EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Pennsylvania is known for its beautiful scenery and colorful outdoor landscapes. With so much nature, it’s no wonder why there are so many campgrounds in the Keystone State.
Fall is known as one of the best times to go camping. As the summer heat winds down and cooler temperatures take over bugs tend to go away, fishing tends to improve, and campgrounds are often less crowded. After the pandemic began, the out-of-doors activity saw a big spike in interest and experts say it won’t slow down any time soon. In Pennsylvania, there are 121 state parks, 7,000 family camping sites, and over 1,000 miles of trails. In addition to all the state parks, the state also has many private parks that offer a great camping experience too.
- Pymatuning State Park in Jamestown is the largest park in the Commonwealth with 16,892 acres, there is plenty of room to roam around. Camping is available at Pymatuning State Park from April to October.
- Raccoon Creek State Park in Hookstown features the beautiful 101 scenic acres of Raccoon Lake, and is almost 8,000 acres. At this park there are plenty of modern camp sites, with a mix of the early Civilian Conservation Corps camp too. This camp is open all year round, but does not offer electricity.
- Hickory Run State Park in White Haven offers visitors more than 40 miles of hiking trails as well as a “Boulder Field”. Camping at Hickory Run is allowed from April to December. The site also has modern bathroom amenities, can accommodate RVs, trailers, and tents and pets.
- Promised Land State Park in Greentown is surrounded by almost 13,000 acres of the Delaware State Forest. Visitors can get a kick out of fishing and boating, miles of hiking trails and forest explorations. Camping is available from April to October and their sites offer may modern amenities.
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- Little Buffalo State Park in Newport is full of history. According to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Little Buffalo used to be used by Native Americans going on hunting trips and folks used to pass news while at Shoaffs Mill. Today, the park is filled with fun and campsites that are open from March to October. The campsites offer tent camping, as well as full RV and camper hookups.
- Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardeners is at the tip of the Blue Mountains Region and is steeped in natural and historical features. The park also has access to two lakes, Laurel Lake and Fuller Lake, as well as the Appalachian Trail. Campers can set up their sites between the months of April to December. With all the modern necessities, staying at this park is sure to be a great time.
- Cherry Springs State Park in Coudersport gets its name from all the Black Cherry trees and is a park like no other. The park is still as wild and remote as it was two centuries ago. Because of its dark skies, it is an astronomers paradise and in 2000 it was named the first Dark Sky Park by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Cherry Springs is open from April to October and only offers outhouses for its campers, but does offer full hookups for campers and RVs. However, the Night Sky Public Viewing Area is meant to only be visited a few hours or less for star gazing, overnight stays are not allowed in this area. Cherry Springs Park was also listed on visitPA.com as one of the top 8 places to camp in Pennsylvania.
- Chapman State Park in Clarendon is one of the smaller parks in Pennsylvania with only 862 acres of park. However, this park is adjacent to the Allegheny National Forest, and is known as a vast area of wilderness. This park offers camping from April to December with full amenities including Yurts on site.
For information on all of the national parks in Pennsylvania, you can visit the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & National Resources website. Here, you can also book camping trips, view park maps, and get the most up-to-date information on all of the parks.
In addition to state parks, Pennsylvania also offers plenty of camping options.
Some of the top campgrounds as rated by visitPA.com are:
- Hersheypark Camping Resort: Right outside of ChocolateWorld is the full service campground that accommodates RVs and tents. The area also has furnished log cabins for campers who prefer a little extra. Patrons who stay here get into Hersheypark an hour early and also get free parking.
- Otter Lake Camp Resort: Located in Marshalls Creek, this campground is sure to make a great vacation. The lake around the campsite has something for boaters, swimmers, and fishers. There is also the option for swimming pools, hiking trails, and lakefront sites.
- Mountain Vista Campground: Located in East Stroudsburg, you can find this campground that offers traditional camping but with fun upgrades that will keep the whole family entertained.
- Raystown Lake Recreation Area: In Hesston lies this little place that offers so much. Aside from just a campground, this facility offers houseboats, bed and breakfasts, cabins and many other lodging options.
- Mountain Springs Camping Resort: Located in Shartlesville, this site had many of the bare necessities like firepits, a bait and tackle shop, and wagon rides.
- Woodland Campground: Is located in the “Pennsylvania Wilds” region. This spot is very popular among canoers and kayakers. With cabins, RV spaces and tent sites there is something for everyone’s comfort level.
- Beaver Valley Family Campground: Located less than 5 miles from Nockamixon State Park is this campground that offers RV, tent sites and even air conditioned cabins.
Whether you decide to camp at a public or private campground, Pennsylvania has more than enough nature for you to explore with your friends and family.