Bartram’s Garden Summer River Activities – Best of Philly!

Boaters launch from the Bartram’s Garden Community Dock on the cool Schuylkill River. Saturday boating is free.
Boaters launch from the Bartram’s Garden Community Dock on the cool Schuylkill River. Saturday boating is free.

The waters adjacent to the Bartram’s Garden community boathouse and dock were highlighted in one of this summer’s “Best of Philly” for fun and games. *  

The water-oriented activities include the free boating and fishing on the Schuylkill River and access to cruise boats from Center City.  In addition, of course, there is also the sublime opportunity to walk down the paths in the shade of Bartram’s Gardens stately trees along the scenic riverbank with the view of the Philadelphia skyline in the distance. 

The water-oriented activities include the free boating and fishing on the Schuylkill River and access to cruise boats from Center City.  In addition, of course, there is also the sublime opportunity to walk down the paths in the shade of Bartram’s Gardens stately trees along the scenic riverbank with the view of the Philadelphia skyline in the distance. 

Free Boating:  Every Saturday from 11 am–3 pm through October 19 (Cancelled August 24th), Bartram’s has a fleet of sturdy kayaks and rowboats that the public can paddle or row on the river (weather & river conditions permitting). Experienced rowers are also available to take guests out who do not want to paddle or row themselves. No registration or boating experience is required.   All ages are welcome, minors must be accompanied by an adult.  Life jackets and basic instruction is provided. (Boating is canceled in the event of rain, lightning, outfall overflows (occur for 24 hours after heavy rain) and high wind. Check Bartram’s website or Facebook page for cancellation notices.

Moon Row boating:  Once a month, Bartram’s fleet of skiffs are lit up for an evening party on the river with DJ DuiJi. Drinks and snacks are available. Row Boat excursions are free (limited to 15 minutes). For updates, visit the Bartram’s website calendar. 

For those who own their own kayak or rowboat, the Bartram’s Garden dock may be a convenient location to launch it for an excursion up and down the Schuylkill and breathtaking views of the city (Note: There is no vehicle access;  boats must be carried down from the parking area.)  

Fishing:  The Schuylkill River banks can be used for fishing at any time Bartram’s Garden is open. Bait & tackle are available for sale in the Welcome Center.  All adults over the age of 16 should have a fishing license to fish. (available for purchase online:  www.fishandboat.com/buy a license) 

The last Wednesday of every month (August 28, 6 pm- 8 pm and September 28, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm), Bartram’s provide free rods, tackle, bait and basic instruction (first come, first served). Visitors may bring their own rod. No fishing license or experience necessary so it’s great for beginner anglers.

Throughout the week, fishing rods and tackle are available to borrow, free of charge, for up to one week from the Bartram’s Garden Welcome Center (open Mon-Fri 10 am-4 pm, Sat-Sun 10 am-6 pm).   Adults over the age of 16 must have a fishing license to rent. 

Cruises: The Patriot Harbor Lines vessels cruise from Bartram’s dock to Center City to Bartram’s Garden. For more information phone 267-908-3076 or visit www.phillybyboat.com

Biking: In partnership with the Bicycle Coalition, Bartram’s will offer free bike rentals and guided rides of the Bartram’s Mile, a new walking and biking trail along the river.  

Bartram’s Garden is located at 5400 Lindbergh Blvd.   It is open year-round except for public holidays.   Access to the boating area on the river is by foot from the free Parking area onto the Meadow trail, which leads downhill to the Boathouse. 

For more information, visit the website www.bartramsgarden.org or phone 215-729-5281 or email info@bartramsgarden.org

* www.phillymag.com/best-of-philly/fun-games

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