Nature March 26, 2021
A Nature Lovers Definitive Guide To Pennsylvania’s Natural Beauty – Parks, Beaches, Hikes And More!
Pennsylvania’s undoubtedly a beautiful piece of paradise for nature lovers and for those who are always in search of an adventure outdoors. With all of the national parks, state parks, county parks, and local parks, we can always find a picturesque hiking trail, a picture-perfect spot for a leisurely picnic, or a charming place to relax. However, that’s just the start. Pennsylvania might not sit on the coast, but it certainly boasts its fair share of sandy beaches and shimmering blue lakes. Whether you’re on the lookout for a river on which to go kayaking, a garden to snap photos, or a mountain to climb, you’ll find a little bit of everything right here in Pennsylvania.
The Best Little Known Park In Pennsylvania
Most of us are never too far from a park. If you’re a fan of state parks, you’ll have 121 from which to choose in Pennsylvania, and
are free. With all of those state parks, some undoubtedly get overlooked. Trough Creek State Park in James Creek, for example, boasts a ton of natural and manmade beauty in its cozy 541 acres. Nestled between Rothrock State Forest and Raystown Lake, the lush state park is home to a few hidden gems, including the 12-foot Rainbow Falls. Balanced Rock, a natural wonder with a name that aptly describes it, sits at the end of the .12-mile Balanced Rock Trail. Although short and quite challenging, the trail packs a lot of punch. You’ll cross a beautiful suspension bridge, arrive at the natural Balanced Rock formation, and pass Rainbow Falls.
What else will you discover at Trough Creek State Park?
The Most Pristine Beach In Pennsylvania
Most people usually don’t associate Pennsylvania with beaches, since we don’t live on the coast. However, we’re fortunate to have quite a few beaches dotted throughout the state, most commonly in state parks. The most common, of course, are the beaches at Presque Isle State Park in Erie that lead straight into the lake. However, if you’re looking for a pristine beach that’s quieter and more secluded, head over to Poe Valley State Park in Penn Township. The 600-acre state park is home to the small but cozy 25-acre Poe Lake. Throw down your beach towel on the soft sand for a day of relaxation, and cool off in the beautiful blue water. Visitors can bring along a picnic, or buy hot and cold foods and goodies from the concession stand.
Will you plan a visit to Poe Lake at Poe Valley State Park?
The Most Jaw Dropping Lake In Pennsylvania
Did you know that Pennsylvania’s home to more than 2,500 natural and manmade lakes? That means we’re never too far from a lake where we can spend a leisurely day, and we certainly have no shortage of gorgeous lakes throughout the state. Perhaps the most jaw dropping lake in Pennsylvania, Curwensville Lake features stunning blue water that’s even more striking under the golden sun. The lake, which has a sandy beach, is popular with beachgoers, swimmers, and boaters. You can even spend a lovely day fishing on the lake or, if you’re up for a thrilling adventure, try wake boarding. If one day at the beach just isn’t enough, rent a cabin or pitch a tent (with beautiful views of the water) for a night or two.
Is a single day enough to pack in all there is to do at Curwensville Lake?
The Most Beautiful Island In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s not exactly known for its islands, but there are a few. City Island, across from Harrisburg, isn’t exactly a tropical paradise. However, it is a charming day destination with gorgeous views of the Harrisburg skyline, water golf, an old-fashioned carousel, and a scenic train ride around some of the 63-acre island. Visitors can also explore the Susquehanna River aboard The Pride of the Susquehanna. City Island is easy to reach, too. Drive over the bridge to the island, or cross the pedestrian bridge, where you can stop and admire the views for as long as you want.
What’s your favorite attraction at City Island?
The Best Trail To Hike In Pennsylvania
We have no shortage of amazing trails to explore in Pennsylvania. No matter our skill level or interests, we can find multiple trails to follow. One of the best hikes in Pennsylvania is, arguably, the Falls Trail in Ricketts Glen State Park. If you love waterfalls
a challenge, you can’t go wrong with this 7.2-mile trail that meanders past 21 waterfalls, including the 94-foot Ganoga Falls. Open only to experienced ice climbers in the winter, the trail features a number of challenges, including slippery and rocky terrain, no matter when you hike it. However, you’ll be treated to spellbinding views of each of the waterfalls and beautiful natural scenery along the way.
Are you up for the challenge of hiking Falls Trail?
The Most Beautiful River In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s well-known for its many rivers. Did you know, for example, that the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania flows from south to north rather than from north to south? It’s one of the very few rivers in the United States to flow that way. Another striking river is the Susquehanna River. The oldest river in Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River is also its most beautiful. Dating back some 250 million years, the Susquehanna River winds 444 miles through Pennsylvania, but it starts in Cooperstown, New York, and ends in Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Pennsylvanians can admire the beautiful river in a number of towns throughout Central Pennsylvania, including Bloomsburg, South Renovo, and Clearfield. We have endless ways to enjoy the river – from riverside restaurants and kayaking to wandering down the river on a scenic boat tour.
Where is your favorite place to admire the Susquehanna River?
The Most Scenic Mountain In Pennsylvania
Of all of the mountain ranges in Pennsylvania, Hawk Mountain leads the list of one of the most scenic. It’s also home to the non-profit Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, a destination that beckons bird lovers, hikers, and nature lovers. Spanning more than 2,500 acres in Kempton, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary features seven hiking trails, from daylong treks to short and sweet paths. For some of the most sensational views
the chance to see birds of prey circling overhead, follow the Lookout Trail. The picturesque easy trail clocks in at just one mile, during which time you’ll pass local wildlife and lush greenery. (The mountain is particularly pretty during the fall foliage.) Once you reach the top of Hawk Mountain, sit down and drink in the spellbinding views.
What will draw you to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary?
The Most Unique Garden In Pennsylvania
Stroll through Chanticleer Garden, in Wayne, just a half an hour from Philadelphia, and you might feel as though you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. The breathtaking garden, a seasonal destination, sits on the grounds of the former Rosengarten estate. Boasting 27 acres of colorful flowers, footbridges, and tiny waterfalls, Chanticleer Garden oozes charm. Relax and admire the scenery from one of the observation decks, or sink down into one of the seats that dot the garden. You might even find yourself inspired to write, to draw, or to create as you drink in the garden’s beauty. Both self-guided and guided tours are available. Just don’t forget your camera.
What do you love most about Chanticleer Garden?