Kayaking Event on Historic Gray's Creek
Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 11 & 12, 2021
Experience the unique history and natural beauty of Gray’s Creek in Surry, Virginia.
Download the flyer.
This is a FREE ticketed event; get tickets here:
Tickets available June 1, 2021

Gray's Creek

Paddling enthusiasts and boaters alike will enjoy a peaceful day on the water at Gray's Creek, a 6-mile-long deep-water tributary of the Lower James River. Part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Gray's Creek was designated as part of the Virginia's Scenic Rivers Program in the summer of 2020. The program seeks to identify and protect waterways with "outstanding scenic, recreational, historic and natural characteristics of statewide significance for future generations."

Although already in use by the Indigenous peoples, Gray's Creek was first explored by Captain John Smith and the Jamestown settlers in 1607. Construction of a second fort along the creek began in 1609 when Capt. John Smith was ordered to establish a defensive fortification on the south side of the James River. However, as the Jamestown Colony struggled to survive harsh conditions during "the starving time" that year, construction of the fort was abandoned.



Today, only the raised earthworks of this endeavor remain on property attached to Smith's Fort Plantation.

The Surry County Department of Parks and Recreation offers Kayak Adventure Tours along Gray's Creek (currently suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions) launching from the Surry County Marina. Guided by staff, guests can explore the marshes and swamps that support an abundance of wildlife and waterfowl. Contact Surry County P&R for more information: (757) 294-3044.





Discussion of Gray's Creek begins at 6:20 in video.

DCR website:

Links to supporting articles:

WINDSOR Weekly: Gray’s Creek worth exploring for an autumn adventure

A Tidewater Paddler

Chesapeake Conservancy: Boater’s Guide to John Smith Chesapeake Trail

The Smithfield Times: Grays Creek named state scenic river





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Earthworks at Smith's Fort Plantation