Pennsylvania is home to breathtaking natural scenery ranging from majestic mountain ranges and deep verdant valleys to open rolling farmlands and deep blue lakes, much of which can be enjoyed in one of the region’s 121 state parks, 19 national parks, and seven National Heritage Areas. Many of the national parks are designated historical sites and feature a wealth of outdoor and recreational activities for the whole family to enjoy from hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding to canoeing, fishing, and swimming. Visit one of these stunning parks to experience the natural beauty of the state.
1.Allegheny Portage Railroad
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The Allegheny Portage Railroad was the very first railroad to be built through the Allegheny Mountains in central Pennsylvania. This modern inclined plane railroad was considered a technological wonder in its day and operated between 1834-1854, playing a critical role in opening the interior of the country to the new settlement. Located in southwestern Pennsylvania, approximately 12 miles west of Altoona, the railroad provides train enthusiasts and history buffs an opportunity to learn about our nation’s railroad history. The park features several attractions, including the Summit Level Visitor Center, Engine House #6 Exhibit Shelter, the historic Lemon House, the Skew Arch Bridge, picnic area and several hiking trails.
110 Federal Park Rd, Gallitzin, PA 16641, Phone: 814-886-6150
2.Black Moshannon State Park
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Perched high on the Allegheny Plateau, Black Moshannon State Park is a 3,394-acre park that features lush forests and wetlands, including the famous Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area. Surrounded by the vast Moshannon State Forest, the park conserves unique, natural environments and is home to a diverse array of fauna and flora, providing excellent bird and wildlife watching for nature lovers. Recreational activities in the park include hiking, mountain biking, boating, canoeing, fishing, and swimming in the 250-acre Black Moshannon Lake, which is fed by small streams and clear springs. Camping is available in the park with basic campsites and rustic self-catering overnight cabins.
4216 Beaver Rd, Philipsburg, PA 16866
3.Caledonia State Park
Caledonia State Park is a 1,125-acre state park that spans the Adams and Franklin counties is in the northernmost section of the Blue Ridge Mountains known locally as South Mountain. The southern Pennsylvanian park is named after the Caledonia Furnace, an old iron furnace that operated in 1837 and features beautiful natural scenery of low, rolling, fertile valleys and rugged quartzite mountains. The park has a range of recreational facilities, including self-catering camping cabins and basic campsites and an 18-hole, par 68, public golf course. Other activities that can be enjoyed in the park include hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife watching.
101 Pine Grove Rd, Fayetteville, PA 17222, Phone: 717-352-2161
4.Codorus State Park
Codorus State Park is a 3,490-acre park in the rolling hills of southern York County that is home to the 1,275-acre Lake Marburg and spectacular natural landscapes. The lake’s 26 miles of shoreline attracts a wealth of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds that use the lake as a rest stop. Recreational activities in the park and on the lake include leisure boating, canoeing, and kayaking, warm water fishing, swimming, picnicking, hiking and mountain biking. Services and amenities in the park include an amphitheater, boat launching, and mooring sites, camping, modern restrooms, and an array of environmental education programs that are hosted throughout the year.
2600 Smith Station Road, HANOVER PA 17331, Phone: 717-637-2816
5.The Delaware & Lehigh Canal National and State Heritage Corridor (D&L)
Stretching from north to south, across five counties in eastern Pennsylvania, the Delaware & Lehigh Canal National and State Heritage Corridor (D&L) is a 165-mile National Heritage Area that preserves the natural heritage of the region and provides green spaces for the public to enjoy. The multi-use trail and historic transportation route cross canals, rivers, railroads, and trails and is ideal for recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking and leisure boating. The Corridor features a variety of ever-changing landscapes from patch towns and mid-18th-century German villages, to the rolling fields of Pennsylvania German farms, and the region’s three largest cities – Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton.
2750 Hugh Moore Park Rd, Easton, PA 18042, Phone: 610-923-3548
6.Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a large park in the Pocono Mountains on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania which is home to the Appalachian Trail, along with more than 100 miles of hiking trails. Boasting incredible natural scenery along the banks of Delaware River, the area features steep ridges and dense hemlock forests, quaint historic colonial villages and an abundance of diverse fauna and flora, as well as the area’s namesake, the spectacular 1000-foot-deep valley between the mountain ridges known as the ‘Water Gap.’
