Discover the 9 Best National Parks in Pennsylvania

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: April 27, 2022
Image Credit ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com
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Officially, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, is categorized as a middle Atlantic state in the United States. Famous for its agricultural and industrial yields, it is home to several industrial centers for steel, coal, and railroads.

There are a lot of historical landmarks to visit in the state, among which are 19 national parks that welcome up to 10 million visitors yearly. These visitors generate roughly $516 million in revenue every year.

This article takes a look at some of the sites. There is a treasure trove of sites to view for history aficionados, from the Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.

1. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area protects 40 miles of one of the eastern United States’ last free-flowing rivers.

ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area 
Size66,741 acres
Animals to seeDeer, wild turkeys, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, owls, bats
Attraction to seePocono Mountains, Delaware Water Gap, Bushkill Falls

The Delaware River runs between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, separating the two states. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area protects 40 miles of one of the eastern United States’ last free-flowing rivers.

Fishing, canoeing, rafting, kayaking, and swimming are all popular activities on the river. You can rent equipment and arrange transfers from approved outfitters along the river. There are also approximately 100 miles of hiking routes throughout the park, including 27 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

2. Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site has a tour of Edgar Allan Poe’s house.

NPS Photo / This image or media file contains material based on a work of a National Park Service employee, created as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, such work is in the public domain in the United States. See the NPS website and NPS copyright policy for more information.

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site 
Size0.519-acre
Animal to see
Attraction to seeEdgar Allan Poe’s photographs

The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site includes a tour of Edgar Allen Poe’s house as well as a park film on his life. Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most well-known horror and macabre literature figures. He is often regarded as the father of detective fiction.

While living in Philadelphia, he penned some of his most famous works. He lived in the house that is now the National Park in early 1843. It’s the only one of his homes that hasn’t been demolished.

Visitors can take a tour of his house, which includes photographs and displays that depict who he was and how he changed the art world.

3. Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower National Historic Site
Eisenhower National Historic Site has tours of Eisenhower’s home and a tour of the grounds.

Jeffrey M. Frank/Shutterstock.com

Eisenhower National Historic Site
Size690.5 acres
Animals to seeRaccoons, deer, red fox, groundhogs
Attraction to seeEisenhower’s residence

Eisenhower National Hospital is about 40 miles southwest of Harrisburg in south-central Pennsylvania. The park has tours of Eisenhower’s home and a tour of the grounds.

Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, purchased a farm outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and after a two-term presidency from 1953 to 1961, the Eisenhowers returned to the farm in 1961. President Eisenhower passed away in 1969 at the age of 78, while Mrs. Eisenhower lived on the farm until 1979, when she kicked the bucket.

The park was designated a National Historic Site by the National Park Service in 1980, educating visitors on Eisenhower’s farm and life. Because the site has limited parking, visitors must purchase shuttle permits and organize tours at the Gettysburg Visitor Center. Visitors can take in the same scenery and picturesque views that prompted Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower to buy their Gettysburg property.

You can also take a tour of the farm and its surroundings.

4. First State National Historical Park

First State National Historical Park
The First State National Historical Park has four locations in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Ataraxy22 / Creative Commons – License

First State National Historical Park 
Size1,100 acres
Animals to seeChipmunks, squirrels, deer, red fox
Attraction to seeBrandywine Valley, Fort Christina

The First State National Historical Park has four locations in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The Woodlawn Tract covers over 1,100 acres in northern Delaware and southern Pennsylvania.

The park, which is next to Brandywine State Park, has hiking and horseback trails and historic Quaker homes.

5. Fort Necessity National Battlefield

Fort Necessity National Battlefield
Fort Necessity National Battlefield is roughly 60 miles southeast of Pittsburg in southwestern Pennsylvania.

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Fort Necessity National Battlefield 
Size902.8 acres
Animal to seeBats
Attraction to seeGreat Meadow, Braddock’s grave

Fort Necessity National Battlefield is roughly 60 miles southeast of Pittsburg in southwestern Pennsylvania. Battlegrounds and a restored fort are available to see at the park.

