Kayaking in the River: One of the best things you can do in Pittsburgh in Spring

Spring is upon us.

Even though it’s been a rather mild winter here in the ‘Burgh, I can’t wait to resume some of my favorite outdoor activities.   (if you like indoor activities, check out this article we have on the best gyms in Pittsburgh). I love kayaking!  I’m not talking about flying through white water rapids down a rocky river. That’s not something I’d ever want to attempt, although I know there’s plenty of thrill seekers who love the sport! My kind of kayaking is a relaxing way for me to spend a sunny afternoon. Although I know people who own kayaks and get in the water any time they want, I don’t own one and have to wait for kayak rentals to be available.  But I’m excited that this will be happening soon!

Starting on weekends in May, kayaks will be available for rent from Kayak Pittsburgh North Shore. The rental station is under the 6th Street Bridge, next to PNC Park.  Rental rates are reasonable and there is a discount for Venture Outdoors members. An hour is usually more than enough time for my recreation on the water, though I have gone for as long as 1 ½ hours at times.  After the first hour, rental fees are charged in ½ hour increments.  Once you launch from the rental site, you can paddle in either direction. I always try to start out paddling against the current, since I prefer the current to carry me a bit on my second half.  It’s a thrill to reach the Point at Point State Park, and to actually be at the crossroads of the three rivers. It’s also one of my favorite views of the city!

Make sure you are always safe on the water:

  • Learn the basics of how to kayak properly.
  • Don’t go out on the river alone.
  • Always wear your life jackets.
  • Get a weather forecast before you go.
  • Don’t mix alcohol or drugs with kayaking.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Expect to get wet.

Beginning Memorial Day weekend, kayak rentals will be available daily at Pittsburgh’s North Park, which is located about 14 miles outside of the city.  Since both venues are run by the same organization, the rental prices are the same in both locations.  Kayaking along the lake is rather peaceful.  You don’t have to be concerned with a current or other traffic along the water (except for stand up paddle boards).  It’s easy to enjoy a leisurely paddle along the calm lake, especially if you are savoring the beauty of the scenery.  I’m always sure to stop at the Over the Bar Bicycle Café  located in the old North Park boathouse (located in the same building as the kayak rentals).

So get ready to shed the bulky winter outerwear, lose the pounds from eating too much delicious ice cream and join in a great outdoor adventure!