Close Subscribe

Get the Weekly Recap!!

Get recaps, exclusive offers, stories and discounts. We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise.

5 Places to Paddle Within 50 Miles of Philly
Water

5 Places to Paddle Within 50 Miles of Philly

You don’t have to travel far to experience life on the water. Discover these local rivers and lakes from the seat of a boat.

Warmer weather means the return of Rita’s, Parks on Tap, and cherry blossoms. It also means rivers and lakes have thawed, making it prime time to grab a paddle or two and hit the water.

Looking for a local adventure? These waterways are within reach of the city and offer rentals, guided tours, and quality time with Mother Nature. 

Where to Paddle around Philadelphia

Schuylkill River 

Philadelphia, PA

Mileage: 0 

Let’s start with a hometown favorite: the Schuylkill. While it may not be the first body of water that comes to mind when you envision a lazy day on the river, it has its appeal. Most importantly: it’s accessible. There’s no need to hop in the car to get out on the water when there’s a river cutting right through our city. There are multiple ways to explore the Schuylkill with a paddle. For those who prefer a guided tour, Hidden River Outfitters offers kayak excursions via Schuylkill Banks that depart from Walnut Street Dock and travel up to Fairmount Waterworks. The tours run throughout the summer and into the fall, with daytime and moonlight kayaking available. Rather go at your own pace? Catch a different side of the river from Bartram’s Gardens, where you can explore the Schuylkill via rowboat or kayak for free on Thursdays evenings 6-7:30 pm and Saturdays from 10 am-2 pm. 

New Jersey Pine Barrens

Shamong, NJ

Mileage: 30

This one requires crossing the bridge, but we promise it’s worth it. Get your nature fix at Wharton State Forest, which boasts a rich ecosystem that’s perfect for exploring via kayak or canoe. Pinelands Adventures offers a full menu of guided tours and self-led itineraries for all skill levels. Paddle down the Batsto River to a lake while surrounded by Pitch Pines, Red Maples, and Atlantic White Cedars, and look out for the blue heron and the elusive Barred Owl. Or explore beaver habitats on a guided tour through Goshen Pond on the Mullica River. You can also rent a kayak or canoe and choose your own adventure, if that’s more your speed. 

Brandywine River

West Chester, PA

Mileage: 36 

Take a trip to scenic Chester County and float down the Brandywine on a canoe, kayak, or tube with Northbrook Canoe Company. From May through the end of September, the 46-year-old local business rents out boats for self-guided tours through a pastoral landscape. Opt to start at Embreeville, Corcoran’s Bridge, or Harvey’s Bridge, and then make your way to Northbrook. Canoes and kayaks are $10 off on Fridays, and upstream trips are buy-one-get-one on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Labor Day. If you’re looking for a unique experience on the water, consider reserving a space on a Canoe & Dine tour, which involves a 1.5-hour paddle followed by a catered picnic dinner, live music, and a bonfire.   

Marsh Creek State Park

Downingtown, PA

Mileage: 38

The 535 acres encompassing Marsh Creek Lake provide a tranquil backdrop for boating of all varieties. Marsh Creek Watersports rents out kayaks and stand-up paddleboards along with sailboats and motorboats from the East Launch starting April 30. Take the opportunity to explore Marsh Creek State Park, another Chester County gem. It offers plenty of hiking opportunities on its nearly 20 miles of trails. The park is also a prime birdwatching destination during the spring and fall migratory seasons. 

Lake Nockamixon

Quakertown, PA

Mileage: 48

Slightly further afield lies Nockamixon State Park, which boasts the vast (nearly 1500-acre) Lake Nockamixon. Park visitors can stay overnight in cabins or drop by for a few hours to hike and paddle the waters. You’ll want to head over to Nockamixon Boat Rental for the latter, where you can take your pick from kayaks, rowboats, or stand-up paddleboards. Ready to ditch the oars? Rent a pedal boat or electric motorboat. This state park is another bird haven, so bring those binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for finches, sparrows, Baltimore orioles, and blue-winged warblers. The lake draws waterfowl like ducks and swans during seasonal migration as well. 

Feature photo: Marsh Creek State Park by A n v e s h on Unsplash


Become a Supporter!

If you love what we do you can support our mission with a one-time or monthly contribution.
array(2) {
  [0]=>
  object(WP_Term)#7038 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(2087)
    ["name"]=>
    string(24) "stand up paddle boarding"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(24) "stand-up-paddle-boarding"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(2097)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(5)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [1]=>
  object(WP_Term)#7037 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(1848)
    ["name"]=>
    string(21) "Where Can I Wednesday"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(21) "where-can-i-wednesday"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(1858)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(230)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
}
Stephanie Ostroff loves exploring green spaces in and around Philly. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and has been published in National Geographic, Generocity, and Fathom. When she’s not writing, she works as a speech/language therapist at AIM Academy. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys getting lost in the Wissahickon, practicing yoga, and planning travel adventures. View all posts by Stephanie Ostroff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Green Philly

Featured
In These
Great Spots: