Best Outdoor Summer Activities In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a state that offers a myriad of outdoor summer activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers. From exploring its natural wonders to enjoying thrilling adventure sports, there is something for everyone in the Keystone State. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the best outdoor summer activities in Pennsylvania, providing detailed information on each subheading.
Explore the Natural Wonders of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is home to a diverse range of natural wonders, perfect for those who seek to immerse themselves in the beauty of the outdoors. One must-visit destination is the stunning Bushkill Falls, widely regarded as the "Niagara of Pennsylvania." Located in the Pocono Mountains, this series of eight waterfalls offers breathtaking views and the opportunity to explore hiking trails surrounded by lush greenery.
Another natural wonder not to be missed is the awe-inspiring Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Located in eastern Pennsylvania, this sanctuary is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 15,000 raptors passing through during their annual migration. Visitors can hike to scenic overlooks and witness the incredible sight of these majestic birds soaring through the sky.
In addition to these remarkable destinations, Pennsylvania boasts numerous state forests and wildlife areas, including the Allegheny National Forest and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. These protected areas offer countless opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and camping, allowing visitors to connect with nature in its purest form.
Discover Pennsylvania's Beautiful State Parks
Pennsylvania is renowned for its beautiful state parks, which provide a range of recreational activities and stunning natural landscapes. One standout park is Ricketts Glen State Park, which features an impressive 22 named waterfalls along its Falls Trail. Hiking this trail is a popular activity, allowing you to witness the sheer beauty and power of the cascading waterfalls.
For those seeking a beach experience, Presque Isle State Park is an excellent choice. Situated on Lake Erie, this sandy peninsula offers swimming, sunbathing, and a variety of water sports. Additionally, the park boasts numerous biking and hiking trails, as well as opportunities for birdwatching and fishing.
Other notable state parks worth exploring include Ohiopyle State Park, known for its whitewater rafting on the Youghiogheny River, and Hickory Run State Park, famous for its Boulder Field, a unique rock formation spanning over 15,000 square feet.
Hiking Adventures: Pennsylvania's Best Trails
Pennsylvania is a paradise for hikers, with an extensive network of trails catering to all skill levels. One of the most iconic trails in the state is the Appalachian Trail, stretching over 230 miles and traversing the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside. Hiking a section of this renowned trail allows you to experience the natural beauty and tranquility that Pennsylvania has to offer.
For a more challenging hike, consider tackling the Glen Onoko Falls Trail. Located in Lehigh Gorge State Park, this trail boasts stunning views, waterfalls, and steep climbs. Although it may be physically demanding, the reward of witnessing the picturesque scenery along the way is more than worth it.
Other notable hiking destinations include the Loyalsock Trail, the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, and the Falls Trail in Ricketts Glen State Park, previously mentioned as a natural wonder. These trails offer a variety of terrains and breathtaking sights, ensuring an unforgettable hiking experience for all nature enthusiasts.
Uncover Hidden Gems: Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations in Pennsylvania
While Pennsylvania is home to well-known attractions, the state also hides several off-the-beaten-path destinations waiting to be discovered. One such hidden gem is the Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center, located in Northampton County. This serene nature center offers a range of activities, including hiking trails, birdwatching, and educational programs for all ages.
Another hidden gem worth exploring is Cherry Springs State Park. Situated in Potter County, this park is known for its dark skies, making it a prime destination for stargazing and astrophotography. Visitors can witness a breathtaking display of stars and celestial bodies, far away from the lights of urban areas.
Other lesser-known destinations include Kinzua Bridge State Park, where you can walk across the Kinzua Viaduct, a historic railroad bridge turned skywalk, and the Lost Trails ATV Park, offering a thrilling off-road experience for ATV enthusiasts.
Water Fun: Pennsylvania's Top Lakes and Rivers for Summer Activities
In addition to its natural wonders, Pennsylvania is home to numerous lakes and rivers that provide abundant opportunities for water-based activities. One such destination is Lake Erie, offering swimming, boating, and fishing. Presque Isle State Park, previously mentioned, provides easy access to the lake and its recreational opportunities.
