Walk. Ride. Pedal. Discover.
Next time bring your bike onboard.

Tips, Posts, and Announcements

Where to Paddle in the Philadelphia Area

John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, nestled in Southwest Philadelphia, is the nation's first urban refuge.

Where to Paddle

Visitors can canoe and kayak on a 4.5 mile segment of Darby Creek. Darby Creek flows through the largest freshwater marsh in Pennsylvania where you can see wildlife - including bald eagles, white-tailed deer, and wild turkeys.

 How to Paddle

If you are bringing your own kayak or canoe, click here to learn about tides, points of interest along Darby Creek, and the Refuge’s canoeing safety tips. The Refuge is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset, free of charge.

Don’t have your own boat? Join L.L. Bean in John Heinz Wildlife Refuge for kayaking courses, tours, and trips starting at $25. All necessary paddling equipment is provided.

Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area

With the the 128-mile Schuylkill River as its spine, the Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area is comprised of the Schuylkill River watershed in Schuylkill, Berks, Chester, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.

Where to Paddle

In addition to the Schuylkill River, there are numerous lakes with public access, including French Creek, Tuscarora, and Locust Lake State Parks. Canoes, rowboats, and pedal boats can be rented at these facilities.

How to Paddle

Public access points to the Schuylkill River can be found in the Schuylkill River Water Trail Guide. The guide also provides paddlers with nearby facilities, noted areas of cautions, travel tips, and points of interest.

Take a guided, round-trip adventure from Pottstown to Douglassville with Schuylkill River Heritage Area’s Pedal and Paddles events. These events include biking and kayaking and take place on one Saturday a month from May through September. Bikes, helmets, kayaks, paddles, personal flotation devices, and lunch are provided. Cost is $40 per person.

Participate in the Schuylkill River Sojourn, an annual 112-mile guided canoe/kayak trip on the Schuylkill River that begins in rural Schuylkill Haven and ends seven days later in Philadelphia's Boathouse Row. This week-long sojourn starts the first weekend of June.

Visit schuylkillriver.org/Paddling to learn more about paddling in the Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area.

John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove

John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove is situated on 175 acres of forest, field, and creek habitats in Audubon. Mill Grove is the home of John James Audubon, a famous ornithologist, naturalist, and painter, who created Birds of America, widely to be considered one of the greatest examples of book art.

Where to Paddle

The Perkiomen Creek is right in Mill Grove’s backyard and is home to macro invertebrates, muskrats, and over 150 species of birds.

How to Paddle

Mill Grove educators lead guided canoe tours of the Perkiomen Creek from May through September on Thursdays and Saturdays. Personal flotation devices, canoes, and oars are provided. The cost is $15 per person and registration is required. Click here to sign up and to learn more about the program.

Fairmount Park Conservancy

Fairmount Park Conservancy champions Philadelphia’s 10,200 acres of parks and more than 100 neighborhood parks around the city through capital projects and historic preservation efforts, neighborhood park stewardship and innovative programs.

How to Paddle

Fairmount Park Conservancy offers a series of guided kayak trips from June through September that explore two different sections of the Schuylkill River: Walnut Street to the Fairmount Water Works, and Manayunk. Hidden River Outfitters, a local kayak company, leads the tours and provides kayaks to borrow. Kayak trips are $20 per person for members and $40 per person for non-members. Visit myphillypark.org/events-calendar/ to find the next kayak tour.

Bartram’s Garden

Bartram’s Garden is a National Historic Landmark located on the Schuylkill River in West Philadelphia. The Garden encompass 45 acres of parkland, wildlife habitats, tidal wetlands, and a reclaimed meadow. It is also is the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America. It was owned by American botanist John Bartram in the early 18th Century.

Where to Paddle

The Garden is located right on the Schuylkill River. Boating can be done on an eight-mile stretch of the Lower Schuylkill River, also known as the Schuylkill Banks, from the Fairmount Dam at the Art Museum to the Delaware River confluence. A community boat house and public boat launch is located here.

How to Paddle

From April 22 to October 28, the Garden offers free boating every Saturday from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm (weather permitting). Canoes and kayaks can be borrowed from the Community Boathouse. No experience necessary and all are welcome.

Every Juen, celebrate the Schuylkill River on the water with the Bartram’s Garden at the Riverfest & Tidal Schuylkill Boat Parade. The day is filled with family fun including free kayaking and rowboating, a floating ice cream parlor and watermelon stand, an eight-foot Pizza Raft, and costumes. Learn more about Riverfest here.

To learn more about getting on the river at Bartram’s, visit bartramsgarden.org/what-to-do/on-the-river.

Schuylkill Banks

The Schuylkill River Development Corporation is a nonprofit organization working to revitalize the Schuylkill Banks, the segment of the Schuylkill River that runs from the Fairmount Dam to the confluence of the Delaware River.

Where to Paddle

The only public ramp accessible to this portion of the Schuylkill River is at Bartram's Garden

How to Paddle

Join Bartram's Garden on Saturdays for free boating or sign-up for professionally guided kayak and stand-up paddle boarding tours.

Independence Seaport Museum

Independence Seaport Museum, is located on Penn’s Landing and maintains one of the largest maritime collections in North America, as well as two National Historic Landmark ships—the Spanish-American War cruiser, Olympia, and the World War II submarine Becuna.

Where to Paddle:

Penn’s Landing Basin, part of the Delaware River, is a safe area away from boat traffic. You’ll get great views of Spruce Street Harbor Park, an urban beach located on Penn's Landing.

How to Paddle

At Penn’s Landing Basin, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation partners with the Independence Seaport Museum to rent out kayaks, rowboats, and swan or dragon pedal boats. Click here to learn more about hours of operations and pricing.