Pennsylvania has approximately 120 state parks occupying more than 283,00 acres of the state. Pennsylvania campgrounds within these state parks range from full service with all hook-ups to rustic with minimal facilities.

There are also over 450 privately owned Pennsylvania campgrounds scattered across the state in the Pennsylvania Wilds, the Poconos, the Alleghenies, and everything in between. Pennsylvania has campgrounds on the river, in the woods, and in the mountains. Fifty-eight percent of the State’s land area is forest, 16.9 million acres of it to be exact. This all adds up to a whole lot of amazing, wooded, nature-filled, Pennsylvania campgrounds

Here are some of The Dyrt campers’ favorite Pennsylvania campgrounds of 2018.

1. Tracy Ridge Recreation Area

photo by the Dyrt camper Thomas M.

Located within the Allegheny National Recreation Area in the midst of an oak forest, Tracy Ridge Campground is a true wilderness campground.

Allegheny Reservoir, five miles away, is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and water skiing.

Many hiking and backpacking trails converge at the campsite, including the Jonnycake/Tracy Ridge Trail and the North Country National Scenic Trail. The campsites are large and simple, allowing visitors to enjoy nature (and some privacy). Campers can usually get a site without a reservation.

Tracy Ridge offers one of the most peaceful camping experiences in the area. Excellent wilderness camping for those who don’t need all the amenities like hot showers and proper toilets.

This is a wilderness area campground. The sites a beautiful, but there are little to no amenities. The only water was from a hand pump at the far end of the loop, near the pit toilets. Loved this place. – The Dyrt camper Thomas M.

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2. Kinzua Bridge State Park

Before it was damaged by a tornado in 2003, the Kinzua Viaduct was the longest and tallest railroad structure in the country (2,053 feet long and 301 feet high). In 2011, it was refurbished and repaired into a pedestrian walkway.

The old railroad bridge is, of course, the main attraction of Kinzua Bridge State Park. Walking out on the bridge requires some courage, as it has a glass bottom, but the views and feelings of exhilaration once out there are definitely worth it.

There’s also a fabulous museum in the visitor center with both self-guided and interactive exhibits, kayaking and fishing on the lake, and biking and hiking on the trails. Oh, and there’s an electric car charging station in the bus and RV parking lot if needed.

This area is probably one of the best I have ever been to. It’s quiet, peaceful, and the scenery is stunning. There’s SO much to do in Kinzua from kayaking, fishing, biking, to hiking the trails.– The Dyrt camper Ariel W.

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3. Red Run Campground

photo by The Dyrt camper Jen R.

Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in Amish Country, Red Run Campground, is a lovely small campground with a fishing pond, a creek, hayrides (it is in Amis Country after all), and good sized campsites.

If you’re looking for something different than the big state park campgrounds, Red Run is the place to go.

The tagline for the campgrounds is “Camping Among Mennonite Farms” and it’s not uncommon to see Amish and Mennonite families ride by in their horse drawn carriages.

There’s a playground for kids in the middle of the camping sites, as well as a pool and arcade. They also have lots of activities for kids; like movie nights and a candy hunt. And, of course (also for grownups!) ice cream sundaes.

We love going here for a quick get away from home that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Our dog’s love it here too because they can play in the creek. – The Dyrt camper Jen R.

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4. Keen Lake Resort Campground

Keen Lake Resort Campground is a privately owned, family run campsite in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. They offer tent, RV, and pop-up sites on the lake or in the activity field, as well as cottage rentals.

The bathrooms are clean and well-maintained. And the camp store sells amazing ice cream. There are all kinds of activities available for young and old(er) campers alike, such as, shuffleboard, ceramics classes, basketball and volleyball courts, swimming, a children’s garden, boating, movie nights, and a game room (to name a few!). And, of course, there is excellent fishing on Keen Lake.

They also have a cool gas saver program where you can leave your trailer at the campsite during the week if you plan to stay for multiple weekends in a row.

This family run Campground is beautiful and clean. There are plenty of things to do; paddle boats , row boats, swimming pool, snack bar/ campstore, activities, etc. Very beautiful area. – The Dyrt camper Charlotte D.

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5. Sinnemahoning State Park

photo by The Dyrt camper Rachel B.

For an un-plugged getaway experience (no cell service), Sinnemahoning State Park, located in Pennsylvania Wilds’ Scenic Steep Valleys region, is the place to go.

