5 Amazing Places To Kayak In Pennsylvania

With hundreds of lakes and rivers, Pennsylvania is an ideal spot for kayaking. Whether you’re looking for a nice relaxed scenic float, or some exciting whitewater adventures, you will find it here. Strap your Sun Dolphin Bali 10 sit on kayak to your car and mark your map with the following 5 amazing places in Pennsylvania…

There are numerous places to go to hit the water with the paddle, but these five are among the top, each offering it’s own unique attractions.

1. Clear Creek State Park

With an average downward flow of four miles per hour, the Clarion River is an ideal spot for beginners, or people who just want to enjoy an easy float through green pastures and lush forests.

You can rent kayaks at many entry points to the river and, as the waters are calm and easy, it is an ideal place to learn or introduce someone to the sport.

Another great advantage is that in many places, boats are restricted to electric and non-powered craft, so you don’t have to worry about getting into anyone’s way.

There are other streams, lakes, and reservoirs open to kayaking in the state as well, including the Juniata River, Minsi Lake, and Mauch Chunk Lake.

2. Swatara State Park

There are many great state parks across Pennsylvania that provide excellent trails for kayaking. However, one that is well worth a mention is Swatara State Park.

With almost 8 miles of stream passing through very few built up residential areas, Swatara Creek is an excellent place for a paddler to explore. You can really feel like you are really in nature here, but some regulations do apply.

Each person must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD, a permit, and there are designated launch areas in both the northern and southern ends of the park.

3. Pine Creek Gorge

No Pennsylvania kayaking list would be complete without mentioning the Grand Canyon of the state, a.k.a. Pine Creek Gorge. The pristine Pine Creek snakes through 17 miles of lush forest and wilderness.

Come here if you’re looking for a bit more adventure, as you’ll find class II and III rapids to navigate through. Experienced paddlers can adventure by themselves, or if you are a novice, there is the option to hire a guide.

Primitive camping along the banks of the river is available. However, Pine Creek is not usually floatable in the summer, unless there has been heavy rainfall, so make sure to check the conditions in advance.

4. Lake Erie

Getting away from the rivers and smaller lakes, Lake Erie offers the opportunity to explore the coves, cliffs, and shoreline with more of an open water feel.

Take a quiet paddle along the extensive coastline, and take the opportunity to enjoy a picnic on the beach, or to one of the ideally positioned restaurants.

Presque Isle State Park offers a great place to escape to a more isolated region, and if you are looking for a more extended stay, the area offers some great wineries to check out.

5. Lehigh Gorge State Park

Carved out by the Lehigh River, the Lehigh Gorge is another adventurous spot offering both calm waters and rapids. This one is more for experienced paddlers though, and beginners shouldn’t attempt it by themselves.

Guided trips are available from a number of licensed outfitters, so everyone can enjoy the excitement of navigating some of the faster waters. If you are heading out privately, then you will need to put in and take off at one of the designated points.

The river is also a historical point of curiosity. It was once the only privately owned river in the United States, and was vital to supplying coal and lumber to the Philadelphia region.

Come here for a paddle through some great scenery, but don’t miss the historical points along the way.


If you are an avid paddler, or someone who is just starting out, there is always something for you to discover while kayaking in Pennsylvania.

From the white waters of Lehigh Gorge and Pine Creek Gorge, to the calmer rivers of state parks and the open water of Lake Erie, everything a paddler could want is covered.

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