There are lots of nature adventures and ways to get active around Culpeper, Virginia with its quintessential USA main street. On my visit to film for the PBS series “Travels with Darley,” I tried road cycling, stand-up paddleboarding, horseback riding at a Civil War battlefield, and hiking at Shenandoah National Park. Here’s how you can go out and enjoy these adventures.
Stand Up Paddleboarding, Lake Pelham
Enjoy stand-up paddleboarding on Culpeper’s Lake Pelham, where locals and travelers alike can rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and more. Fitness instructor and paddleboard enthusiast, Marcus Haywood, explained the draw to me as we paddled around the lake.
“A lot of people get out here early before the heat of the day sets in, to either work on their conditioning, work on a little upper body strength, or just enjoy the scenery,” Marcus said.
At Lake Pelham, you’re close to town, but you feel immersed in nature. Further away from the dock, you can paddle along wooded banks amid Northern Virginia beauty.
Hiking, Shenandoah National Park
Just an hour’s drive from Culpeper, Virginia you can take a hike at Shenandoah National Park, where over 500 miles of trails make for a great escape from town or city. Also, close to Culpeper is the summit of Hawksbill Mountain, the highest point in Shenandoah National Park, at over 4,000 feet. If you make it up here, you’ll look out to beautiful undeveloped, preserved land. It’s definitely a place to unplug from the world.
Horseback Riding, Brandy Station Battlefield
Saddle up to explore Brandy Station Battlefield. Where, on June 9th, 1863, the largest cavalry battle ever fought on North American soil took place. The Battle of Brandy Station marked the start of the Gettysburg Campaign during the Civil War and riding here helps put the battle into perspective. Nearby, visit the Graffiti House, where Civil War graffiti lines the walls of this former confederate field hospital that’s fortunately been preserved.
Watch the Travels with Darley on PBS and Amazon Prime.