One of the oldest continuously operated farms in the country is also a public recreation area, Chippokes Plantation State Park.
A visit here is like taking a step back in time to when it was first established in 1619 by English Captain William Powell, also a Lieutenant Governor of Jamestown.
The 1400-acre farm is also directly opposite scenic historic Jamestown Island. Visitors to this rural and agricultural area enjoy kayaking, hiking, camping and observing nature and wildlife.
The park features an original plantation, historic houses and many farm buildings.
Tours are offered for the antebellum mansion, formal gardens and Farm & Forestry Museum.
Picturesque Chippokes Plantation is a great place to visit. Bring a picnic, take a stroll through the grounds and check out the Visitor Center, gift shop and museum.
Or plan to stay for a few nights and also take a canoe trip down the James River to really gain a sense of this historic area.
Also, consider holding your next special event inside the park.
The beautiful buildings and gardens make an ideal backdrop for your special day or large gathering.
Here are some of the activities that you can do during your stay at Chippokes Plantation State Park:
Swimming at Chippokes Plantation State Park
Chippokes Plantation has an olympic sized pool that is open seasonally between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
It’s possible that the pool may be closed sometimes during these dates.
Restrooms are conveniently located nearby as well as a picnic area and seasonal snack bar.
There is also a small beach with access to the James River.
Fishing at Chippokes Plantation State Park
Catch bass, catfish and various types of sunfish along the shores of the James River and on the banks, and bridge over, College Run Creek.
Remember to pick up a Virginia freshwater fishing license ahead of time. Licenses can be purchased online.
Boating at Chippokes Plantation State Park
A great way to cool off and explore the park is by kayak or canoe.
There are guided canoe tours during the summer but unfortunately no boat rentals inside of the park at this time.
Kayaks and canoes (no motorized boats) may be launched along College Run Creek and the James River.
Parking is available in designated spots at the Farm & Forestry Museum/ Visitor Center.
Trails at Chippokes Plantation State Park
Chippokes Plantation has 12 miles of trails, 10 of which are multi-use and open to hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
These trails wind through grass-covered fields, hardwood forest, marshland and along the shoreline of the James River.
While walking along the shoreline you’ll see an array of fossils of the creatures who once lived at the bottom of a prehistoric sea.
Here are a few of the popular trails:
- College Run Trail – This paved 1.2 mile trail is probably the most popular. It starts at the Visitor Center, follows along beside the James River and leads to the historic area. This trail is only open to hikers and bikers.
- Lower Chippokes Creek Trail – An easy 1.6 path that starts behind the Mansion and crosses farm fields as it runs along the James River. Keep in mind that the fields may be muddy at times and dress appropriately.
- Chippokes Creek Equestrian Trail – This separate bridle trail is 14.8 miles and near the horse trailer parking area. Remember to bring a negative Coggins report for each horse that you bring into the park.
Wildlife Viewing at Chippokes Plantation State Park
Bird lovers will enjoy their visit to Chippokes Plantation. The dense woodlands overlooking the river offers ideal conditions for bird sightings especially hawks, bald eagles and osprey.
Plus more than 20 species of breeding and migrating warblers have been spotted inside the park.
Other birds you may see are chickadees, eastern bluebirds, woodpeckers and bluejays.
And while exploring the trails through the forest and past the marshes keep your eyes open for deer, rabbits, raccoons, wild turkeys and many different types of snakes and frogs.
Lodging at Chippokes Plantation State Park
Chippokes Plantation has a 4 bedroom house, cabins, campsites and yurts available to reserve for those wanting to spend a few relaxing nights inside of the park.
The campground has 51 campsites with a mix of tent only and RV (water and electric hookups). The campground is open from March to December.
Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring and is close to a bathhouse and laundry facilities. And a group camping area with 4 tent-only sites is located nearby.
Also in the main campground in a wooded private area are 3 Yurts. These Yurts sleep 3 and have large wooden decks with a patio table plus a picnic table and fire ring. No electricity, water or cooking inside each; access to campground bathhouses nearby.
Four Colonial style cabins each have a full kitchen, bathroom, living room with couch, chairs and a television and dvd player (no cable or satellite). Cabin # 3 is ADA accessible and cabin #2 sleeps up to 8. No linens are provided.
Walnut Valley House, built in 1770, has 4 bedrooms, a fully stocked kitchen and a spacious dining area. The house is located in a pastoral setting framed by magnolia trees. Enjoy your morning coffee while taking in the view from the screened in porch area.
Pets at Chippokes Plantation State Park
Pets are allowed inside the park but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet or in an enclosed area. Please clean up after them and do not leave them unattended.
Attractions Near Chippokes Plantation State Park
While visiting Chippokes Plantation State Park you’ll get a glimpse of what life was like in Virginia in the 1600s.
Why not continue discovering more about 17th century Virginia by visiting Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg?
And while you’re there you can explore historic sites, trails, a water park and do some shopping.
All of this can be found 10 to 15 miles north of the park:
- Jamestown Settlement – 2110 Jamestown Rd, Williamsburg
- American Revolution Museum at Yorktown – 200 Water St, Yorktown
- Colonial National Historical Park – 1000 Colonial Pkwy, Yorktown
- Colonial Williamsburg
- Busch Gardens – 1 Busch Gardens Blvd, Williamsburg
Chippokes Plantation State Park
695 Chippokes Park
Surry, VA 23883
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing the fossil beach at Chippokes Plantation State Park: