Where to go camping in Pennsylvania this summer

Trade Philly’s pothole jungle for a night under the stars.

Worthington State Forest Campground

Worthington State Forest Campground

Flickr Creative Commons / Ben Timney
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The shore is one way to escape the city for a summer break, but it’s not the only one.

With its incredibly varied topography, Pennsylvania boasts some of the most scenic camping grounds the region has to offer.

Recreational camping first became a “thing” in the early 1900s, but it has definitely evolved since then. These days, many campsites offer amenities that survivalists scoff at — and the rest of us are thankful for. At some, you can even rent the basic essentials (a sleeping bag, a tent, pots and pans, etc.). You can also snag gear online via various retailers.

Where to go? We sifted through reviews and ratings to zero in on 15 top sites that welcome campers in Pa.’s grandiose public parks.

Check out details below, then lace up your hiking boots, douse yourself in mosquito spray and head to the great outdoors.

 

Beaver Valley Family Campground

80 Clay Ridge Rd., Ottsville

Known for: Nice hilly campground with loads of family-friendly activities. Ideal spot for travelers with youngsters in tow who might not be ready for a strenuous hike, but can manage brisk walks on hiking trails (or a dip in the kiddie pool).

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: Wooded or open RV sites, tent sites, 30 amp electric service, water hookups, picnic tables, fire rings, Cable TV hookups, dump station, bathhouses with showers, WiFi, rec hall, game room, swimming pools, playground, basketball, volleyball and shuffleboard courts, softball field, trails, wagon rides, laundry facilities, pavilion, seasonal sites, cabin rentals.

Summer Rates: Tents: $42, Trailers/Pop-ups: $44, Cabins: 2 night minimum, $70.

Summer Hours: Check-in: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.; check-out: 2 p.m.

Cherry Springs State Park

4639 Cherry Springs Rd., Coudersport

Known for: Epic stargazing among black cherry trees. There’s a nifty “clear sky” chart which forecasts when the weather at the park will be at its peak for astronomical views. On a good night, visitors have spotted asteroids, Venus, the Northern Lights, Omega Nebula, Zodiacal Light, meteor showers and the Milky Way.

Pet-friendly: No

Amenities: 30 campsites, sanitary dump station, picnic areas, lantern hangers, fire rings, potable water, restrooms, telephones, parking, contact station, trails, amphitheater.

Summer Rates: Tents: $10

Summer Hours: Sunrise to sunset

Dingmans Campground

1006 US-209, Dingmans Ferry

Known for: Canoeing and kayaking on the Delaware River, all while taking in a spectacular Poconos sight.

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: Port-A-Potties, potable water, bathhouses with showers, boat ramp and launch area, parking, stage, beach volleyball court, sports field, horseshoe pits, events.

Summer Rates: Tents by the river: $52; tents by the forest: $40

Summer Hours: Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 12 p.m.

French Creek State Park 

843 Park Rd., Elverson

Known for: This is an outdoorsy person’s playground: a park with the option to hike, fish, horse ride, camp, mountain bike, boat and/or hunt. The Audubon Society has deemed French Creek an “Important Bird” and “Important Mammal” area, so, on top of all of the physical energy you can expend at this site, it’s also great for wildlife watching.

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: Bathhouses, concession stands, dump station, fire rings, flush toilets, ADA-compliant cabins and restrooms, interpretive programs and walks, parking, picnic tables, pit toilets, potable water, offshore mooring, trails, swimming pool, electric hookups, water hookups, cottage rentals, yurt rentals, modern cabin rentals.

Summer Rates: Call 610-582-9680

Summer Hours: Check-in: 8 a.m.; check-out: 10 p.m.

Hibernia County Park 

1 Park Rd., Coatesville

Known for: Essentially, this park is the backyard to a mansion that took nearly two centuries to complete. Talk about prime real estate.

Pet-friendly: Yes.

Amenities: Potable water, latrines, picnic tables, fire rings, trails, tick control stations, hunting-friendly, fishing-friendly, daytime and candlelight tours.

Summer Rates: Tents: $15

Summer Hours: Check-in by 8 p.m.; check-out: 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays only.

Hickory Run State Park

3613 State Route 534, White Haven

Known for: Over 40 miles of hiking trails, highly-photographed waterfalls and a 20,000-year-old boulder field. At Hickory Run, you can hike, hunt, fish, swim and geocache.

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: Amphitheater, contact station, deluxe camping cottages, educational programming and organized tours, disc golf, parking, pavilion, recycling and dump station, showers, restrooms, potable water, swimming pool, playground.

Summer Rates: Call 570-443-0400

Summer Hours: Sunrise to sunset

Lake Raystown Resort

3101 Chipmunk Xing., Entriken

Known for: Per the several dozens of Insta pics with couples, families, buddies and furry buddies on boats, it seems like this resort is best for those who have their sea — or lake — legs. It’s also equally enjoyed by wedding parties (“camping weddings” are increasing in popularity). So, what about for regular campers? The glam amenities make this resort a standout, particularly for those who don’t quite like roughing it out in the wilderness.

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: On-site restaurants, hiking trails, water sports rentals, playground, convenience stores, cabin rentals, lodge rooms, arcade & game room, cable hookups, geocaching, yurt rentals, bungalow rentals, villa rentals, electric hookups, water park (yes, a water park).

