Pennsylvania has a wide variety of options for camping enthusiasts. Whether you prefer primitive camping and backpacking, full-service campsites or luxury resorts and RV parks, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for — and more — in the great state of Pennsylvania.
Where to Camp in the Keystone State
Travelers should know that winters in Pennsylvania can be harsh. On the other hand, summers are comparatively mild. Spring and early summers are a perfect time for a Pennsylvanian camping trip.
Here are our favorite places to camp in Pennsylvania.
1. Tionesta Lake – Tionesta
For those looking for a memorable outdoor experience, Tionesta offers a mix of beautiful scenery and recreational activities that will not soon be forgotten. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy boating, camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, water-skiing, picnicking, sightseeing and much more. Learn more.
2. Kinzua Dam and Allegneny Reservoir – Warren
Totally surrounded by forest, Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir are the heart of one of the largest and most popular outdoor recreation complexes in the northeastern United States. The Allegheny Reservoir spans the border between Pennsylvania and New York. In Pennsylvania , the reservoir is completely surrounded by the Allegheny National Forest; and in New York by Allegany State Park and the Allegany Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation. Learn more.
3. Cook Forest State Park – Cooksburg
The 8,500-acre Cook Forest State Park and 3,136 acre Clarion River Lands lie in scenic northwestern Pennsylvania. Known for its stands of old growth forest, the park’s Forest Cathedral of towering white pines and hemlocks is a National Natural Landmark. A scenic 13-mile stretch of the Clarion River flows through Cook Forest State Park and is popular for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing. Learn more.
4. Seven Points – Hesston
The Seven Points Campground, in the central region of Raystown Lake, is perfectly situated for outdoor recreation. Within a short walk, campers can find everything from interpretive trails to a visitor center. Plus there’s easy access to swimming, to boating and fishing. Learn more.
5. Parker Dam State Park – Penfield
The 968-acre Parker Dam State Park offers old-fashioned charm and character. A scenic lake, rustic cabins, quaint campground and unbounded forest make Parker Dam an ideal spot for a relaxing vacation. For wilderness explorers, Parker Dam is a gateway to the vast expanses of Moshannon State Forest. You can walk through recovering tornado ravaged woods, backpack into the 50,000-acre Quehanna Wilderness, mountain bike to your heart’s content or enjoy quiet solitude searching for elusive Pennsylvania elk. Learn more.
6. Buckaloons – Warren
Buckaloons Campground sits at the confluence of the Allegheny River, Brokenstraw Creek and Irvine Run in northwestern Pennsylvania. The Allegheny National Forest covers nearly half a million acres and is populated primarily with black cherry, maple and other hardwoods. The Kinzua Dam, built in 1965, impounds the Allegheny River to form the 25-mile-long Allegheny Reservoir. Learn more.
7. Youghiogheny River Lake – Confluence
A popular location for recreation, Youghiogheny River Lake attracts numerous visitors each year. Boating, hunting, camping and many other outdoor activities are enjoyed by visitors with outstanding facilities provided for the public’s convenience. Boaters consider Youghiogheny River Lake, with all of its 16-mile length and channels up to one-half mile wide, the best power boating and water-skiing lake in southwestern Pennsylvania. Learn more.
8. Dewdrop Recreation Area – Kane
Water activities abound, including lake and pond fishing, boating and water skiing. A boat launch is available for convenient lake access. The area also offers beautiful scenic drives. A variety of planned routes are available, with maps available at Forest Service offices. Additionally, a 2.5 mile interpretive trail winds around the campground. Learn more.
9. Willow Bay Recreation Area – Bradford
Willow Bay is located within the Allegheny National Recreation Area, about 16 miles from Bradford, in northwestern Pennsylvania. It is primarily an accessible family campground that also offers rustic cabins available by reservation year-round. The facility offers modern amenities, including flush toilets and showers, but also provides access to great outdoor recreation opportunities. Learn more.
10. Moraine State Park – Portersville
The gently rolling hills, lush forests and sparkling waters disguise a land that has endured the effects of continental glaciers and massive mineral extraction. Each year over one million boaters, hikers, bikers and swimmers visit the 16,725-acre park, yet never realize that many people helped restore the park from prior coal mining and oil and gas drilling practices. Today, the park is an outstanding example of environmental engineering achievement. Learn more.
Do you have a favorite camping spot in Pennsylvania that wasn’t included on this list? Let us know in the comments!
And be sure to check out the rest of our Best Campgrounds in the US series.