OUTDOORS: Waterside lounging and recreation close to home

A man and his dog stroll through Riverfront Park in Pottstown earlier this year.
A man and his dog stroll through Riverfront Park in Pottstown earlier this year. FILE PHOTO BY MARIAN DENNIS — DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA

Take a stroll and check out these area waterfronts:

DELAWARE RIVER WATERFRONT: Some of the many attractions on both the Philadelphia and Camden sides are Penn’s Landing (including the Festival Pier and Great Plaza); the Race Street Pier, Spruce Street Harbor Park, the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest/Winterfest, the Independence Seaport Museum, Morgan’s Pier, Yards Brewing, Penn Treaty Park, Fringe Arts, the River Link Ferry, the Adventure Aquarium, the Battleship New Jersey, BB&T Pavilion, the Spirit of Philadelphia, restaurants like La Peg and Moshulu, and Dave & Busters. A good place to start if you’re planning to hit any of these destinations is www.delawareriverwaterfront.com.

RIDLEY TOWNSHIP MARINA: With the help of federal, state and Delaware County grants, $6 million of improvements were made at the marina, including expanding it by three acres with the purchase of Rookie’s River Room next door to the marina. The Water’s Edge Banquet Hall has seating for 120 people. A public fishing pier is just outside the Water’s Edge. The new restaurant at the marina is named Stinger’s Waterfront. There is patio seating right along the water’s edge, where diners can enjoy their meals while watching seagulls and boaters.

POTTSTOWN: Located along the Schuylkill River, Riverfront Park features a walking trail, an amphitheater, a pavilion and access to downtown shops and eateries. The trailhead is at 140 College Drive, adjacent to the Schuylkill River Heritage Area offices. Call (610) 970-6608 or visit wwww.pottstown.org/ facilities/facility/details/Riverfront-Park-2 for more.

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DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP: Berks County’s Ganshahawny Park has a “yard harbor.” Amenities in the seven-acre park include fishing, a boat ramp/launch area, a pet station with a well and hand pump, a small pavilion and picnic tables positioned near the edge of the Schuylkill River. GPS the park at 343 Old Philadelphia Pike, Douglassville and look for an old canoe hanging upside down with “Ganshahawny” painted on the side.

ROYERSFORD: The Schuylkill River in Upper Providence Township forms a natural backdrop to Upper Schuylkill River Park, off of Black Rock Road. In the park’s Wildlife Center you can see foxes, a deer, wolves, rabbits, a bald eagle, a bobcat, a variety of owls, hawks, turkeys and an assortment of farm animals. There is also a seasonal butterfly garden and turtle pond and a permanent exhibit “The Schuylkill Wilds,” which features creatures found in and around the Schuylkill River. Turtles, frogs, fish, snakes, a skunk and a mink are on view throughout this indoor space. Picnicking and fishing are popular activities along the river, and a carry-in boat ramp allows access for non-motorized boats. Family programs suitable for young children are held throughout the year. Call the park at (610) 948-5170 or email upperschuylkillvalley@montcopa.org. Speaking of the Schuylkill River, did you know the river is 128 miles long, running from northeastern Pennsylvania coal country to Philadelphia? The Three-Step Destination Wizard at www.schuylkillriver.org reveals a multitude of adventures for interests under the categories of nature and outdoors, history and culture, and technology and industry.

MONT CLARE/PHOENIXVILLE: Schuylkill Canal Park consists of a canal waterway and its natural and paved towpath, with more than five miles of trails leading hikers through 60 acres of woodlands and multiple trail systems connecting with Montgomery County Parks at both ends of the canal. Lock 60 on the Schuylkill Canal and the 1836 Locktender’s House have been restored recreating for visitors a 19th century era setting displaying the industrial engineering used to build Pennsylvania’s first navigation system in 1825. Demonstrations of Lock 60 are performed during each month’s Locktender’s Open House and during special events such as the Schuylkill Canal Association’s annual Canal Day and the Holiday Luminaria and Christmas Open House. Visit www.schuylkillcanal.org.

WESTERN BERKS COUNTY: Blue Marsh Lake, a 1,150-acre man-made lake and recreation area along the Tulpehocken Creek, is known for boating, hiking, biking and bird watching. Old Dry Road Farm, a living history agricultural center, is located near the lake. Call (610) 376-6337 or visit www.nap.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Blue-Marsh-Lake.