Best Camping in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, with its rich history, rolling mountains, and vast forests, offers a varied camping experience that taps into the Keystone State’s diverse landscapes and cultural heritage. Whether you’re seeking the solitude of the wilderness, the adventure of exploring state parks, or the beauty of riverside campsites, Pennsylvania provides a picturesque backdrop for campers of all interests.

For those drawn to the rugged beauty of the mountains, the Pennsylvania Wilds region offers a vast expanse of unspoiled wilderness. Here, the Allegheny National Forest provides opportunities for both developed and primitive camping amidst over half a million acres of forest. The area is a haven for hikers, with trails like the North Country Scenic Trail offering scenic vistas. For water enthusiasts, the Allegheny Reservoir is perfect for boating and fishing. Dispersed camping sites along the reservoir and in more remote areas of the forest allow for a deep connection with nature.

In the eastern part of the state, the Pocono Mountains offer a range of outdoor activities and camping options, from family-friendly campgrounds with amenities to secluded sites for backcountry adventures. Promised Land State Park, nestled within the Poconos, features campsites that are ideal for exploring the park's two lakes, hiking trails, and observing wildlife in their natural habitat. The area’s natural beauty, with its cascading waterfalls and scenic overlooks, makes it a popular destination for those looking to escape the city's hustle and bustle.

For a unique historical camping experience, Gettysburg National Military Park allows visitors to immerse themselves in the history of one of the Civil War’s most significant battles. While the park itself does not offer camping, nearby campgrounds provide the opportunity to stay close to the historic site, with easy access to the battlefield, monuments, and the visitor center. Exploring the hallowed grounds by day and camping under the stars at night offers a profound connection to America’s past.

Along the banks of the Susquehanna River, the Susquehanna River Trail offers water-based camping experiences for canoeists and kayakers. The trail, which stretches from Harrisburg to the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, features designated islands for camping, providing a unique adventure for those looking to explore Pennsylvania’s scenic waterways. The river’s gentle flow is suitable for all skill levels, making it an ideal destination for families and groups seeking a paddling adventure.

A few tips for camping in Pennsylvania: The state’s weather can vary widely, especially in the mountains, so be prepared for cool evenings and potential rain. Booking in advance is recommended for popular destinations, especially during peak seasons like fall, when the foliage is at its most spectacular. Practicing Leave No Trace principles is crucial to preserving Pennsylvania’s natural beauty and historical sites for future generations, whether you're in a national forest, state park, or along the river.

Pennsylvania’s camping destinations offer an escape into the state’s natural landscapes and a journey through its rich historical tapestry. Whether you’re exploring the wilderness of the Allegheny National Forest, enjoying the recreational offerings of the Pocono Mountains, delving into the history at Gettysburg, or paddling along the Susquehanna, camping in Pennsylvania invites you to discover the diverse beauty and heritage of the Keystone State.