1978 River Road, Bushkill, Pennsylvania
7.Eisenhower National Historic Site
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The Eisenhower National Historic Site is located just outside Gettysburg in Cumberland Township, Adams County and preserves the once residence of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States. The site also protects the surrounding 690-acre property, which was by General Eisenhower in 1950 as a weekend retreat for the President. The estate and mansion became the Eisenhowers' home after they left the White House in 1961 and today serves as an intimate look into their lives. The property features a skeet range, a putting green, and breathtaking views of the Gettysburg Battlefield and the South Mountain in the background. The site is accessed by a shuttle bus from the Visitor Center.
243 Eisenhower Farm Rd, Gettysburg, PA 17325, Phone: 717-338-9114
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8.French Creek State Park
French Creek State Park is a 7,526-acre state park that straddles the Berks and Chester counties along the banks of the French Creek. Located in the Hopewell Big Woods, the park is home to two beautiful lakes, namely the 68-acre warm water Hopewell Lake and the 22-acre cold water Scotts Run Lake, which is an excellent fishing lake. The park also features vast forests, the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, which boasts a beautifully restored cold blast furnace dating back to the 1830s, and over 40 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. Visitors can enjoy the Six Penny Day Use Area and Group Camp, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
843 Park Rd, Elverson, PA 19520, Phone: 610-582-9680
9.Friendship Hill Historic Site
© NPS Photo
Friendship Hill Historic Site preserves and honors the country estate and home of early American politician and statesman Albert Gallatin, a Swiss immigrant who served his adopted nation during the early years of the republic. Gallatin is renowned for being Secretary of the Treasury during the Jefferson and Madison administrations and for reducing the national debt, purchasing the Louisiana Territory and funding the Lewis & Clark exploration during his 13-year tenure. The beautifully restored Friendship Hill house offers visitors an intimate look at his life during this time through informative displays and exhibits. Tucked away in the southwestern corner of the Laurel Highlands, the private estate is open to visitors daily from sunrise to sunset, all year.
223 New Geneva Road, Point Marion, PA 15474, Phone: 724-329-2501
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10.Gettysburg National Military Park
Nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania's Dutch Country, the Gettysburg National Military Park offers an informative, interactive experience for the whole family. The popular park commemorates the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most vicious battles in the Civil War and offers visitors to explore the battlefield on foot or a two-hour bus tour of the site. Several ranger-led activities and hikes provide an exciting insight into the battle from the essential hospital services that the soldiers had to endure to some of the decisions made by General Robert E. Lee during the campaign. The park is managed by the National Park Service and is open year-round.
1195 Baltimore, Pike, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Phone: 717-334-1124
11.Gifford Pinchot State Park
Gifford Pinchot State Park is a 2,338-acre full-service park between the towns of Rossville and Lewisberry in northern York County that features beautiful landscapes of rolling farmlands, dense woodlands, and the 340-acre Pinchot Lake. The lake is the central attraction of the park and offers a range of water-based activities such as boating, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and swimming. Other activities in the park include hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, and disc golfing in the summer, and ice-boating and fishing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing in the winter. Gifford Pinchot State Park has a campground with yurts, cottages, cabins, and basic campsites along with facilities such as restrooms, a children’s playground, a volleyball court, and horseshoe pits. There is also a designated boat launch and swimming area for guests.
2200 Rosstown Rd, Lewisberry, PA 17339, Phone: 717-432-5011
12.Hills Creek State Park
Located in scenic Tioga County, the 407-acre Hills Creek State Park is a state park centered around the 137-acre human-made Hills Creek Lake, which offers year-round recreation. Situated a short drive away from the, PA Grand Canyon Hills Creek State Park boasts five miles of scenic hiking trails and several picturesque picnic spots, as well as excellent opportunities for boating, fishing, and swimming. The park has over 85 campsites with basic camping sites, yurts, cottages, and modern cabins, and is home to a diverse array of birds and wildlife, including bald eagles, osprey and many species of waterfowl. The park also offers winter recreation such as cross-country skiing and ice-fishing.
111 Spill Way Rd, Wellsboro, PA 16901, Phone: 570-724-4246
13.Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
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Set inside the 848-acre French Creek State Park in south-eastern Berks County, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site is an excellent example of an American 19th-century rural "iron plantation" and gives visitors an in-depth look at a Colonial-era village dedicated to producing iron. Built in 1771, Hopewell Furnace features 14 restored structures, including the owner’s mansion, spring and smokehouses, a charcoal house, a blacksmith shop, and a schoolhouse. A Visitors Center features an agricultural tool exhibit, along with small farm animals for children to pet, and guests can participate in a variety of craft-making and charcoal burning demonstrations, try their hand at sheep-shearing, and enjoy picnics in the picturesque grounds.
