Row, row, row your boat…

Article by Libby Tobey

There are innumerable ways to enjoy our rivers when it comes to getting out on the water. Rafting, kayaking, and even SUPing might spring to mind, however participants in these activities might not immediately think of rowing as “river recreation.” Here, however, they would be mistaken.

Rowing, or “crew,” is one of the oldest competitive sports in the country, and offers a unique chance to combine river exploration with a little healthy competition!

These four U.S. river cities are known for their abundant rowing opportunities:

Boston, MA

charles river

Charles River | Bill Ilott

In Boston, the Charles River flows through the heart of the city, offering a spectacular setting for rowers to train and compete. Flowing under some of the city’s oldest bridges, the river forms a destination course for the world’s largest rowing competition (regatta), the Head of the Charles. This event draws both national and international competitors and over 300,000 spectators annually!

Philadelphia, PA

Schuylkill river

Schuylkill River | Tom Ipri

The Schuylkill River flows from the Appalachian Mountains through the city of Philadelphia on its way to the confluence with the Delaware. It is also the site of several regattas each year, including the Bayada Regatta, which showcases the talents of disabled rowers from across North America. Many rowing clubs frequent the Schuylkill, including the Philadelphia Girls’ Rowing Club, the oldest active women’s club of its kind in the U.S.!

Richmond, VA

james river

James River | Ted Hodges

Like the Schuylkill, the James River originates in the Appalachian Mountains. It provides a venue for people of all ages and abilities to learn to row, as many introductory courses, as well as numerous regattas, are held here regularly. As another indicator of the city’s dedication to its famous waterway, Richmond was also voted the #1 River Town in America by Outside Magazine in 2012!

Portland, OR

willamette river

Willamette River | Andy Cross

Portland, Oregon deserves recognition for the multitude of rowing opportunities offered on the beautiful and easily accessible Willamette River. Many clubs (like the Willamette Rowing Club), high schools, universities, and other competitive teams row on the Willamette and compete in numerous regattas during both the spring and fall seasons. While it’s often too chilly for rowing during the winter months, brave souls can still be seen on the water as early as February and as late as November!