Kayaking in Hershey

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As his kayak group floats down the Susquehanna River, one of Chiques Rock Outfitters' guides points out some of the area's most scenic features—rocky hillsides dotted with trees, denser forests near the water's shore, and a bald eagle perched on a tree branch. Then, just as the watercrafts round a bend, the guide bursts into song, eliciting applause from his group and nearby fish that have really big flippers.

These musical guides are just one of the signature touches Chiques Rock Outfitters adds to its trips down the Susquehanna River. After the shuttles lug canoes and kayaks to launch points, customers embark on guided trips, unguided floats, or team-building exercises. Additionally, Chiques Rock Outfitters encourages more than just leisurely floats, inviting customers to bring along fishing poles and pre-prepared questions for local wildlife. Back on shore, the staff partners with Starrk Moon Kayaks and Gear to sell equipment ready for future aquatic jaunts.

41 Walnut Street
Columbia,
PA
US

Framed by unfiltered wilderness and the occasional supports of a crossing bridge, the Schuylkill River is a secluded getaway for water lovers looking to float down nature?s slow-motion roller coaster. Reading Rivertribe shuttles aqueous adventurers to chosen points along the river for leisurely kayaking, canoeing, or tubing, with each trip ending where it started: in the stomach of a dreaming whale or next to a CPR-certified shuttle driver.

545 Canal St
Reading,
PA
US

Marsh Creek Lake, lined with verdant shores and rolling hills, bobs with fishing boats, kayaks, sailboats, and windsurfing boards. About 535 acres of azure waters bejewel the surrounding 1,705 acres of hiking trails and picnic areas. Throughout the day, Marsh Creek Watersports leads one-hour pontoon-boat excursions that take guests through a history lesson of the park and surrounding region, leaving time for peaceful moments spent gazing at the natural wildlife. During the summer months, Marsh Creek also hosts kids' sailing camps to acquaint young ones with the techniques and safe practices of aquatic navigation, such as defending against Peter Pan attacks.

675 Park Rd.
Downingtown,
PA
US

Teams clad in protective goggles scatter into a mountain field thick with laurel, rhododendron, and brier as they seek cover, their markers locked and loaded. Hearing paintballs whiz through the brush, a player dives into prone position. Adjusting her goggles after colliding with the ground, the combatant freezes, notices the silhouette of a whitetail deer crouched in the brush just yards away, and lets down her guard long enough to appreciate the moment before taking new aim.

At Pocono Mountain Paintball, players step onto 12 fields—including three scenario fields—ranging from untouched natural terrain to 1,700 feet of trenches and sandbag bunkers. To maximize players' game time, Pocono's staff maintains a reservation system that limits the fields to 100 players per day. Further touches include camouflage overall rentals, an online FAQ with participant advice, and changing rooms with hot showers so players can spruce up before meeting Mom for a post-game debriefing. Pocono's crew also coordinates rafting, biking, and kayaking packages through partner company Whitewater Rafting Adventures.

101 W Adventure Trail Rd.
Nesquehoning,
PA
US

Whitewater Challengers' certified guides steer paddlers as young as 5 across the skipping surf of the Poconos’ Lehigh River Gorge, the Black River Canyon, and the Adirondacks’ Hudson, Moose, and Salmon rivers. In the rafting industry since 1975, the guides have collectively traveled more than 16 million miles of rapids. They chart courses that satisfy a range of experience levels, from beginning jaunts down gentle rapids to advanced battles through coursing foam and wicked currents.

The crew’s ultimate goal is to make rafting a fun adventure, which means that they take care of the business end, providing all safety equipment, transportation to launch points, and lessons for novices. When not on the water, the outdoors-loving crew also organizes mountain-biking and camping trips in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

288 North Stagecoach Road
Weatherly,
PA
US

Just a short walk from the colonial-era fieldstone barn, a sea of green sprouts up around a small pond. Inside this self-sustained ecosystem, turtles leisurely perch on fallen tree limbs that float atop the cool water. Scenes like this are common at Great Valley Nature Center, which stretches 10.5 verdant acres across streams, ponds, wetlands, fields, and woodland habitats. The center fosters an awareness of the land through educational programs for all ages, including kayaking trips, geocaching adventures, or Owl Prowl dinner expeditions. Along with enjoying access to 500 partner museums and gardens throughout the world, members can tour a replica Native American Lenape village, or visit raptors on the mend at the Bird of Prey center. The center’s wildflower garden blooms yellow and white in the spring, and its maple-sugar house preserves the artisanal technique of boiling down flannel shirts from sweet-smelling lumberjacks.

4251 State Rd.
Devault,
PA
US