There’s just one month left to experience #PASummerDays! That’s why we’ve created an end-of-summer PA Bucket List featuring some of the best water activities, historic landmarks, and scenic hikes that’ll be sure to give you the sunshine you need before summer ends. Whether you explore solo, with friends, or with family, these #PABucketList activities are a must-do before we fall into a new season.
1. Stare in awe at Fallingwater
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater has been named as one of "12 landmarks that will change the way you see the world" by Travel + Leisure magazine, and in 2019, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, so you know this has to be a mandatory stop on your list!
2. Take in the heights at Pine Creek Gorge
Pine Creek Gorge, is a natural wonder surrounded by approximately 165,000 acres of the Tioga State Forest and offers spectacular views ranging from overlooks and hiking trails to waterfalls. Camping, biking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling opportunities are also available in the park throughout the year.
3. Experience viaduct views at the Kinzua Sky Walk
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Named “One of the World’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Skywalks and Viewpoints in the World” by the Culture Trip, U.K, the Kinzua Sky Walk extends 624 feet into the Kinzua Gorge offering breathtaking panoramic views. Although a tornado knocked down much of the bridge in 2003, visitors can explore this railroad viaduct reimagined as a sky walk with partial glass floor. When not walking on the clouds on the sky walk, explore below in Kinzua Bridge State Park and take advantage of their hiking and biking trails, and interpretive displays at the visitor’s center.
4. See the light show at Longwood Gardens
Come and witness the summer special “Light: Installations by Bruce Munro” at Longwood Gardens before Oct. 30. With installations such as the luminous Field of Light or the delightful Waterlily Display, exploring the temporary exhibitions and greater gardens is always a summer must-do!
5. Walk the beach at Presque Isle State Park
A 3,200-acre peninsula surrounding Lake Erie, Presque Isle State Park lets tourists relax on one of their 11 beaches with Instagram-worthy sunsets. Take your end of summer to new heights at the park’s Sunset Point, a hotspot for avid kite-flyers. Designated as a National Natural Landmark, spending time at the park’s sandy beaches will be a trip you must make before the sunshine fades away!
6. Hike beneath the ancient trees at Cook Forest State Park
Covering 8,500 acres with some of the tallest trees in the northeast, Cook Forest State Park is home to a variety of scenic views, whether it’s the rock ledges of Seneca Point Overlook, the glistening Clarion River, or the 80-foot climb up Historic Fire Tower, it’s safe to say a trip to this National Natural Landmark will leave you breathless.
7. Climb the house-sized boulders at Clear Creek State Park
With opportunities to camp, hike, fish, and boat, Clear Creek State Park has it all! Encompassing more than 1,900 acres, visitors can explore the lands from sunrise to sunset, with the most popular attraction being the Beartown Rocks, home to climbable house-sized boulders and breathtaking scenic views!
8. See the Flight 93 National Memorial
The Flight 93 National Memorial, built in dedication to the 40 passengers and crew of an aircraft involved in the hijacks on September 11, 2001, stands at 93 feet and is known as the Tower of Voices. Finished in 2018, the tower’s 40 uniquely pitched chimes remind everyone of the sacrifice made by these passengers and crew members.
9. Paddle down the Youghiogheny River
Ohiopyle State Park
Home to George Washington’s first battle and the boats of Lewis & Clark, the Youghiogheny River attracts visitors from spring to early fall – but summer is the best season to soak in all of the fun (literally). Adventurers of all skill levels can strap in and ride the whitewater rapids of this iconic river to experience a thrill. The Youghiogheny River is a national outdoor recreation destination that you don’t want to miss when you visit PA.
10. Ride the river with Kayak Pittsburgh
Experience Kayak Pittsburgh presented by Venture Outdoors where you can paddle down one of Pittsburgh’s three iconic rivers while taking in the scenic views of the city’s green, rolling hillsides. With options to travel solo or with a friend on a tandem adventure, this is a great place for alone time or family fun – but hurry before the summer sun stops shining.
11. Cool off at Ryerson Station State Park
A 1,164-acre park featuring swimming, camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking, the Ryerson Station State Park is open every day this summer from sunrise to sunset. New to the park is the opening of the state-of-the-art pool complex, complemented with a waterslide and spray park. Enjoy this eco-friendly experience powered by solar panel structures to escape the summer heat!
12. Hike Buttermilk Falls Natural Area
Discover miles of scenic forestry and wildlife when you visit Buttermilk Falls Natural Area. After you’re done exploring the 48-acre natural area filled with both plant and animal communities, cool off by the 45-foot waterfall.
13. See the sights in Susquehanna National Heritage Area
Cross covered bridges and gaze at scenic waterfalls at the Susquehanna National Heritage Area, a non-profit organization and member of the Alliance of National Heritages. Featuring an abundance of unique experiences, be sure to use their handy dandy Bucket List to help you embark on your journey along the Susquehanna River. With activities like tasting native paw paws to riding Conestoga wagons, you’ll get to experience all the Wrightsville must-dos.
14. Take up new outdoor activities at Trough Creek State Park
Experience adventure at Trough Creek State Park, a 554-acre park with attractions such as Rainbow Falls and Ledges Trail. Enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and sign up for exclusive hikes and archery lessons to make your summer epic.
15. Go back in time at the Gettysburg National Military Park
Probably the most famous American battlefield, Gettysburg marked the turning point of the Civil War, and the site where President Lincoln gave his most famous address. Wander the hallowed grounds and soak in important moments of history at Gettysburg National Military Park.
16. Soar high with the birds at Hyner View
Sitting 1,300 feet above the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, Hyner View Overlook offers breathtaking views and is ideal for hang gliding. Ride the winds and soar high in Hyner View State Park which makes the list of "25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks".
17. Splash in the waterfalls of Bushkill Falls
Open as an attraction since 1904, Bushkill Falls encompasses about 300 acres and features eight waterfalls as well as more than two miles of trails, bridges, and walkways. The waterfalls are nestled deep in the wooded Pocono Mountains.
18. Be enchanted with the beauty of Worlds End State Park
The 780-acre Worlds End State Park offers visitors diverse recreational opportunities within a pristine environment. The rugged natural beauty coursing through the heart of the Endless Mountains landscape provides plenty of opportunities for photos. The scenery is spectacular, especially in June, when the mountain laurels are in bloom, and in October, when fall foliage is at its peak.
19. Reconnect with nature at Ricketts Glen State Park
Reconnect with nature year-round in the heart of Ricketts Glen State Park. Hike and bike the picture-perfect waterfalls and enjoy breathtaking fall foliage in autumn. During the spring and summer, enjoy Lake Jean beach or kayak your way to the edge and pick blueberries right from your boat. In winter, enjoy cross-country skiing or snowmobiling with miles and miles of groomed trails.