Spend the Day
If you can only get away for a day, Pa. has a lot to offer the day tripper. In addition to day hikes, fun in or on the water, wildlife watching, and wintertime activities, Pa. state parks and forests provide space for an almost limitless list of activites. From a leisurely walk aorund a lake to a family hunting trip, kids of all ages can enjoy a day out on Pennsylvania's public lands.
Pack a lunch and head out to a nice secluded pavilion or a scenic spot in the shade. People have been taking their families, friends, food and lawn chairs to state parks for a picnic since the 19th century. There's nearly always a picnic table waiting for you in a state park, and if you have a large group or family reunion, you can even reserve a picnic pavilion or picnic grove. Go here for more information on picnicking and pavilions in state parks.
Pa. state forests provide innumerable areas for a picnic. It's also fun to combine a forest activity with a lunch, of course. Check your local forest district for more information.
GO OUTSIDE: Go to this map to find picknicking opportunities in a state park near you!
Grab a couple of Frisbees and tee off at one of 14 state park disc golf courses. A great activity for kids and fun for the whole family, you can always combine this with another activity at the park. For more information, go here.
Car trips can seem long and boring to kids, but it's a great family activity when you only have a day to spare—and it'll likely turn out to be a day they won't forget. Scenic driving is one of the largest recreational use of state forest lands. Most recreational users participate in this activity coming to and from the state forest, but for many this is the sole purpose of their visit. Autumn is a particularly special time to drive around Pennsylvania's state forests, but any day is a good day to pile into the car and be a Sunday driver in Penn's Woods. Drive over here for more information.
GO OUTSIDE: Go to this map to find sightseeing opportunities in a state park near you!
Pennsylvania's 2.2 million-acre state forest system is open to public hunting. Hunters can find everything from small game hunting to true backcountry wilderness experiences on state forest lands. For more information on hunting in Pennsylvania state forests, go here.
Yes, you can go hunting in many Pa. state parks! The forests and fields of Pennsylvania are open to hunting during established seasons, though. Common game species are deer, rabbit, pheasant, ruffed grouse, bear, squirrel and waterfowl. If you're heading to a Pa. state park to hunt, head here first for more information.
GO OUTSIDE: Go to this map to find hunting opportunities in a state park near you!
Pennsylvania state parks provide almost unlimited opportunities for fishing and boating fun. Pennsylvania has giant lakes like Pymatuning (17,000 acres) down to small ponds set aside for children and ADA accessible fishing only. Cast out to this page for more information about fishing in state parks.
Youngsters can also head deeper into the woods to go fishing in our state forests. Some of the best fishing to be found anywhere in the state can be found on state forest lands. From the sparkling cold headwater streams in the mountain regions where native brook trout thrive to the lakes and ponds of the Pocono region to the famous fly hatches on Penns Creek, fishing opportunities abound in almost all 20 state forests. Start here for more information on fishing in state forests.
GO OUTSIDE: Go to this map to find fishing opportunities in a state park near you!
Orienteering is a fun but challenging sport that requires participants to use their navigational skills by using a map and a compass to find their way through unfamiliar territory. For older kids, this is a great activity to match wits with the great outdoors. Several parks have orienteering opportunities already waiting for those looking for the challenge.
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.
If you're looking to go geocaching in a state park or forest, find this page first.