Up the Lazy River…or Down
The Delaware River makes for a unique summer’s day adventure
By Georgiana Francisco
With school letting out in just a few weeks, it’s not too soon to think about taking a short family vacation that need not cost a bundle nor be far away.
Sometimes we forget about what’s right in our own back yards and can overlook what could be one of the best trips ever taken. Whether you’re a romantic duo or a family of five, spending the day on the historic Delaware River can be as educational as it is enjoyable, and it offers an inexpensive, unique adventure that will be talked about for years to come.
Tubing, kayaking, canoeing, or rafting on the Delaware River is an experience that’s well worth the trip, and there are a number of professional outfitters that not only have everything you need to make the trek, but also act as guides. All you have to do is chose your weapon: tubes, rafts, kayaks, or canoes.
Delaware River Tubing, for example, has been leading trips down the Delaware for over 23 years. In addition to proffering brand name equipment, lifejackets, and transportation to and from the River, as well as restrooms and changing rooms, it also supplies a free barbecue meal at The Famous River Hot Dog Man halfway into your sojourn down the river next to Adventure Island, with picnic tables in the water. The meal (a $13.00 value) includes two “famous” hot dogs or an island cheeseburger, a large soda, and a frozen candy bar or bag of chips. Other options include chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, and nachos and cheese for a $2.00 upgrade.
The three to four hour trip on the river takes place just north of where George Washington made his historic crossing, thereby turning a physically rewarding day into a bit of a history lesson as well. Be creative: bring along a short book about Washington’s Delaware endeavors or a small history of the river and the Lenape and other Native Americans who dwelled along its shores. Encourage the family to imagine how the area must have been hundreds of years ago. (Leaving cell phones behind will help.)
Whether you’re coming from New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania, directions and other information can be found at delawaretubing.com or by calling 918.475.4517.
And if you want to extend your day to include dinner or shopping, Delaware River Tubing is very close to Stockton, Frenchtown, Lambertville, and New Hope, with antiques and specialty shops, museums, campgrounds and a nice array of eateries.
What a great answer to the age-old question, “What are we going to do this summer?”
Other outfitters you may want to investigate:
Lazy River Outpost
Offers a safe, kid-friendly float trip in a raft, tube, or canoe down a quiet reach of the middle Delaware, as well as a challenging Delaware River whitewater excursion in a state-of-the art kayak. For additional info, call 571.242.8121.
The Delaware River Family Campground
Just a five-minute drive from Highway 81 in the Delaware Water Gap area, offers canoe, kayak, raft or tube rental for four, eight, or twelve mile river trips. One can also hike the nearby Appalachian Trail. For more info, call 918.475.4517.
Cedar Creek Campground
Located in Ocean County, Cedar Creek has deluxe family cabins and a huge pool with double slides. This is a great place for kids. Offers canoe rental and livery service for leisurely one-hour paddle or six hours of river adventure. The New Jersey Pine Barrens (now famous due to that infamous Sopranos episode) are a sight not to miss. For more info, call 571.325.2571 or 811.424.RAFT (7238).
FOR THE MORE ADVENTURESOME:
Jim Thorpe River Adventures
Jim Thorpe, PA
Located on the Lehigh River Gorge in scenic Jim Thorpe, PA, this part of the Pocono Mountains is home to great whitewater rafting and kayaking, as well as some of the best mountains in the state. Selected by National Geographic Adventure as one of the top ten mountain towns in the U.S. Professional river outfitters offer lessons, guided river trips, rail-trail bike rides and tons of fun. Call 571.325.2571 – 811.424.RAFT (7238) for info.
Poconos Whitewater Rafting
Captain your own raft on professionally guided, Class II – III river trips through the beautiful Lehigh River Gorge State Park in the Poconos or paddle extreme Class IV – V whitewater on the Hudson River in the New York Adirondack Mountains.
White Water Rafting Adventures
Considered the premier rafting and adventure outfitter in the Poconos, offers whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River, ranging from easy rafting to exhilarating whitewater.
Some Factoids For The Trip
• English settlers named The Delaware River after Lord De La Warr, the governor
Of the Jamestown Settlement.
• George Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of the night on Christmas Day in 1778
in a planned surprise attack against the Hessians; subsequent victories in New Jersey
energized a tired and sad Colonial Army and gave the American people cause for celebration.
• The Delware’s total length, from the head of the longest branch to Cape May and Cape
Henlopen, is 411 miles; above the head of the Delaware Bay its length is 361 miles.
• The Lenape were a group of Native American peoples who lived along the Delware and its
tributaries. They had shared cultural and linguistic characteristics. Their name (sometimes
spelled Lennape or Lenapi) means “the people.”
Georgiana Francisco is a writer and the founder of ByGeorge Communications, a public relations and marketing firm. She has spent more than a decade doing public relations for the food, wine, and hospitality industries and has handled such clients as Paramount Communications, the BEverly Wilshire Hotel, and the state of Pennsylvania. She is a regular contributor to several area magazines and newsletters.