The 5 Best Places to Camp in Pennsylvania This Summer

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: July 1, 2023
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If you want to wake up next to the lake or camp in the woods with the night sounds of owls and coyotes, then camping in Pennsylvania may be for you. Here are the 5 best places to camp in Pennsylvania this summer.

Camping in Pennsylvania

Pymatuning State Park

Pymatuning Lake

The fishing for walleye and crappie is phenomenal on Pymatuning Lake on the western border of Pennsylvania.

©iStock.com/Capturing Moments by Christina

The Pymatuning Lake is along the western border of Pennsylvania with Ohio. The lake is 17,088-acres and is the largest reservoir in the state, making one of the most popular to visit as well. People love to fish for walleye and crappie, explore the Shanago River by kayak and hike to Wilson’s Launch to try to spot a bald eagle.

There are two camping areas in the park, Jamestown (in the south) and Linesville (in the north), and they both have RV/Tent sites as well as cabins. Some of the RV/Tent sites have electrical hookups and others have full hookups. There is a swimming beach, playground and camp store (where kids can get “penny candy”). A fun place to hike, fish, swim and watch the stars before turning in for the night. Definitely one of the best places to camp in Pennsylvania this summer.

LocationFar western border of Pennsylvania
Nearest CityJamestown
RV/Tent sites433 sites, some with full hookup, some with electric, some non-electric
CabinsYes
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, hot showers, camp store
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestCamping along the biggest lake in the state!

Hersheypark Camping Resort

animals unique to North America: American black bear

You can see black bears at ZooAmerica in Hersheyland Amusement park, but hopefully you won’t have one of these visit you at your campsite!

©iStock.com/Lynn_Bystrom

You have the graham crackers and the marshmallows; all you need to do is visit Hershey’s Chocolate World to be set for your campfire s’mores. At Hershey’s World you can tour the factory, watch how chocolate bars are made or create your own candy bar. Come hungry because there is a lot of taste testing to do. There is also Hersheypark, a huge Hershey-themed amusement park and waterpark. Enjoy roller coasters, Hersheytown and ZooAmerica which is a 11-acre zoo with 200 animals. Visit an American alligator, river otters, mountain lions and black bears.

Hopefully you won’t run into any black bears when you are camping (they do live in Pennsylvania). To camp near Hershey’s Chocolate World you can stay at the Hersheypark Camping Resort. There is a variety of camping options including tent sites, RV sites and cabins. The tent sites are located in a wooded area right along the creek, how nice does that sound? The best part about camping at Hersheypark is the freshest s’mores ever!

LocationAbout 15 miles east of downtown Harrisburg
Nearest CityHummelstown
RV/Tent sitesYes, some with full hookups
Cabin and Cottage RentalsYes
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, camp store, game room, 2 swimming pools, kiddie pool, playground
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestEnjoying everything Hershey!

Gettysburg Campground

Bonfire

If you want to go back in time to visit one of the most significant battlefields in U.S. history your can camp at the Gettysburg Campground. Huddle around the campfire for stories of long ago. Definitely one of the best places to camp in Pennsylvania this summer!

©iStock.com/Dmytro Aslanian

One of the most visited sites in Pennsylvania is Gettysburg, where you take a step back in time to the American Civil War and the battle that most believe was the turning point of the war. The battle of Gettysburg was the battle that resulted in the most casualties of the whole war during the 3 day battle on July 1-3, 1863. You can visit the battlefield, the Gettysburg Museum of History and the National Cemetery.

The Gettysburg Campground is only 3 miles west of downtown Gettysburg and is right along the Marsh River. With 200+ campsites/cabins to choose from you are sure to find the right accommodations. The campground has all the amenities you need to relax like a swimming pool with lounge chairs, mini-golf and a camp store where you can get hand-dipped ice cream cones! Another one of the best places to camp in Pennsylvania this summer!

Location3 miles west of downtown Gettysburg
Nearest CityGettysburg
RV/Tent SitesYes
Cottage and CabinsFully-furnished cottages/rustic cabins
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, swimming pool, mini golf
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestGo back in time to learn about the rich history of the U.S.!

