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11 places in Philly to get out on the water this summer

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Editor's note: This story was originally published in July 2016. It has been updated throughout to reflect the latest information.

There are plenty of spraygrounds and public pools that can help you beat the heat in Philly. But we have something else that’s really special, too: two major rivers that sandwich the city, each with their own great kayaking, canoeing and boating spots.

Now that the storms have (mostly) died down, and the weather isn’t as blisteringly hot, it’s the perfect time to get out on the water, and we’ve rounded up the best spots. Whether you’re looking to just dip your toes, or take a kayak out, here are some of Philly’s best offerings.

Got another water-friendly spot you’d care to share? Leave it in the comments or send us a tip.

Want to get out of the city? Here are 12 more swimming lakes and rivers near Philly.

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1. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

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8601 Lindbergh Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19153
(215) 365-3118
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The nation's first urban National Wildlife Refuge has a docking area where kayakers and canoers can ship off and explore the marshes of this 4.5-mile stretch of Darby Creek. Just time your ride wisely: The river is only accessible two hours before or after high tide. For more information on the high tides, hit up the refuge’s website.

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2. Spruce Street Harbor Park

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301 S Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

When the views of the Delaware River from the pop-up park's hanging hammocks aren't enough, (carefully) hop on a standup paddleboard. Aqua Vida hosts yoga, meditation, and cardio classes multiple days of the week. And yes that’s all on standup paddleboards.

3. Independence Seaport Museum

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211 S Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 925-5439
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Independence Seaport Museum has tons of options for getting out on the water, from kayaking excursions (for the adventurous, according to their website) to paddle tours, to history lessons on the banks, there’s plenty to do.

4. Riverlink Ferry PA Side

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201 S Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 925-5465
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If you just want to enjoy being on the water without all the work, there's the 12-minute Riverlink Ferry Ride that travels between Penn's Landing and Camden's waterfront. You'll get great views of the Philly skyline and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge for $9 a pop.

5. Spirit of Philadelphia

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501 S Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(866) 455-3866
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On that same note, if you want something longer than a 12-minute jet across the Delaware, there's always the Spirit of Philadelphia's dinner, lunch, or brunch cruises. The cruise lasts a couple of hours with great views of the skyline and the Delaware. Prices vary but the more expensive time (dinner) will run you just over $70.

6. Washington Avenue Green

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While you can't actually swim here, there is a small rocky beach at this pier that gets you pretty close to the water's edge. The former immigration pier is an ecological treasure that has views of Camden and Benjamin Franklin Bridge. When it opened in 2014, it became the first dedicated waterfront public space in South Philly.

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7. Bartram's Garden

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54th St. and Lindbergh Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
(215) 729-5281
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Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through October 19 you can take free kayak and rowboat rides along the Schuylkill River over at Bartram's Garden, a 45-acre National Historic Landmark. Or, you can bring your own boat and take off from here.

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8. Schuylkill Banks

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2501 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 683-0200
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If you've got your own canoe or kayak, you can bring it down to Schuylkill Banks and get on the water from the Walnut Street launch site. No boat? Schuylkill Banks and Hidden River Outfitters offer basic kayak and river boat tours throughout the summer and fall, as well as moonlight rides. For the full schedule, click here.

Catch a breeze this Saturday on a Secrets of the Schuylkill Riverboat Tour or a Basic or Moonlight Kayak Tour! More info: http://www.schuylkillbanks.org/events/2016-06-25

Posted by Schuylkill Banks on Thursday, June 23, 2016

9. Philadelphia Canoe Club

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4900 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19128

The Philadelphia Canoe Club over in Manayunk has a jam-packed schedule of canoe and kayak trips and classes. A lot of them stick to local waters, but if you're really looking for an adventure they also do trips throughout the country. They also offer standup paddleboard and whitewater kayaking lessons.

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10. Wissahickon Valley Park

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300 W Northwestern Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(215) 685-9285
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There are plenty of spots along the Wissahickon where you can dip your toes in or let your pups splash around. You'll find impromptu beaches along Forbidden Drive, or you can hike the trail to the infamous Devil's Pool (which, despite its popularity, is not legal to jump or swim in. But you can wade through it!).

