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Boat Rental Rundown: Locations, Tips and More!

I can canoe! Can you? If not, don’t worry, there are plenty of spots for beginners and the seasoned sailors too in this handy guide to boat rentals.

I once heard a quote that said “There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who want to buy a boat and those who want to sell a boat.” That leads me to believe owning a boat comes with certain challenges that make you want to sell it only minutes after you’ve purchased it. Honestly, I am never going to know for sure because I have absolutely no intention of purchasing a watercraft–motorized or person-powered–in my lifetime (sorry, kids).


Plus, I would argue there is, in fact, a third type of person in this world: Those who are smart to avoid the commitment of ownership and simply rent a boat. Grab your sunscreen, pack a lunch and channel your inner Gilligan, it’s time to have a boating adventure.

Marsh Creek Watersports

675 Park Road, Downingtown


Rental Info: Located in Marsh Creek State Park, this lake-based boating business offers group and single stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and trolling motor boats; life jackets and basic instruction are included; rent for as little as a half-hour or for an entire season.

Good to Know: Stay and play all day. Marsh Creek has tons of hiking trails, a shaded playground, and a classic public pool complete with a splash pad for the littlest sailors. There are changing rooms, lockers, and two reasonably priced snack bars, as well as picnic tables and charcoal grills.  

French Creek Boats

865 Park Road, Elverson


Rental Info: Located within French Creek State Park, this place offers single stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and trolling motor boats in a lake setting; life jackets and basic instruction are included; rent for as little as a half-hour and for as long as four hours.

Good to Know: You could easily make a leisurely weekend out of this one. They have tent camping, hiking trails, fishing, picnic spots, plenty of room to bike, and a public pool.

Port Providence Paddle 

264 Canal Street, Port Providence


Rental Info: Located just outside the funky town of Phoenixville, this place offers canoe, kayak, and tube rentals you can enjoy using on the canal, the Schuylkill River, or a combination of both. If you’re new to boating, start with their two-and-a-half hour trip. Veteran boaters, with a good fitness level, can enjoy the challenge of the six-hour trip.

Good to Know: Some of the excursions involve portaging your boat a short way. Some would say that adds to the fun, but others might balk at that. After your time on the river, you’ll be hungry. You can grab dinner at The Fitz–the restaurant connected to the boat rental store–or head into Phoenixville where you’ll find a wide range of dining options.

Brandywine Outfitters River Adventures 

2096 Strasburg Road, Mortonville


Rental Info: Sitting along the banks of the Brandywine River, this place offers one option: a self-guided tour in either a canoe or a kayak. Great for beginners, and for those of us with kids who have short attention spans, it can be as quick as 2.5 hours.

Good to Know: They do not accept credit cards so hit the ATM on your way. While you’re at it, grab everything you need for a picnic lunch. This self-paced and leisurely experience is ideal for pulling over and enjoying a meal along the river.

Driftwood Water Adventure Rentals 

101 Swamp Rd., Newtown


Rental Info: Located in Tyler State Park, they offer paddle boards, single and double kayaks, and canoes so you and the fam can paddle in Bucks County’s Neshaminy Creek. Minimum rental time is an hour, and the max is four hours.

Good to Know: If you’re in to frisbee golf, pack your set of discs because this park boasts one of the top courses in the United States. If that’s not your thing, pack your bikes and enjoy the numerous paved trails or bring your old shoes, a net, and a bucket for a creek-crawl. You’ll find crayfish, tadpoles, frogs, and all kinds of wildlife to catch and release.

Northbrook Canoe Company 

1810 Beagle Road, West Chester


Rental Info: Thanks to the gentle current of the Brandywine River, families can enjoy a leisurely and relaxed experience in a canoe, single kayak, or a tube. Trips run anywhere from an hour in a canoe or kayak, to a three-hour float on a tube.

Good to Know: If you’re looking for a fabulous date night, try their Canoe & Dine excursion. Boaters take an hour-and-a-half trip, followed by dinner and music along the river. It’s a BYOB event and the staff will make sure your cooler is ready and waiting after your paddle.


Looking for more boating adventures, and rental ideas? Head over to PhillyFamily.com.


Photograph by Sarah L. Bender.



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