Pennsylvania offers a diverse spectrum of state parks ready to delight everyone.
It’s a good idea to start with some of Pennsylvania’s most popular state parks, then build your wish list from there based on your interests.
After visiting the state parks, brush up on your history at some of the national parks filled with historical sights to intrigue any traveler.
We found the best state parks within an hour of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to help you plan your next vacation.
Map of State Parks Near Gettysburg PA
Here is a map of the Pennsylvania state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Gettysburg
Here are each of those state parks with distance from Gettysburg and what is special about each.
1. Caledonia State Park
Location: 101 Pine Grove Rd, Fayetteville, PA 17222
Golfers will love Caledonia State Park, about fifteen miles northwest of Gettysburg. The park sits near South Mountain, one of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Maryland and Virginia, one of four parks surrounding the mountain.
Add in a difficult 18-hole golf course and a designated swimming pool with a water slide for a family vacation ready for fresh new memories.
If the pool and golf course do not work for your camping needs, the park also offers ten miles of trails. Campers can also enjoy angling for trout or hunting for deer, rabbit, squirrels, and turkey.
At Caledonia, you will find another unique feature, the Cathedral in the Pines, for those who enjoy Sunday school. Kids will adore the Totem Pole Playground, complete with a theater with performances in the summer.
The park offers a total of 184 tent and trailer sites spread throughout two campgrounds. The camping season begins on the second Friday in April and ends in December, after deer season.
In addition, campers have access to flush toilets, hot showers, and a sanitary waste station at the campsite. The Hosack Run Campground includes accessible campsites as well as power.
Those who do not want to camp but want to stay at the park can enjoy the Caledonia Lodge available year-round.
2. Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Location: 1100 Pine Grove Rd, Gardners, PA 17324
Pine Grove Furnace State Park, less than twenty miles north of Gettysburg, offers a haven ready to make your next vacation amazing.
Because it’s situated at the northern extremity of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the park boasts various unique features, including spectacular vistas of the mountains surrounded by the Michaux State Forest.
Add in two mountain lakes and the Appalachian Trail Museum to make the park near perfect.
Hiking paths in the park range in length from a fourth of a mile to six miles, and a part of the Appalachian Trail runs through the park’s heart, clearly marked with white blazes, making it simple to discover and follow.
Bikers, boaters, anglers, swimmers, and wildlife lovers will adore all the activity options the park offers. Swimming is available at both Fuller and Laurel Lakes’ public beaches.
The spring and fall bird migrations are excellent periods to go birding with binoculars.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park offers camping, or you can book the historic two-story Paymaster’s Cabin. Grab a campsite with easy access to electricity, water, toilets, and warm showers.
Each site offers a picnic table and a fire ring with access to a store for anything you may have forgotten. Finally, a few designated campsites allow pets to make your vacation even more enjoyable.
3. Mont Alto State Park
Location: Mont Alto, PA 17237
To the west of Gettysburg, stop at Mont Alto State Park for their unique dance pavilion with a domed roof perfect for group outings.
The park is Pennsylvania’s oldest state park, and it offers picnicking, fishing, and nature.
The West Branch Antietam Creek runs through the park and provides an excellent spot for trout fishing.
Hiking options in the Michaux State Forest are accessible via logging and forest management routes perfect for a rustic day in nature.
Keep in mind this park does not offer camping but does offer tons of other activities.
In the winter, go snowmobiling with access to a ramp, trails, parking, and bathrooms. Snow trails open once deer season ends in late December.
Hunters can search for prey in the Michaux State Forest with both firearms and archery equipment.
While a small park, the unique pavilion, and gorgeous scenery make it worth a visit.
4. Codorus State Park
Location: Marina Dr, Hanover, PA 17331
To the east of Gettysburg, catch some sun at the Codorus State Park with enough options to make even the pickiest family member smile.
The park is an excellent example of York County’s accessibility and convenience as an outdoor leisure or weekend getaway location.
This 3,500-acre park is located an hour north of Baltimore and thirty minutes from both York and Gettysburg, allowing you to get away without becoming too isolated.
Lake Marburg makes the Codorus Park unforgettable, with over twenty miles of shoreline perfect for every imaginable water sport, including scuba diving.
It’s a birdwatcher’s dream as a rest stop for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as a favorite place for anglers, featuring warm water fishing and trout. Add in picnicking, swimming in the pool, horseback riding, and disc golf for more fun.
The list of activities continues with options for skiing, sledding, ice skating, and snowmobiling in the winter. With almost 200 camping sites for tents and RVs, you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery between April and November.
Cabins, cottages, and yurts are available who want nature but not the primitive stay.
Encourage the kids to try out an educational activity for a little local history while there.
5. Gifford Pinchot State Park
Location: 2200 Rosstown Rd, Lewisberry, PA 17339
York County offers another beautiful destination just thirty miles from Gettysburg.
Gifford Pinchot State Park was once farmlands and wooded hills before its conversion into a park next to Pinchot lake.
As a full-service park, you can find every outdoor activity you can imagine and seasonal options too.
With almost twenty miles of trails for walkers and a few for bikers or horseback riding and cross-country skiing in the winter, the park is sure to connect everyone to nature.
Enjoy pontoon boat tours out on the water or a guided walk in the evening. In the right season, you can enjoy hunting or fishing along with many other hands-on activities.
Make sure to check out the Mason-Dixon trail and look for giant swallowtail butterflies, all with a beautiful view of the lake.
The park has one of the largest state park campgrounds in the state, with 339 campsites at the southern end of the lake.
For a different experience, try a modern cabin, cottage, or a yurt to keep nature and technology near you. Every site has access to a swimming beach and an outdoor amphitheater.
In addition, some of the campsites are accessible to hiking paths, a boat launching, and a mooring area, along with all the amenities you need.
6. Colonel Denning State Park
Location: 1599 Doubling Gap Rd, Newville, PA 17241
In Doubling Gap find Colonel Denning State Park just forty miles north of Gettysburg commemorating William Denning, a Revolutionary War veteran.
Explore nature in multiple ways, such as on a bike, on horseback, or out on Doubling Gap Lake, fully stocked with trout.
Children can learn to use a map and compass with multiple skill levels available at the park office or nature center.
Many acres are open to hunting, trapping, and dog training during designated seasons.
The park has three paths totaling 3.5 miles to explore, but the Flat Rock Trail is the most notable. The difficult, steep climb rewards you with a 180-degree panorama of the Valley.
Take in the fall colors and hawk migration from the Flat Rock overlook. Pick up the trail next to the Visitors Center.
Colonel Denning Park is a trailhead for the Tuscarora State Forest and the Tuscarora Trail, which spans 252 miles with eighteen miles of trails total.
From the first day of trout season to the last day of deer season in December, the 49-site tent and trailer campground is open. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring all close to a sanitary dump station and non-flush toilets.
Bring the family dog with you to enjoy the park and the quiet solitude of nature.