Presque Isle State Park: Sara’s Campground on the Beach

European Beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria)

You can tent camp right on the sandy beach at Sara’s Campground near Presque Isle State Park!

©iStock.com/Edda Dupree

Pennsylvania has a small shoreline along Lake Erie and Presque Isle State Park is located on one of the peninsulas. Although there is not camping in the park there is a campground nearby that lets you set up your tent right on the sandy beach! There are both bayside and lakeside campsites but the lakeside sites are for tents only. All lakeside sites are first come first serve so arrive early with your camping gear ready to go! Once settled in head out the Presque Isle State Park or spend a day at the nearby Waldameer Amusement Park and Water World. An absolutely amazing place to camp in Pennsylvania.

LocationOn the shores of Lake Erie
Nearest CitySweet Valley
RV/Tent SitesYes
CabinsNo
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry
Pet FriendlyNo pets on the beach or lakeside sites, pets are okay on the bayside sites
ReservationsLakeside sites are first come first serve, bayside you can make reservations
What makes it one of the bestCamping right on the sandy beach of Lake Erie!

Bald Eagle State Park: Russel P. Letterman Campground

Bald Eagle flying over a lake.

Keep your eyes to the sky to see if you can spot one of the beautiful bald

eagles

that calls this park their home. Right along the Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir and Bale Eagle Mountain. Both lakes and mountains for a classic camping feel.

©Jack Molan/Shutterstock.com

Along the shores of the Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir is Bald Eagle State Park. You would be right to assume that there is a healthy population of Bald Eagles living in the park. The park is just NW of the Bald Eagle State Forest and right in the middle of the state. Not only do you have the reservoir but you can also see the beautiful Bald Eagle Mountain.

There are modern campgrounds, like the Russel P. Letterman Campground as well as primitive camping options. If you don’t want to bring a tent or camper you can rent one of the modern cottages or stay in a yurt. Many options for one of the best places to camp in Pennsylvania this summer!

LocationCentral Pennsylvania, 100 miles NW of Harrisburgh
Nearest CityHoward
RV/Tent sitesYes, 94 modern sites, some with full hookups, others primitive, 34 walk-in sites for tents and 34 primitive sites for RV’s
CottagesBasic and Deluxe, 1-2 rooms with bunk beds
Yurts2, sleeps 6, bunk beds
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers,
Pet FriendlyYes, some of the cottages require an extra pet fee
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the best Bald eagle sightings

Summary of The 5 Best Places to Camp in Pennsylvania This Summer

NumberCampsiteLocation
1Pymatuning State ParkFar western border of Pennsylvania
2Hershey Park Camping ResortAbout 15 miles east of downtown Harrisburg
3Gettysburg Campground3 miles west of downtown Gettysburg
4Presque Isle State Park: Sara’s Campground on the BeachOn the shores of Lake Erie
5 Bald Eagle State Park: Russel P. Letterman CampgroundCentral Pennsylvania, 100 miles NW of Harrisburgh

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jayce Wyatt Photography/Shutterstock.com


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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".

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where can you camp in Pennsylvania and be close to Hershey’s World and Hershey’s Park?

Hersheypark Camping Resort

Is there a campground in Pennsylvania with yurts to stay in?

Yes, Bald Eagle State Park’s Russell P. Letterman campground.

I want to camp on the beach, where should I go?

Sarah’s Campground on the Beach offers on the beach camping and within close distance to Presque Isle State Park.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Available here: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/PymatuningStatePark/Pages/Stay.aspx
  2. Hershey Park Camping Resort, Available here: https://www.hersheyparkcampingresort.com/accommodations/
  3. Gettysburg Campground, Available here: https://www.gettysburgcampground.com/
  4. Sara’s Campground on the Beach, Available here: https://sarascampground.com/
  5. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Available here: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/BaldEagleStatePark/Pages/Stay.aspx