Boasting a spectacular 121 state parks and natural areas, Pennsylvania is an outdoor lover’s dream. Still, with so many state parks spread out across the state, it’s natural that some will get overlooked or simply go unappreciated. With spring here and summer just around the corner, here are 10 underappreciated state parks in Pennsylvania you’re sure to love.
1. Poe Valley State Park – 136 Poe Valley Road, Penn Township, PA 176832
Hidden in a mountain valley and flanked by the massive Bald Eagle State Park, Poe Valley State Park spans across a mere 620 acres. Throw down your favorite beach towel and let your feet sink into the sandy beach at this cozy state park that features a 25 acre lake, paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, fishing, and hiking. Poe Valley State Park also offers rental cabins, RV parking spots, and tents for campers.
2. Sizerville State Park – 199 East Cowley Run Road, Emporium, PA 15834
Escape to the cozy Sizerville State Park, stretching across only 386 acres of picturesque land surrounded by lush trees. Spend a day swimming in the swimming pool (open Memorial Day to Labor Day). Go fishing in Cowley Run, have a picnic lunch at one of the pavilions, or hike the park's five miles of trails.
3. Ravensburg State Park – 2388 Rauchtown Road, Jersey Shore, PA 17740
Nestled in a gorge and flanked by Tiadaghton State Forest, the tiny Ravensburg State Park, at only 78 acres, promises plenty to do for outdoor lovers and nature enthusiasts of all ages. Lace up your hiking shoes and embark on the one mile Raven Trail. Throw some food on the grill and picnic at one of the pavilions. Or, spend the night camping out. Hunting and fishing are also permitted.
4. Laurel Hill State Park – 1454 Laurel Hill Park Road, Somerset, PA 15501
Snuggled in the Laurel Mountains, Laurel Hill State Park sprawls across 4,062 acres, highlighted by Laurel Hill Lake. The 63-acre lake features a sandy beach, swimming, boating, and fishing. Explore the mountains in the park by hiking or mountain biking. Open all year around, the park also offers a plethora of winter activities, including snowshoeing and ice fishing.
5. Yellow Creek State Park – 170 PA-259, Penn Run, PA 15765
Boasting nearly 3,000 acres, Yellow Creek State Park promises something for everyone all year around. Pack your backpack for an unforgettable camping experience in one of the camping cottages or yurts. Hike one of the three trails that total five miles. Or, spend the day on Yellow Creek Lake, where you can sit on the sandy beach, or swim, boat, or fish.
6. Greenwood Furnace State Park – 15795 Greenwood Road, Huntingdon, PA 16652
Greenwood Furnace State Park spans 423 acres and boasts a six acre lake. Spend summer days lying on the sandy beach and swimming in the picturesque lake. Watch wildlife or go fishing any time of the year. Hiking is a popular activity in the state park that features one mile of the 72 mile, award winning Standing Stone Trail as well as several other trails ranging from easy to difficult.
7. Little Buffalo State Park – 1579 State Park Road, Newport, PA 17074
Stroll along the edges of Holman Lake at Little Buffalo State Park, a popular spot for fishing and boating. Swimmers can jump into the large pool that boasts two slides, a spray ground, and a nearby snack bar. Little Buffalo State Park also features eight miles of hiking trails and cabins and cottages for campers.
8. Locust Lake State Park – 220 Locust Lake Road, Barnesville, PA 18214
A 52-acre lake, Locust Lake is guarded by two picturesque camping grounds in the more than 1,700 acre Locust Lake Park. Enjoy a day on the sandy beach while snacking on treats from the onsite camp store, maneuver your electric boat along the water, or hit the nearly seven miles of hiking trails. Locust Lake also promises the perfect setting for watching wildlife.
9. Salt Springs State Park - 2305 Salt Springs Road, Montrose, PA 18801
Embrace the sheer beauty of nature at the nearly 700 acre Salt Springs State Park. Meander along a wooden boardwalk under the protection of hemlock trees. Pass a gushing waterfall and keep an eye out for the local wildlife who call the park home: Deer, turkeys, woodpeckers, and squirrels, for example. Camp out at Salt Springs State Park or attend one of the many activities it hosts each year.
10. Codorus State Park – Marina Drive, Hanover, PA 17331
Discover the clear blue water of Lake Marburg - a massive 1,275 acre lake - at the 3,500 acre Codorus State Park. Lake Marburg is a water lover's dream come true, offering scuba diving in Sinsheim Cove and fishing. A swimming pool - with a spray ground - overlooks the lake. Codorus State Park also offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, boating, and camping.
How many of these state parks in Pennsylvania have you visited? If you’re up for a delightful hike, you might also want to visit one of these
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