Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, when the weather finally gets warmer and the outdoors call to us. This Memorial Day, and all summer long, there are countless adventures to be found on the Circuit Trails. Here are four ideas to get you started on your own outdoor explorations this holiday weekend.
On Land, On Water
Can’t decide if you want to be a land-lover or river dweller this weekend? Get the best of both worlds at Bartram’s Garden and the Bartram’s Mile Trail! Start your excursion at the newly opened Bartram’s Mile Trail, a quiet 1.1-mile stretch that blends new improvements with the beauty and history of Bartram’s Garden, the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America. After walking or biking and relaxing along the trail’s vibrant green space, take advantage of Bartram’s Garden’s free boating excursion. Enjoy a relaxing voyage on this quiet stretch of the Schuylkill River, where fantastic views of the city skyline will leave you eager to return again this summer. Not a kayaking pro? Don’t worry, the staff will provide basic instruction, life jackets, kayaks and rowboats.
The City Slicker
Urban adventurers should make their way to the Delaware River, near the Ben Franklin Bridge. The bridge’s walkway is a trail on the Circuit, and provides some of the most stunning views of the Philadelphia skyline. Use Indego, the city’s bike share program, to get your hands on a bike if you need one. Pick up your ride at the Race Street Pier and cycle across the bridge, admiring the views on the way back.
Don’t tire yourself out! The Philadelphia side of the Delaware River is the future home of the Delaware Waterfront Trail, and connects plenty of local attractions to keep you busy. Take a walk down this future trail and stop to visit the Seaport Museum or take a quick roller skate at the Independence Blue Cross River Rink. Make sure to leave time for a stop at the ever-popular Spruce Street Harbor Park known for swinging hammocks, waterfront views, and a floating beer garden.
Picnic in the Park
If you’re looking for a greener trek, pay a visit to the 13-mile Chester Valley Trail. The trail follows a former railroad and is mostly flat, so parents and kids alike can tag along. Pack a tasty picnic and stop off in Exton Park to enjoy your lunch in one of the many picnic areas. After, take time to explore the ponds and wetlands in the park to catch a glimpse of interesting wildlife – and keep an eye out for bald eagles! Over 190 species of wildlife have been observed in this park, making it a nature lover’s wonderland.
Something Old, Something New
For a build-your-own adventure with plenty of variety, visit some or all of the Delaware & Raritan Canal Trail (D&R) and the Delaware and Lehigh Canal Trail (D&L). There’s a lot to see and do, so choose any portion and start exploring. We recommend the 15-mile canal loop, perfect for an afternoon bike ride. Start at the Lambertville Station Inn in New Jersey and head south toward Washington Crossing, enjoying scenic views and historic canal architecture. Cross the canal bridge that leads to the charming and historic Pennsylvania town of New Hope, known for quirky shopping and delicious restaurants. Stop here for a bite to eat before re-crossing the canal to finish the trip in Lambertville. As an added bonus, rent a kayak or a canoe to explore the area from the water!
Interested in mapping out your route? Check out CircuitTrails.org. Get out #onthecircuit and make the most of your Memorial Day Weekend!
(Please note, this blog was updated from another Circuit Trails blog orginially posted on May 25, 2016.)