Pennsylvania’s a nature- and outdoor-lover’s dream. Why? Well, just consider that PA is home to 121 state parks, which give us plenty of outdoor spots to explore. Still, with all those state parks, some do tend to get overlooked. Make a promise to yourself this summer to visit some of the lesser-known state parks in Pennsylvania, where you’ll discover local wildlife, incredible trails, and gushing waterfalls. What could be better?
1. Allegheny Islands State Park – Cheswick
Climb into a boat, a canoe, or anything that floats to make the journey to Allegheny Islands State Park. In fact, that's the
only way you can get to this tiny but mighty state park that features unmarked trails and native wildlife. The 43-acre state park, however, only allows camping for groups. Allegheny Islands State Park is located in Cheswick.
2. Erie Bluffs State Park – Lake City
Most of us have probably heard of Presque Isle State Park. But, there's another hidden treasure in the area: Erie Bluffs State Park. Like Allegheny Islands State Park, Erie Bluffs largely remains undeveloped. For spectacular views of Lake Erie and beyond, climb the 93-foot bluffs. The day-use park only allows fishing and boating along its one mile shoreline. Erie Bluffs State Park is located at 11100 W Lake Rd., Lake City, PA 16423.
3. Ravensburg State Park – Jersey Shore
At only 78-acres, the tiny Ravernsburg State Park boasts plenty to do, including hiking the picturesque one-mile trail, picnicking, and camping out overnight. But, the hidden gem of the park just might be Castle Rocks, eroded sandstone that looks like a castle painted against the sky. Ravensburg State Park is located at 2388 Rauchtown Rd., Jersey Shore, PA 17740.
4. Trough Creek State Park – James Creek
Stretching 541 acres, Trough Creek State Park promises plenty of beautiful views of Rainbow Falls, Copperas Rocks, and an Ice Mine. After visiting the natural wonders of the park, spend some time hiking, biking, or picnicking. The state park also allows camping, with cabins available for rent. Visit Trough Creek State Park at 16362 Little Valley Rd, James Creek, PA 16657.
5. Poe Valley State Park – Coburn
Surrounded by the majestic Bald Eagle State Forest, Poe Valley State Park sprawls across 620 picture-perfect acres. Spend the day lounging on the sandy beach that leads into the 25-acre Poe Lake. Or, boat, fish, or explore the three miles of hiking trails. Poe Valley State Park is located at 136 Poe Valley Rd., Penn Township, PA 176832.
6. Sizerville State Park – Emporium
Tucked in Cameron and Potter Counties and surrounded by Elk State Forest, Sizerville State Park packs a mighty punch in its 386 acres. Hit one of the hiking trails that span a total of five miles. Or, go swimming in the pool or the wading pool. Other popular activities include wildlife watching, picnicking, and camping. Sizerville State Park is located at 199 E. Cowley Run Rd., Emporium, PA 15834.
7. Greenwood Furnace State Park – Huntingdon
Cozy pretty much defines the 423-acre Greenwood Furnace State Park. But, you'll still find tons to do. Sunbathe on the 300-foot sandy beach that overlooks the lake then take a break for a picnic. Or, go hiking, kayaking, or wildlife watching. Greenwood Furnace State Park is located at 5795 Greenwood Rd., Huntingdon, PA 16652.
8. Locust Lake State Park – Barnesville
On the prowl for a gorgeous spot to go camping? Then, plan a trip to Locust Lake State Park. The state park offers scenic camping with views of the mountains and forested areas. Or, if you're up for a day trip, wile the hours away hiking, biking, or boating. Relax on the sandy beach before jumping into the water for a cooling swim. Locust Lake State Park is located at 220 Locust Lake Rd., Barnesville, PA 18214.