Things to Do , Adventure Sports , Lakes & Watersports , Sports & Outdoors
Kayaking, Canoeing & Rafting in NEPA
Posted: July 19, 2022
Local Outfitters Offer Boat Rentals & River Trips
With hundreds of miles of rivers and countless lakes, NEPA is a prime spot for watersports. It’s just so peaceful to glide along with nothing but the gentle splash of your paddle dipping into the water. And you always notice things you wouldn’t see from the shore, like bald eagles swooping in to snatch a fish and blue herons wading along the shore.
If heart-pounding adventures are more your style, then NEPA’s whitewater rapids are calling your name. Both the Lehigh River and the Delaware River boast rapids that are thrilling, yet still easy enough for families and beginners.
No boat? No problem. NEPA’s local outfitters can provide kayaks, canoes and rafts, plus all the equipment you need. Many of them even offer shuttle services for river trips so you don’t have to haul all the gear. We’ve rounded up some of NEPA’s most popular watersports destinations and the local outfitters that can help you get out on the water.
Drift along the current and enjoy unbeatable views on the North Branch.
The Susquehanna River begins in Cooperstown, New York, and flows 444 miles all the way down to the Chesapeake Bay. The scenic North Branch runs right through the heart of NEPA, winding its way through the Endless Mountains and passing through the Valley Cities.
Sure, maybe you drive past the river every day or have taken a stroll on its banks. But to truly experience the Susquehanna, you have to get out on the water on a kayak or canoe. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular with dramatic oxbow bends, rolling mountains and soaring cliffs. It’s no wonder this section is designated as a National Recreation Trail and is part of the Pennsylvania Water Trail System.
River Trips & Boat Rentals on the Susquehanna:
Endless Mountain Outfitters
Sugar Run, PA
Enjoy the tranquil water, rolling mountains and sweeping views of NEPA’s northern reaches. This outfitter rents kayaks and canoes. Their daily trips range from short, beginner-friendly excursions to full-day tours. Keep an eye out for special trips and events.
Five Mountain Outfitters Co.
Rugged cliffs and lush mountains are just some of the sights as you paddle through the South Wyoming Valley. Standard kayak trips are about 7 miles long, and shorter trips are available. Stop at the islands along the way to rest and soak up the scenery.
Susquehanna Kayak and Canoe Rentals
This outfitter offers rentals and shuttles in NEPA’s Endless Mountains. You’ll find trips for all skill levels, from short, relaxing day trips to overnight camping adventures. They always plan fun events like full moon floats, brewery tours, wine trips and more.
Susquehanna Outdoor Adventures
Susquehanna Outdoor Adventures offers single and tandem kayaks that are perfect for exploring the river. After a day of paddling, spend the night at one of their private island campsites.
The National Park Service protects over 100 miles along the NEPA border.
The Delaware River forms the eastern edge of the state. There are two prime sections for paddlesports: the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Both are part of the National Park System. Kayak and canoe rentals are plentiful, while rafts are a great option for groups and families.
The Upper Delaware spans about 73 miles, starting from the northeast corner of the state and ending just north of Matamoras. The water is a mix of calm sections, mild riffles and Class I and II rapids. As for scenery, the area is surrounded by mountains, with the Pennsylvania Poconos on one side and the New York Catskills on the other. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot one of the many bald eagles that call the area home.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area follows the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border from Milford to just below the town of Delaware Water Gap. This is where you’ll see some iconic views like the steep slopes of Mount Minsi and the famous Point of Gap.
River Trips & Boat Rentals on the Delaware:
Adventure Sports Inc.
East Stroudsburg, PA
This family owned and operated outfitter has over 50 years of experience renting out kayaks, canoes and rafts. River trips range from a few hours to a full day. You can even go on a multi-day camping adventure.
East Stroudsburg, PA
This family-run livery offers canoes, kayaks, rafts and tubes. Take a quick afternoon paddle or a full-day excursion. They also have overnight camping trips, where you can spend up to four days cruising along the river.
