Spending time on the water is one of the best ways to relax and a great way to see the region from a different perspective. Boats need to be transported, so if you don’t have a car or truck, owning a boat isn’t practical. Fortunately, parks in our region like Bartram’s Garden and John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove are accessible by walking, biking, and transit and will set you up with training, safety equipment, and a boat so you can get out on the water.
Getting to parks in our region is easy with the GoPhillyGo Android app and mobile website. You can find amazing destinations and events happening across the region. We made a list of places where you don’t need a car to take a paddle on a river or lake. All are near trails so bring your bike along for a unique multimodal experience!
Explore the tranquil tidal stretch of the Schuylkill River in a kayak or rowboat at Bartram’s Garden Community Boathouse from 11am to 3pm every Saturday. Basic instruction and safety equipment is provided. Stop by on the third Saturday of every month and enjoy free bike rentals in addition to free boating. Click here for directions to Bartram’s Garden!
Take a guided kayak tour of the Schuylkill River from the Walnut Street Dock to Fairmount Water Works. Tours include a half hour instructional session and an hour on the water. Individual and tandem kayaks are available on a first come first serve basis. Children under 8 are prohibited and 8-12 require an adult. For more info on kayak tours click here and click here for directions to the Walnut Street dock.
Silver Lake Nature Center
The Moonlight Kayak Excursion happens on July 13, and registration fills up fast. Travel up Silver Lake to an island in the middle of Magnolia Lake. Roast marshmallows over a campfire before heading back under the full moon light. This trip is for people who have completed at least one other kayak trip. Click here for more info and click here directions!
Independence Seaport Museum
Take a tour of the museum, then hit the water! ISM has a ton of on-water programming all summer long for people of all skill levels. Take one of their kayak tours to some of Philadelphia’s hidden destinations like Graffiti Pier and the Three Sisters Shipwreck. Join a river boat tour and learn about our watershed, or take an easy paddle in the basin outside the museum. Click here for more info and here for directions!
John James Audubon Mill Grove
Join a guided canoe tour of the Perkiomen Creek and view birds and other wildlife at this historic estate. Tours take place on Thursdays and Saturdays from June to September. You can also book private tours for 10 or more people for any day of the week. Registration is required. Click here to register and here for directions!