140 City Park Ave., Portsmouth
Portsmouth City Park is a small north-facing launch on the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River. The site is about one mile from both High Street and Portsmouth Boulevard. City Park has about 100 acres of open space, including a 9-hole golf course, tennis courts, large playground, volleyball, motor and sailboat/watersports ramps. On weekends in the summer, kids can ride the miniature steam locomotive (Pokey Smokey) or adjacent to the sailing area and golf course clubhouse. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free. The sailing is shallow out 50 yards and sandy-silty bottom. The site is good on WNW-NE directions. The closest iwindsurf sensor (Lafayette River) is located on the Lafayette River, at the Old Dominion University sailing site.
From the Peninsula you can take I-664 through the Monitor-Merrimac Tunnel and exit on Portsmouth Boulevard. Follow Portsmouth Blvd. and turn left onto City Park Ave. This will take you straight into the park.
From Norfolk or Virginia Beach, you can come in either the Midtown Tunnel (exiting to High Street and then turning onto Airline/Portsmouth Blvd.) or Downtown Tunnel (I-264 and exiting onto Portsmouth Blvd.) Turn right onto City Park Ave. and drive into the park. The small boat launch is on the right past the tennis courts and playgrounds and before the main boat ramps.
Plenty of grassy rigging and parking, park activities for kids, and a sheltered, shallow nearshore location. Bathrooms are nearby. Best wind direction is N-NE. The Western Branch is especially nice if you enjoy cruising or prefer a sheltered location on high wind days.
The jet skis show up in force during peak weekend hours in the summer. There is a channel on the north side of the river that gets a bit of boat traffic in summer.