The Absolute Best Camping Near Pittsburgh

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: October 5, 2022
© Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com
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If you live in Pittsburgh, PA, and are looking to get out of town for some hiking, biking fishing, swimming and camping, there are many options less than an hour away. There are primitive tent sites as well as furnished cabins at some of the finest campgrounds. If you have your camper loaded up and ready to go there are plenty of options for RV camping, for both small and mega-sized RV’s. Here is where you can find the absolute best camping near Pittsburgh.

1) Mountain Top Campground

Although Pittsburgh is not known for its majestic mountains, there are a few smaller mountains nearby with the Mountain Top Campground situated at the top of one, only 30 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. The views from the campground are what really make this one of the absolute best places to camp near Pittsburgh. You can watch the sunset while sipping your favorite drink right from your campsite. The sites are spaced nicely apart from each other giving you some room and not feeling like you are on top of one another. There is a nice hiking trail around the park where you might spot some squirrels, white-tail deer or maybe a Cooper’s hawk.

There are 59 campsites and 1 cabin for rent with almost all of the sites having full hookups. The sites around the outer edge have some of the best views of the surrounding valley and of downtown Pittsburgh. Restrooms, showers, laundry and a band stand area for shows are all right in the park. A great place to camp for the weekend, a week or extended stays!

LocationNE of downtown, just off Hwy 28 in Tarnetum
Distance from downtown Pittsburgh30 min (25 miles)
RV sitesYes, 59 sites, most with full hookups, back-in and pull-thru
Tent sitesYes
CabinsYes, 1 available for rent
Picnic Tables at each siteYes, by request
Fire Pit at each siteYes, by request
Dump Station on siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestSome of the best views, right from your campsite!
Adult cooper's hawk feeding its chicks in a stick nest in a tree
You may be lucky enough to spot a Cooper’s hawk while hiking the trail near Mountain Top Campground.

©Tony Campbell/Shutterstock.com

2) Raccoon Creek State Park

One of the most visited state parks in Pennsylvania is Raccoon Creek State Park. The 7,572 acre parks is located about 40 min west of downtown Pittsburgh right on Raccoon Lake. After you set up camp at one of the 172 RV/tent sites you can go hiking on one of the 44 miles of trails, set up your lawn chair on the sandy beach and go for a swim or try your hand at some fishing. Raccoon Lake has bass, carp, trout and walleye…maybe you can catch your dinner! Other lake activities include kayaking, paddle boarding and hydro bikes (all available for rent…or bring your own).

The campground itself is has several loops with some areas for RV’s and others for Tent only. 2 of the loops are pet friendly and 10 cabins are available in some of the loops. This is a great place to camp with access to the lake and all the lake activities right by the campground.

LocationWest of downtown in Hookstown, PA
Distance from downtown Pittsburgh40 min (32 miles)
RV/tent sites172 sites
CabinsYes, 10 cabins are available to rent,  2 and 3 bedroom
Primitive Camping at Sioux Rustic CampgroundPrimitive sites with non-flush toilets and potable water
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
Dump stationYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, hot showers, playground
Pet FriendlyYes, pets are allowed in loops C and F
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestClassic camping at the lake!
walleye
Raccoon Lake has a variety of fish ready to be caught by anglers, including walleye.

©FedBul/Shutterstock.com

3) Washington/Pittsburgh SW KOA Journey

If you like camping but prefer a more resort-like experience then camping at the Washington/Pittsburgh KOA might be for you. The campground is just SE of Washington, PA, about 40 minutes SW of downtown Pittsburgh. Close enough to catch a Pirates game, visit the Andy Warhol Museum or stop at the many shops and restaurants then head back to the campground for a dip in the pool or a game of volleyball.

The campground has RV and tent sites as well as cabin rentals and glamping tents! Some of the sites have full hookups with nice restroom/bathhouse nearby. They just finished the new pool and it is open and ready for some cannon balls. Visit the camp store for any forgotten items or pick up some marshmallows for your campfire s’mores. A friendly campground that is clearly one of the absolute best places to camp near Pittsburgh!

