Experience the best of the best with this Top 8 list of things to do and see in Portsmouth.
Walk through history and see Olde Towne’s origins and it’s continued evolution.
Plan for your visit and explore Portsmouth with the Visitor Directory.
The Portsmouth Paddle Battle comes to the Elizabeth River for the first time on September 11, 2021 from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Benefitting the Friends of the Naval Shipyard Museum, the event features two racing categories: Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and Kayaking. The race begins at High Street Landing and participants row to the hammerhead crane at the Naval Shipyard and back. Spectators line the Portsmouth Seawall to watch the action on the water. There will also be a special Military Challenge featuring racers from the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, the Portsmouth Coast Guard base, and other bases from around the region.
Registration is open now online and starts at $25 per entry. Online registration closes on September 10th. On site registration is available for an extra $10 and can be paid by cash, Visa, or MasterCard only. You may bring your own kayak or use one of ours for a $10 donation to the museum. If you wish to paddle board, you must bring your own.
There are beginners and advanced categories and each are separated into age groups. ADA assistance can also be provided.
For information about parking, racing rules, event layout, and more, see the Race Day Information page.
Music begins at 11 with the acoustic sounds of Dan Rosnato. Well-known local guitarist/vocalist, Dan Rosnato, plays a wide variety of acoustic favorites ranging from classic/alternative rock to originals. Dan has been playing in the Hampton Roads music scene for over 30 years. His career began with the band Stillwater, an acoustic trio formed in the 1980’s. In the early ’90s Dan formed the Gangsters of Love. He is also recognized as the guitarist/singer for After Midnight, Damn Jankes, and Mechelle and Company. He has had the privilege of playing with many exceptional local artists.
His musical influences range from CSN to Dire Straits and Firefall. Dan’s passionate vocal and percussive guitar style have made him a longtime local favorite in Hampton Roads.
From 1-4, the wildly popular Soul Intent takes the stage. This band is known for its 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s Motown sound. If you like Beach Music, this is definitely your band. Started here in Portsmouth by drummer Randy Boone, the band has grown in popularity and now performs to sold out crowds all over the 757 region and beyond. The brass section of this band is unsurpassed, so get ready to spend the afternoon dancing in the streets as the race comes to a close.
A limited amount the the race’s official punch will be available. Rum, along with secret mixers is for sale while supplies last. For those who prefer other adult beverages, the usual beer and wine will be available. The food trucks on site will offer non-alcoholic drinks for sale too. Two food trucks will be on site. The famous Virginia Diner will be there along with a newer truck called Fusion Soul. The Virginia Diner is a Virginia landmark restaurant specializing in home cooking, pies, peanuts, and other down home treats. Fusion Soul is operated by Virignia Beach’s Fusion Soul Cafe, specializing in southern inspired soul food but fusing those flavors with inspiration from various cultures. Portsmouth Paddle Battle will not disappoint any appetite.
Bring the kids becasue there is plenty of things to do. The Tidewater Maritime Living History Association offers characters to interact with the kids and tell them the stories of Portsmouth and the Shipyard in terms they can understand. Coloring books and crayons are available under the tent and hula hoops for those little ones needing to burn off some energy.
The Friends of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum were originally created to promote and support the Shipyard Museum. At the request of the City, the Friends added the Lightship Portsmouth Museum to their portfolio of support in 2020.
Over the years the Friends have provided funding to restore artifacts, created new exhibits, provid storage for artifacts not on display and acquire new items for its two Museums. The Friends have also provided Docents for tours and have run a Lecture Series for the Shipyard Museum.