Setting Sail in PA

Are you a Happy Traveler who is looking to unfurl a sail and let the wind power your voyage? Well, we hear you, and that’s why we scouted our state parks to find the best lakes for wind-powered nautical thrills. Home to more than 5,132 miles of rivers and streams on state forest land, Pennsylvania’s tidal waters provide unlimited opportunities for recreational boating.

1. Bald Eagle State Park

Discover State College's best-kept secret with a visit to Bald Eagle State Park in the Alleghenies. This 1,730-acre lake is formed by the Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir and small streams and surrounded by wooded forests, vast fields, and spongy wetlands.

Retreat from the fast lane while making a splash. On a hot summer afternoon, bring your sunscreen and towel to relax on the small swimming beach.

Know before you go: There are six boat launches at Bald Eagle State Park. The speed limit on the lake is 45 mph, and boaters must follow the counterclockwise traffic pattern on the lake.

2. Codorus State Park

Set against the rolling hills of southern York County, you’ll find the serene Codorus State Park. A popular spot for sail boating enthusiasts, the 1,275-acre Lake Marburg provides the perfect opportunity for the ultimate sailing escape. Strong southwest winds provide plenty of billow for your sails!

Enhance your adventure with walks along the 26 miles of shoreline and wildlife watching. The park’s many different habitats are magnets for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, red-winged blackbirds, turtles, and white-tailed deer.

Know before you go: Lake Marburg has seven boat launch ramps around the lake.

3. Prince Gallitzin State Park

Cool down from the hot summer heat as you float along the sprawling Glendale Lake at Prince Gallitzin State Park. Tucked away in the forested hills of the scenic Allegheny Plateau, the 1,635-acre outdoor oasis is the park’s major attraction and a favorite among anglers and boaters alike.

Linger for a few days and check out the bass and crappie fishing scene. There are several tributaries that provide shallow coves ideal for early-morning angling action throughout the season.

Know before you go: Glendale Lake has nine public boat launching areas conveniently located throughout the park, along with three public mooring facilities for sailboats and pontoon boats.

4. Neshaminy State Park

Follow George Washington's footsteps when you sail across the Delaware River, accessible from Neshaminy State Park in lower Bucks County. Free flowing for 330 miles, the Delaware River flows through five states, including our beloved Penn’s Woods.

Catch a glimpse of the Philadelphia skyline from Logan Point, accessible by a four-mile hike along a tree-lined trail. You can also bring Fido along to enjoy the fresh air.

Know before you go: Boating access to the Delaware River is provided at the marina and contains the only estuary in the state. Approximately 350 marina slips for boats are rented seasonally.

5. Nockamixon State Park

From small-town shopping to scenic state parks, Bucks County is full of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Find your way to Nockamixon State Park to explore the 1,450-acre Lake Nockamixon, the largest lake in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Extend your day trip into a getaway when you stay the night in one of the park’s modern cabins or at one of the many local private campgrounds.

Know before you go: Nockamixon State Park has six public launching areas and a marina.

6. Erie Bluffs State Park

Pack your bags for an exhilarating adventure through Erie Bluffs State Park, which also claims the largest stretch of unspoiled coastline in the state. The long, sandy peninsula surrounds Lake Erie and serves as a barrier island.

Get your heart pumping and explore one of the park’s 10 trails. The pathways lead to secluded forests wetlands, driftwood, and 90-foot high bluffs that overlook the lake.

Know before you go: A 24-hour boat launch is available for small motorized watercraft, kayaks, and canoes at the Elk Creek Access.

7. Moraine State Park

On a warm summer day, dart your sailboat across Lake Arthur’s sparkling blue waters. The 3,225-acre lake is surrounded by Moraine State Park in Butler County, and its ideal sailing conditions are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Races, regattas, and sailing instruction classes are held throughout the summer.

Make your way to the shore to horseback ride though the lush forest or tee-off in the on-site 18-hole disc golf course.

Know before you go: There are plenty of boat launches and several marinas on Lake Arthur.

8. Pymatuning State Park

Grab your camera to capture great sunset photography at Pymatuning State Park in Crawford County. Not only is this state park one of the most visited, it claims the massive 17,088-acre Pymatuning Reservoir — the largest lake in the state.

Complete your visit with a stop at the spillway, an area where the fish are so plentiful that the "ducks walk on the fishes' backs" to compete for the food fed by visitors like you.

Know before you go: There are three boat marinas at Pymatuning State Park.

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