The Great Meadows location is protected by Fort Necessity Battlefield, which includes a recreation of George Washington’s fort built in 1755. A film about the significance of the site is shown in the park.

Visitors can learn about mid-eighteenth-century Pennsylvania’s many beliefs and practices at the education center. A fantastic bookshop and gift shop offer a variety of theme-related souvenirs as well as in-depth information for people who wish to know more after exploring the park.

The National Road and the first government-funded highway that connected the east and west coasts of the fledgling United States are featured in the exhibition.

The gravesite of British General Edward Braddock, who died from a lethal wound suffered there, is also open to the public.

6.  Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site 

Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site 
Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site covers 3.7 acres of land.

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Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site 
Size3.7 acres
Animal to see
Attraction to seeHistoric artifacts 

In Philadelphia, there is a church called Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site. The old church and cemetery are open to the public for tours.

The Old Swedes’ Church, or Gloria Dei Church, as it is also called, was built in 1698 and has remained relatively unchanged since 1846, despite extensions and modifications. The Gothic, Georgian, and traditional Swedish architectural styles can all be found on the brick structure.

You should check the church’s schedule before attending because it is still in operation. A model of the ships that transported the first colonists to America from Sweden, a bronze bell constructed in 1801 from metal from a 1643 bell, a 1731 baptismal font, and a carving of the angel Gabriel comparable to those found in Swedish churches may all be found inside the church.

7. Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail connects the upper Youghiogheny and tidal Potomac river basins.

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Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail 
Size 710 miles
Animals to seeBeaver, red fox, deer, moose
Attraction to seePotomac Heritage Trail waterfall

The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail connects the upper Youghiogheny and tidal Potomac river basins. In Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, the Potomac Heritage Trail is a network of locally-managed pathways and roads. The path currently does not have a visitor center.

The national scenic path comprises 710 miles of current and proposed trails overseen by federal, state, municipal, and nonprofit organizations. To understand more about the Potomac Heritage Trail network, you can download a trail system map.

Think about a trail that caters to a wide range of interests, including recreation, history, wildlife, hiking, biking, or simply getting away from city life’s action. The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail allows you to create your outdoor excursion.

8. Steamtown National Historic Site

Steamtown National Historic Site
Steamtown National Historic Site offers supervised train trips and visits to an operating rail yard, where visitors can see old engines.

Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.com

Steamtown National Historic Site 
Size62.48 acres
Animal to see
Attraction to see1941 Union Pacific Big Boy Locomotive, 1903 Chicago Union Transfer Railway Company freight locomotive

Steamtown National Historic Site is situated near downtown Scranton in northeastern Pennsylvania. The park offers supervised train trips and visits to an operating rail yard, where visitors can see old engines and trail coaches.

Steamtown National Historic Site was founded to maintain America’s steam train and railroading heritage. In 1918, the United States had more than 65,000 steam locomotives operating on more than a quarter-million miles of track.

The park spans a century, from 1850 to 1950. It features an incredible collection of steam locomotives, passengers, and freight vehicles, Housed in Delaware. The 1941 Union Pacific Big Boy Locomotive and the 1903 Chicago Union Transfer Railway Company freight locomotive are displayed. If you want to ride a steam-powered train, make sure to verify the park’s timetable.

9. Upper Delaware Scenic And Recreational River

Upper Delaware Scenic And Recreational River
Upper Delaware Scenic And Recreational River is home to bald eagles, American shad, blue-spotted sunfish, and sparrows.

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Upper Delaware Scenic And Recreational River 
Size55,575 acres
Animals to seeBald eagle, American shad, blue-spotted sunfish, sparrows
Attraction to seeDelaware Aqueduct

This river is situated in southern New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. Rafting, canoeing, and fishing are some of the activities available at the park.

It is the Northeast’s longest free-flowing stream and separates Pennsylvania and New York. The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River have been designated for 73 miles of the river, but the National Park Service controls only a small portion of it.

Upper Delaware is controlled by a collaboration of federal, state, and municipal governments, as well as private businesses.

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