Pennsylvania’s Top State Parks for Canoeing and Camping

by PennPaddler

blackmoshannon_stateparkPennsylvania’s State Park System
Pennsylvania’s State Park system began in 1893 when Pennsylvania Governor Pattison signed an act to fund the preservation of Valley Forge. The act formed the Valley Forge Park Commission with the main objective of preserving Valley Forge forever in its original condition as a military camp. This act eventually lead to Valley Forge becoming a National Park in 1976. It also lead to the Pennsylvania State Park system.

Today Pennsylvania has 116 State Parks and 2 million acres of state forest that is managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Pennsylvania State Parks provide some of the most scenic, wild, and recreational opportunities in the state. Pennsylvania’s parks offer 56 lakes large enough for paddling, and 7000 campsites, and there is a state park within an hours drive from any location in Pennsylvania.

For many Pennsylvania residents state parks are one of the few sources of outdoor recreation. Pennsylvania’s parks provide endless opportunities for fishing, hunting, rock climbing, disc golf, kayaking, swimming, scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, wildlife viewing, environmental and historical education. Pennsylvania’s State Parks offer recreational opportunities for people of every age.

Camping in Pennsylvania’s State Parks
Pennsylvania’s State Parks offer a variety of camping opportunities. You can rent a cabin, pitch a tent, or pull in your camper. Whatever you prefer in camping, there is a Pennsylvania State Park that offers your style of camping. Some park campsites are more commercialized with showers and electric while other parks offer a more primitive experience.

Our Website is dedicated to camping and paddling, so we have listed the Pennsylvania State Parks that offer a unique camping and paddling experience.

Pennsylania’s Best Camping and Paddling State Parks:

Clear Creek State Park – Clarion River class 1
Gifford Pinchot State Park - flatwater lake
Kettle Creek State Park - flatwater lake
Locust Lake State Park – flatwater lake
Prince Gallitzin State Park - flatwater lake
Promised Land State Park - flatwater lake
Pymatuning State Park - flatwater lake
Ohiopyle State Park – whitewater paddling
Worlds End State Park - whitewater paddling
Ricketts Glen State Park- flatwater lake
Leonard Harrison State Park - Pine Creek class 1 – 3
Black Moshannon State Park - flatwater lake

When boating in Pennsylvania’s state parks, the watercraft must display a launch permit or boater registration. These permits and registrations can be obtained at most state park offices.

Camp Reservation Prices
Camp reservation prices vary depending on the type of site.
Cabin Prices
Camp Site Prices
Organized Camping Prices

Although campsites are available on a first come basis, it is advisable to reserve your campsite in advance. You can reserve a campsite online by clicking here. Or you can call 888-PA-PARKS.

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