Susquehanna River shot by drone

10 Fun Activities to do When Spending a Day at a River with Kids

Spending a day at a river can be a great way to spend extra time with your family and kids. My family and I spend a lot of time at a river near us, the Susquehanna River, and it is something we greatly enjoy. We will pack a cooler with drinks, snacks, chairs, water toys, and more and just enjoy the time playing with our son in the water.

Here are 10 fun activities to do when spending a day at a river with kids, permitted that you are allowed to do all these.

Long shot of Susquehanna River

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1. Swimming

Swimming is usually a favorite for kids. They love the water. So put on their bathing suit and let them swim around. I know my son loves to play in the water at the river we frequently going to. We will bring waters toys with us that will keep him busy for hours.

Tip #1 – You may want to keep an eye on the current at the river you may be visiting if your children are swimming. 

Swimming in the Susquehanna River

2. Kayaking/Canoeing

Kayaking or canoeing can be another fun activity you can do with your kids if you all enjoy boats. But kayaking on a river isn’t easy. You have to make sure you keep up with the paddling because the current of a river may take you far from where you started if you don’t. You may not be able to do much floating around in your kayak or canoe.

Tip #2 – Make sure you have your kids wearing life vests.

3. Fishing

Fishing is an activity that many kids get excited to do. And if you want to take your kids fishing for the first time, a river is a perfect place to get them started. Whether you stand in the water and partake in fly fishing or you have a boat to enjoy your fishing, I’m sure your kids will love spending the time with you, learning to fish.

My son has been asking to go fishing lately, and I know when we take him for the first time, he will definitely be excited.

4. Throwing Rocks

This is one of my son’s favorite things to do at the river. It’s the first thing he does when we get there and he will frequently ask to go so he can throw rocks.

Teaching them how to skip rocks is a memory they will carry with them for a lifetime.

5. Playing Frisbee

Frisbee is a game all kids love and a perfect game for a day at a river. And it’s something so easy to pack; just a disc that will easily fit in your bag.

6. Camping

If the river near you allows camping, try an overnight or a weekend camping trip. It’s a great bonding time for you and your kids. Setup your tents or RV if you prefer to RV camp and the river allows it, build a campfire eating smores or roasted marshmallows, and just enjoy that time with your kids.

They’ll love it.

Setup tent in the backyard

7. Have a Picnic

Pack up a lunch with some sandwiches, fruits and vegetables, cheese and crackers, dessert, drinks, chips, and some other snacks, put it all in a picnic basket and take it over to the river with you. Setup a nice picnic area with a picnic blanket and enjoy your lunch while you watch your kids play.

8. Hiking

Are you a hiker? Does the river near you have hiking trails? If so, why not put on your hiking boots, strap your backpack to your back and hit the hiking trails. This can offer you some exercise for the day, fresh air, and to enjoy the beautiful sights of nature.

Make stops a long the way to take some breathtaking pictures. I’m sure you will come across many picturesque views along the way.

9. Grilling

Do you have a George foreman grill or a Blackstone table top grill, which is what we have? Take that along with a cooler of some food such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken and grill some lunch while you are at the river.

Your kids will love that they can keep on playing because you brought food for lunch. You won’t have tell them it’s time to go home for lunch. You have already brought lunch with you.

Definitely a win!

Grilling out in the backyard while camping
(Photo Credit: Pexels,

10. Lounging

Lastly, you can always bring along some beach/camping chairs, a cooler of drinks and just lounge around relaxing. This is great for the adults being that kids won’t sit still for long because they like to keep on moving and play. So if they want to jump back up to play, you can relax while watching them play.

But keep a close eye on them because you don’t know how fast the current might be that day.

Sitting in a beach chair at the Susquehanna River

If you do have a river near you, a day at a river is a great way to spend quality time with your family and kids. It’s a way for you to include many different activities into their day from leisurely activities to getting exercise in.

If you are looking for some other family fun activities and trips, take a look at Escape the Bitter Winter to Camelback Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark and 7 Ways to Turn Your Backyard into a Campground.

Do you have a river near you that you visit or would like to visit? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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