It's easy to miss what's right in your own backyard. And in Central Virginia, there is so much to explore outside.
One local company, Rivanna River Company, wants to help you have an adventure on the river.
“I love being outside and I love being on the Rivanna because you are constantly surprised by what you see,” said Gabe Silver, co-owner of the Rivanna River Company.
"We see tons of blue heron, which are beautiful. The other morning, we were out, we probably saw four or five bald eagles, which was amazing and recently also my husband saw a family of beaver. Baby beavers making their way down to the river for the first time,” said co-owner Sonya Silver.
Gabe and Sonya are the husband and wife team behind the Rivanna River Company.
And summer usually means more time playing outside and more time in the water.
"June is our annual paddling issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, which of course embodies anything that you can do on the water,” said Katie Hartwell, from Blue Ridge Outdoors. “Anything from stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting and there's one company that just started locally here that came to mind."
Rivanna River Company is making paddle sports not only fun and memorable.
"The two words that I hear from people getting off the water after a trip with us are fun and beautiful. Like 'it was so fun. Oh my gosh it is so beautiful out there',” said Gabe.
And also more accessible to the community by taking care of all of the logistics and equipment.
"All you need is yourself. You come out, we fit you with a boat and a paddle and a life jacket. We get you on the river and we pick you up and we bring you to your car at the end of the day so it's really simple,” he said.
They offer guided or self-guided six-mile trips along the river that can take people half a day to complete.
"I think people are surprised at what beauty and adventure can be had right outside our door in Charlottesville,” he said.
People may also be surprised to find that the benefits of paddling sports go beyond being a great calorie burner.
"There's more and more studies that are showing that time spent outside recuperating from our stressful indoor lives is really important for our psychological well-being,” Gabe continued. “So, it’s been shown that we're both more calm, less anxious, less depressed, even more intelligent after spending time relaxing in nature."
Their season goes from April to October, and each season offers a different experience.
Gabe said, “Each season has wonderful things about it. The spring there tends to be more water in the river, so it's bigger waves more splashy, lots of fun. In the summer we start our tubing trips and more ways to cool off and relax and enjoy our long summer days."