Kayaking Excursions On the Delaware Return For a Second Summer

See Philly by water, thanks to the Independence Seaport Museum.


This summer, spend a Saturday exploring Philly’s natural landscape during one of Independence Seaport Museum’s kayaking excursions. / Photograph courtesy of Independence Seaport Museum

This story has been updated.

When someone coming to Philly for the first time asks for a “must-do,” it’s common to hear (and give) recommendations like the Art Museum, the Franklin Institute, the Liberty Bell, and a handful of top-notch restaurants. Of course, these are can’t-miss sites, especially for first-timers. Sometimes, however, we forget that there are amazingly fun things to do once we exit the skyscraper perimeters and enter Philly’s natural landscape. Take, for instance, the Delaware River Waterfront. In the past five or so years, it has been revitalized for public use and entertainment. With interactive communal spaces like Spruce Street Harbor Park and Cherry Street Pier, more and more people have been venturing beyond the high-rise streets and toward the open air.

This summer, visitors and residents alike can get even closer to the water, thanks to the Independence Seaport Museum. The museum’s goal is to connect visitors and the local community with the river and watershed through history, science, art, and on-the-water experiences. They’ll fulfill that last goal, for the second year in a row, by offering kayaking excursions on the Delaware River. This year, the museum added more dates (last year’s sold out very quickly), as well as a new excursion for beginners, making the activity accessible for all experience levels.

For beginners, Independence Seaport Museum suggests either its Three Sisters Shipwreck Tour or new Eco Tour. The Three Sisters Shipwreck Tour is a guided three-mile expedition to discover what remains of the actual shipwreck. The excursion begins in the protected area of the Penn’s Landing Marina with a kayaking tutorial, including lessons and guided practice with the help of experienced kayaking guides. Once confident with the basics, you’ll head out on the river toward the shipwreck and return with historical knowledge. You have two more chances for this excursion: July 6th and August 18th. You can buy your $45 Three Sisters Shipwreck ticket here.

During the new, also beginner-friendly Eco Tour, participants will venture onto the water to get educated. During a leisurely two-hour paddle session, you’ll learn more about the Delaware River watershed and the important role it plays in the local ecosystem. Find out how the health of the river has been transformed since the passing of the Clean Water Act and gain insight into the actions you can take to improve the health of our local waterways. After all, the Delaware River supplies 15 million people with their drinking water — including all of Philadelphia. The Eco Tour costs $32 and will run on the following dates: June 13th, July 12th, July 27th, July 29th, August 9th, and August 25th. You can purchase your ticket here.

The museum’s third excursion is best suited for intermediate and advanced paddlers. On June 15th, July 13th, or July 28th, kayak six miles to one of the most ‘grammable locations Philly has to offer: Graffiti Pier. Though you won’t venture through it on foot, you’ll be able to snap photos from your kayak. (Just don’t drop your phone.) From there, you’ll head to Penn Treaty Park and back to Penn’s Landing. Snag your Graffiti Pier excursion ticket for $45 here.

For more information, check out Independence Seaport Museum’s FAQs.

Note: You must be at least 18 years old to participate in any of the excursions. All excursions are guided and include a safety orientation and kayaking introduction. Participants must wear a life jacket at all times.

Let’s get social! Join Be Well Philly at: