Ah, fresh air is calling your name this summer! Why not take advantage of our greater-than-great outdoors with a lake vacation that’s all about you? Whether you like to fish, hike, or bike, Pennsylvania’s lake destinations are calling your name.
1. LAKE WALLENPAUPACK
In the heart of the Pocono Mountains, Lake Wallenpaupack will win your heart with 52 miles of uninterrupted shoreline. This man-made giant is the perfect place to fish, boat, swim, or just relax on one of the lake’s many beaches. When you’re ready to get moving, Lake Wallenpaupack is the perfect place to lace up your hiking shoes and hike, bike, and explore the surrounding forests.
Sherman Point Hiking Trail
This three-mile loop is perfect for hikers of all levels, taking you around a portion of Lake Wallenpaupack where you can see the flora and fauna of the area. Feel free to bring your pup along on this dog-friendly trail.
Lacawac offers hikers easy, moderate, and more difficult hiking trails. The 12 trails range from 0.1 miles to 2.9 miles. Make sure to visit the Coulter Visitor Center and grab a map of all the marked trails at the sanctuary.
Promised Land State Park
With 50 miles of hiking trails through areas rich in historic significance and scenic beauty, Promised Land State Park offers hikers many opportunities for exploration and relaxation. See the waterfalls along Little Falls Trail or walk the loop around Conservation Island. All the trails lead through areas rich in historic and scenic interest.
2. LAKE ERIE
The warmest of the five Great Lakes, Lake Erie is the perfect destination for an outdoor adventure. The shallow depths and higher water temperatures make it a prime spot for boating, swimming, and fishing. There also are plenty of trails in the area perfect for leisurely walks or bike rides.
Presque Isle State Park
Known as Pennsylvania’s only seashore, Presque Isle State Park offers 3,200-acres of sandy peninsula for your outdoor adventure. The park boasts beautiful views of the Lake Erie coastline and offers many recreational activities, including swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, and biking. Surfing and scuba diving are also permitted in designated locations in the park. Stay overnight at a nearby hotel or campground located across the Presque Isle Bay.
Asbury Woods is an outdoor lover’s paradise. With more than 205 natural acres of fields, forests, and streams, visitors can explore the 4.5 miles of breathtaking trails. Stroll along the woodland Boardwalk Trail or hike the Greenway Trail to experience a scenic steel foot bridge that spans over Walnut Creek. Don’t worry about the kids — Asbury Woods is kid-friendly (and dog-friendly!) with trails and a Little Woods Play Area for all to enjoy.
3. RAYSTOWN LAKE
Raystown Lake is Pennsylvania’s largest lake completely within our borders. Whether exploring the area for the day or camping overnight, Raystown offers plenty of outdoor activities. Guests of the lake can enjoy one of the two beaches, guided fishing excursions, and boating adventures.
Standing Stone Trail
The Standing Stone Trail is an 84-mile-long footpath that follows the scenic ridgelines in the south central region of Pennsylvania's Tiltrock Country. Originally built as a connector for the Mid State Trail and Tuscarora Trail, the Standing Stone Trail is a destination in its own right, offering hikers and backpackers a link to dramatic scenery, wild plant and animal life, and compelling history.
Trough Creek State Park
The 541-acre Trough Creek State Park is a scenic gorge formed by Great Trough Creek cutting through Terrace Mountain before emptying into Raystown Lake. Rugged hiking trails lead to wonders like Balanced Rock, where hikers can cross a suspension bridge and visit Rainbow Falls — the only waterfall in and around Raystown Lake. Need an Instagram-worthy background? Check out the Ledges Trail for a fantastic overlook. While not on the park’s map, the overlook is located a short distance from Rainbow Falls.
Twenty-four trails totaling more than 36 miles compose the Allegrippis Trail, which was built specifically for biking, hiking, and running. Adventure-seekers can take advantage of the “stacked loop” trail style and plan a short or long-distance trek. Trails range from beginner to those that challenge even the most advanced mountain biker. Don’t own your own bike? No worries! Rothrock Outfitters has bike rentals and even kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals for fun on the water.
4. LAKE NOCKAMIXON
Tucked away within the rolling hills of Bucks County, Lake Nockamixon is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream perfectly fit for a boating adventure. With 1,450 acres and four public launching areas, windsurfers and catamaran owners will feel right at home. The warm waters of the lake are optimal for catching a variety of fish, including smallmouth and largemouth bass, striped bass hybrids, channel catfish, and carp. There are also miles of hiking trails, a 2.8-mile bicycle trail, and 20 miles of equestrian trails. After a long day of outdoor activities, pitch a tent or rent a cabin onsite.
Winding through old foundations which are remnants of a summer camp, this 2.5-mile trail provides a spectacular view of the lake and an overlook of an old quarry that provided building material for area structures.
Old Mill Trail
The 5.1-mile Old Mill Trail crosses the stream at the old mill pond and passes across the top of the stone dam breast. Hikers pass through a mature woodlot and pine plantations and walk a loop that follows the lake shore.
Sterner Mill Hiking Trail
This 1-mile trail offers lake views as it takes hikers by a small pond and rock outcroppings and through hardwood forests and pine plantations.
Ringing Rock Park
Bring a hammer along with you for this experience! Known today as Ringing Rocks Park, this rock field occupies seven acres of an otherwise wooded area and is over 10 feet deep with boulders. These rocks, when struck by a hammer, create a metallic ringing sound. No one is quite sure why the rocks make the sound that they do, but it makes for an interesting experience for the whole family!
To learn more about lake vacations, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter so you never miss an update.