My wife and I recently took up paddling. While I had some experience in canoes as a Boy Scout, my wife and I are both new comers to kayaks. After getting the boats and ancillary equipment required (paddles, PFDs, etc.), I looked for a spot close to home with flat water to allow us to become familiar with the gear.
Pocahontas State Park is about 15 minutes from home and its lake seemed to offer what I needed.
The parks boat ramp is near the upstream end of the lake and the park offers row boats, canoes and kayaks for rent.
We have used this little lake as a test area for our new equipment and as a quick place to go for a paddle after work. Even on weekends the lake isnt overly crowded and no gas engines are allowed. We have seen beaver, bald eagles, turtles, and blue herons during our visits.
Picnic pavilion, restrooms and an in ground pool are on the hill above the boat ramp. Boats can be rented just down stream from the ramp.
Fee of $4.00 for park entry.
From Richmond - I-95 south to State Route 10 West. Left into Beach and follow the sign to the Park Entrance.
See http://www.state.va.us/dcr/parks/pocahont.htm for further information.
See DeLorme Virginia Atlas (page 48, B-1)