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Camping in Western Pennsylvania

From Water's Edge to Rustic Forest

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Camping at Shenango Recreation Area

Camping at Shenango Recreation Area northeast of Sharon, Pennsylvania.

© U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
From rustic to resort, campgrounds in Western Pennsylvania come in many sizes and personalities. What they all have in common, however, is a chance to break away from the hectic pace of everyday life. Frequently located near popular tourist attractions and historical sites, campgrounds provide inexpensive vacation opportunities and a chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful Western Pennsylvania countryside.

What Type of Camping Do You Prefer?

Two Western Pennsylvania state parks offer backpack camping, several campgrounds offer only tent camping, and dozens of state park and private campgrounds offer camping for most types of camping equipment. Most Pennsylvania campgrounds have electric hookups and showers, while a few are rustic. Some campgrounds even have walk-in sites for those who like things a bit more private. If you like your creature comforts, many Pennsylvania state park campgrounds offer year-round modern camping cabins, available through a reservation lottery system. Backcountry camping is available for the more adventurous in most sections of the Allegheny National Forest.

What Do You Like to Do When You Camp?

In addition to the activities traditionally thought of as part of a camping trip - hiking, biking, swimming, boating, fishing, and nature studies - many of Pennsylvania's privately owned campgrounds offer additional choices, including planned activities, swimming pools, recreation and game centers, evening entertainment, snack bars and a camp store. Water, electric and sewer hookups for RVers are available at most Western Pennsylvania campgrounds and many private campgrounds even offer cable television and telephone hookups. A few Pennsylvania campgrounds, including a handful of state park campgrounds, also permit campers to bring their pets along to enjoy the outdoors.

Planning Your Camping Trip

Most state park and public campgrounds in Pennsylvania open the second Friday of April (the day before the first day of trout season) and close the third Sunday in October. A number of Pennsylvania campgrounds are open until mid-December (the day after the last day of deer season), and a few remain open year-round. Shower facilities at these campgrounds may not be available during the winter months of October through April, however. Memorial Day through Labor Day is the busy time for most Pennsylvania campgrounds and coincides with the operation of most swimming areas and seasonal educational programs.

Pennsylvania Campground Reservations

Most Pennsylvania campsites are available through advance reservations. Although not required, reservations are recommended at most public and private campgrounds. A few more rustic state park campgrounds do not accept reservations, operating on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Campground sites in Pennsylvania State Parks can be reserved online or by calling 888-PA-PARKS.

  • ReserveUSA allows you to make advance online reservations at over a dozen federally managed campgrounds in Western Pennsylvania, including USDA Forest Service and Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds. Campsites at these campgrounds can also be reserved by phone through the National Recreation Reservation Service at 877-444-6777.

  • Private campground sites can be reserved by contacting the individual campground directly.


More: Find a Western Pennsylvania Campground

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