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11. Patriot Harbor Lines

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Penn's Landing
Philadelphia, PA
(800) 979-3370
Visit Website

Patriot Harbor Lines is another way to explore the Schuylkill or the Delaware without having to lift a finger. The boat rides take off at two spots: at the Independence Seaport Museum on the Delaware and from the Schuylkill Banks at 2501 Walnut Street. One reader who recommended the cruise rides said they're "always a pleasurable experience."

1. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

8601 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19153

The nation's first urban National Wildlife Refuge has a docking area where kayakers and canoers can ship off and explore the marshes of this 4.5-mile stretch of Darby Creek. Just time your ride wisely: The river is only accessible two hours before or after high tide. For more information on the high tides, hit up the refuge’s website.

8601 Lindbergh Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19153

2. Spruce Street Harbor Park

301 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

When the views of the Delaware River from the pop-up park's hanging hammocks aren't enough, (carefully) hop on a standup paddleboard. Aqua Vida hosts yoga, meditation, and cardio classes multiple days of the week. And yes that’s all on standup paddleboards.

301 S Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

3. Independence Seaport Museum

211 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Independence Seaport Museum has tons of options for getting out on the water, from kayaking excursions (for the adventurous, according to their website) to paddle tours, to history lessons on the banks, there’s plenty to do.

211 S Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

4. Riverlink Ferry PA Side

201 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

If you just want to enjoy being on the water without all the work, there's the 12-minute Riverlink Ferry Ride that travels between Penn's Landing and Camden's waterfront. You'll get great views of the Philly skyline and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge for $9 a pop.

201 S Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

5. Spirit of Philadelphia

501 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

On that same note, if you want something longer than a 12-minute jet across the Delaware, there's always the Spirit of Philadelphia's dinner, lunch, or brunch cruises. The cruise lasts a couple of hours with great views of the skyline and the Delaware. Prices vary but the more expensive time (dinner) will run you just over $70.

501 S Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

6. Washington Avenue Green

Philadelphia, PA 19147

While you can't actually swim here, there is a small rocky beach at this pier that gets you pretty close to the water's edge. The former immigration pier is an ecological treasure that has views of Camden and Benjamin Franklin Bridge. When it opened in 2014, it became the first dedicated waterfront public space in South Philly.

7. Bartram's Garden

54th St. and Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19143

Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through October 19 you can take free kayak and rowboat rides along the Schuylkill River over at Bartram's Garden, a 45-acre National Historic Landmark. Or, you can bring your own boat and take off from here.

54th St. and Lindbergh Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19143

8. Schuylkill Banks

2501 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

If you've got your own canoe or kayak, you can bring it down to Schuylkill Banks and get on the water from the Walnut Street launch site. No boat? Schuylkill Banks and Hidden River Outfitters offer basic kayak and river boat tours throughout the summer and fall, as well as moonlight rides. For the full schedule, click here.

2501 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

9. Philadelphia Canoe Club

4900 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19128

The Philadelphia Canoe Club over in Manayunk has a jam-packed schedule of canoe and kayak trips and classes. A lot of them stick to local waters, but if you're really looking for an adventure they also do trips throughout the country. They also offer standup paddleboard and whitewater kayaking lessons.

4900 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19128

10. Wissahickon Valley Park

300 W Northwestern Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118

There are plenty of spots along the Wissahickon where you can dip your toes in or let your pups splash around. You'll find impromptu beaches along Forbidden Drive, or you can hike the trail to the infamous Devil's Pool (which, despite its popularity, is not legal to jump or swim in. But you can wade through it!).

300 W Northwestern Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19118

11. Patriot Harbor Lines

Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, PA

Patriot Harbor Lines is another way to explore the Schuylkill or the Delaware without having to lift a finger. The boat rides take off at two spots: at the Independence Seaport Museum on the Delaware and from the Schuylkill Banks at 2501 Walnut Street. One reader who recommended the cruise rides said they're "always a pleasurable experience."

Penn's Landing
Philadelphia, PA