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Summer Day Getaway: Sail the Susquehanna River

by on June 01, 2015 7:00 AM

Just as the Susquehanna River has helped shape Pennsylvania’s landscape, it has also helped shape the commonwealth’s culture. Its name adorns banks, universities and counties, while its majestic body covers nearly 500 miles on its way to the sea.

Betsy Quant, one of the founders of Canoe Susquehanna, says that she’s often heard customers say that they’ve lived in Pennsylvania for decades without ever venturing onto the river’s tranquil waters.

“We’ve had folks say that they’ve crossed over the river on bridges over and over while living in the valley,” Quant says. “When they finally get on the river with us, they’re so delighted and they say, ‘we wish we’d done this years ago.’”

Canoe Susquehanna is a “family business” run by Quant, her husband and their sons. She says their goal is to create “a seamless blend of learning and just having fun” while they guide public and private trips on both the north and west branches of the Susquehanna.

Based about an hour away from State College in Lewisburg, Canoe Susquehanna offers kayak and canoe rides for anyone interested in experiencing this major Pennsylvanian landmark, regardless of age or boating skill. Having already served riders ranging from two to 93 years old (and everything in between), Quant says the trip is great for the whole family.

“Our trips have always been for both beginners and the more advanced, and we’ve maintained that for forty years,” she says. “We don’t just rent you the boats, either – we go out with you on the water and make sure you have the best time you possibly can.”

Public trips are typically held once a weekend, and require at least one day’s notice so the staff can prepare the necessary boats and equipment. Private trips are also offered, which Quant says are perfect for company retreats and other organizations. Having taken trips with groups ranging from just a couple people to over 80, Quant says Canoe Susquehanna is the perfect destination for families of any size.

“One of things that makes us interesting is that our trips are always in a different location,” Quant says. “We repeat ourselves maybe three times a season for public trips.”

Quant says as they rotate through their various trips, they cover long stretches of the river’s north and west branches – offering a unique perspective on central Pennsylvania and the “geologic, environmental and human history” of the Susquehanna River.

For more information, visit or call (570) 524-7692.


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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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