Belle Isle is a small island in Richmond. It lies within the James River and serves as a city park. It is accessible to pedestrian and bicycle traffic via a suspension footbridge that runs under the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge from the northern shore. This suspension walkway under the road is so unique! You can also access the island via a wooden bridge from the southern shore.
It might be interesting to read about the history of this island before you visit. The island served as a prison for Union soldiers during the American Civil War. As you walk around the island, you’ll be able to see some historical sites. There are lots of trails, mountain biking trails and areas for rock climbing. The views of the river are amazing!
Access to Belle Isle is free, but you may have to pay for parking nearby. There is a free small parking lot near Tredegar Iron Works at 300 Tredegar Street, Richmond, VA, 23218.
A yummy restaurant near Belle Isle is Boulevard Burgers & Brew at 1300 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond, VA 23230. Depending on traffic it’s about a 14 minute drive from the island.
We tried eating there during the summer 2020, but the restaurant was closed because of Covid and the BLM protests. At that time, 2-3 of the windows had been shot out. The building is on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. The building was originally erected as Kelly’s Jet System Hamburgers, a 1950s chain with locations up and down the East Coast that predate McDonald’s. We were finally able to eat there in January 2021.