Another popular destination is the Delaware River, renowned for its scenic beauty and ideal for kayaking, tubing, and fishing. Water enthusiasts can enjoy a leisurely float down the river, surrounded by picturesque landscapes and wildlife.
Pennsylvania also offers a variety of lakes suitable for water sports and leisure, such as Raystown Lake, Lake Wallenpaupack, and Lake Nockamixon. These lakes are perfect for boating, jet skiing, and fishing, offering an escape from the summer heat.
Camping in the Keystone State: Best Campgrounds in Pennsylvania
For those seeking a true outdoor experience, Pennsylvania offers a multitude of campgrounds nestled in pristine natural settings. One highly recommended campground is Ohiopyle State Park's Kentuck Campground, offering a picturesque location near the Youghiogheny River and a range of amenities for campers.
If you're looking for a camping experience with a touch of history, consider camping at Valley Forge National Historical Park. This historic site not only offers the opportunity to learn about the American Revolutionary War but also provides a tranquil camping experience amidst beautiful scenery.
Other notable campgrounds in Pennsylvania include Black Moshannon State Park, French Creek State Park, and Worlds End State Park. These campgrounds offer a mix of recreational activities, from hiking and fishing to boating and wildlife spotting, ensuring a memorable camping experience for nature enthusiasts of all ages.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania offers an abundance of family-friendly outdoor activities, allowing both children and adults to enjoy the summer months. One such activity is visiting the Dutch Wonderland amusement park in Lancaster County. This park caters specifically to young children and features rides, shows, and water attractions.
The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, held annually in Manheim, is another family-friendly event where visitors can immerse themselves in the festivities of a 16th-century village, complete with jousting tournaments, live entertainment, and artisan crafts.
Families can also enjoy a day of fun at Hersheypark, an amusement park in Hershey that combines thrilling rides with the chance to sample delicious Hershey's chocolate treats.
For a more educational experience, families can visit the Philadelphia Zoo, the Elmwood Park Zoo, or the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, providing opportunities to observe a wide variety of animal species up close.
Get Your Adrenaline Pumping: Thrilling Adventure Sports in Pennsylvania
If you're an adrenaline junkie seeking an exhilarating outdoor experience, Pennsylvania has plenty of options to get your heart racing. White-water rafting on the Lehigh River in the Pocono Mountains is a popular adventure sport, offering thrilling rapids and breathtaking scenery.
For those who prefer climbing, Pennsylvania is home to various rock climbing areas. The famous Breakneck Ridge, located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, provides challenging climbs and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Ziplining is also a favorite adventure sport in the state. Camelback Mountain Adventures, located in the Pocono Mountains, offers thrilling zipline courses where visitors can soar through the treetops while enjoying panoramic views.
Furthermore, Pennsylvania provides opportunities for exhilarating activities such as skydiving, paintball, and off-road ATV adventures. These outdoor pursuits are sure to provide an adrenaline-fueled summer experience for thrill-seekers.
Enjoying the Great Outdoors: Picnic Spots and BBQ Areas in Pennsylvania
For those looking to enjoy a peaceful day outdoors, Pennsylvania offers numerous picnic spots and BBQ areas where you can relax and savor delicious food amidst beautiful surroundings. One such location is Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, one of the largest urban park systems in the United States. With its wide-open spaces, scenic views, and designated picnic areas, it's an ideal spot for picnicking and enjoying a barbecue.
Promised Land State Park, located in the Pocono Mountains, is another great destination for picnics and barbecues. The park features several picnic areas equipped with grills, as well as picturesque lakeside spots where you can delight in your meal while taking in the serene surroundings.
Other notable picnic spots in Pennsylvania include Longwood Gardens, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and Tyler State Park. Each location offers beautiful picnic areas, ensuring a relaxing and enjoyable outdoor dining experience.
