Did you know the Susquehanna River has now been designated by the National Park Service as a part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, becoming the first nationally designated water trail in the country.  We offer a variety of guided paddle tours on the Susquehanna, all of which contain some part of Early American history revolving around the Native Americans and the trade and transportation routes for Indian tribes who lived here before the English arrived in the early 1600’s.  Spend a day discovering something unique about the Susquehanna River and area streams.  Our experienced guides will not only lead you safely through your tour but also give you interesting information about the natural features, cultural or historical highlights of the area.  On several of our tours, we invite various experts along to add to your experience.  Our Paddle Day Tours feature a snack or full lunch that you will take along in your kayaks. 

Individual Tour pricing is below.  Rental Kayaks for Paddle Day Tours – $45/Single Kayak; $50/Double Kayak

Shank’s Mare can offer private guided paddle tours to various sections of the Susquehanna on request.  If you have a group, give us a call and we can discuss destinations and details.

Our regularly scheduled paddle tours for 2017 are as follows:

Learn About Captain John Smith and his Explorations – Free On-Land Program

Saturday, May 6, 2017, 10:30am-12:30pm

Prior to the beginning of our 2017 paddle tour series, we invite you to learn more about Captain John Smith’s historic voyage up the Chesapeake to the mouth of the Susquehanna River.  And, learn about the Native Americans who traveled the Susquehanna River long before the arrival of Capt. Smith and about the early trade routes established on our “water trail”.  You will get an understanding of why the Susquehanna is so important to the early settling of our country.  We hope this clinic will whet your appetite to explore all the wonders of the river you are sure to discover on our paddle tour series. Free clinic, but please call to pre-register.

Lancaster Water Week Kayak Tour

Sunday, June 4, 2017, 9:30-11:30am

Shank’s Mare is partnering with the Lancaster County Conservancy and the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper to lead this family friendly, beginner paddle tour in support of Lancaster Water Week.  Enjoy the beauty of the river and paddle to the beautiful Fishing Creek to see how the watersheds function up close and personal.  Learn about the importance of the watersheds in Lancaster and York Counties and how the streams that run through your own neighborhoods impact both the Susquehanna and the Chesapeake Bay.  To learn about additional activities during Lancaster Water Week, click here.

Fee includes kayaks, paddles & pfd’s, and guided paddle tour – Adults-$35/Person; Children 12 & Under-$20/Person.  Adventure Club discounts do not apply.  You must pre-register for this program by calling Shank’s Mare at 717-252-1616.

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Paddle Tour

Saturday, June 24, 2017, 11:00am-3:00pm

This paddle tour will launch from a put-in on the Lancaster shoreline.  It will follow the river past the sites of early industry on the river and natural areas including Chiques Rock. Just below Columbia you will cross the river to the York County side, and follow the path of the Susquehanna Canal all the way to Shank’s Mare.  While the evidence of early industry will be visible, your imagination should also wander to the days when Native Americans traveled up and down the river for trade among their own settlements and eventually with the early Europeans. You’ll take a break and stop for a picnic lunch along the way.  The paddle tour is suitable for those with some experience as the distance covered will involve some mileage.

Fee includes Shuttle, Tour, Guide & Lunch – Members $59/Person; Non-Members $66/Person

Lock 15 Paddle Tour

Saturday, July 29, 2017, 11am-3pm

The rock formations in this area of the river are still a mystery to geologists, and this part of the river is unlike any of the other areas we paddle on the Susquehanna.  It is truly one of our favorite destinations on the Susquehanna.  As you meander through the unique formations, you may stop to take a dip, use your camera to capture the awesome landscape, and enjoy a picnic lunch provided for your tour.

Fee includes Shuttle, Tour & Lunch-Members $59/Person; Non-Members $66/Person

Native American Rock Art Paddle Tour

Saturday, August 19 or September 9, 2017, 10am-4pm

The rocks containing Native American Art are one of the most unique sites on the Lower Susquehanna.  Accompanied by expert Paul Nevin, we’ll paddle to these rocks located on Lake Aldred of the Susquehanna and view the Native American “petroglyphs” that tell the story of people who have populated the river hundreds or even thousands of years ago.  Spend the day on the rocks, hear the stories of these fascinating landmarks, and enjoy a picnic lunch with some very scenic paddling.

