Grab your gang, pack the cooler, and head out for a lazy afternoon floating down the Shenandoah with Watermelon Park River Adventures in Berryville. Book your tubing session online, check in once you arrive, and you and your tube will be shuttled upriver to the launch via a quick bus ride. Float solo, or connect your tubes with provided bungee cords to do a social raft-up with your group; you can even rent a floating tube for your Igloo to keep your canned beverages icy cold. The trip back down takes two to three hours depending on river conditions—recent rain will speed up the current—but the ride is generally calm. A flag signals the end of your jaunt, and a guide is there to help you exit. 3322 Lockes Mill Rd., Berryville
This offshoot of surfing has its roots in Hawaii, but you don’t have to go nearly that far to give it a try—all you need is a board, an oar, a little bit of balance, and a whole lot of patience. The easiest place for a beginner to learn is the calm, flat water of a pond or lake. When you’re ready to tackle something more challenging, venture out onto the flowing South Fork of the Shenandoah River with a rental from Front Royal Outdoors. Stand up (or sit down, if you prefer) and try paddling upstream quickly for an intense cardio workout, downriver if it’s more about the journey, or lie down on your board and use it as a lounger or raft. Reservations can be booked online and include board, paddle, maps, shuttle service, life vest, and basic riverside instruction. 8567 Stonewall Jackson Hwy., Front Royal
Covering 13,000 acres, measuring 17 miles long from tip to tip, and touting 200 miles of shoreline, Lake Anna is one of Virginia’s largest freshwater inland reservoirs. That means there’s plenty of room to explore, especially on one of these easy-to-operate boats that use tubes for buoyancy. Dukes Creek Marina in Bumpass rents pontoon boats that seat five, eight, 10, or 12, and some are even pet-friendly for an additional fee; call to reserve one for either a half-day (four hours) or a full day (8 hours). The flat design and ample comfortable seating on these vessels make them perfect for casual summer parties, while the retractable top lets you get some vitamin D or stay cool in the shade. 3831 Breaknock Rd., Bumpass
The quaint, historic town of Occoquan is super charming—especially from the water. Penguin Paddling rents single and tandem kayaks by the hour or day to use on the calm waters of the Occoquan River, a tributary of the Potomac that is teeming with wildlife; keep an eagle eye and you just might spot one during your trip, along with ducks, osprey, herons, beavers, and lots of different varieties of reptiles and fish. The rentals are first come, first served and go quickly on busy summer weekends; to ensure a spot, you might prefer to book a two-hour guided tour. 201 Mill St., Occoquan
Fun and functional, if a little quirky, houseboats are like a floating version of an RV; they can also make for a more unique and memorable getaway than a hotel room or a tent. Use VRBO or Airbnb to book a few nights on the GiaMaria, a 50-foot Chris Craft houseboat that’s been fully remodeled in a modern style. It’s berthed on calm waters in the Richmond Yacht Basin just off the James River, only miles from downtown Richmond. It’s decked out with a spacious bathroom, bedroom with queen bed, 46-inch TV, and fireplace. Outside is a large open upper deck to take your morning coffee or sunset glass of wine and a lower covered bow deck for lazy sunny afternoons or when a shower passes over.