Mid-Atlantic adventures: Boating

Karen Graham

You can tackle the Shenandoah River’s mild whitewater with outfitter Downriver Canoe.

There are many opportunities for finding fun on the water with outdoor adventures fairly close to home. From the Shenandoah to the Potomac to the Susquehanna, families with kids of all ages can enjoy a day or weekend-long trip surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Here’s a sampling of nearby outfitters.


Delmarva Board Sports

39084 Harpoon Road

Fenwick Island, Del.



With two locations in Rehoboth Beach and Fenwick Island, Delmarva Board Sports offers paddle boarding, kayaking, and wind surfing. You can rent by the hour, day, or week, and sign up for lessons, group outings, and camps.


Coastal Kayak Tours

Route 1

Fenwick Island, Del.



Coastal Kayak offers guided tours, lessons, and rentals for kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing. The outfitter also offers guided eco tours and group and corporate events from Assateague to Rehoboth. Instruction is available, and the company delivers to vacation rentals.


Wilderness Canoe Trips

2111 Concord Pike Wilmington, Del.



Wilderness Canoe Trips has been providing canoe, kayak, and tube trips down the historic Brandywine River for 40 years, providing perfect outings for large groups, families, and Scout troops. Wilderness Canoe Trips is open seven days a week during peak summer months.



Adventure Sports Center International

250 Adventure Sports Way McHenry, Md.



Adventure Sports Center International is an Olympic-standard white water rafting and canoe/kayak slalom center located on the mountaintop above the Wisp Ski Resort at Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland. The center offers kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and rappelling.


Eastern Shore Pedal and Paddle

500 S. Talbot St.

St. Michaels, Md.



Shore Pedal and Paddle has two locations, offering bicycle, kayak, stand-up paddleboard rentals, sales, guided tours, and instruction. There is water access for kayaks and stand-up paddleboarding in St. Domingo Creek, as well as in St. Michaels harbor with its historic views. Military discounts are available.


Middle River SUP

2015 Turkey Point Road

Middle River, Md.



Try out a stand-up paddleboard, May through October, on the calm and quiet corners of Sue Creek to check out things you won’t see on a boat. Paddle boarders love the
creek because it doesn’t have a mucky bottom, and they appreciate the great service from the family-owned operation. You get a how-to lesson with a rental, but more instruction is available. Complete sale packages include board, paddle, leash, and fin.


Northern Choptank Adventures

204 N. Main St.

Greensboro, Md.



Northern Choptank Adventures is a full-service kayak outfitter that is based out of the historic Riverside Country Inn in Greensboro. It offers both single and tandem kayaks and provides shuttle service on the peaceful Tuckahoe and Choptank rivers.


River and Trail Outfitters

605 Valley Road

Knoxville, Md.



River and Trail offers a variety of raft trips, normally lasting about four hours. Along the way, you can see two rivers in three states and enjoy a picnic of River and Trail’s specialty fried chicken or a hummus wrap. For families with kids older than age 12, there is a trip on the north branch of the Potomac to the Randolph Jennings Lake. The outfitter also offers biking and can connect you to a
trail appropriate for all ages from Brunswick, Md., to Harpers Ferry, W.Va.



Shank’s Mare Outfitters

2092 Long Level Road Wrightsville, Pa.



A year-round outfitter, Shank’s Mare offers sales, rentals, and programs for paddle sports, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing from its location in an historic general store building on the Susquehanna River. Lessons, tours, trips, and even dining are on the menu.


Sickman’s Mill Creek Tubing

671 Sandhill Road

Pequea, Pa.



Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, visitors can enjoy a tubing outing down Pequea Creek. The creek alternates between very calm sections to more rapid areas. The trips last 50 to 90


Susquehanna Outfitters

City Island

Harrisburg, Pa.



Susquehanna River Outfitters offers guided and self-guided trips on the Susquehanna River, including camping on their private island. New this year is a tree house accommodating 6 to 8 people. The tree house package includes accommodations, kayaks for two days, and ferrying supplies to the island.



Shenandoah River Outfitters

6502 S. Page Valley Road

Luray, Va.



Shenandoah River Outfitters offers canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and rafting on the Shenandoah River, April through October. You also can enjoy hamburger cookouts and steak dinners as part of your trip. Cabin rentals are available and reservations can be made online.


You can tackle the Shenandoah River’s mild whitewater with outfitter Downriver Canoe.
You can tackle the Shenandoah River’s mild whitewater with outfitter Downriver Canoe.

Downriver Canoe Co.

884 Indian Hollow Road

Bentonville, Va.



Downriver Canoe Co. is open every day
April through October, offering canoe, kayak, commercial rafts, and float tubes. The company mostly offers day trips, although overnight trips are an option at the outfitter’s campground at the halfway point of the trip. Reservations are recommended for the weekend, although advance payment is not required.


Shenandoah River Adventures

415 Long Ave., Shenandoah, Va.



Shenandoah River Adventures offers canoeing and kayak trips, including both 7- and 9-mile day trips and longer overnight and multi-day trips. The company offers two different tubing trips: slow or white water rafting, which each last for about 3 miles. There are fire pits, picnic tables, and fishing, as well.


Front Royal Canoe Company

8567 Stonewall Jackson Highway

Front Royal, Va.



Front Royal Canoe offers canoes, kayaks, rafts, tubes, and stand-up paddleboards. A climbing wall and bungee bounce, food service, and boxed lunches are available. Overnight trips are available, and all trips are self-guided. A shuttle service will drive you to the river and provide you with a detailed map and river briefing. The company recommends coming during the week to avoid crowds; fall is a great time to see beautiful foliage on the river.



Potomac Paddlesports

9812 Falls Road, Potomac, Md.



Experience white water rafting, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding, with locations at Thomas Point and Little Falls on the Potomac. Lessons and teen summer camps are also available. “Discover the Potomac” is a four-hour guided trip in kayaks, providing a chance to learn the history of the C&O Canal, see wildlife, and learn about the ecosystem of the river.



River Riders

408 Alstadts Hill Road,
Harpers Ferry, W.Va.



River Riders offers white water and flat-water tubing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and paddleboarding. In addition, there is a zip-line canopy tour, which is two to three hours long, and  an all-steel high speed racing mega zip, which is a quarter mile long and takes you across at 50 mph. River Riders also has an aerial adventure park with nine courses, including a new course for children ages 4 to 6 added this year. The nearby Harpers Ferry Campground provides riverside cabins, tents, or recreational vehicle camping.


Harpers Ferry Adventure Center

37410 Adventure Center Lane

Purcellville, Va.

Harpers Ferry Adventure Center provides tubing, rafting, white water and flat-water tubing, land activities, Segway adventures, an aerial park, high ropes adventure course, zip lining, camping, and cabin sites. All of the activities are kid-friendly.


Cheat River Outfitters

2764 N. Preston Highway

Albright, W.Va.


Cheat River offers white water rafting, climbing, and paintball. You will find Class V whitewater rafting on Cheat Canyon and Class III rafting on Cheat Narrows, in addition to more calm, family-style rafting all summer. There are minimum age requirements depending on the level of the course. Reservations must be made in advance by phone or on the website. A sister company does tours on the Upper Youghiogheny River in Maryland.


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