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Recreation and Culture


Middle Peninsula Recreation and culture


The Chesapeake Bay, rivers, ponds, creeks and streams offer unlimited opportunities for swimming, sailing, canoeing, fishing, skiing, boating and other water related activities on the Middle Peninsula. The miles of unspoiled shoreline are among the finest in Virginia. Numerous marinas, boat ramps, and public landings provide convenient water access to residents and visitors.

Public facilities include county or town operated parks, pools and beaches. More than 150 private marinas operate on the Middle Peninsula. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has identified 32 conservation sites, which receive protection through state, federal, or The Nature Conservancy ownership and management, on the Middle Peninsula. Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve in Mathews County is owned by DCR to effectively manage the natural heritage resources occurring there. Bethel Beach consists of 3/4 mile of beach, dune, and salt marsh communities on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. DCR offers restricted access to the beach, interpretive displays and educational field trips at Bethel Beach. Three rivers, the Pamunkey, the Piankatank and the Mattaponi, on the Middle Peninsula have been identified as Virginia Scenic Rivers. Zoar State Forest in King William County offers passive recreation. Beaverdam Reservoir in Gloucester County offers fishing, boating, and trails.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and Rappahannock Community College (RCC) provide the region with a resource base to address water-related and resource related management issues. Both schools provide seminars, classes, and public information relating to the natural resources in the Middle Peninsula.

Many historic sites are open to the public and are scattered throughout the area. Middlesex County offers a self guided tour of historic and scenic sites called Rivers and Roads of Middlesex County, Virginia. Call Middlesex County at (804) 758-4330 for more information. The Mattaponi and the Pamunkey Indian Reservations in King William County host museums. Call the Mattaponi Indian Museum at (804) 769-2194 and the Pamunkey Indian Museum at (804) 843-4792 for more information.

Community activities include art shows, community concerts, and theater productions. Annual festivals include the Gloucester Daffodil Festival (the first weekend in April), the West Point Crab Carnival (the first weekend in October), Mathews Market Days (the first full weekend in September), and the Urbanna Oyster Festival (the weekend of the first Saturday in November).

Contact individual localities to discover more about the many recreational and cultural opportunities throughout the Middle Peninsula.

Essex Parks and Recreation (804) 443-2470

Tappahannock-Essex Chamber of Commerce (804) 443-5241

Gloucester Parks and Recreation (804) 693-2355

Gloucester Chamber of Commerce (804) 693-2425

King and Queen County (804) 785-7955

King William Parks and Recreation (804) 769-4280

Mathews Parks and Recreation (804) 725-7305

Mathews Chamber of Commerce (804) 725-9029

Middlesex Parks and Recreation (804) 758-0057

Middlesex Chamber of Commerce (804) 758-5540

Town of Urbanna (804) 758-2613

West Point Chamber of Commerce (804) 843-4620


Contact the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission at (804) 758-2311 or Contact Us.



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