2 Mark Bird Ln, Elverson, PA 19520, Phone: 610-582-8773
14.The Independence National Historical Park
The Independence National Historical Park is home to Independence Hall, the historic site of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Resting at the center of the Independence National Historical Park on Chestnut Street, Independence Hall was completed in 1973 and is now listed as a World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the famous building on a guided tour, which includes visiting the famous Assembly Room where George Washington was appointed a commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775, the design for the American flag was decided, and the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed. Tickets are needed to tour Independence Hall and are available at the Independence Visitor Center.
520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-965-2305
15.Moraine State Park
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Moraine State Park is state park spanning 16,725 acres in Butler County. The park is home to the 3,225-acre Lake Arthur, which has over 40 miles of scenic shoreline and offers an array of outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, sailing, and swimming, along with hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, and camping. The Frank Preston Conservation Area in the park boasts beautiful natural landscapes and diverse fauna and flora, as well as a popular seven-mile paved mountain bike trail that circumnavigates the north shoreline of the lake. Moraine State Park is open daily from 7:00 am to sunset, year-round.
225 Pleasant Valley Rd, Portersville, PA 16051, Phone: 724-368-8811
16.Nockamixon State Park
Nockamixon State Park is a 5,283-acre in the rolling hills of Bedminster and Haycock Townships in northern Bucks County and is centered around the 1,450-acre Lake Nockamixon, which is fed by Haycock Run, Tohickon Creek, and Three Mile Run. The lake is a popular rest stop for migrating waterfowl and attracts anglers and boaters who come to enjoy the tranquil waters and picturesque surroundings. Popular activities in the park include are leisure boating, fishing, canoeing, camping, picnicking, and swimming, and facilities range from boat rental, pavilions with barbecue grills, a swimming pool, and a grassy area for relaxing.
1542 Mountain View Dr, Quakertown, PA 18951, Phone: 215-529-7300
17.Ohiopyle State Park
Ohiopyle State Park is located in the Laurel Highlands and one of the state’s largest state parks. Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in the park, including kayaking, canoeing and white-water rafting on the Youghiogheny River; hiking and mountain biking on one of the many trails; and soaking up the natural beauty of the waterslides at Meadow Run and the scenic Cucumber Falls. Cyclists can rent bikes and take on the challenging Youghiogheny River Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail, and wildlife lovers can explore the diverse array of unique fauna and flora on the Ferncliff Peninsula.
124 Main Street, Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, Phone: 724-329-8591
18.Pine Grove Furnace State Park
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The 696-acre Pine Grove Furnace State Park is located in Cooke Township of Cumberland County and is home to the Laurel and Fuller Lakes. Based at the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounded by the Michaux State Forest, the protected Pennsylvania features many recreational and outdoor activities, including hiking the Appalachian Trail, mountain biking, boating, camping, cross-country skiing, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, and swimming. Facilities include boat launching stations, picnic shelters with picnic tables, a children’s playground, seasonal refreshment stations at the beach, and a campground.
1100 Pine Grove Rd, Gardners, PA 17324, Phone: 717-486-7174
19.Pymatuning State Park Pennsylvania
Pymatuning State Park is a 21,122-acre state park in the townships of Conneaut, Pine, North Shenango, Sadsbury, South Shenango, West Fallowfield and West Shenango in Crawford County. Set along the shoreline of Pymatuning Lake, the park spans both Pennsylvania and Ohio with the majority of the park situated in Pennsylvania and offers a wide range of amenities and recreational opportunities. The Pymatuning State Park is home to three state campgrounds, namely the Jamestown Campground, the Linesville Campground, and the Pymatuning Campground, and also has cabins for rent. Other activities include sunbathing and relaxing on the lakeshore beaches, swimming, boating, fishing, volleyball, and modern restrooms.
2660 Williamsfield Rd, Jamestown, PA 16134, Phone: 724-932-3142
20.Ricketts Glen State Park
Ricketts Glen State Park is a 13,050-acre state park that is famous for its ancient old growth forests, massive waterfalls, including the magnificent 94-foot Ganoga Falls. Spanning Columbia, Luzerne, and Sullivan counties, the park is also home to Lake Jean where visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming, as well as 22 wild, free-flowing waterfalls cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside, and 26 miles of hiking trails for all levels. Ricketts Glen State Park features the National Natural Landmark of the Glens Natural Area, as well as a diverse variety of fauna and flora.
