Marsh Creek State Park


My friend was telling me recently how they were on the deck at Mad River in Manayunk and witnessed a kayak bar crawl coming down the river. While the idea of a kayak bar crawl is awesome (I saw one advertised when I was in Pittsburgh that I’d definitely do when I’m back there), the thought of frolicking in the Schuylkill water isn’t particularly appealing. It reminds me of when you see videos of people jet skiing the Hudson in Manhattan. The water has to be disgusting; I don’t know why anybody would go in. I voiced this and my friend made a good point: it was a nice day, the kind where you want to be either on or in water and in the city there just aren’t many options.

I live in downtown Lancaster in a complex with no pool and on a hot day it gets frustrating. I’m going to have to start looking for some new places close to Lancaster to head when I need any H2O cool down next summer, but for this one I was glad I was introduced to Marsh Creek State Park.

Marsh Creek is located almost immediately off the West Chester exit of the Turnpike. It’s close proximity to Philly and only a 40 minute drive from Lancaster. On a nice day last spring, my friend and did some hungover kayaking hoping to sweat all the night before’s toxins out. If you have your own kayak, the park is free to use, but for $20 an hour, renting your own isn’t really a problem. The lake is large, and by no means a difficult paddle. It has a few arms that stretch into the woods if you’d like to feel you’re farther from civilization than you’d like.

While I’d still like to find a water source closer to Lancaster, I’ll definitely be going to Marsh creek because the kayaking isn’t what I’d say is the main draw.

What I thought was the coolest part about Marsh Creek was that they also have paddle board and windsurfing rentals (check out the website here to see what other rentals they offer). Paddleboarding in simple terms is surfing standing. It’s a hell of a workout. My brother and I went this summer. We spent the hour afterwards discussing how much easier it was than we thought. We couldn’t move the next day. I imagine paddle boarding in moving water or on a windy day is a good challenge, and one I hope to try.

We didn’t rent windsurfers as I figured you actually need to know how to windsurf, versus the paddle board which we were able to jump on and go. I said this much to the girl at the rental station and she informed me that for $90.00 you could do an hour windsurfing class and session. Windsurfing class in Pennsylvania? I’m there next summer.

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