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How to enjoy Philadelphia’s Waterways Safely this Summer
Water

How to enjoy Philadelphia’s Waterways Safely this Summer

Is the heat pushing you to hit the water? Here’s what’s you can do *safely* in the area.

As we continue to adapt to life under COVID-19, factors like public pool closures amplify the urban heat island effect and leave us with limited options to cool off.

We live in a city with two rivers flowing through it. You might see people in the area’s creeks and rivers, but this isn’t a good or legal idea. The waterways are unsupervised, polluted, and generally dangerous, which is why PA’s Department of Public Health has made it illegal to swim there.  

But just because you can’t dive right on in doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of it it.

Here’s how you can enjoy Philly’s water without jumping in.

Kayaking the Delaware and Schuylkill

The Independence Seaport Museum offers kayak excursions, tours, and lessons for all levels of experience and interests from now until the beginning of September. You can see landmarks like the Graffiti Pier, Penn Treaty Park, and historical shipwrecks.

Hidden River Outfitters on the Schuylkill also provides instructional lessons as well as kayak tours on the Schuylkill River. Along this route, you can expect to see the Art Museum, Fairmount Water Works, and the iconic Philly skyline. They offer two sessions daily; morning or evening “moonlight” tours.

Paddle Boards and Pedal Boats

Aqua Vida by the Seaport Museum offers paddleboards for rental, plus lessons and tours around sites like WWII submarine and the Moshulu. Bring your masks and enjoy the water.

The Seaport Museum also offers paddle boats. Two one-hour sessions are available at 4 pm and 6 pm on Wednesdays only and all tickets must be booked in advance. Plan ahead!

Outside the city? Want to go a bit further out?

Check out Northbrook Canoe Company in Chester County or Port Providence Peddle in Port Providence for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing loops along the Brandywine River and Schuylkill Canal.

Feel better suited along the water than on it? We got you covered.

Other ways to enjoy the water: Walking, running & biking in the Delaware Watershed

Fortunately for those who rather look at the rivers instead there’s plenty of options lining the waterfronts.

The Delaware River Trail boasts a view of the river and begins south of the Ben Franklin Bridge near Penn’s Landing Dog Park. It’s a part of The Circuit Trails, which connects over 750 miles of trail throughout Greater Philadelphia. The path is open to bikers, joggers, and walkers. Check out the trail site for more specifics on parking and accessibility.

The Schuylkill River Trail runs through Center City along the river and totals at 30 miles long, making it an attractive location for bikers, joggers, and walkers. The trail is easily accessible by public transit.

There’s also the Southern Riverfront Trail, a multiuse trail designated for biking, running, and walking along the riverfront. Starting from the park at South Philly’s Washington Ave. Green, it extends to Pier 70 Blvd.

Also you can start looking forward to 10 acres of new parks space and trails in the city’s Northeast section along the river.

Plan your summer weekend accordingly to check out these sites! Any other recommendations? Tell us in the comments.

Featured Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia®

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Jada Ackley
Jada is a senior Environmental Studies major at Temple University with a minor in City and Regional Planning. Currently Jada is an Editorial Intern at Green Philly. Her Interests includes enjoying nature and advocating for sustainability! View all posts by Jada Ackley

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