LocationSW of downtown Pittsburgh
Distance from40 min (32 miles)
RV sitesYes, some with full hookups, up to 86’ long
Tent sitesYes, electric and water
CabinsYes, basic and deluxe
Glamping TentsYes, some sleep 2, others sleep 4
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, swimming pool, playground, volleyball, basketball
Pet FriendlyYes, Kamp K9 (no pets in the cabins or Glamping tents)
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestResort-like amenities only 28 miles from Pittsburgh!
Fire Pit
Don’t forget to pack the marshmallows for your s’mores when you go to Washington/Pittsburgh SW KOA Journey just 40 miles outside Pittsburgh.

©Ana Hollan/Shutterstock.com

4) Keystone State Park

A little less than an hour east of downtown is Keystone State Park centered around Keystone Lake. There are two campground areas, one lakeside and one set back a bit from the lake. All campsites can accommodate RV’s and tents and have picnic tables and fire pits. Restrooms and warm showers are at both campgrounds. If you’d like to try something a little different try spending the night at one of the two yurts! The large canvas yurts have bunk beds, electric heat, a microwave and fridge, picnic table and large wooden deck. Keystone also has modern cabins for rent and cottages that are right near the lake.

There are 8 miles of hiking trails including the Lakeside Loop trail which goes all the way around the lake. Great for hiking or biking. Look for painted turtles, bullfrogs and heron along the shoreline or take a hike through the red and white mountain pine trees, home to many birds like warblers, osprey and mergansers. After a morning of hiking head to the sandy beach for a swim. All of your classic camping activities at a moderate sized campground. Definitely one of the absolute best places to camp near Pittsburgh!

LocationEast of downtown in New Alexandria, PA
Distance from downtown50 min (35 miles)
RV/Tent Sites100 sites, some with electric, Lakeside Campground is near the lake and Hillside campground is more secluded and allows pets
Yurts2, sleeps 5
Modern Cabins11, sleeps 6, two bedroom, private bathroom and kitchen
Cottages3, sleeps 5
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, warm showers, swimming beach
Pet FriendlyHillside allows pets, Lakeside does not, not pets on the beach
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestGreat wildlife watching right at the lake.
Common Merganser, Duckling, Hooded Merganser, Animal, Animal Family
You may spot a variety of wildlife, including mergansers, while hiking the Lakeside Loop Trail at Keystone State Park.

©iStock.com/Anna39

5) Bear Run Campground

If you are visiting Pittsburgh one of the favorite attractions is the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Visit the African Savanna Exhibit where you can see African elephants, black rhino and Masai giraffe or spend some time at the aquarium watching the jellyfish and stingrays float amongst the coral reef. There is enough to see and do at the zoo that you could spend the whole day. After your zoo adventure head north to the Bear Run Campground, just 38 minutes from Pittsburgh.

The Bear Run Campground is a large campground located near Lake Arthur and Moraine State Park. Spend time at the lake, exploring the state park or just hanging out at the campground. The campground has its own swimming pool, playground, volleyball and softball and a trout pond for fishing. Choose from a walk-in tent site near the fishing pond or one of the large RV sites situated in several loops. There are deluxe cabins with 2 bedrooms/private baths/kitchens and rustic cabins with beds and public restrooms nearby. The grounds are well kept and family friendly with bike trails and a rec center. A great home base for exploring Pittsburgh and the surrounding area.

LocationNorth of downtown in Pottersville
Distance from downtown38 min (38 miles)
RV sitesYes, some with full hookups
Tent sitesYes, walk-in or park
CabinsYes, from basic to deluxe
RV rentalsYes, there are several campers/RV’s to rent
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
Dump StationYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, camp store, swimming pool, playground
Pet FriendlyYes, (most cabins and rentals allow pets as well)
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestNice wooded campground with lots of fun amenities!
trout
Bear Run Campground has a trout pond for fishing.

©iStock.com/tseybold

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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Sources
  1. Mountain Top Campground, Available here: https://mountaintopcampground.com/campground/
  2. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Available here: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/RaccoonCreekStatePark/Pages/Stay.aspx
  3. KOA, Available here: https://koa.com/campgrounds/washington-pittsburgh/
  4. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Available here: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/KeystoneStatePark/Pages/Stay.aspx
  5. Bear Run Campground, Available here: https://www.bearruncampground.com/