Outdoors Kayaking

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Experience Philly’s most beautiful spots by kayak.

September 26, 2017

Five places you have to see in Philly by kayak

With the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers at our fingertips, experiencing Philly’s most beautiful spots by kayak is a simple thing to do. Not only does kayaking offer the opportunity to take in the sights from an entirely different angle, it also carries some serious health benefits. An afternoon on the river will deliver an excellent cardiovascular workout (which is great for your heart) while also strengthening the muscles in your chest, back, arms and shoulders. In addition to the physical benefits, the tranquility you’ll discover on the water can also be instrumental in clearing your mind and improving your mental well-being.

So, the next time you’re looking for some healthy fun in the sun, check out these five prime places to visit by kayak:

1. Boathouse Row

Of all of the city’s attractions, Boathouse Row stands out with its bold colors and alignment on the Schuylkill River. Kayaking along Boathouse Row is an exciting way to enjoy the charming beauty of this National Historic Landmark.

Just past these quaint 19th-century boathouses, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the calm waters of the Schuylkill. Hidden River Outfitters tours give you the opportunity to take in the atmosphere of the boathouses and the greenery growing along the banks of the river surrounding you.

2. Fairmount Water Works

The Schuylkill Banks Kayak Tour starts out at the Walnut Street Dock, where you’ll paddle upward toward the awesome Fairmount Water Works.

Designed in 1812, the Fairmount Water Works was created to provide the city with clean drinking water and became an instant wonder for its seamless blending of nature and technology. Stretching along the river and boasting gorgeous neoclassical buildings, beautiful surrounding grounds, a regal gazebo and a prime location right next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you’ll enjoy the superb contrast of two of the most well-known and picturesque buildings in the city.

3. Bartram’s Garden

With free Saturday kayaking until the end of October, Bartram’s Garden offers a unique way to learn about Philadelphia’s history and the beauty of the oldest botanical garden in North America.

Led by environmental artist and educator Joanne Douglas, these tours teach kayakers about the tides, river health, plants, animals, history and the fossil fuel industries of this “hidden’ section of the river.” This stretch of water is flat and serene, making this education-based tour accessible for everyone.

4. Penn’s Landing Marina

In the heart of the vibrant Philadelphia waterfront, Penn’s Landing Marina offers Paddle Penn’s Landing, where kayakers and paddleboaters are supervised and blocked off from the busier areas of the Delaware River, so you can paddle while you sightsee in a safe, placid atmosphere.

A unique chance to experience nature in the city (with plenty of fish swimming around), in conjunction with the nautical vibe of the bustling marina, Paddle Penn’s Landing is one of the most fun and kid-friendly excursions to try.

5. Manayunk

Just outside of Center City, there are kayaking opportunities to explore hip and bustling Manayunk in all of its small-town splendor. Hidden River Outfitters offers a kayak tour that launches from Manayunk Brewery on the Schuylkill River, a trendy and upbeat hub of local culture. With a guided tour, you’ll learn about and experience the history of Manayunk, from its rich stories and past to its lush ecosystem.

If you’re looking to experience the city from a new perspective while getting a great upper-body workout, get adventurous and try out kayaking. Although most of the city’s guided tours are only offered until the end of September, you can always head out onto the water on your own.