Photo Credit: KDKA


Pittsburgh is famous for the three rivers, the confluence of the Allegheny, Monogahela and Ohio Rivers, and the boating traffic is testimony that the prevalence of boating is a big deal in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. There are all types of watercraft on the rivers and lakes in Pittsburgh, neighboring communities and state parks, with a record amount of registered pleasure boats in the country. There are destinations and leisure travel along the waterways, and boaters can take advantage of the recreational pursuits offered in the Pittsburgh region. Renting and owning a boat brings many opportunities to attend concerts, festivals, fireworks, fishing and waiting for the crack of the bat at PNC Park when a Pirates home run ends up in the river. There are chances to dock the boat and take in the vast facilities along the river and enjoy a picnic, hike trails or engage in community entertainment.
Crescent Bay Marine, LLC
225 Pleasant Valley Road
Portersville, PA 16051
(724) 663-5888
www.dcnr.state.pa.us

Nestled in Moraine State Park is Crescent Bay Marine and the opportunity to try out a boating adventure for the first time. Lake Arthur has enough space to navigate the armada of watercraft and ensure there are clear routes for an enjoyable and rewarding excursion. Reservations are necessary for pontoon boats, and don’t be concerned — there are runabouts available and if you are limited in navigational skills, and the staff will demonstrate the operation and rules of the lake. Make  sure to check the rules and be aware of questions you may have before entering the lake. The rates and a map are prudent choices, and the price includes a life preserver, fuel and notice of restrictions on the lake for the runabout. Moraine State Park offers many amenities and there are hiking trails, biking, fishing, play areas and a great place to have a picnic with friends or family.

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Sharpsburg Islands Marina
Main St. & 13th Ave.
Sharpsburg, PA 15215
(412) 323-2628
boat-pgh.com

Nicole, the owner at Sharpsburg Islands Marina, says to experience the Pittsburgh skyline like never before, rent a pontoon boat and then chart your destination on the Three Rivers. Boat Pittsburgh offers luxury boats that can be used for anniversaries, birthdays, bridal parties or just for plain fun. There are 25 miles of navigation on the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, and renters must fill out a manifest, safety check list and driver information. Safety is a main concern — each passenger must be equipped with a life preserver, and there are rules of the waterway, hazards and operational maneuvers that are gone over before the fuel hits the gas tank. The 60 HP engine is the perfect speed to cruise along at a slow pace, which makes it easier to operate — just what a new captain needs to feel secure.

North Park
Pearce Mill Road
Allison Park, PA 15101
(724) 935-1766
www.alleghenycounty.us

Row, row and row your boat on North Park Lake and after checking in at the boathouse, you will be on your way to a comfortable summer day. The lake is calm and the only minor distractions may be the kayakers, pedal boats, canoes, stand up paddle boarding and an occasional heron. There are several destinations along the waterway and navigating through an island and tunnel make for an exciting adventure. Kids will love the fish, turtles, birds and the natural setting of the shoreline and a quick peek at the wildlife that inhabitant the lake. The nominal fee for the boat is just part of the adventure that is experienced at North Park. There are a host of activities within the 3,000 acres of excitement for an  interest in golf, trails, biking, ball fields, nature center, dog park, swimming pool and pavilions for picnics. There is a qualified staff to explain the rules, operation of the row boat and life preserver help for safety precautions.

Pymatuning State Park
2660 Williamsfield Road
Jamestown, PA 16134
(724) 932-3141
www.pymatuning-state-park.org

There is a reason Pymatuning State Park is one of the most visited parks in Pennsylvania, as there are vast opportunities to explore the activities in over 16,000 acres. The boat marinas on Pymatuning Lake are a great place to rent pontoon boats, float boats , row boats and canoes. The drive from Pittsburgh is under two hours and then the fun begins with boating, but there is also enough time to spend the day fishing, hiking, swimming and picnicking. The vistas from the boat is an awe-inspiring adventure to view the wildlife and surrounding shores, and a stop at the Linesville spillway to feed the fish is an exciting experience for kids of all ages. Don’t forget to bring a camera and take in a beautiful sunset, which may lead to an overnight stay at the camping facility.

Raccoon Creek State Park
3000 State Route 18
Hookstown, PA 15050
(724) 899-2200
www.dcnr.state.pa.us

Just a short jaunt from Pittsburgh is Raccoon Creek State Park, and the beach is waiting for you to explore the vast opportunities to enjoy the park. There are several choices to navigate Raccoon Lake and a row boat would be the perfect to way to relax on a summer day. There is time to swim at the sandy beach, head out to the hiking trails, mountain bike, fish or set up at a camp site. The lake is surrounded by forests and the wildlife make for a picture post card memory, as you circumvent the lake in your own personal row boat. There are enough picnic tables and grills available for a cookout to end an exciting day of recreation and fun with family and friends.

Related: Best Historic Sites To See In Pittsburgh

Gerry Cernicky is a retired health and physical education teacher with 36 years of experience. He is a former teacher of the year and a sports writer for the Vandergrift News. He delivers podcasts, and maintains a website and blog. He currently resides in Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.