Pennsylvania’s pretty good at keeping secrets. In fact, some of the most beautiful, pristine spots in PA – from natural pools and water slides to sprawling forest land – are not widely known. Here are nine hidden places that definitely rank among Pennsylvania’s best kept secrets.
Salt Springs State Park - 2305 Salt Springs Road, Montrose, PA 18801
Escape to a magical oasis nestled within the forest at Salt Springs State Park, which spans more than 700 total acres in Susquehanna County. Hike along a picturesque wooden boardwalk protected by towering hemlock trees. Snap photos of the rushing waterfalls, and create your own mini-Stonehenge.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden - 799 Pinkerton Run Road, Oakdale, PA 15071
Stroll delicately along the winding, tree-lined paths at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden that will take you past the tranquil pond decorated with dainty lily pads, a life-sized bird's nest, and some of nature's most beautiful creatures, including tiny snails. You will arrive at Bookworm Glen, a magical fairy garden, with four fairy houses, a Storybook House, and Tree Village.
Skytop Lodge - One Skytop Lodge Road, Skytop, PA 18357
Pamper yourself with a visit to Skytop Lodge, a hidden resort nestled among 5,500 pristine acres of lush greenery and trees. Reserve a room in the fairy tale inn or book a private cottage on the property. Skytop Lodge features activities for everyone - from horseback riding and swimming in the indoor pool to golfing and hiking.
Wolf Sanctuary of PA - 465 Speedwell Forge Road, Lititz, PA 17543
Discover the heartwarming story of the Wolf Sanctuary of PA, the state's only such sanctuary that's dedicated to rescuing and providing a lifelong home for wolves that have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. Guests are invited to join a guided tour of the sanctuary, which often includes the opportunity to watch the resident wolves as they're fed. If each member of your party is 16 years or older, visit for the monthly Full Moon Tours, which take place in the evening.
Stokesay Castle - 141 Stokesay Castle Lane, Reading, PA 19606
Step into the pages of an old-fashioned fairy tale when you visit Stokesay Castle, a luxurious castle built in 1931 and now serving as a charming restaurant. Enjoy fine dining in the Lord's Dining Room or a more casual experience in the Knight's Pub. The castle's menu features such delectable dishes as Shepherd's pie, fish and chips, and steak and cheese pot pie.
Poe Valley State Park - 136 Poe Valley Road, Penn Township, PA 176832
Start counting down the days to summer when the cloudless blue skies and sun mean long, lazy days outdoors, preferably on a sandy beach. The good news? Pennsylvania's hiding a pretty spectacular beach at Poe Valley State Park, a cozy 620 acre state park. Spend the day basking in the sun on a towel on the sand. Swim or go paddle boating in Lake Poe or hit the trails for a hike.
Seven Tubs Natural Area -900 Bear Creek Boulevard, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Let the cool water at Seven Tubs Natural Area rush over you as you sit in a picturesque pool, walk through the chilled creeks, or zip down the natural water slides. Hidden among protective trees, Seven Tubs Natural Area also shelters such wildlife as opossums, deer, and foxes. A hiking trail will also take you over a charming bridge and past several small waterfalls.
Laurel Hill Tunnel -Jefferson Township, PA 15557
Laurel Hill Tunnel, one of three abandoned tunnels that sit abandoned along a 13-mile stretch of the Old Abandoned PA Turnpike, hid a pretty big secret for quite some time. Its days of abandonment came to an end in the beginning years of the 21st century when Chip Ganassi, a former race car driver and the current leader of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, began using the tunnel as a lab for testing the aerodynamics of race cars.
If you just happen to be wandering near the ghost town of Alvira, you might stumble upon what look like military bunkers. Those bunkers date back to the days shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Concerned that the mainland U.S. might be attacked, the government took over the town of Alvira, building 149 concrete bunkers, each of which stored munitions. Today, the concrete bunkers still remain, although they have become rusted and covered with vines, on abandoned state game land.