Summer Rates: Call 814-658-3500

Summer Hours: Check-in: 12 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m.

Lehigh Gorge Campgrounds

4585 State St., White Haven

Known for: So, the campgrounds aren’t really the main attraction here. Lehigh Gorge State Park, one of the more unique parks in the commonwealth, is un-campable due to the qualities that make it unique, aka being a steep-walled gorge. Luckily, you can plan an overnight at this campground, and only be a 15-minute drive from the park.

Pet-friendly: Only at trailer sites

Amenities: Picnic tables, fire rings, bathhouses and showers, cable tv, electric hookups, potable water, WiFi, playground, heated in-ground pool.

Summer Rates: Tents: $32; trailers: $47 or $53

Summer Hours: Call 1-570-443-9191

Mauch Chunk Lake Park 

625 Lentz Trail, Jim Thorpe

Known for: Along with activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, wildlife watching and outdoor education, Mauch Chunk Lake Park is known for its beach. It’s no Caribbean island, but hey, its the optimal way to get that sand-in-your-toes feel in Carbon County, Pa.

Pet-friendly: No

Amenities: Restrooms and shower facilities, camp store, 135 sites, cottage rentals, picnic area, environmental center.

Summer Rates: Email mauch2@ptd.net

Summer Hours: Check-in between 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Welp, this is hilarious.

Ohiopyle State Park

124 Main St., Ohiopyle

Known for: White-water rafting, waterfalls, “natural” waterslides, white-water paddling, you get the picture. Within the park’s 20,500 acres, you can hike, bike and mountain bike, horseback ride on equestrian trails, hunt, fish, wildlife watch and go rock climbing.

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: Yurt rentals, fire rings, picnic tables, parking, camping cottage rentals, concession stand, playground, ADA-compliant restrooms and facilities, information center, interpretive center. potable water, dump station, bathhouse, amphitheater, flush toilets, recycling station.

Summer Rates: Call 724-329-8591

Summer Hours: Sunrise to sunset

Philadelphia/West Chester KOA 

5222, 1659 Embreeville Rd., Coatesville

Known for: Being a convenient, comfortable family-friendly camping ground less than an hour away from Philly. Oh, and you can rent ATVs, play mini-golf and search for precious stones at a gem mine.

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: Swimming pool, fishing friendly, bike rentals, tour shuttle, designated dog park, cable tv, WiFi, firewood, pavilion, stage, deluxe cabin rentals, playground, game room, gift shop, convenience store, historic tours, laundry services, canoe rentals, restrooms.

Summer RatesCall 610-486-0477

Summer Hours: Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 12 p.m.

Ricketts Glen State Park 

625 State Route 487, Benton

Known for: Breathtaking natural wonders, including a 94-foot waterfall. A lot of people get engaged here, so this might be the right site for old-school romantics longing to take a step back from modern distractions and focus on their honey.

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: Cabin rentals, parking, showers, flush toilets, fire rings, deluxe cabin rentals, picnic tables, boating friendly, hunting friendly, swimming and boating facilities, equestrian trails, ADA-accessible areas, amphitheater, potable water, hiking trails, dump station, recycling station.

Summer Rates: Call 570-477-5675

Summer Hours: Sunrise to sunset

Ridley Creek State Park

1023 Sycamore Mills Rd., Media

Known for: A little over half-an-hour away from Center City, Ridley Creek is on the smaller side (2,606 acres), but its proximity to Philly makes it easy getaway. It’s the backyard of Hunting Hill mansion, a stone farmhouse that can be dated back to 1789. Popular with campers, bikers, hunters, fishers, equestrians and hikers, but also a hit for engagement photographers.

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: Guided tours and environmental education, ADA-accessible structures, a Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation (which is still a working farm).

Summer Rates: For organized group tenting only. Call 888-727-2757 for more information.

Summer Hours: Sunrise to sunset

Trough Creek State Park

16362 Little Valley Rd., James Creek

Known for: Ok, so this park is teeny-tiny, which isn’t the best news for avid hikers who want more than 12 miles of trail to work with. However, though little in size, Trough Creek State Park is replete with natural and historic treasures, like Balanced Rock (which is, you guessed it, a balanced rock), a scenic suspension bridge, a furnace and an ironmaster’s home from the early 19th century (which you can stay in).

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: A historic two-story lodge you can rent, dump station, ADA-accessible camping sites, electric hookups, picnic tables, playground, amphitheater, biking rentals, pavilion, restrooms, potable water.

Summer Rates: Call 814-658-3847

Summer Hours: Sunrise to sunset

Worlds End State Park 

82 Cabin Bridge Rd., Forksville

Known for: Yeah, the views are extraordinary, but this park has a history that dates back to 10,000 B.C and a humongous Wikipedia page to prove it. You don’t need to be Marty McFly to get in touch with the past, all you need is your sense of adventure (and a car or an RV).

Pet-friendly: Yes

Amenities: Cabin rentals, dumping station, potable water, bathhouses with showers, ADA-accessible facilities, hunting friendly, scenic vistas, environmental education and interpretation tours, food concession, white-water rafting, hiking trails, fishing friendly, picnic tables, river swimming areas, beach, fire rings, flush and pit toilets, camp store.

Summer Rates: Call 570-924-3287

Summer Hours: Sunrise to sunset

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