What to do?
BOATING AND PADDLING
The Tidal Delaware Water Trail is an accessible recreational trail! You will experience incredible natural, cultural, and historical landscapes as you paddle on one of Pennsylvania’s most important waterways. We encourage kayakers, canoers, sailors, and motorboaters to share the water.
For “Boaters,” check out launch sites here. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission updates boating regulations here. For “Paddlers,” check out access points here. Investigate your stops ahead of time, as most are sunrise-sunset hours and some have locked gates.
Populations of fish such as shad, striped bass and catfish are increasing in the Delaware River’s healthier waters. Many of the fish in the Tidal Delaware are anadromous, meaning they spend most of their lives in salty sea water, but venture up freshwater rivers to spawn. Grab your bait and tackle, and catch some fun along the riverfront, or from a boat – some people even fish from their kayaks!
For local fishing areas: PA Fish and Boat Commission
For tips, discussions, and photos: Philadelphia Angler’s Club
Check the 2014 Fish Advisories for the Delaware River.
The Tidal Delaware River and its surrounding habitat are rich with a wide variety of bird species—a cross-section of which are represented on our Birding page . The river’s aquatic, freshwater tidal marshes, adjacent wet and dry meadows and wooded areas provide important feeding, resting and nesting habitat for migratory as well as year-round resident birds.
Get your binoculars to see and open your ears to hear the birds in the region.
To learn more about the designated Important Bird Areas in the region, and how to birdwatch in a respectful way, visit the Pennsylvania Audubon.
Aquatic, wetland, and upland areas in and along the Delaware estuary also provide a rich variety of habitats for invertebrates, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Wildlife spotted throughout the area includes bull frogs, green frogs, painted turtles, deer, and fox. To read more about what wildlife can be found along the Tidal Delaware Water Trail, visit our Species page or check out the Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan.
Several locations along the Water Trail offer space for picnics. Check out our list of Parks. Be respectful of picnic areas by using garbage and recycling cans or pack out your garbage. Enjoy the view!
From sweeping skyline views to delicate natural wonders, the entire length of the Tidal Delaware Water trail is a photographer’s dream. Be sure to photo capture the plants and wildlife you see along the way, as well as moments you share with your friends and family. Remember to keep your camera dry!
Take part in the latest adventure game for GPS device users. People and organizations have set up geocache sites all over the world – including along the Tidal Delaware River. They place a geocache container somewhere and share the location of the caches so you can track them down.
Adventurers use GPS coordinates to locate the geocache container, which usually includes a log book and perhaps a prize. General geocaching rules ask that if you take something, please leave something for the next person. At the very least, check out who else has tracked down the cache and add your name to the list! Remember, don’t leave trash or food in a geocache container. Visit www.geocaching.com to check out the sites along the Delaware River and add your own.
The Tidal Delaware isn’t only for the water! Riverfront hikes along the Tidal Delaware include the Delaware Canal towpath, Neshaminy State Park trails, Palmyra Cove Nature Park trails, and John Heinz Wildlife Refuge trails. Check out the Trails page.
Take a look at the region’s uninhabited side! Many islands along the Delaware River are private property, but still offer a look at the natural vegetation and wildlife that grows along the shore. Little Tinicum Island, southwest of the Philadelphia International Airport, and Amico Island in Delanco, NJ are accessible and offer boaters the opportunity to experience Pennsylvania’s unique river ecology. Some islands locations are listed on our Natural Resources page.
Riverfront parks line the banks of the Delaware River. Some, like Palmyra Cove Nature Park and Neshaminy State Park serve as river access points for boaters. Others, like Penn Treaty Park, Pennypack Park, and Governor Printz Park are accessible by land only, but offer lovely river views. Check out our Parks page and make sure to call ahead about boat access!
HISTORY AND CULTURE
Historic mansions, estates, battlefields, museums, sports stadiums, industrial sites, gardens, restaurants, and ships line the Tidal Delaware Water Trail. As you travel along the river you may find yourself staring at an old power generation plant, William Penn’s country home, a Revolutionary War fort, or stadiums of some of the biggest sport teams in the nation. There are many places to see and things to do along the riverfront, check out our Historic Resources page to get started!