With a wide range of activities such as camping, fishing, hiking, and boating, there is something for everyone.
The best part? Pennsylvania state parks charge no fees for entry. They even offer gift cards for use at the parks for camping, cabin rentals, picnic pavilion rentals, and state park gift shops.
If your travels are taking you anywhere near Allentown, there are some amazing parks nearby that are a great place to begin your adventures.
Map of State Parks Near Allentown PA
Here is a map of the Pennsylvania state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Allentown
Here are each of those state parks with distance from Allentown and what is special about each.
If you are looking for a beautiful place to camp, look no further than Locust Lake State Park.
Surrounded by two campgrounds, Locust Lake is 52 acres of space for boating, swimming, and fishing.
Also ringed by beautiful forests, the park offers many hiking trails for visitors to explore.
Locust Lake State Park is located just 42 miles Northwest of Allentown and offers plenty of activities for families to take a side excursion for some outdoor fun.
The park is open for day use from sunrise to dusk, but parking is limited to the visitor’s center for day use to keep traffic at a minimum for camper safety. If you are visiting the park for the day, be prepared for a short hike to the beach from your vehicle.
The park offers a wide variety of educational programs, including curriculum-based environmental education programs for local school groups. They also provide teacher training through workshops in environmental education.
Location: 2950 Pohopoco Dr, Lehighton, PA 18235
Located in the Southern foothills of the Pocono Mountains, Beltzville State Park lies just 30 miles North of Allentown via I-476. The park offers excellent trout fishing in Pohopoco Creek, which feeds into Beltzville Lake.
The lake is a popular spot for boaters and fishers alike, and it has a sandy beach perfect for families.
Besltzville State Park offers a wide variety of educational programs from the months of March through October.
The environmental center and amphitheater are host to hands-on activities, guided walks, and educational programming. Visitors can gain an appreciation for and understanding of both natural and historical resources.
One local historical landmark, an original covered bridge built across Pohopoco Creek in 1841 has been preserved and moved to the park’s picnic area for pedestrians to enjoy.
The park is open every day, year-round, from sunrise to dusk, however, both the beach and park office have specific hours of operation. Camping in the park is not permitted, but there is information is available on nearby camping locations.
Situated 19 miles Southeast of Allentown, Nockamixon State Park encompasses 5,283 acres of park surrounding Nockamixon Lake. The lake is an artificial reservoir and is situated in a prime location just outside of historic Philadelphia.
There are so many activities to be enjoyed at the park that it is easy to see why it is one of the most popular parks in Pennsylvania.
Visitors to the park enjoy boating and fishing on the lake, and boat rentals are available at several marinas in the park. In the winter, the lake freezes over, and guests of the park enjoy ice fishing as well.
The lake is dammed at Tohickon Creek, and twice a year, if water conditions are high enough, the dam is released and whitewater rafting becomes an activity at the park for a limited time.
While swimming is not permitted in Lake Nockamixon, there is a public swimming pool that is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. The pool does have a fee for use.
There are numerous hiking and biking trails in the park, however the Southern side of the park is bike free, making it an ideal place for horseback riders to explore.
Hunting is also permitted in the park. Hunters are expected to follow the rules of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
4. Jacobsburg Environmental Education Area
Location: 400 Belfast Rd, Nazareth, PA 18064
Situated just 30 minutes Northeast of Allentown via US-22 E, Jacobsburg Environmental Education Area offers 1,168 acres of forests, hiking trails, and creeks for visitors to enjoy.
The center offers educational programs for preschoolers through college students. The area is rich in history, and almost completely encloses the Jacobsburg Historical District.
In fact, the Henry Rifle was once made in the district, and visitors can learn about colonial gun manufacturing while at the park.
The Jacobsburg Environmental Education Area is focused on providing high-quality educational programming for all ages and is a partner in the Leigh Valley Greenways, which is devoted to landscape conservation.
The park is open from sunrise to dusk daily and is ADA Accessible.
Just 37 miles North of Allentown, Lehigh Gorge State Park provides some of the most breathtaking outdoor experiences in Pennsylvania.
The steep-walled gorge rises above the Lehigh River. The geographic feature has been shaped in both natural-made and man-made ways.
The area was a heavy coal mining region during the Industrial Revolution, and visitors to the park can learn about the history of the area at local museums, such as the No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum, or even ride the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway for an up close view of the gorge.
For foot travelers, the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and sightseeing. Pets are welcome, too!
There are many small towns along the way for bike rentals, lunch breaks, or shopping. Historic Jim Thorpe is one of many small towns that draw tourists for relaxing time after a long day of outdoor experiences.
