Pennsylvania Parks

Pennsylvania has claim to a range of beautiful parks and outdoor areas that are a major tourist attraction for locals and those outside of the state. It’s easy to find state parks, campgrounds and outdoor recreation areas throughout the state, which makes it simple to find outdoor things to do in Pennsylvania.

What makes Pennsylvania extra special is that many of its national parks are designated historical sites with outdoor activities, trails and more. Pennsylvania has a whopping 121 state parks, 19 national parks and seven National Heritage Areas. The very first Pennsylvania state park at Valley Forge opened back in 1893. It was given to the National Park Service for America’s bicentennial in 1976. We apparently have lots of land, too, as Pennsylvania is the 33rd largest state, but only two states have more park land: Alaska and California.

For some more park trivia, according to the DCNR, the 121 state parks in Pennsylvania comprise more than 283,000 acres of land and employ more than 600 full-time and more than 1,600 part-time employees. Roughly 36 million people visit Pennsylvania’s state parks each year. Admission to all Pennsylvania state parks is free, but you’ll have to pay to use cabins and other special areas. The majority of the parks are open from sunrise to sunset, 365 days of the year. That said, make sure to check the park your visiting first to make sure they are open.

Even though winter is on the way, we still have a little bit of summer left, plus fall is a beautiful time to take a hike at a state park. I’ve even been known to go on hikes in the winter at state parks. The cold months can be beautiful with the white snow. Read on for 10 Pennsylvania state parks that will take your breath away. How many of these have you visited?

  • Ohiopyle State Park


    Located at the southern reaches of the Laurel Ridge, Ohiopyle State Park encompasses approximately 20,500 acres of rugged natural beauty and serves as the gateway to the Laurel Highlands. Close to major metropolitan areas and offering vast choices of activities, Ohiopyle State Park attracts millions of visitors annually.

  • Cherry Springs State Park

    Cherry Springs State Park - Cherry Springs State Park

    The ultimate guide to Cherry Springs State Park in Coudersport PA, Potter County. Including lodging, stargazing, daytime activities and great restaurants.

  • Presque Isle State Park

    Presque Isle State Park

    Alerts Marina EV Charging Stations to Close Temporarily The Presque Isle State Park Marina EV charging stations will be closed to the public beginning September 27, 2023. This closure is due to the Marina Rehabilitation Project, which is tentatively scheduled to be completed June 6, 2024. SPOT THE PROBLEM.

  • Independence National Historical Park

    Independence National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)

    The park represents the founding ideals of the nation, and preserves national and international symbols of freedom and democracy, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both debated and signed inside Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Kinzua Bridge State Park

    Kinzua Bridge State Park

    The 339-acre Kinzua Bridge State Park, located in McKean County, is the home of the reinvented Kinzua Viaduct. The Viaduct, once the longest and tallest railroad stru​cture at 2,053 feet long and 301 feet high, was partially destroyed by a tornado during 2003.

  • Flight 93 National Memorial Park

    Flight 93 National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service)

    On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, the U.S. came under attack when four commercial airliners were hijacked and used to strike targets on the ground. Nearly 3,000 people tragically lost their lives. Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard one of the planes, Flight 93, the attack on the U.S.

  • Gettysburg National Military Park

    Gettysburg National Military Park (U.S. National Park Service)

    The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion", Gettysburg was the Civil War's bloodiest battle and was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln's immortal "Gettysburg Address".

  • Valley Forge National Historical Park

    Valley Forge National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)

    Valley Forge is the encampment site of the Continental Army during the winter of 1777-1778. The park features 3,500 acres of meadows, woodlands, and monuments commemorating the sacrifices and perseverance of the Revolutionary War generation and honoring the power of people to pull together and overcome adversity during extraordinary times.

  • Ricketts Glen State Park


    Ricketts Glen harbors Glens Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark. Hike the Falls Trail System and explore the Glens, which boasts a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside.

  • Hyner View State Park

    Hyner View State Park

    This small park features one of the nicest overlooks in DCNR's Bureau of State Parks and is popular for hang gliding. Hyner Run State Park is nearby. Hyner View State Park features a scenic vista and is a favorite spot for hang gliding.

  • Pine Grove Furnace State Park


    Steeped in natural and historical features, the 696-acre Pine Grove Furnace State Park is at the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in an area known as South Mountain. Visitors enjoy many recreational opportunities, including two mountain lakes, Laurel Lake and Fuller Lake, hiking the Appalachian Trail, biking the rail trail, visiting the Appalachian Trail Museum and imagining when the park was a charcoal-fired iron furnace community.

  • Allegheny National Forest

  • Canoe Creek State Park


    The beautiful, 958-acre Canoe Creek State Park features a 155-acre lake, wetlands, old fields and mature forests, which provide critical habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife. The lake is popular for fishing year-round.

  • Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

    Basic Information - Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)

    The park is closed on New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. It is open on all other federal holidays that fall between Wednesday and Sunday, and is closed on federal holdays that fall on Mondays or Tuesdays. The park is always open on Independence Day even if it falls on a Monday or Tuesday.

  • Marsh Creek State Park

    Marsh Creek State Park

    Marsh Creek State Park is in the rolling hills of north central Chester County. The 1,784-acre park contains the 535-acre Marsh Creek Lake, which is a wonderful resource for fishing, sailing, and migrating waterfowl. The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk.

  • Bald Eagle State Park


    The 5,900-acre Bald Eagle State Park is in the broad Bald Eagle Valley of northcentral Pennsylvania. The 1,730-acre lake laps the flanks of Bald Eagle Mountain, surrounded by forests, fields and wetlands.

  • Hickory Run State Park


    The 15,990-acre Hickory Run State Park, Carbon County, lies in the western foothills of the Pocono Mountains. This large park has over 40 miles of hiking trails, three state park natural areas and miles of trout streams.

  • Lehigh Gorge State Park

    Lehigh Gorge State Park

    A deep, steep-walled gorge carved by a river, thick vegetation, rock outcroppings, and waterfalls characterize Lehigh Gorge State Park. In Luzerne and Carbon counties in eastern Pennsylvania, the park follows the Lehigh River from the outlet of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Francis E.

  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

    Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)

    Situated within the most densely populated region of the United States, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area provides a unique opportunity to experience tranquil landscapes, rich human history, and striking scenery along 40 miles of the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi. The park offers year-round recreation including hiking, paddling, fishing, and hunting.

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