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Best outdoor destinations for families in Pennsylvania

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Get back to nature

Get back to nature and explore the great outdoors with your family by visiting one of these Pennsylvania destinations. Whether you want to relax or do something adventurous, you'll enjoy these hotspots.

Pennsylvania Road Sign

Allegheny National Forest

This large recreational area features camping, canoeing, hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, hunting and other wildlife adventures. The Allegheny National Forest is home to over 600 campsites, six boat launches, six canoe sites and miles of hiking, ATV and snowmobiling trails.

 

4 Farm Colony Drive, Warren, PA 16365. Hours: Open; Admission: Park admission: free; parking/launching, firewood and ATV permits are extra.

 

Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir

Surrounded by lush forest, the Allegheny Reservoir spans the border between western Pennsylvania and New York. The 25-mile long Allegheny Reservoir offers spectacular views of the amazing forested shoreline. This area is a hot spot for fishermen, boaters, hikers, and anyone looking for outdoor fun. The visitor center and picnic area downstream of the Kinzua Dam are maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The visitor center features exhibits, displays and information about the Kinzu Dam and recreational opportunities in the area. Fishing in the reservoir is popular among families and other visitors.

 

1205 Kinzua Road, Warren, PA 16365. Hours: Park open; check website for visitors center hours; Admission: Free.

 

Laurel Caverns

Just 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, you will find Laurel Caverns - Pennsylvania's largest cave. The cavern is beneath a 435 acre geological park. Families come to Laurel Caverns to take the one hour spelunking tour and explore the cave. The family tour goes down about 1,700 feet and the cave temperature is 52 degrees all year. Families may also enjoy their 18-hole miniature golf course, as well as panning for fossils or gemstones.

 

Off US Route 40 near Chalk Hill, PA. Hours: Guided tours are available every 20 minutes from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 1-October 31; Laurel Caverns is open weekends only in April and November (until Thanksgiving). The Caverns are closed December-March; Admission: Adults: $11; Children grades 6-12: $9; children grades K-5: $8; preschoolers: free.

 

Presque Isle State Park

This 3,200 acre peninsula arches into Lake Erie; it's Pennsylvania's only seashore. Visitors enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, birding, hiking, biking and much more. About four million visitors head to Presque Isle each year. This National Natural Landmark is also home to a large number of endangered, threatened and rare species. Families come to the area to enjoy the beach, as well as learn more about the ecological diversity of the area.

 

301 Peninsula Drive, Suite 1, Erie, PA 16505. Hours: Open; Admission: Entry to the park is free, however campsites, cabins, cottages, boating services, picnic amenities and other fees may apply.

 

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