With its forest-cloaked mountains, fish-filled rivers and quaint country towns, Pennsylvania is a camper’s dream. And if you’re dreaming of a tented getaway, these are our favorite pitches in the state – bookable with our trusted partner, Tentrr.
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia may be outgoing urban centers, but for the avid camper they’re just bookends to Pennsylvania’s amazing rolling landscape. The Keystone State is a dream for campers who want to combine hiking, fishing, off-roading, hunting and paddling into a single trip. From the picture-perfect Pocono Mountains, to the slow-paced vibes in Dutch Country, these campsites around central and eastern Pennsylvania will make you feel worlds away from civilization.
One of Pennsylvania’s Slate Belt towns, Mount Bethel puts you on the fast track to riverside recreation. Pick a campsite close to the Delaware Water Gap, and take advantage of the spectacular scenery the Pennsylvania Poconos have to offer those who are ready for a long, relaxing hike. Don’t worry if you follow the trails to the other side of the Delaware River – more acres of beautiful forest are just across the state line in New Jersey.
Counting sheep not helping you get to sleep? At Camp Starry Night at Gulyan Farms, the lack of light pollution means you could try counting all the stars in the Milky Way instead. At the end of a discreet track, the only glow at night will be from the flickering of your campfire. After a day hiking the Appalachian Trail, kick back in one of the sturdy adirondack chairs, or turn into your dome tent early so you can wake up when the majestic migratory birds take to the skies.
Forget the crowded campsites elsewhere – the Riverhouse Farm is ready to deliver a premium private retreat, right on the banks of the Delaware River. Well, not completely private – you’ll be sharing your space with bald eagles, foxes and wild turkeys. With a pre-pitched canvas tent, equipped with a queen-sized bed, and a further pop-tent ready to go, it has everything you need for a peaceful riverside stay. Anything missing can be picked up a short bike ride away, at the local flea market, distillery and winery.
All white clapboard houses and red-brick cafes, cute country town Hawley is the hub for Lake Wallenpaupack holidays. Before heading off to the campsite, let the friendly locals share their favorite fishing spots and hiking trail recommendations with you. Return the favor by stocking up on craft beer – there’s not just one but two local breweries here – fresh baked goods and delicious roast coffee.
Camp Beaver is a campsite with heritage, having been in landowner Michelle’s family for hundreds of years. In many ways, it’s as wild as it would have been back then. There’s no electricity, wifi or even phone signal – so you’ll have to make your own entertainment while you’re here. Thankfully, that shouldn’t be too hard, being on the bank of the Lackawaxen River. There’s miles of hiking and biking trails around, plus the option to add kayak and painting supplies hire to your stay.
It’d be all-too-easy to let the thrift stores, breweries and period property charms of 17th-century Honesdale distract you from the great outdoors. But head up to the Irving Cliff lookout point above the town and, with panoramic views of the forest-cloaked Poconos, winding Delaware River and seemingly endless Pennsylvania state parks to the west, you’ll realize that – rather than dawdling – you better get out there and start exploring.
Life is sweet at Camp Sugarbush. Let your little ones run around worry-free in this private meadow, honing their fishing technique in the small pond, or splashing in the ankle-deep stream while you whip up burgers and steak on the campfire grill. All cookware and dishes are included, just don’t forget to bring the salt. With full bellies and sun-blushed cheeks, kick back in your adirondack chairs and watch the sunset over the treetops knowing you’ve just made happy memories they’ll treasure forever.
Don’t let the name fool you: Worlds End State Park is actually a perfect introduction to the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. Loyalsock Creek snakes its way through the forest, creating an S-shaped area for exploration. Swim your way around the curvy waterway or hike from end to end on the many trails. If you only cross the river from your campsite once, make sure it’s to have a picnic up on the Loyalsock Canyon Vista.
You’ll find all-inclusive camping bliss – comfy enough to beat any roadside motel – at Hickory Grove Pond. Come dressed in a swimsuit so you can drop your bags and dive straight to one of the many freshwater swimming holes. Photographers and hikers in your eight-person crew who want to stay dry will keep themselves busy with miles of trail and endless wildlife sightings. Firewood, charcoal and a dozen farm-fresh eggs are also included to bring everyone back together around the campfire.
