Top 5 Best Camping Activities You Can Do in Pennsylvania
Forget Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, it’s the great outdoors that make Pennsylvania one of the best places to visit in the US. It boasts the Appalachian Mountains running right through the middle, more natural beauty in the form of part of the Great Lakes, and historical sites like Gettysburg. It can be expensive staying in a hotel or vacation rental – especially if you’re traveling with the family. So, a great alternative for a memorable vacation is camping!
In this post, we’ll take a look at the 5 best camping activities you can do in Pennsylvania. Hopefully, when you’ve finished reading, you’ll have a better idea of what to do on your camping trip to Pennsylvania. We hope that we can help you really make the most of your vacation. So, let’s jump in and check out some cool activities!
You can’t go camping in Pennsylvania without a pair of hiking boots, a map, and a waterproof jacket. Across the state, you’ll find 121 state parks, 184 rail trails, and five national and historic trails that are part of the National Trail System. They’re simply begging to be discovered!
You don’t have to be an expert to take part either. Obviously, some are harder than others, but there are great trails all around the state. You might only want to go a couple of miles from your campsite into the nearby woods on a flat surface. Perfect, if you’re travelling with kids, right? Or you might want to tackle something altogether more challenging like the 21 mile Heritage Rail Trail on the border of Maryland.
One of our favourites though, is Ricketts Glen State Park. It’s here that you’ll find one of the prettiest landmarks in Pennsylvania – the 22 waterfalls culminating in the 94-ft Ganoga Falls. And yes, they’ve got their own hiking trail. Unsurprisingly, it’s called the Falls Trail System! All of these great hikes have campgrounds right on their doorsteps.
Nature lovers have plenty to get excited about when visiting Pennsylvania. There are over 60 types of mammals here, although unfortunately some of them are endangered. On your hikes and camping adventures, keep an eye out for bats, skunks, and flying weasels! There are even more animals native to the state, but the likes of gray wolves and lynx sadly aren’t found here anymore.
Birdwatchers will be delighted to know that they can catch sight of almost 400 different species of bird through their binoculars. Some of the most interesting include the short-eared owl, peregrine falcon, and the greater prairie chicken. Do be wary of reptiles and amphibians too – there’s even a state rattlesnake! Make sure if you hear the rattle late at night you stay cosy and safe inside your tent!
It’s hardly surprising that there’s such a wide variety of wildlife, given the range of ecosystems and habitats!
Get the adrenaline pumping
Hiking and wildlife watching are fun, but it’s a stretch to say they get the pulse racing. However, there are lots of other activities that will suit adrenaline junkies! Many lakes across the state offer refreshing and invigorating water sports like boating, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and even jet skiing!
Lots of campsites offer great access to places where you can rock climb, geocache, or go biking. In fact, Pennsylvania has the most flat level rail trails for biking in the whole of the United States – there are 180! As well as all these great sports, you could even have a go at cross-country skiing or snowshoeing if you’re travelling during the winter!
Trying a new sport (or even rediscovering one you did years ago) is great for so many reasons. It’ll improve your health and fitness, but even better, it will be something that your family can bond over.
Many people’s idea of going camping involves getting damp, soggy, and uncomfortable in a tent. Well, Pennsylvania’s campgrounds offer so much more than that. There’s such a thing called glamping which means you can get involved in the Great Outdoors without spending the whole of your trip dirty, smelly, and feeling far away from your loved ones (that aren’t actually with you)!
Glamping can be in an RV, trailer, or a cabin, and you’ll have many more home comforts than you do in a regular tent. Check out the PaCamping website to find places with WiFi, TVs, and something you might not have thought of – more protection from the wildlife we mentioned above!
Something to note - cabins are a great choice if you’re having a big family celebration. If everyone pitches in, it ends up being very inexpensive too!
If you’ve heard of Potter County, you probably know what’s coming next. It’s far from pretty much everything, and it’s almost untouched by light pollution, so it’s the perfect place to stargaze. Head to Cherry Springs State Park to see all the constellations, the Milky Way, and have an absolutely magical and memorable night (or a few) under the stars.
The campground doesn’t have a lot to it, but that’s part of the attraction. You don’t want to be distracted by anything unnatural so you can just watch the heavens above. Sometimes, it’s better to just look up from the campground itself. There’s an observation field, but it can get crowded with stargazers and their fancy expensive telescopes. You certainly don’t want to knock one of them over, considering how much they cost!
So, now that you know what to do in Pennsylvania when you go camping…
Hopefully you’ve found an activity or two that piques your interest during your vacation to Pennsylvania. Now, it’s time to find the perfect campsite to pitch your tent (or park your RV)! To find some of the best camping in the state, check out PaCamping, which can help you make the most of your camping trip, no matter your style or budget! Follow them on Twitter or Facebook to get the latest updates on camping tips across the Keystone State!
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