Fee-including shuttle, guides & lunch:  Member-$65/Person, Non-Member-$73/Person

Unwind Paddle Tour, Music & Meal Series

This program will be offered each night during the summer when we have live music scheduled on our porch.  Shank’s Mare guides will lead you on a leisurely paddle tour along the shoreline suitable for those who have never kayaked before, or anyone who wants to enjoy a relaxing paddle.  The fee will include your kayak rental, a one hour guided paddle tour, a delicious box dinner from our Lock 2 Café, and of course, the live music on the porch at Shank’s Mare.  Pre-registration is required for this program.  What a great way to spend a summer evening at the river!

Fridays, June 9 or June 23, 2017, 6-9pm

Fridays, July 7 or July 21, 2017, 6-9pm

Fridays, August 11 or August 25, 2017, 6-9pm

Friday, September 8, 2017, 6-9pm

Fee – including guided tour, kayak rental, meal voucher & music.  Members $34/Person, Non-Members $38/Person.   $10 off if you have your own kayak.  Reservations Required.

Pre-register for all tours and trips by calling Shank’s Mare at 717-252-1616.


Western Shore Paddling Trip – Cove Point Lighthouse

Sunday, October 8, 2017 thru Wednesday, October 11, 2017 (Columbus Day Weekend)

Explore paddling destinations on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay with Shank’s Mare. Stay in the historic keepers house at Cove Point Lighthouse. Cove Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1828 to mark the shoal that extends into the shipping channel on the Chesapeake. The keepers house was first a single home, then expanded to accommodate a second keeper’s family. It was beautifully renovated in 2002 and provides very comfortable accommodations for our trip.

Check-in at Cove Point is 4:30pm Sunday. Get settled in our very comfortable home situated on a point with spectacular views. We’ll spend full days Monday and Tuesday exploring the paddling opportunities near the Calvert Cliffs and the Western Shore. There will be free time for walking and exploring the lighthouse grounds or just plain relaxing. Check-out is Wednesday at 10am.

Lodging and meals are provided including dinners Sunday, Monday and Tuesday; breakfasts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; and lunches Monday and Tuesday.  Rental kayaks are available although please note that this is NOT a beginner trip. Transportation to and from our destination is your responsibility. Shank’s Mare provides experienced trip leaders who reserve the right to determine participant’s qualifications for any trip. Our staff is available to assist with any trip planning questions.   coveptlighthouse


Including lodging and meals – Members $719/Couple; $399/Person.   Non-Member $799/Couple; $449/Person.


A 50% non-refundable deposit is required for reservations. Entire trip fee is due 30 days prior to departure. Refunds will be made only if your vacated spot is filled and the trip is full.

Pine Island, Florida Paddling Trip

Week #1 – January 30-February 5, 2018 or

Week #2 – February 8-14, 2018

Pine Island, Florida is a hidden gem located in the beautiful waters off Ft. Myers, FL.  This mangrove island, composed mostly of palm tree nurseries, has avoided the high rise development of many areas in southwest Florida.  You will paddle the bays, backwaters, and shorelines of the Great Calusa Blueway paddling trail, launch right from our own dock nestled in the mangroves.

Accommodations are a very comfortable waterfront home with a beautiful view of the mangroves. Greet dolphin and manatees as they visit on a regular basis. Launch kayaks and SUP’s right from our own dock. Bike 17 miles of bicycle trail accessible from the house. It’s a great way to escape the PA Winter!  Our itinerary will be very relaxed with plenty of time to paddle, bike, bird, fish and explore.  Paddle as often or as little as you would like…your relaxation is key to this special trip.

Meals including breakfast, lunch, hors d’oeuvres and dinner are provided.  Transportation to and from Pine Island is your responsibility.  Very reasonable air fares are available to the SW Florida International Airport (Ft. Myers), and there is a shuttle service from the airport to the island and our accommodations.  If you are flying, we can arrange to have equipment including kayaking gear and stand-up paddleboards for you to use.  If you choose to drive, it is a reasonable drive and you can add a variety of East Coast stops to explore on your way down or back.


Fee including accommodations and meals as described above…………………………………….$2600/Couple     PaddlerandDolphin

Price is based on double occupancy.  No Adventure Club applies to this program.  If you are driving and bringing your own equipment, there is plenty of storage at the house.  If you are flying, we can provide equipment for you to use during your stay, and we can provide the name of the shuttle service from the airport to the house on Pine Island.


1/3 deposit required for reservation; 1/3 payment due 11/25/17; 1/3 payment due 1/15/18.

In an effort to keep trip cost reasonable, please make your payments by check payable to “Shank’s Mare”.

Cancellations made prior to 12/15/17 are refundable.  Any cancellations made after 12/15/17 are not refundable, unless the vacant spots are filled prior to the trip.