695 State Route 487, Benton, PA 17814, Phone: 570-477-5675
21.Ridley Creek State Park
Located in the townships of Edgemont, Middletown and Upper Providence in Delaware County, Ridley Creek State Park is a 2,606-acre state park that is home to scenic landscapes of rolling meadows and dense woodlands, and offers an array of recreational activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and picnicking. The park is bisected by Ridley Creek and features a spectacular venue for weddings and special celebrations, complete with an English-Tudor style mansion-house, a Hunting Hill Mansion, and beautifully manicured formal gardens. Other facilities in the park include a children’s playground, a picnic pavilion, modern restrooms, and organized group camping.
1023 Sycamore Mills Rd, Media, PA 19063, Phone: 610-892-3900
22.Shawnee State Park
Shawnee State Park is a 3,983-acre state park in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains near the Ohio River. Surrounded by the Shawnee State Forest in Southern Ohio’s Scioto County, the park is home to the 451-acre Shawnee Lake and offers a wealth of recreational activities such as boating, camping, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. Shawnee State Park has a 293-site campground with electric hook-ups, a centrally located bathhouse with flush toilets and hot showers, and a camp store that sells essential supplies. Shawnee State Park is open for year-round recreation and features 15 miles of hiking and mountain biking and several pavilions with picnic tables.
4404 OH-125, West Portsmouth, OH 45663, Phone: 740-858-6652
23.Susquehannock State Park
Set on a scenic plateau overlooking the Conowingo Reservoir and the Susquehanna River, Susquehannock State Park is a small, 224-acre park in Drumore Township, Lancaster County, which is named for the Susquehannock people, who once lived in the area. The park boasts views of the river and Wissler Run and offers an array of recreational and outdoor activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, and picnicking. Five miles of hiking trails wind their way through a variety of landscapes through the park, which is also home to a wealth of diverse fauna and flora, including white-tailed deer, osprey, hawks, bald eagles, and vultures.
1880 Park Dr, Drumore, PA 17518, Phone: 717-548-3361
24.Valley Forge National Historical Park
The Valley Forge National Historical Park preserves the site and interprets the history of the Valley Forge encampment, which was the third winter encampment of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Located near Philadelphia, the 3,500-acre park offers an interesting balance of historic sites and interactive living history experiences that take visitors back in time to the 1700s when the camp was in its heyday. Popular attractions and sights in the park include the Artillery Park, the Muhlenberg Brigade Huts, and encampment which can be explored on guided tours. The park also features over 20 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, along with bike rentals, and the nearby Schuylkill River offers boating, fishing, and wildlife watching.
1400 North Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Phone: 610-783-1077
25.Worlds End State Park
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Surrounded by the Loyalsock State Forest in the Loyalsock Creek Valley, Worlds End State Park is a 780-acre Pennsylvania state park in Sullivan County that offers a diverse range of recreational opportunities in a spectacular environment. Winding its way through the heart of the Endless Mountains, the rugged natural beauty of the park offers excellent photographic opportunities, especially the June mountain laurel and fall. Other amenities and facilities in the park include camping, rustic overnight cabins, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and seasonal hunting.
82 Cabin Bridge Rd, Forksville, PA 18616, Phone: 888-727-2757
25 Best Pennsylvania Parks
- Allegheny Portage Railroad, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Black Moshannon State Park, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Caledonia State Park, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Codorus State Park, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- The Delaware & Lehigh Canal National and State Heritage Corridor (D&L), Photo: fox17/stock.adobe.com
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Photo: rabbit75_fot/stock.adobe.com
- Eisenhower National Historic Site, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- French Creek State Park, Photo: Daniil/stock.adobe.com
- Friendship Hill Historic Site, Photo: NPS Photo
- Gettysburg National Military Park, Photo: atlantic_advert/stock.adobe.com
- Gifford Pinchot State Park, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Hills Creek State Park, Photo: Yuttana/stock.adobe.com
- Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- The Independence National Historical Park, Photo: aphotostory/stock.adobe.com
- Moraine State Park, Photo: Galina Barskaya/stock.adobe.com
- Nockamixon State Park, Photo: weedezign/stock.adobe.com
- Ohiopyle State Park, Photo: steheap/stock.adobe.com
- Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Photo: Christian Hinkle/stock.adobe.com
- Pymatuning State Park Pennsylvania, Photo: woodsnorth/stock.adobe.com
- Ricketts Glen State Park, Photo: Matt/stock.adobe.com
- Ridley Creek State Park, Photo: jomo333/stock.adobe.com
- Shawnee State Park, Photo: finwal89/stock.adobe.com
- Susquehannock State Park, Photo: skrotov/stock.adobe.com
- Valley Forge National Historical Park, Photo: rsmjr/stock.adobe.com
- Worlds End State Park, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com