Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
A trip to the lake might be what you or your family needs to beat the heat these next few months. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a warmer than average summer for Pennsylvania. Here are seven lakes to consider whether you are looking to plan a day trip or a week-long visit.
- Raystown Lake, Hesston PA
At 8,300 acres, Raystown Lake is the largest lake completely within Pennsylvania’s borders. The lake has public access beaches, extensive hiking and biking trails, and allows fishing.
When it comes to lodging, you can choose to stay at a nearby hotel, at a campsite, or even rent a houseboat to sleep in! Visitors that come on the weekend can join Farm Tour Fridays from June 17 to August 19. The program allows you to visit local farms and learn about beekeeping, meet alpacas, or try a farm to table meal.
- Kinzua Lake, Bradford PA
Kinzua Lake, also known as the Allegheny Reservoir, sits in the Allegheny National Forest. Visitors can choose between two public beaches to swim at, and there are picnic areas around the park for eating.
If you want to spend part of your time off the water, the Allegheny National Forest has over 600 miles of trails to travel, which allow for hiking, ATV riding, and mountain biking in the summer.
For people planning to spend the night, there are ten campgrounds in the national forest with varying sizes and facilities, or you can call the Kinzua Wolf Run Marina to rent a houseboat to sleep in.
- Beltzville Lake, Lehighton PA
Beltzville Lake is a 949-acre lake by the Beltzville State Park. The lake has a 525-foot beach that remains open from May to mid-September, with an on-site bathhouse for changing and concessions.
There are 15 miles of trails for hiking and biking. Trails vary in length, and follow wooded paths, old roads, and mowed walkways. After a push from local residents, an original covered bridge built in 1841 was relocated to be between the picnic areas and the beach.
The Beltzville State Park also offers educational and recreational programs from March to October. Visitors can join guided walks, hands-on activities, and other programs to learn about the natural and historical resources in the park.
- Memorial Lake, Grantville PA
Memorial Lake has large public beaches for swimming, boating, and fishing. There are also picnic tables in shady groves, along the shore, and by lookout areas providing beautiful views of the lake. Charcoal grills are found throughout the park. For people planning a larger gathering, there are two 70 person picnic pavilions that are open for reservations, or on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Visitors can also hike through the park, which contains a butterfly garden and is a major birding attraction, especially during migration seasons.
- Presque Isle State Park, Erie PA
Presque Isle State Park is a sandy peninsula that stretches into Lake Erie. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources calls it Pennsylvania’s only seashore, and the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at the base of the peninsula offers learning experiences for anyone interested in the local environment and wildlife. The State Park allows several activities, “including swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling, and in-line skating.”
- Ohiopyle State Park, Ohiopyle PA
Ohiopyle State Park offers a variety of activities including hiking, whitewater boating, and biking. However, one of the most unique aspects of the park is the natural water slides of Meadow Run. The sandstone base provides a slick surface, and the water comes through at the right speed to propel you through curves and into a deep pool at the end of the slide.
- Lake Wallenpaupack, Lakeville PA
The second largest lake in Pennsylvania, Lake Wallenpaupack is a popular destination for swimming, fishing, and watersports. Kayaks, jet skis, boats, and water skis are all available for rent on the lake, and boating tours can be booked from nearby businesses from Spring to Fall. Kipp Island in Lake Wallenpaupack is also home to nesting bald eagles, allowing you to go bald eagle watching at the lake every summer.