Exploring History and Nature: Historical Landmarks and Parks in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's rich history and natural beauty come together at its historical landmarks and parks, offering both educational and recreational opportunities. One must-visit destination is Gettysburg National Military Park, where visitors can explore the site of the historic Civil War battle and gain insight into the events that transpired there.
If you're interested in architectural history, consider visiting Fallingwater, a stunning house designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Nestled in the woods of the Laurel Highlands, this unique building is a testament to Wright's genius and a truly remarkable sight.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Independence National Historical Park, and Valley Forge National Historical Park are other notable destinations that blend history and nature perfectly. Each park offers visitors the opportunity to delve into America's past while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.
Cycling Paradise: Top Biking Trails in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's diverse landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for cycling enthusiasts. One of the top biking trails in the state is the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile trail that connects Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland. This scenic pathway offers a mix of urban and rural landscapes, as well as charming small towns to explore along the way.
The Pine Creek Rail Trail is another premier cycling destination, stretching for 62 miles through the picturesque Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Surrounded by lush forests and stunning vistas, this trail offers a memorable biking experience.
Other notable biking trails in Pennsylvania include the Schuylkill River Trail, the Lehigh Gorge Trail, and the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail. Each trail offers its own unique scenery and challenges, ensuring a fulfilling cycling adventure for bike enthusiasts.
Wildlife Watching: Where to Spot Animals in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is home to a diverse range of wildlife, making it an ideal destination for wildlife watching enthusiasts. Allegheny National Forest, with its vast woodlands and waterways, provides an excellent opportunity to observe wildlife such as elk, white-tailed deer, and numerous bird species.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, mentioned earlier as a natural wonder, is another prime location for wildlife watching, particularly for birds of prey such as hawks, eagles, and falcons. Visitors can witness the impressive spectacle of these magnificent birds gliding through the sky during their migration.
If you're interested in birdwatching, the Pennsylvania Wilds region is a must-visit. This expansive area encompasses over two million acres of forests and hosts over 225 species of birds, including the striking bald eagle.
Other locations worth exploring for wildlife watching include the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area, and the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge. These areas offer a range of habitats and opportunities to observe a variety of animal species in their natural environments.
Fishing Havens: Best Fishing Spots in the Keystone State
Pennsylvania's lakes, rivers, and streams provide ample opportunities for fishing enthusiasts to cast their lines and reel in the big catch. One such destination is Lake Erie, where anglers can target species such as walleye, smallmouth bass, and steelhead trout.
For freshwater fishing, the Delaware River is known for its trophy-sized smallmouth bass, as well as catfish, musky, and American shad during the annual migration. Additionally, the Susquehanna River offers excellent fishing opportunities, particularly for smallmouth bass.
Pennsylvania also boasts numerous trout streams, such as Penn's Creek, Spring Creek, and Oil Creek. These streams are renowned for their abundance of trout, making them popular among fly fishing enthusiasts.
Other notable fishing spots in Pennsylvania include Raystown Lake, Lake Wallenpaupack, and the Youghiogheny River. Each location offers a unique fishing experience, allowing anglers to enjoy the serenity of the outdoors while pursuing their favorite hobby.
Outdoor Music and Festivals: Cultural Events in Pennsylvania's Summer Calendar
Summer in Pennsylvania is not just about outdoor activities and natural beauty; it's also a time for vibrant cultural events and music festivals. One highlight is the Musikfest, held annually in Bethlehem. This ten-day music festival features over 500 performances, including various genres of music, as well as food vendors and artisan crafts.
The Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta is another popular event that combines thrilling boat races, live music, and fireworks. Visitors can enjoy the energetic atmosphere, sample local cuisine, and take part in activities such as sand sculpture contests and paddleboarding.
For classical music enthusiasts, the Philadelphia Orchestra's annual summer residency at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts is a must-attend event. The renowned orchestra performs a variety of symphonic masterpieces against the backdrop of this open-air venue.
Other notable outdoor music events and festivals in Pennsylvania include the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in State College, the Briggs Farm Blues Festival in Nescopeck, and the Musikfest der Biere in Canonsburg. With a