The gorge is also well known for its waterfalls. They provide beautiful scenes for photography and nature lovers will enjoy the serene landscapes.
Adventurers will love the opportunity to brave the rapids in the Lehigh River. Class I, II, and III rapids challenge whitewater rafters at all levels of experience.
Local businesses provide gear and guides for adventures for families with children to the most radical rafters.
For those who prefer the more peaceful waters, the Lehigh River is also prime for fishing. Local outfitters and guides can help to provide the best experiences for fishers of any experience level.
The Bald Eagle State Park is located in the heart of Pennsylvania and is home to the 1,730-acre Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir. It has gorgeous scenery, top-notch outdoor adventures, and a 1200-foot beach with a variety of boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities. This makes it the perfect weekend retreat for all seasons, especially summer.
Visitors can go warm water fishing while boating around the lake’s 8-mile length. The park offers 6 boat launches and 369 docking spots for rent, so you’ll have plenty of options.
You can also choose to sit near the lake and enjoy a beautiful picnic. Or, you can explore the park’s 15 miles of hiking pathways ranging from a 1.5-mile kid-friendly Butterfly Walk to a 4-mile lakeside trail, where you may discover wildlife, birdwatch, and engage in nature photography.
You can also sign up for a guided walk to learn more about the park’s history and what it has to offer.
The park has a spacious campground less than a mile from the beach where you can park your RV. There are 97 campsites with 30-amp and 50-amp electric hookups, with 18 of them offering full hookups.
There are flush toilets and hot showers available here, as well as a paved parking spot, picnic table, and fire ring. The park also features two areas that those with disabilities can easily access.
Cook Forest State Park is also known as the Black Forest. It is famous for its old-growth forest, which has been classified as a National Natural Landmark. It is home to spectacular virgin white pines and hemlock wood stands.
Visitors can participate in watersports like canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and rafting on the gorgeous 3,136-acre Clarion River land.
There’s also a playground, a picnic area, and an amphitheater where guests can unwind and spend quality time with their families.
The park also features 6.5 miles of crisscrossed paths (with a total of 12 miles running through the park) that are sure to satisfy nature and adventure enthusiasts.
For a spectacular panoramic perspective of the entire area, climb the rock walls of the Seneca Point Overlook or hike the 80-foot climb up Historic Fire Tower.
The park has a dump station, flush and pit toilets, restrooms, showers and shower houses, telephone coverage, and potable water.
It also offers ADA-accessible cabins and restrooms in the campsite and cabin area.
The park allows pets in specified areas, so if you’re camping with your pet, make sure you reserve your spot ahead of time.
Canoe Creek State Park is a 395-acre park with a lake, wetlands, oil fields, and old woodlands that provide a diverse habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife species.
The 155-acre lake offers year-round fishing for warm-water game fish, as well as a swimming area and boat launching sites with mooring places to encourage boating.
The park also rents rowboats, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats to offer a seamless boating experience.
The park has a designated picnic area with picnic tables, charcoal grills, charcoal disposal units, and other facilities, as well as picnic pavilions.
It also boasts 8 miles of hiking paths that weave through forests, farms, historic sites, and more, providing hikers with a bird’s eye view of the wildlife and stunning landscape.
You can also take advantage of educational programs to learn about the park’s history and its flora and fauna.
You can park your RV at one of the park’s 8 modern campsites overlooking the lake for a novel camping experience.
The park allows pets in specified areas, so check the details before making a reservation.
Location: 500 S Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034
The 493-acre Fort Washington State Park is named after the temporary fort that George Washington’s troops established, and it is rich in historical value.
The ADA-accessible park offers a variety of modern recreational facilities. It is perfect for individuals with an adventurous spirit as well as those looking for a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The park witnesses the seasonal migration of 16 species of raptors and has an observation deck that is sure to appeal to birdwatchers.
It also features dedicated picnic areas with 300 picnic tables and 2 pavilions. It is best to visit it in the spring when the dogwood trees are in bloom.
It also features hiking, biking, and running trails appropriate for hikers of all levels, including a strenuous trail with an elevation gain of 60-111 meters.
You can park your RV on the campgrounds that boast amenities like accessible restrooms, group tenting area, pit toilets, bathroom facilities, access to potable water, and a playground for a top-tier camping experience.
They only allow pets in some areas, so do your homework before bringing your pet along.
Allentown is in a prime location in Southeastern Pennsylvania making it an outstanding central vantage point for day trippers or campers to visit some of the area’s most beautiful State Parks. Whether you are just passing through or looking to spend a few days, these parks offer the best of the natural beauty of Pennsylvania.