The area’s weather also sees a tremendous swing. Summers are hot and muggy while winters typically see freezing temperatures and lots of snow. But cold wintertime weather doesn’t have to mean the end of camping. While it can be much more challenging to find tent camping in the spring and winter months, year-round campging in PA are underrated for their proximity to both famous cities and beautiful nature.
These 9 Year-Round Campgrounds in PA Let You See All Sides of the Quaker State
We’ve tracked down some of the best campging in PA, both private and public, that offer campers the chance to cozy up around the campfire all year long.
1. Whispering Pines Camping Estates
Photo by The Dyrt camper Dorothy C.
Just twenty minutes from Ricketts Glen State Park and Red Rock Mountain, Whispering Pines Camping Estates is a cozy, family-friendly campground with a community feel. Nestled in a part of Pennsylvania that is still rich in old-growth forests, over twenty waterfalls, and even a rare eastern fire tower, this is an important, untouched habitat for birds and a variety of animals and is part of the official Audubon Susquehanna River Birding and Wildlife Trail.
Whispering Pines balances all that rich wilderness with small town charm. They offer not only cozy, pet-frinedly rentals and cabins, but also “paint and sip” parties, a pool, hayrides, bingo, meteor shower viewings, and more. Nearby are other activities that even indoorsy visitors will enjoy, like regional vineyards and golf courses.
And because Whispering Pines is open year-round, you can take in the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside in any season— including the stunning icefalls that form during the winter months. You get a lot of bang for your buck, with rates starting at just $50 a night.
“Top Notch camping experience. Family friendly, Pet Friendly. The owners Dave and Teresa go out of their way to make your stay very comfortable.” –The Dyrt camper Dorothy C.
Prepare for your next adventure by downloading maps. The Dyrt PRO lets you download maps and campgrounds without cell service. “My alternative to using pro would be to drive back out to cell service”.
2. French Creek State Park
Image from The Dyrt camper Sarah C.
French Creek State Park is the largest block of contiguous forest between Washington DC and New York City. The forests, lakes, and wetlands of the 7,730-acre park draw urbanites looking to spend some time in nature and provide a great reprieve for all Pennsylvanians. The park is home to plants and animals that are rare in the southeast part of the state. The National Audubon Society has named the park an Important Bird Area and the Pennsylvania Game Commission has named it an Important Mammal Area.
This is one of the few spots for camping in PA that offers nearby urban access, located just under an hour from Philadelphia. Despite the close proximity to the city, this park offers a large campground and great access to hiking, fishing, and biking. The campground has 16 full-hookup sites, 42 modern electric sites, 141 modern non-electric sites, and 17 rustic organized group tenting sites.
The campground also has three camping cottages, 10 modern cabins and two yurts available to rent. While camping is only available year-round at 47 of these campsites, the spots never fill up in the off-season, and cottages, cabins, and yurts are available year-round. Kids love the on-site campground playground. Showers, flush toilets and a sanitation dump station are also on-site.
3. Riverside Campground
Located on the shores of one of PA’s most important rivers, Riverside Campground is a privately owned campground open year-round. Nestled on the edge of the Susquehanna River, the campground has 135 sites great for campers, RVs, or tents and also offers rustic tent camping sites near a stream.
Cable TV and WiFi are provided at all campsites. The campground has a Laundromat and on-site lounge that serves up adult beverages and delicious grilled food. Warm showers and flush toilets are also available year-round.
The campground is just a short walk to local shops and there’s a large community park located just next door that kids will love. The park has children’s playgrounds, a skate park, soccer fields and a large pavilion. This camping option features something not common for most camping in PA; a pool, that is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
4. The Loose Caboose Campground
Offering 70 year-round campsites for tent and RV campers, The Loose Caboose Campground sits on 26-acres in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish Country. The campground offers large, wooded, and secluded sites.
Most of the campsites at The Loose Caboose are full-hookup and can accommodate any size RVs. The heated bathhouse offers free hot showers and flush toilets. Amenities include a children’s playground, gift shop, group fire ring, dumping station and free wireless internet.
Being in Amish country, this campground is nearby unlikely but inviting tourist attractions, including the Railroad Museum of PA and Toy Train Museum, both just 8 miles away. If you’re looking to hit the rides (or just eat chocolate), Hershey Park is less than 45 miles away. Major cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Gettysburg and Washington DC are all within about 100 miles.
5. Raccoon Creek State Park
Image from The Dyrt camper Brian S.
Built as a public works project by the National Park Service in the 1930’s, the 7,572 acre Raccoon Creek State Park is one of the largest and most popular year round spots for camping in PA. Located just a half hour from Pittsburg, it’s a great place to steal away from the big city and immerse oneself in nature.
Campers love strolling through the park’s wildflower reserve, which boasts over 700 species of plants, hiking on the 42 acres of trails and kayaking on the 100-acre Raccoon Lake.
