Pennsylvania Parks and Recommendations

By Brandon Vassallo


Riley Chodoroff

A lakeside view of the greens, rocks, boulders, and reflection of the sun on the water at Nockamixon State Park in Bucks County, PA.

Spring is blooming, and what better way to cherish this somewhat warm weather than to visit some local parks and get outside? With the versatility of gardens, taking advantage of the opportunities they provide with warmer weather sounds fun. Basketball courts, picnic tables, open fields, and hiking trails are among these opportunities. Here are some of the best in Pennsylvania.

First, we have Peace Valley Park in Doylestown. This is a commonly known park around this area, and with 14 miles of nature trails, it’s no coincidence. Those massive trails make it an excellent place for a private stroll through the woods, with plenty of space for families to spread out and get some privacy. You can get up close and personal with the wildlife if you are quiet enough. If you combine silence with patience, one could also go bird watching, but I recommend not bringing your kids. Bucks County Mother and Teacher Jeannine Chodoroff shared some of her memories with parks by stating, “…my dad would point out the different crops that the local farmers were growing throughout the park as well as the beautiful foliage.”

Lake Nockamixon in Bedminster is another excellent place to spread out, with its massive 5,286 acres of land. A large lake in the center promotes fishing and boating, while its land boasts picnicking, swimming in the pool, hiking, biking, disc golfing, and hunting. Being mostly shaded makes this park excellent for those sensitive to the sun or just heat in general. Senior AP Environmental Science Student Bennet Hansbarger puts out his input on Lake Nocamixon by stating, “Around the lake, there are a bunch of outcrops, littered with benches and other areas for relaxation. They all have beautiful lake views, allowing one to relax and recharge.” Not only that, but this park also has a rich history, as a 19th-century town flooded to help fill the lake. Thousands of people have been boating and fishing above record for over 100 years.

Ohiopyle Park in Dunbar may be reaching a bit outside of a local’s comfort zone, with over a four-hour drive to get there. But those visiting are treated to some of the best whitewater rafting in the state, with spectacular scenery, including Ohiopyle Falls. It also acts as a gateway to the Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania area, a section commonly called Pittsburg’s backyard.

Those interested in camping should look at the Delaware Water Gap. A popular camping spot with tranquil landscapes and a rich human history, it takes a lot of work to steer to another park. Do you like going to sleep with the sounds of a river next to you? Camping next to 40 miles of the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi is another reason to check out the Deleware Water Gap.

Finally, Ricketts Glen is another popular Pennsylvania park boasting 13,193 acres of land for all activities. Seems too warm? Check out the beach on Lake Jean to dip your feet in, or suit up and swim. Love to hike? Check out the Falls Trail System, choosing between a 3.2-mile loop with 18 waterfalls or a 7.2-mile loop with 21 waterfalls, depending on your difficulty preference and the time available. With the addition of a variety of wildlife available for your viewing, this park is another recommended park for you to visit this summer.