UPDATED NOV 26, 2019
Finding some breathing room can be a challenge in the city. Luckily, there are plenty of camping spots nearby to unwind, escape, and take in some fresh air. So, plan your getaway and sleep under the stars at these awesome camping spots near Philly.
Only a 50-minute drive outside Philly, this riverside camping site will make you even forget you left your phone at home. Here, you can mountain bike, ride horses, canoe, and reconnect with nature thanks to lakes, ponds, and fields. And, if you’ve ever wanted to pretend you have your very own Hedwig, there are numerous great-horned owls populating the area. You can reserve campsites online, and there are even pet-friendly campsites available so you can bring your pup along.
You know what’s wrong with Philly? It’s the fact that we can never see the stars. But up in Cherry Springs, astronomy enthusiasts can see all the constellations in one of the darkest corners of Pennsylvania. To take advantage of some awesome hiking trails nearby, head over to Lyman Run State Park and Susquehannock State Park. There are 30 campsites available, and they even feature a fire ring for all those delicious s’mores.
What's the biggest draw to this locale? Well, if we're talking Ricketts Glen State Park, we always bring up their cascading waterfalls. The 7.2-mile falls trail features 21 waterfalls that reach up to 94 feet. Talk about majestic. But what you might not know is that the camping options are luxurious (great for glampers) — there are campgrounds, deluxe camping cottages, and even group tenting. Trust us — you’ll be feeling connected to nature in no time.
One of our favorite parts about camping has to be the views. And you can always catch a bird’s eye view at The Pinnacle, which takes hikers along the Appalachian Trail (it’s as cool as it sounds). There are several tent sites available nearby, and the Eckville Shelter provides showers, toilets, and even ice cream for those post-hike chow-downs. Fitt Tip: turn your camping trip into a true excursion and visit nearby Hawk Mountain.
The Pinchot Trail is a more difficult, 26-mile loop through the Pinchot State Forest near the Poconos, and you're permitted camp all along the trail. If you’re looking to truly feel like a weekend warrior, tramping about the land, you'll be given a sweet reward: there’s apparently a blueberry bog along the South Loop of the trail, so you can get your antioxidant fill when you hit a lull. But whether you hike all day or just want to sing campfire songs, this campsite will suit all your needs. Hike in to find a camping spot along Choke Creek and you’ll be sleeping next to a babbling brook. And it's dog-friendly! Fitt Tip: you'll need a no-fee camping permit to pitch a tent; grab that from the state forest office.
Lehigh Gap is another awesome opportunity to check out the Appalachian Trail, but this mountain pass with a few rustic campsites features a real river. That, plus you’re getting countless opportunities for those fall foliage pictures along the mountain biking and hiking trails. This is another opportunity for serious hikers since both hands will be required for ascending some trail spots (finish your coffee beforehand). Find the gap right above Allentown, and stop by the Lehigh Gap Nature Center for a trail map if you intend to embark for the day.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. There are 50 miles of park trails, creeks, ponds, waterfalls, and plenty of scenic overlooks. And, if you’re looking for some guided fun, the Delaware Water Gap features plenty of guided fall hikes and bike tours. Plus, there are numerous campsites available for those wanting to sleep under the stars, but if you want our favorite site to get in touch with nature, that'd be Valley View Group Campground. It features five primitive campsites and a common area, each with a fire ring. Fitt Tip: a 15-minute trip up US-209 will take you to Dingmans Falls, which is so beautiful in the autumn, you won’t even need an Instagram filter.
Also, situated in the middle of the breathtaking 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap that reaches up to the Poconos, Dingmans Campground is for those who look for a more developed campsite. Nearby, there are over a dozen waterfalls and a hiking trail for everyone from beginners to advanced woodsmen. You can also rent canoes and kayaks if you want to paddle on the Delaware River. Once you’ve thoroughly tired yourself out, roll out your bedroll on one of the 136 tent sites. For first-time campers, the campground store makes it easy to stock up on fresh coffee, firewood, and even souvenirs — Dingmans keychains, anyone?
French Creek has it all — picnicking, boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and ice (when winter finally arrives). The best part, though, is that it’s beyond easy to turn your hiking adventure into a camping trip, thanks to cabins, yurts (East Asian-styled round huts), and cottages that are available for reservations. And, if you’re thinking you wouldn’t be able to rough it in a yurt, the French Creek yurts feature a microwave (popcorn, anyone?), fire ring, and plenty of space.
Worlds End State Park is basically Philly’s little secret. We even try to limit our Instagram geotags for fear everyone will find out about our hidden gem in the middle of Loyalsock State Forest. There are over 20 miles of hiking trails that provide picturesque views of mountains and streams. And with plenty of warm showers available to campers at the official 70-site campground, there’s no excuse not to pack up your wool socks and hit the road.
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