The campground at Raccoon Creek State Park has 64 modern electric campsites, 81 modern non-electric campsites, 26 tent-only sites, 4 rustic non-electric sites, 6 rustic organized group camping sites, as well as 11 modern cabins and 3 organized group cabin camping sites.
The 172 modern tent and trailer campsites have access to flush toilets, warm showers and the option of electricity. While much of the campground is only open seasonally, the rustic sites are available year-round. Water and pit latrines are also available at the year-round sites.
6. Penn Avon Campground
Conveniently located just two miles from the charming downtown Selinsgrove, PA, Penn Avon Campground is a year-round campground offering sites with full hookups, cable TV and free Wi-Fi. The campground also has shower houses and a dump station ($10). Kids will enjoy the on-site playground and recreational field. This campground is great for those that want to stick around for a while, offering weekly, monthly and seasonal rates to campers.
Located close to the Penn Avon Campground is the Raymond B. Winter State Park, which is open for camping mid-April through mid-December. Even though the campground may not be open year-round, the park certainly is, and there’s no shortage of things to do there. Halfway Lake, the park’s main attraction, is a popular place to fish and swim during the warm months of the year. In the winter, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing draw visitors to the park.
7. Bald Eagle State Forest
Not to be confused with the nearby Bald Eagle State Park, the Bald Eagle State Forest, named for the famous Native American Chief, is one of the best sports public camping in PA open year-round. The park offers primitive backcountry camping, group camping and 45 car camping spots with fire rings and picnic tables. Car camping spots can be reserved up to 90 days in advance by requesting a permit from the Bald Eagle State Forest district office.
Group campsites require a letter of authorization from the District Forester, which take between 2-3 weeks to process. Primitive backcountry campsites do not require a permit as long as the camper stays only one night in each campsite. If you’d like to have a campfire at a backcountry campsite during the spring wildfire season, a permit is required.
When not spending time at the campsite, there are a variety of things to do on the 193,000 acres of forest. Hikers will enjoy the “rugged and demanding” 189-mile Mid State Trail. Mountain bikers are not allowed on the Mid State Trail, but are allowed on nearly every other trail in the state forest.
The forest also has one designated ATV trail, and two designated motorcycle trails. Hunting, fishing and horse riding opportunities also abound in the forest—there’s even a few equestrian campgrounds spread across the forest if you’re looking to make your next ride into a camping trip.
8. White’s Haven Campground and Cabins
Settled on the edge of western Pennsylvania’s Cook Forest State Park, White’s Haven offers year-round wooded campsites for tents and RVs as well as cabin rentals. Cabins are primitive and have no water or bathroom, though cabin campers have access to the bathhouse.
Tent sites are also primitive and RV sites have both water and electric hook-ups. The campground has a dump station for use by RV campers. Amenities include a playground, volleyball court and a fishing pond.
Like much of year-round camping in PA, White’s Haven Campground is in close proximity to public lands for outdoors adventures any time of year. Cook Forest State Park is just a short drive away, and offers year-round outdoor recreation opportunities. The Clarion River flows through the park and is a popular place to canoe, kayak and tube in the summer months, and fish in the offseason.
The park’s Forest Cathedral, a stand of old growth pine and hemlock trees, is a National Natural Landmark and worth a visit in all seasons. The park also has 47 miles of hiking trails and 4.3 miles of multi-use trails for biking, trail running and horseback riding.
9. Shady Rest Campground
Image form The Dyrt camper Bryce
Located on 16 acres in the heart of the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, Shady Rest Campground offers RV and tent camping sites for travelers just passing through and vacationers looking to set up a home base close to the Elk Mountain Ski Resort. The campground has 35 sites with water, sewer, electric and cable television. The campground also has a dump station, Wi-Fi, laundry service and showers. Primitive camping is available along Tunkhannock Creek, which also makes a great place for swimming in the summertime.
Points of interest close to Shady Rest campground include Old Mill Village, an exhibit of buildings that feature the region’s history, the Steamtown National Historic Site, which features the history of steam locomotives and the Elk Mountain Ski Resort, which has some of the state’s best skiing on 27 trails over 180 acres.
Related Articles: Cherry Springs State Park Related Campgrounds: Buttonwood Campground, Mifflintown, PA Scenic View Campground, Tioga, PA Bear Run Campground, Pottersville, PA Hickory Run Campground, Denver, PA Lake in Wood Campground, Narvon, PA Friendship Village Campground, Bedford, PA Little Mexico Campground, Winfield, PA Eagles Peak Campground, Robesonia, PA Vacationland Campground, Sandy Lake, PA Pioneer Park Campground, Somerset, PA Spring Gulch Campground, New Holland, PA French Creek State Park, Elverson, PA
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