No matter the time of year, Pennsylvania’s beautiful state parks offer plenty to explore. From Hickory Run’s wonderful picnicking areas to Raccoon Creek’s great group camping spots, there’s something for just about every kind of outdoor enthusiast. Here are our favorite state parks in Pennsylvania.
Covering a total of 5,286 acres, Nockamixon State Park is a true Bucks County gem. Pack a picnic, go for a swim, hike, bike, or boat—you can pretty much do it all. It’s not too far from the City of Brotherly Love (or Shove—as locals say!), so it’s perfect for a quick day trip, while still feeling like a vacation. And if you work up an appetite after your day of exploring, you won’t regret stopping by Owowcow Creamery for handcrafted, locally-sourced ice cream. We promise!
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Locals love Hickory Run State Park because it offers a wide array of activities year-round. In the summer, there’s swimming, fishing, and picnicking. The fall brings hunting season—and in the winter—there's cross-country skiing, ice skating, and snowmobiling. And if that’s not enough, you can hike, watch for wildlife, and stay the night, too.
Stretching over the Schuylkill Highlands, French Creek State Park is a 7,730-acre park featuring the biggest block of adjoining forest from Washington D.C. to New York City. Residents of southeastern PA and the surrounding area enjoy hiking through forests, fishing in lakes and wetlands, mountain biking, camping, and a whole lot more.
Straddling three different counties and over 13,000 acres, Ricketts Glen State Park is “one of the most scenic areas” in the state, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The park is home to the Glens Natural Area, which is a national landmark comprised of a series of waterfalls. Whether you come just to watch the waterfalls cascade or another activity, you won’t forget Ricketts Glen.
In southern York County, Codorus State Park is a popular destination for fans of fishing, picnicking, swimming, and camping. Lake Marburg’s 26 miles of shoreline attracts shorebirds and migrating waterfowl, while the lake itself draws sail boaters, motor boaters, and warmwater fishing. Come for the lake or pool, stay for the memories.
Pymatuning State Park is one of the most-visited parks in the state of Pennsylvania. Everything about the park is big—from its acreage, number of visitors, to awesome recreational options. Have fun boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and more at Pymatuning today.
Believe it or not—Worlds End State Park isn’t actually at the end of the world. It’s located in a valley of Loyalsock Creek in Sullivan County, surrounded by the Loyalsock State Forest. The landscape of the Endless Mountains provides many a photo op, and there are plenty of other activities for park visitors to enjoy, too. From hiking to whitewater rafting and swimming—you can do all of the above and more here...so don’t miss out!
First opening in the 1930’s with the Civilian Conservation Corps, Raccoon Creek State park is currently one of the top-visited parks in the state. The park features Raccoon Lake, a beautiful lake spanning 100 of the park’s 7,572 acres. Among the park’s facilities are group campsites from the Conservation Corps era, making for a mix of rustic and modern.
Caledonia State Park is comfortably nestled in South Mountain, which is located in the Blue Ridge mountain range. It lies between Chambersburg and Gettysburg, drawing a large number of visitors every season. Visitors may enjoy many activities such as golfing, hunting, swimming, fishing, and camping.
Greenwood Furnace State Park provides visitors with an image of historic Greenwood Furnace, which was built around the ironmaking community in the 19th century. They can explore the historic district and also enjoy backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, hunting, and fishing in the park and surrounding Rothrock State Forest.