Initially becoming a park after the land was donated in 1967, Chippokes Plantation State Park has become a local tourist staple due to the sheer amount of history contained within. Chippokes Plantation is one of the oldest continuously used plantations in the entire United States. Originally built in 1619 by Captain William Powell, this 1,400-acre spread has been operating in one form or another for over 400 years.
The name stems from a misinterpretation of the name Choapoke, who was an Algonquian Chief who originally aided the English settlers from Jamestown. Since the death of Captain Powell, the plantation has changed hands countless times. Because of this, several additional structures will build over the years. These structures have been mostly preserved, and are available to explore as you work your way through the park.
These structures include plantation outbuildings, slave homes, and a lot of colonial-era archaeological sites that are still currently being excavated. Chippokes Plantation State Park has 12 miles of trails, 10 of which are regularly open to cyclists, hikers, and the occasional horseback riders. Except for the College Run Trail, all of these trails are grassy and therefore can become quite muddy some come dressed for the weather.
These paths are dog-friendly and have doggie cleanup stations sprinkled throughout the trail system. If you are looking to fishing, there are freshwater options available provided you come with a Virginia fishing license. Visitors are allowed on the shores of the James River, as well as the banks of College Run Creek. No motorized boating is permitted, and no launches exist.
However, visitors are welcome to bring their canoes or kayaks. Canines are allowed on all of the shorelines, provided they stay on a six-foot leash or shorter. Camping is available via several New Deal-era cabins. These cabins have been remodeled to include all modern amenities such as air conditioning and plumbing. Reservations can be made via the 800-933-PARK hotline.