Danville, VA Fitness and Outdoor Recreation Options

April 25, 2012 at 2:59 am EST
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Danville and Pittsylvania County's recreation opportunities include everything from water sports on the Dan River or local lakes to Danville Science Center programs, combining education, culture and beautiful scenery with opportunities for fitness and exercise.

Rivers and Lakes

Pittsylvania County offers plenty of water-based fun, with the Dan River snaking through the southern half of the county. One of the chief pursuits on the Dan River is paddling, with canoeists and kayakers visiting from all over the region. When the weather warms, Danville’s parks, recreation and tourism department leads weekly kayaking trips on the river. Trips range from calm paddle to Class II rapids, and courses on the Staunton and Roanoke rivers and other waterways provide further challenges. Local residents enjoy working the county’s waters for any number of freshwater fish. Channel catfish are a year-round specialty, while white perch, striped bass and blue catfish run in season. Thousands of residents make their homes on the dual lakes of Smith Mountain and Leesville. Smith Mountain is the larger of the two lakes, a 40-mile-long body with 500 miles of shoreline. Leesville Lake, which divides Pittsylvania and Bedford counties, includes a 17-mile-long lake with 110 miles of shoreline and offers almost everything that its big brother does. The lake is a favorite of motorboat enthusiasts, with water skis, jet skis and pontoon boats all getting regular use on the water.

Crossing at the Dan

A centerpiece of downtown Danville and a site for several community events, Crossing at the Dan is a complex of restored old buildings near the Dan River. The site features a live performance venue called Carrington Pavilion, and nearby are two renovated Southern Railway buildings – now used to house a train station and portions of the Danville Science Center. Another building, bearing a retro Pepsi logo, is used for public and private events. Crossing at the Dan also serves as one of three trail entry points for the Riverwalk Trail, a 7.5-mile paved path that runs along the Dan River. The trail is frequented by walkers, bikers, joggers and rollerbladers and is handicap-accessible.

 

Danville Braves

The minor league baseball team the Danville Braves are one of the top drawing teams in the Appalachian League. The Braves, an Advanced Rookie-level team and a farm team of the Atlanta Braves since 1993, play at American Legion Post 325 Field. Nestled in the Dan Daniel Memorial Park along the banks of the Dan River, Legion Field seats 2,588 fans and sets the standard for ballparks in the Appy League. The Danville Braves mascot is a large, green bird named Blooper.

Virginia International Raceway

What was once a working farm and plantation dating back to the early 1800s opened in 1957 as one of the country’s first permanent road racing circuits. VIRginia International Raceway, located in Southern Virginia between Danville and South Boston, is one of the world's finest road courses. VIR hosts pro and club car and motorcycle races, a wide range of racing and riding schools, track days for cars and bikes, club events, off road driving, drifting and private test rentals.

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