Money has been a bit tight for us this year. We have a lot of things around the house that need to be fixed, and it just seems like the price of everything has gone up a lot lately. Every time I turn around, another bill arrives and it’s higher than the last one.  Because of these things, I try to find frugal, but fun things for us to do as a family.

On Sunday, I talked my husband and son into going on a Paddlewheel Riverboat Tour at the Susquehanna State Park. We’d never been up there before and it was a great experience.

My son is at that age where he’s learning to drive, so this trip allowed for him to take a long trip including highway driving for the first time. We set out a little over an hour and a half before the boat was scheduled to leave and we got there about half an hour beforehand. This allowed me to purchase our tickets and a souvenir magnet. That’s kind of our thing. Wherever we go, I try to get a magnet from the location.

Once I’d purchased our tickets in the gift shop, we just had to wait until they would allow us to board. It didn’t take long before they were letting us on the boat.

The downstairs is all enclosed. This is great for a hot summer day because they have two portable air conditioners in there to keep the area cool. So if you’re just looking to kick back with a snack, a beer, or a soda, and watch the river go by without sweating, this is a great option! They also have a TV that plays a story about the Hiawatha and the history of the area.

Sunday wasn’t the nicest day weather wise. It was sort of overcast and a little drizzle was falling, but the upper area had a canopy which allowed us to sit up there in the fresh air, without getting wet. Temperature wise, it was a perfect day. Just a slight breeze on the river was blowing and it wasn’t to hot.

Once we decided where we wanted to sit, my husband went down to the snack bar. Before boarding we were told they had a “full bar” down there and I saw several other passengers with what looked like small, mixed drinks. I thought that was rather novel. Sipping a drink while you glide down the river.  We opted for two pepsi’s since I figured we’d want to drive home. The long trip there was a little harrowing for our student driver and he wasn’t looking forward to driving us home.

With a loud blow of the horn, our boat pushed off from the dock and began slowly making it’s way down the Susquehanna river. A little while after the trip began, they played a story about the history of the boat and the location. They have two TV’s near the back of the boat on the upper level that play this video. It was nice to find out a little history on how the boat came to be.

About a half an hour downstream, the boat turns around and makes it’s way back to the starting point. Overall there’s really not much to see. Just the natural scenery and an occasional speed boat or pontoon boat making it’s way along.

While this wasn’t anything I would describe as “thrilling”, it was still a really nice day. We sat together on the boat, enjoying the trip, talking with each other, sipping on our Pepsi’s, and just watching the scenery go past. I definitely enjoyed myself. Even my husband agreed that it was a nice thing to do as a family.

The cost of the boat ride was $8.50 for each of us. When I signed up for their mailing list, they sent me a coupon for $1 off per ticket, so that knocked it down to $7.50 each. Seemed like a cheap day out for us to me.

You can sign up for their mailing list too by visiting their website at

They do lots of events on the boat. Visiting their website and joining their mailing list will help keep you in the loop. I imagine this would be a rather spectacular ride to take in the autumn when all the leaves are turning.

The state park also has picnic tables available. Some under a pavilion if it happens to be a little rainy like the day we went, or if you just prefer to get in out of the sun. You can take a picnic lunch, go on the boat tour, and just spend a nice day with your family along the river.


I highly recommend this if you’re in the area and looking for something to do!

Family Fun Day : Hiawatha Paddlewheel Riverboat Tour
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