A popular destination for both Pennsylvanians and out-of-staters living in Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia is the expansive Raystown Lake, which offers opportunities for camping, boating, swimming, and fishing. Located in Huntingdon County in west/central PA, and a short drive from Altoona, the Lake’s 29,000 acres include picnic reas, beaches, trails, and more.
The lake features seven boat launches as well as facilities to rent house boats for a week or the weekend. Because there is no horsepower limit, Raystown Lake has become popular with pleasure boaters. It’s not uncommon to see larger express cruisers exploring the 28-mile long lake. Seven Points Marina, the largest marina in Pennsylvania, offers dockage for over 1000 boats.
Known for its natural beauty (the Army Corps of Engineers owns the surrounding land, so there’s very little commercial development), the Lake features dozens of campgrounds with a variety of amenities ranging from trailer and RV hookups, to miniature golf, horseshoes, and wooded walking trails. Many of the campgrounds are pet friendly.
Less than an hour’s drive from Center City Philadelphia and not far from the PA Turnpike is French Creek State Park, this 7,000-plus acre park represents the largest contiguous forest area between Washington, DC, and New York City. Opportunities at French Creek include swimming, boating (note: electric motors only), fishing, mountain biking, hiking, and hunting, among many other popular activities. There are 200 camp sites including more than 50 with RV and trailer hookups. A few cottages are available for rentals, and reservations are required.
For those in northern PA, or others wanting a rustic getaway, the 368-acre Colton State Park, located above Pine Creek Gorge in the PA Grand Canyon, is an excellent choice. Hunting, picnicking, fishing, and camping are all available, as well as snowmobiling in the winter months. Camp sites are open April through October, and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The overlook offers great views of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. The park is 5 miles south of US Route 6, on Colton Rd.