Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and the largest city in Pennsylvania, offers tons of activities and attractions.
However, for those seeking a little more adventure, there are some fantastic state parks near Philadelphia, all under an hour away.
Adventurers and naturalists alike will enjoy exploring these state parks as they provide the opportunity to hike, camp, fish, cycle, kayak, and boat.
Whether you are looking for a fast day trip or a long weekend getaway, these parks have it all. Check out our top seven state parks in the Philadelphia area state parks if you are seeking adventure with your family or alone.
A fantastic benefit of Pennsylvania state parks is the lack of fees for entrance or day use, so you can save your money for camping or supplies. Now go forth and find your oasis for a perfect break from daily worries and troubles.
Map of State Parks Near Philadelphia PA
Here is a map of the Pennsylvania state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Philadelphia
Here are each of those state parks with distance from Philadelphia and what is special about each.
1. Fort Washington State Park
Location: 500 S Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034
The Fort Washington State Park, which gets its name from the temporary fort established by George Washington’s men, has a big observation platform at its highest point.
As the park is less than twenty miles from Philadelphia, it’s perfect for picnickers, hikers, backpackers, campers, and bikers. Additionally, the heavily forested and hilly terrain offers expansive space to relax in this small park.
The historic park extends camping for over 220 people near the Lorraine Run creek despite its small stature. While the campsites are large enough for groups, families can camp there too but reserve your spot ahead of time as there are only four campsites in the park. As it’s so close to the city, you can simply plan to visit for the day if you are not able to get a reservation.
Birdwatchers can enjoy the major flyway for all 16 species of raptors that migrate along the East Coast. Next, the walking paths cross streams via beautiful wooden bridges, making this a haven for photographers.
Finally, Fort Washington is now known for its springtime display of flowering dogwood trees, all with access to water and history for an exciting adventure.
2. Ridley Creek State Park
Location: 1023 Sycamore Mills Rd, Media, PA 19063
Find a beautiful place to relax at Ridley Creek State Park, located less than 30 miles from Philadelphia’s busy economic center, which provides the perfect counterpoint to city life.
The park houses a green mosaic of thick beech and walnut forests, vast meadows, and winding nature pathways.
It’s crisscrossed by Ridley Creek, a babbling creek that twists between a web of more than ten miles of hiking trails, brimming with freshwater trout and dotted with fishing stations.
The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation provides an unforgettable historical excursion back to the 1700s America for history aficionados. Take some time to look around the historic buildings in Sycamore Mills, a small 18th-century mill hamlet.
Next, the park is open for archery deer hunting during the right season. Additionally, the park offers hands-on environmental education and interpretive programming to raise awareness, respect, and knowledge of natural resources.
Ridley Park offers some tent sites that require a reservation. However, the park offers two group campsites ready to hold 120 people each.
The campground offers flushing toilets but does not provide showers or other amenities. However, most people come for a day at this park to enjoy the history, creek, and nature to take a break from metropolitan life.
3. Evansburg State Park
Location: 851 Mayhall Rd, Collegeville, PA 19426
Evansburg State Park combines farms, meadows, old fields, and mature woodlands just thirty miles from the bustling city.
Choose this park for a great place to unwind and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.
Its main natural feature, the Skippack Creek, divides the land into ridges and valleys that create a feeling of enclosure while providing incredible scenic views.
A golf course, four regulation baseball fields, 20 miles of horseback riding, biking, cross-country skiing paths, and more than 1,000 acres open to hunting during designated seasons provide plenty of opportunities for sports enthusiasts.
Anglers will find bass and trout in Skippack Creek and more unusual species like eel and catfish or hunt in the correct season. In addition, visitors can enjoy wildlife, birdwatching, and many trails or fields to enjoy the fresh air.
Group camping offers a great escape, especially if there are no other people in the vicinity! Evans Park Group Campground provides relaxed tent camping in an already laid-back setting.
The park provides potable water, showers, toilets, picnic tables, and they allow campfires to make for a perfect getaway. Set up camp for the night only a few skips from Skippack Creek and watch the stars come out!
4. French Creek State Park
Location: 843 Park Rd, Elverson, PA 19520
French Creek State Park is one of Pennsylvania’s most popular state parks and is only about fifty miles from the city. What makes this park impressive are the two lakes inside the over 7,000 acres, Hopewell and Scott’s Run.
Originally, the woods here provided lumber to power the early American industrial complex, but now French Creek is a popular tourist destination with plentiful wildlife and unique plant species.
The oak and maple groves of this 7,500-acre park turn a kaleidoscope of distinct colors late in the year, turning deep red and glowing orange just before the fall.
Next, the park provides the largest dense forest between New York City and Washington, D.C., providing opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and biking to visitors.
During the spring, summer, and fall, take a tour with a park advisor to learn about the natural resources and history of the area. Then, take time to get out on a boat and enjoy the peaceful waters or take a leisurely swim.
Other activities include mountain biking, horseback riding, disc golfing, hunting, and various winter activities perfect for the whole family.
An advantage of French Creek Park is the fantastic campground with gorgeous scenery. The park provides over 200 campsites, 60 of which have electric hookups and ADA-accessible places, cabins, camper cottages, and yurts available to rent.
Find flushing toilets, warm showers, and much more. Even take your dog to the park with you; take a group to one of the group cabins.
5. Marsh Creek State Park
Location: 675 Park Rd, Downingtown, PA 19335
If you like secrets, you need to visit Marsh Creek State Park, about 40 miles west of Philly.
Few people are aware of the mystery that lies beneath the lake’s waters or that this sunken city in Pennsylvania ever existed.
When the Marsh Creek Dam arrived, covering the village of Milford Mills under up to fifty feet of water. While it’s not possible to swim down, you can catch glimpses when in the water.
The park sits on a beautiful lake that attracts a large number of tourists who come to boat, cruise the lake, fish, and explore on their days off for complete relaxation.
Visitors can even take a tour on a pontoon to see the lake and scenery in all their glory or take their own boats out on the water too, or even rent one for family gatherings.
Several challenging routes wrap up and around a particularly hilly section of the property, making for a thrilling ride.
If you are a hunter, you will find roughly 900 acres open to you, and you may even train your hunting dog or do some trapping during designated periods.
Keep in mind that the park offers activities for every season but does not provide a place to rest overnight as the park does not offer camping. However, the beautiful landscape of this man-made park makes up for the oversight, as do the many activities, including horse riding, fishing, sledding, and skiing.