Here are nine things you might want to try.
We understood. You love the outdoors, but you’re also a city dweller and don’t think you’d do so well sleeping in the woods without running water or electricity. Luckily for you, that’s precisely why glamping exists, and there are plenty of places to do it within driving distance of Northwest Philadelphia.
For the ultimate glamping experience, head to Knoebels Campground in Elysburg, PA. Knoebels has a wide selection of cottages and cabins on its campsite, as well as an amusement park, Knoebels Amusement Resort, right next door.
Another great option even closer is French Creek State Park, located in Chester County. French Creek has ten modernly furnished cabins with kitchens — equipped with private bathrooms, kitchens, and electric heat — that sleep six and can be booked year-round.
The zipline is unique, fun, and not far from your backyard in Northwest Philadelphia. Treetop Quest Philly, located on Chamounix Drive in Philadelphia, offers more than 60 obstacle courses and ziplines through the trees in West Fairmount Park. Ticket prices range from $22 to $58 depending on age and whether you buy in person or online.
If you’re looking to get out of town, quality options also exist at Treetop Adventures in Norristown, Treehouse World in West Chester, or Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park in Bear, DE.
When you live in a city surrounded by two rivers, you can expect plenty of water sports opportunities, and paddleboarding is no exception.
For starters, there’s the Philadelphia Canoe Club, located at 4900 Ridge Avenue in East Falls, which bills itself as the oldest canoe club in the United States. It offers whitewater kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddle lessons.
But just like ziplining, there are options outside of Philadelphia to get out of town. There’s Marsh Creek Water Sports & Boat Rental in Downingtown, PA, Nature’s Way Canoe & Kayak in Ottsville, PA, and Jim Thorpe River Adventures in Lehighton, PA.
Dragon Boat Race
Why not follow Prince William and Kate Middleton this summer and take part in dragon boat racing, one of the fastest growing water sports in the country?
Originating in ancient China, this fun and adrenaline-filled sport is definitely social – that means competing in teams of up to 20 crew members, while sitting in the hull of a large canoe-shaped vessel adorned with heads and sculpted dragon tails. The crew sit in pairs to paddle, and each boat has a drummer who beats time to keep everyone pulling together, and a helmsman guides the boat.
The Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association is located on Martin Luther King Drive, right next to the Schuylkill River, and the Schuylkill Dragons, an all-women’s team, also come out of this boathouse. There’s also the Bucks County Dragon Boat Association, which paddles through Peace Valley and Core Creek parks.
Summer is the perfect time to dine al fresco, whether around a wooden table with a rowdy family playing cards or alone in a lonely meadow with just a favorite bottle of wine.
Picnics, a term that dates back to 1692, have seen a resurgence since the pandemic when the outdoors became a haven from home confinement. The Northwest, with its rich offering of green space, is in many ways the perfect place to commune with nature and a charcuterie board.
You can find a grassy spot among the broad trails of Wissahickon Valley Park or Fort Washington State Park, the greenery of arboretums (Morris and Awbury), or on a busy street in one of the neighborhood’s pocket parks. One named in memory of local activist Ned Wolf is at the corner of McCallum and Ellet streets. But if you plan to eat out with a group of people at some of the larger parks, you’ll probably need to make a reservation. And watch out for lantern flies.
Furbabies are in the spotlight on Saturday, August 20 during Manayunk’s Dog Day of Summer, a celebration of the barking, meowing and chirping of family members. Animals-friendly vendors, activities, pet adoptions, food vendors and more will be set up along Main Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pet owners can pose with their pets at the photo booth or in front of an artist who will capture their furbaby in a caricature. If you’re worried about whether Fido will ever meet his soul mate, clairvoyant Monica can give you a paw reading. When you’re tired, sit down and have a drink during “Yappy” time.
And before you leave, the organizers would like you to consider adopting an orphan animal that needs a home of its own.
Want to lean on your body strength and try rock climbing? Wissahickon Valley Park, with its forested setting and dramatic shale outcrops, is a great place to start. No wonder it’s so popular – you’ll almost always find local climbers on Livezey Rock on the east side of Wissahickon Creek. Good for beginners and intermediate climbers, it has five sets of bolt-on anchors for the top rope and can also offer good practice rounds for advanced climbers.
“boulderers”, also known as mountaineers who do not use any additional safety equipment, can find some good climbing challenges under the main rock. Other good spots are located along the bike path between Ridge Avenue and the Forbidden Drive parking area.
Philadelphia and the surrounding area offer great trails for mountain bikers who want to hone their skills while enjoying nature and wildlife.
But the city’s gem for this sport is undoubtedly the Wissahickon which offers a wide variety of terrain types as well as a 10.5-mile main trail loop that takes runners through a rubble-filled descent, over a balance beam and steep climbs with log traverses. and jump. There are plenty of side trails that span this one, so you can ride as long or as short as you want. There is also a four mile loop around Cresheim Creek, which starts at Cresheim Drive and follows the trail to Forbidden Drive.
Whichever cue you choose, you’re guaranteed the adrenaline rush that comes with this particular sport – and meeting other adventurers along the way!
For those who are already in the know, the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Pastorius Park Summer Concert Series (Presenting Sponsor is Chestnut Hill Hospital) is on the planning calendar early.
The free seven-week series features quality artists and a range of musical genres, including folk, Celtic, world and classical. This year’s lineup includes a rousing dose of Brazilian jazz music – always exciting enough to get everyone on their feet.
The music, which begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday evenings, continues through July 27. It’s best to arrive early, as it’s a popular draw for date nights as well as family time. Bring a blanket, a picnic and maybe a chair – and get ready to enjoy a fabulous evening of live music under the stars.