The park has land on both sides of First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek and also includes a reservoir at its southern end. Sinnemahoning has an abundance of wildlife; it’s possible to see bald eagles, bobcats, elks, and coyotes.

There are numerous trails to explore and first-rate trout fishing opportunities. There’s also a playground and a lovely visitor’s center. Although a small campsite, Sinnemahoning, has big things to offer.

The campground is very small, and cell service is non-existent, but that’s what we were looking for – a quiet getaway. – The Dyrt camper Rachel B.

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6. Hickory Run State Park

Located in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, Hickory Run State Park, has over 40 miles of hiking trails and some of the best Pennsylvania campgrounds on this side of the state.

The rock field, called Boulder Field, is simply that; a huge are filled with all sizes and shapes of boulders – definitely a sight to behold.

Another popular attraction, if only for its name, is The Shades of Death hiking trail. Hawk Falls are also a “must-hike” destination.

The huge campground is set up in rings with the inner circle sites having access to “proper” toilet facilities. The bathrooms on the outer circle are the more primitive, latrine style. The campsites themselves are quite large and many of them offer a good amount of privacy with trees and shrubbery. The camp store is always well stocked with pretty much anything you could ever need on a camping trip.

Where to start?! This is my favorite campground, public or private. The camp store had good hours and is stocked to high heaven; you could come here with just the clothes on your back and buy everything you need for a very comfortable stay.– The Dyrt camper Bridget D.

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7. Ohiopyle State Park

Photo by The Dyrt camper Alyssa H.

Ohiopyle State Park, the gateway to the Laurel Highlands, has some of the Pennsylvania’s best and most scenic hiking trails. Visitors can also bike the Great Allegheny Pass, accessible from the grounds.

The park is quite large with very clean and well-maintained facilities. Most of the campsites are on level ground in nice wooded areas. They’re comfortably roomy and secluded. Some are even dog friendly.

There are lots of waterfalls and natural water slides to visit, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. Dyrt campers also recommend a white water rafting trip if you’re into that kind of thing. There’s even some excellent rock climbing.

“There is anything imaginable to do up there from biking/hiking to amazing geology and fossils to whitewater rafting/kayaking all the way to camping in all forms. Some absolutely amazing geology there and stunning views!” – The Dyrt camper Alyssa H.

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8. Ricketts Glenn State Park

Glens Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark, is just one of the beautiful features at Ricketts Glenn State Park.

There are 22 named waterfalls along the Hike the Falls trail. The well-maintained trail can be quite steep in sections and is definitely not for novice hikers (or people with bad knees). The park has a variety of other trails, though, for all levels and abilities.

Visitors can also kayak, fish, or swim at Lake Jean.

Ricketts Glenn State Park is open every day of the year. The hiking trails are especially wonderful in the Autumn months when hikers can enjoy an amazing colored leaf show put in by Mother Nature.

The campground is filled with many well-shaded and private sites. Some of the best sites are the ones by the lake. They do book up quickly though so it’s best to plan ahead.

The Falls Trail is challenging and beautiful, especially in Autumn, and can also be accessed with appropriate ice gear during the Winter. We love to tent camp and choose campsites by the lake. – The Dyrt camper Carolyn M.

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9. Gifford Pinchot State Park

Photo by The Dyrt camper Kevin D.

Pinchot Lake, farm fields, and wooded landscapes make up Gifford Pinchot State Park in Pennsylvania. The park is located between Rossville and Lewisberry, within driving distance of the York and Harrisburg metro areas.

At the park, one of the most popular trails is the Mason-Dixon Trail. Visitors can also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and paddle-boarding on Lake Pinchot.

These Pennsylvania campgrounds have yurts and cottages to rent so feel free to arrive sans tent. The campsites vary in quality, so, if you are planning to put up a tent or park a trailer, check through the PA DCNR online reservation system to pick out a site beforehand. Also, the group campsites do tend to get a bit loud so if you’re searching for peace and quiet, definitely find one away from the group area.

There are nice dish washing sinks outside of the shower houses and the facilities are very clean. The rangers and camp hosts are super nice too!

“Camping on the peninsula (site 116). Absolutely perfect site. Two tent areas and plenty of prime hammock trees. There is also a little beach area at the site that makes it perfect for landing kayaks or canoes.” – The Dyrt camper Kevin D.

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