300 Tredegar St.
Second Place: James River Park System
Third Place: Buttermilk and North Bank trails
What is Richmond if not a paradise for the outdoor-minded, athletically inclined nature lover? A river runs through us and that river offers waters to paddle, swim and fish, and trails to run, hike and bike. Belle Isle is the many-lived jewel, once home to a nail factory, a quarry, a hydroelectric plant and, oh, the Confederacy’s largest military prison. The park’s 540 acres are open to the public daily for free from dawn to dusk and it’s only accessible by foot, bicycle or boat. Its most popular part is Belle Isle, as the park system says it recently confirmed using infrared counters. That park, as well as the Buttermilk and North Bank trails, is part of the treasure that is the James River Park System of shoreline and islands stretching from the Huguenot Bridge to just east of the Interstate 95 bridge. For everything you need to know about what to do in the park, visit jamesriverpark.org — and then grab your running shoes, bathing suit and some sunscreen.