The Area’s Best Spots to Kayak and Canoe

The weather is warm and the gyms are stuffy. Break out of your routine with a fun workout on the water

Illustration by Justin Renninger

Whether you grab a few friends or the family for a day of canoeing or want to up the burn a bit and try your hand at kayaking, both of these water workouts ensure you’ll be sore the next day—your arms! your core! your back!—and feel refreshed from time spent in the great outdoors. Check out our list to find a spot near you!


Philadelphia Canoe Club
One of Philadelphia’s biggest watersports organizations, Philadelphia Canoe Club offers classes for people of all ages. Although you can’t rent here, you’ll be able to polish your water skills in classes such as Introduction to Whitewater Kayak and Introduction to Recreational Kayaking so that when you hit the water on your own you’ll be prepared. $100 group lessons. 4900 Ridge Avenue, 215-487-9674.

Hidden River Outfitters
Though HRO is based out of Pottstown, they also offer kayaking trips that explore the Schuylkill near the city and Manayunk. Check out the Urban Escapes tour, which departs from Walnut Street Docks and includes a private BBQ dinner, beer, and wine, and the Manayunk Tour, which includes a stop at the Manayunk Brewery to refuel. $59 for Urban Escapes Tour, $60 for Manayunk Tour, 267-588-3512.


Northbrook Canoe Company
Northbrook Canoe Company offers a variety of trips that begin or end at their location on the Brandywine River, and are open from May to October. With six different canoe trips, there’s a length and time perfect for everyone.
Rates range from $39 – $82, + $1 fee per person; $5 discount on weekdays. 1810 Beagle Road, West Chester, 610-793-2279.

Marsh Creek Watersports
Paddle around Marsh Creek Lake in either a canoe or kayak. Rent canoes for up to 8 hours and kayaks for up to 4. Rates vary from $20 to $90. 675 Park Road, Downingtown, 610-458-5040.

Brandywine Outfitters Inc.
Traveling down the Brandywine makes for a beautiful day. Opt for Brandywine Outfitters’s popular Embreeville 2.5-hour, self-guided canoe trip or book an hourly rental. At the end of your trip a bus returns you to your starting point. Brandywine Outfitters also offers off-premise rentals. Rates start at $20 to $65. 2096 Strasburg Road, Coatesville, 1-800-CANOES-8.


Core Creek Park
This 1200-acre park offers boat rentals at their boathouse daily from May to October—just be prepared to get wet, as they rent sit-on-top kayaks. Rents vary from 30 minutes to full days. Check out the new classes this year, including full moon kayak tours for experienced paddlers, free adult boating and/or fishing certificates, and women kayak classes.  Rates start at $6 for half hour and go up to $70 for all day. 901 East Bridgetown Pike, Langhorne, 215-348-6114 or 215-757-0571.


Cedar Creek
All canoeing and kayaking trips are done on Cedar Creek and last between 1 to 3 hours, and shuttles will sweetly transport you upstream for an extra fee.  When you’re done, check out the Cedar Creek Café to re-fuel. Want to stay the night? The camp grounds here offer everything from tent rentals to trailer hook-ups and cabins. Rates range from $35 to $65. 1052 Route 9, Bayville, 732-269-1413.

Delaware River Tubing
After a busy week, Delaware River tubing is a close and affordable place to spend 3 to 4 hours unwinding, or longer if you’d like. Groups of all sizes are welcome and provided life jackets, key checks and famous BBQ meal at the famous hot dog man on the river halfway through your trip. Best part? The picnic tables are in the river on the side of a private island. Another perk is that you’ll be touching history because also located just north of here is where George Washington historically crossed on December, 25th, 1776 during the Revolutionary War. Rates range from $30 to $47. 2998 Daniel Bray Highway (Route 29), Frenchtown, NJ, 1-866-Wet-Tube or 908-996-5386.

Al & Sam’s Rentals
Al & Sam’s family-owned and -operated business at the headwaters of the Maurice River has offered canoes and kayaks for more than 40 years. Head to any one of their NJ locations (4273 North Delsea Drive, 856-692-8440; Parvin State Park, Elmer, New Jersey, 856-358-8616). You can even test drive your canoe or kayak on the river before renting to make sure it’s the right one for you. $39 to $59 for 4-hour river trip; $12-$40 for single/double one-hour to all day.

Mick’s Pine Barrens
Mick’s offers canoe and kayak trips in Wharton State Forest that last anywhere from 2 to 10 hours, so there’s a trip for beginners and pros. Paddlers can choose from several departure points on the Wading, Batsto and Oswego Rivers. Travel times, distances and maps for each trail are provided and even a trail guide if you would like. Be sure to have a camera ready as you drift by towering Pitch Pines and beaver dams. After your trip, relax, picnic, and swim along one of the beaches. Rates range from $33 to $50. 3107 Route 563, Chatsworth, 609-726-1515.

River Country Canoeing
River Country may claim they’re the tubing capital of the world, but they also offer canoeing and kayaking for other, more physical, ways to travel down the calmer waters of the Delaware River or more adventurous trips on Tohickon Creek. Multi-day family trips are common because of their additional camping and fishing sites. Rates range from $29 to $48, 2 Walters Lane, Pipersville, 215-297-5000.

Bel Haven Paddlesports
With 57 years of experience, this family-owned and -operated facility has canoeing and kayaking trips for mini explorations the whole family will love.  Renting here allows you to explore not one, but four rivers: Wading, Oswego, Batsto, and Mullica. Bel Haven also offers optional 3-hour lessons in the water as well as an optional, quick 30-minute land lesson to go over paddling technique and safety before you leave for your adventure. Rates range from $36 – $60; $10 land review; $75 water lesson; 1227 Route 542 Green Bank, 609-965-2205.

Adams Canoe Rental
Operating on the calm waters of the Mullica and Batsto Rivers, as well as the Atsion Lake in Wharton State Forest, this family business offers 5- to 8-hour trips and is a popular place for scout troops and others to camp overnight.  Bring a picnic lunch for eating on the rivers’ small sand beaches while enjoying New Jersey’s wildlife. $30 – $90. 1005 Atsion Road, Vincentown, 609-268-0189.


Wilderness Canoe Trips
With more than 35 years of business, Wilderness Canoe Trips is known for conducting relaxing, fun trips that range from 2 to 4 hours.  Call to reserve a spot so they can plan for you and your group.
Rates range from $42 to $6. 2111 Concord Pike, Box 7125, Talleyville, Wilmington, 302-654-2227.