The Delaware River separates Pennsylvania and New Jersey as it runs its way towards the Atlantic Ocean. For us, it’s practically in our backyard. As we were beginning to date we explored New Hope, Pennslyvania and then Lambertville, New Jersey, now where we call home, which is just a bridge ride apart from each other. But we wanted to start exploring some other things along the Delaware River as it holds a special place in Melissa’s heart and childhood memories.
This is where River Country comes into play. Growing up Melissa was accustom to seeing the commercials and wondered what it was like to do such an activity. We talked about adding it to our summer activity list and figured we would budget it in sometime towards the end of the summer. But between the packing, moving and job hunting I knew Melissa needed a break, so on my day off, we headed up the river, on the Pennsylvania side, to have an adventure on the water.
For us it’s about a 10-minute drive, from Philadelphia it’s about an hour drive, but worth it if you have the time of day to make the two hour round trip.
Upon arrival, you pay for parking which was $7 and then head off to sign a release form and board a bus to take you to your drop off destination. Once you have your hand stamped you grab your tube and get in life for the bus. The tubes are different colors based on weight capacity. Blue, our choice, is for those of us who are more Portly than most. Something Melissa and I didn’t come prepared for was sticking together nor did we notice that you could purchase rope to tie your tubes together. We learned the hard way about paddling upstream and losing possessions in the water to never be seen again that in the future we will be bringing a rope.
The ticket for tubing offers you the chance at either a 2 hour or 3 hour ride, we choose the 3 hour ride with hopes for some relaxation. When the bus pulled off to the side of the road and let us off that hope quickly vacated our minds. We stood on the side of the road with very vague instructions on how to find the entrance to the river among the humid stickiness of summer. After some investigation, we found our way to the entrance of the river.
Here is a quick guide on how to find the river when taking the 3 hour river ride.
Exit the Bus facing the river (not the street)
- Walk to the bridge
- Cross the bridge of the left
- Turn right
- find the stairs & descend
- find the next flight of stairs by walking a few feet to the left
- descend stairs and walk into the river
Once we found our way to the river, Melissa was the first to get in. This is where our poor planning and my high expectations of imagery came into play. Maybe I thought the river would pause until I got in with her or it was like a water park ride where someone is waiting for you to help you in. But either way, I realized I was vastly wrong as I tried to catch up to her through the rocky water.
Somewhere in this catastrophe we both fell into the water, slipped on a rock and I lost my water bottle – never to be seen again. With anger and frustration, we just drifted apart, down the river. Until we both realized that it was extremely lonely doing the ride alone. So after some hard paddling – Melissa, upstream, me, downstream – we finally settled into a drift that allowed us to just be together.
The joy about the three-hour trip is that you get about an hour of peace before coming upon the two-hour tour groups. While it can be fun to tube along with people you don’t know, there can also be some very well let’s just say feisty people as well. At this point in the tour you can stop at a hot dog stand (have cash available) for lunch or continue down the river. We opted to continue down the river in which we wound up going on the side with more rapids than expected. Which for Melissa made the trip all that more exciting and for me, tested my heart.
When taking on an adventure involving water there are numerous things that can go wrong and my mind was reeling through all of them as we prepared for each rapid. Melissa, however, stayed calm and guided us through, sometimes is really good to have opposite personality traits!
By the second hour we both were exhausted from sitting under the sun, fighting the rapids and the bugs. While the three-hour tour was nice, it tested our endurance which for two people who can’t sit still was a test beyond any doubt. Overall, we can’t wait to go again, if only we could bring Maggie everything would be perfect.
Things you might want to purchase for your trip!
The Portly Passengers provides plus size inclusive travel tips and advice for anyone who is looking to explore the world. From seat sizes on airplanes to exploring museums, restaurants, and nature Melissa & Peter have the experience and stories to help guide you through it.