By Jenny Wilden,

Philly’s hot, humid summer is officially here. And man, do we need to escape the heat.

We’ve always got weekends at The Shore, but when the tourists invade, try these eight watersports right in Philly instead. From kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding to swan boats, there’s plenty of ways to get active on the 215’s waterways. (All conveniently located within/near the city.)

A Kayaking Social in Manayunk

Kayaking newbs and experts can learn to paddle rivers and rapids at The Philadelphia Canoe Club in Manayunk, just a few miles from Schuylkill Banks. One-day classes on flatwater and whitewater kayaking will run you $98 per person, but they’re a great way to impress a current or future Tinder date. Already know the basics? The Club also hosts social paddles throughout the summer for savvy kayakers.

Stand Up Paddleboarding at Bartram’s Garden

Prefer standing to sitting? Standup Philly is your jam. This company rents stand up paddleboards and offers tours beginning at Bartram’s Garden Boathouse along the Schuylkill River. Just try not to fall is the Schuylkill after all. Take a two-hour guided tour for $75 or rent a SUP and explore on your own for $25 an hour. Their schedule varies, so follow them on Instagram for up-to-date deets.

Swimming at Public Pools

Fun fact: Philly has more public pools per capita than any city in the country. Most people don’t know this, and even fewer realize these awesome (and surprisingly clean) Philly pools are FREE for residents to use. Open from the end of June to the end of August but opening dates and times vary, so blow up your water wings and contact your local pool for details.

Five Philly pools (Francisville, Lee Cultural Center, O’Connor, Pleasant Playground, and Lawncrest Recreation Center) received much-needed facelifts courtesy of a new city initiative called Swim Philly, and each one is worth taking a dip in—even if it takes a SEPTA ride to get there.

Kayaking and Brunch at Manayunk Brewing

Launching from Manayunk Brewing, Hidden River Outfitters guided tour is perfect for beer lovers. You’ll paddle the Schuylkill to Philadelphia Canoe Club before turning around and paddling hard enough back up the river to earn the beer lunch or jazz brunch awaiting you on Manayunk Brewing’s riverfront back deck. The taste of that frosty brew might just bring tears to your eyes.


SUP Yoga and Boot Camp at Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park is more than a waterfront lounging and drinking locale. Get on the water instead of just staring at it with stand up paddleboarding yoga and boot camp classes from Aqua Vida.

Offered all summer long on the Delaware River, classes boast beautiful views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. And the extra balance required for poses-on-paddleboard will give you crazy core strength (a nice touch for beach season.) Fees are donation-based and profits go toward water conservation efforts that keep people floating on local waterways.


Paddle Around Penn’s Landing

Paddle the Delaware River safely away from the booze cruise yachts with Paddle Penn’s Landing. The company rents trendy swan boats, kayaks, and rowboats for just $5-$10 per half hour seven days a week. After paddling, stick around for drinks and dinner at Spruce Street Harbor Park. Don’t miss the old-fashioned banana splits for dessert at Franklin Fountain’s outpost. Then follow it up with a rousing game of cornhole…or just a lounge in a hammock.

Free Zumba and Yoga at Philly Pools

Practice your downward dog and doggie paddle in one location this summer. After updating the outdated Francisville public pool last summer, Swim Philly is launching a series of free poolside and in-pool yoga and zumba. Classes are held on weekdays in the evenings at five public pools spread throughout the city. There’s no need to RSVP for these classes, just bring your swimsuit and mat for poolside yoga. Full class schedule available online.

Kayaking on the Schuylkill River

Instead of running on the famous Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, see it from the water! Schuylkill Banks gives guided tours by day and moonlight along the Schuylkill River that include all the gear…so you have no excuse not to go. Tours are once weekly from June-September and include a half-hour of instruction, an hour on the water, and tour for $37 per person.


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