Though the scenic Hawk Nest viewpoint is worth a look, the town of Millrift is much more than a stopover on the Delaware River. Looking over the Pennsylvania state line into New York, camping in Millrift grants you instant access to whitewater rafting and river trail hiking. Venture into either state and you’ll be rewarded with water views and hilly hangout spots that’ll keep you planted in Millrift for years to come.
Strap on a backpack and take a quick train ride from New York for a weekend at Barkley’s Resort. This patch of acreage deep in the Delaware River Valley will replace the sound of city streets with the tumble of white water along Bushkill Creek. Fire up the covered barbecue grill, enjoy endless hiking or cuddle up on a hammock for two. No matter how you choose to spend your escape in the Delaware State Forest, you’ll be tempted to miss your train home.
With a general store and diner, the small borough of Herndon is a convenient place to grab supplies for your camping trip. Hugging the east bank of the Susquehanna River, it’s an easy rest stop just north of Harrisburg, keeping you en route to dozens of state forests without much of a detour. Of course, you could always launch your kayak or canoe nearby and get a unique view of the town by paddling around the Susquehanna River islands.
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Ready to party under the stars? Sky High Estate’s 10-person campsite has all the space you need for outdoor games and adventures. The whole crew can wake up to an hour-long yoga session led by your campkeeper. Though a wealth of on-site amenities are included, from pre-pitched and pop-up tents, to camp tables and a toilet, you can also opt to rent a 6×8 Runaway RangeRunner camper trailer – so you can envision what year-round life on the road would be like.
Bring a towel on your trip to Lehighton – you’re going to need it. Grounded on the banks of the Lehigh River, you’re never more than a few blocks from an exciting on-water adventure. Bars and cafes are also scattered along both sides of the river for when you need to dry off and wet your whistle. Weather getting in your way? No worries – curl up in your tent and drift off listening to the raindrops rattling the canvas.
Your range at this mountainside campsite? 100 acres of private forest. Your neighbors? Oak and maple trees. Your responsibilities? Virtually nonexistent. You can go full hermit at Whippoorwill Woods, and in comfort, too – as pre-pitched tents, a sun shower, air mattresses, a hammock and a crate of firewood are all included, so you can bed right in. Four-legged pals are welcome, but if you’re worried about taking them on a long hike, your campkeepers will happily dog sit for an afternoon.
Hunting for more than a simple space to pitch a tent? Stanhope has you covered. Surrounded by State Game Lands, off-road trails and forests that’ll make you forget Philly is just around the corner, you’d be wise to pack your rifles and tackle on a trip to Stanhope. Even if you return to your tent empty-handed, you’ll marvel at the serene scenery and wildlife sightings at every turn.
Savor Pennsylvania Dutch Country the way it’s always been at this Dutch Dromijn campsite. Great for two couples, a small family or anyone who wants the rolling hillside to themselves, a host of on-site amenities include a toilet, cell phone coverage and a first-aid kit along with the standard tents, mattresses and fire pit. Bring a lantern and stroll the trails into the night, or snag a fishing license and drop a line in the creek.
Rev your engines and get ready for an adrenaline rush in Tower City. While you may sleep soundly at your campsite, you’ll wake up to the hilly trails just begging for you to tear through on an ATV, 4×4 or dirtbike. Off-roading will only make you want to carve out some time to slow down and explore the area deeper on foot. Thankfully, any campsite you choose will be surrounded by thick forests and state parks.
Need a little quiet time during your family vacay to Hershey Park? This secluded campsite is a goldmine. The kids can hoot and holler all they want while you dip your toes in the creek and relax. From the tent to the adirondack chairs, you’ll settle in just fine as your little wild ones roast marshmallows over the fire pit and howl into the night. Keep your ears open – some of the local wildlife may call back.
These recommendations were updated on August 17, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.