the Richmond community to visit its natatorium for fitness and wellness during the summer. The natatorium includes a six-lane, 25-yard swimming pool with both a low and high dive. There’s also a chair lift to assist with special needs as you enter and exit the pool.
For another indoor facility, consider the Aquatic Centers at VCU. For more strenuous fitness activities, the facilities offer Deep Water and Aqua Jogging classes in the Activity Pool at 12-foot depths. You will be able to keep your head above water at all times in these classes by wearing buoyancy belts that provide support and stability in the deep water.
If you prefer swimming laps, the VCU Cary Street Gym features a pool (25-meter, 4-5 ft deep, ADA lift), with 6 lanes, 4 of which are generally used for lap swimming and 2 lanes for informal recreation.
For relaxation and recreation, VCU offers a whirlpool spa which has a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and accommodates up to 15 people. If you want something a little less strenuous and more fun, the Cary Street Gym Aquatic Center features a water slide in the Activity Pool!
“The James River Parks System is the best natural asset going for us in the Richmond area,” according to the Richmond Times Dispatch. Within the system, Huguenot Flatwater has plenty of water activities if you’re looking for a more outdoor-centered experience. Take advantage of the canoeing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, swimming, fishing, biking, hiking, and exploring the fauna and flora of Central Virginia.
You can paddle, canoe, and kayak up the James River to Bosher’s Dam from Huguenot Flatwater. Alternatively, paddle downriver to Williams Island, back to Huguenot, hop out at Pony Pasture, and more!
If you’re looking to fish, there are many fishing holes and calm spots to anchor your boat and cast a line into the James River. It’s recommended that you wear life jackets, heck the county postings about water depths, and always follow the posted recommendations for a safe time at the James River!
Founded in 1906, the Lewis Ginter community building now boasts three pools for its members to enjoy, as well as a deck with picnic tables and grills, a basketball court and corn hole, and access to their historic clubhouse. The LGRA Dolphins offers swim team facilities that allows families to volunteer and connect at practices and meets. The facility gives children the opportunity to develop as swimmers and athlete as a member of the James River Aquatic Club (JRAC).
Located in Chesterfield County, SwimRVA serves the Greater Richmond area for regional aquatics events with a mission to elevate swimming in the Richmond region, making water safety and aquatic fitness more accessible to all.
SwimRVA brings to the forefront a community-wide focus on water safety, health &fitness, sports, and competitive swimming. It offers a wide variety of water-related activities: swimming lessons, water aerobics, aqua running, and more!
SwimRVA features a 50-meter, 8-lane competition pool used in the 2008 Olympic trials, a 25-yard, 6-lane multi-purpose pool, and beautiful Hydroworx pool which provides warm water therapy stays at a relaxing 91 degrees.
There is no shortage of safe swimming facilities in Richmond! Wherever you choose to swim this summer, be safe and enjoy the water!
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The Mission of SwimRVA is to elevate swimming in the Richmond region making water safety and aquatic fitness more accessible to all. We promise to serve as a catalyst for regional aquatics and community-wide focus on water safety, health and fitness, sports tourism, and competitive aquatics. Donate today to help support our mission.