Edge of the Woods Outfitters
Delaware Water Gap, PA
From easy, family-friendly trips to full-day adventures to overnight canoe camping, Edge of the Woods Outfitters does it all. Their shop rents single, tandem and inflatable kayaks, as well as canoes and rafts. Their most popular trip is a six-mile paddle from Smithfield Beach to Kittatinny Point.
Indian Head Canoes & Rafts
This family business offers kayaks, canoes, tubes and rafts to explore the Upper Delaware. Trips range from one to six hours in length, which is perfect for beginners, intermediate paddlers or anyone who just wants to enjoy a peaceful day on the water. They have additional locations in Barryville and Knights Eddy, NY.
Matamoras, Milford & Dingmans Ferry, PA
With 80 years of experience, the crew at Kittatinny Canoes are experts when it comes to kayaking, canoeing, rafting and tubing on the Delaware. They offer multiple trips in the Upper Delaware and Delaware Water Gap. They even have their own campgrounds.
Shawnee River Trips
Shawnee on Delaware, PA
This boat rental service is located at The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort and is open to the public. They rent out rafts, canoes and single and tandem kayaks so you can explore the river at your own pace.
Ride the whitewater rapids through the Poconos.
If you’re really up for an adrenaline rush, the mighty Lehigh River is the place to be. On dam release weekends, the extra water flows down from the Francis E. Walter Dam and creates churning Class III rapids. However, you’ll also find gentler family-style trips that all ages will enjoy. In the calmer sections, you can even hop out of the raft and cool off with a swim.
When you’re not paddling like crazy through the rapids, take a moment to admire the breathtaking scenery. The river cuts through Lehigh Gorge State Park, one of the gems of the Pocono Mountains.
Don’t worry if you’re a first-timer—you don’t need any experience. These local companies provide guided trips complete with gear, transportation and instruction.
Whitewater Rafting Trips on the Lehigh:
Jim Thorpe River Adventures
Based out of the Lehighton Outdoor Center, Jim Thorpe River Adventures offers whitewater rafting trips for all levels. Inflatable kayaks and bike rentals are also available.
Jim Thorpe, PA
From roaring dam release weekends to family-friendly trips, this outfitter has it all. Keep an eye out for special trips like pirate rafting, moonlight trips and more. They also offer multisport packages that pair rafting trips with hiking, biking and paintball.
Take on the rapids with Whitewater Challengers. Their Premier Rafting trips offer the thrills of dam release weekend, while family-style trips provide a gentler ride and opportunities to stop and swim.
Whitewater Rafting Adventures
Visit on dam release weekends for a wet and wild ride. EZ Whitewater and Summer Rafting Trips provide shorter, milder trips that are great for families with younger children. Their adventure center also offers ziplining, paintball and bike rentals.
NEPA State Parks
Local lakes offer a relaxing spot for paddlers.
State parks are some of NEPA’s most wild, scenic and pristine places. Some parks have lakes and boat concessions, where you can borrow kayaks and canoes at an affordable rate. Some locations also have stand-up paddleboards, pedal boats and more.
From the water, you’ll get a completely different view of the park. There’s nothing more peaceful than paddling along the glassy surface of the water and taking in the scenery.
State Parks with Boat Rentals:
Beltzville State Park
Lehighton, PAView Details
Frances Slocum State Park
Wyoming, PAView Details
Gouldsboro State Park
Gouldsboro, PAView Details
Lackawanna State Park
North Abington Twp., PAView Details
Locust Lake State Park
Barnesville, PAView Details
Promised Land State Park
Greentown, PAView Details
Ricketts Glen State Park
Benton, PAView Details
Tobyhanna State Park
Tobyhanna, PAView Details
Tuscarora State Park
Barnesville, PAView Details
Article Updated from its Original Version Published on 7/7/21.