Camping Near Philadelphia: Enjoy the Outdoors

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The Philadelphia area is so well-known for its food and history, but did you know it is also surrounded by some great places to go camping? As summer slowly approaches, there’s no better way to kick back and enjoy the warmth than by spending some time outdoors.

There are plenty of campgrounds near Philly, but not all offer the same experience. We’ve put together a list of incredible places to go camping near Philadelphia.

French Creek State Park

Lake in French Creek State Park
Enjoy fishing at French Creek

Located in Elverson, Pennsylvania, this park has the largest block of connected forest between New York City and Washington D.C. It is filled with a vast number of wildlife species and attracts people from far and wide. French Creek is also one of the best state parks in the Philly area to explore.

French Creek is best known for its family-friendly camping activities. Since it is close to the city, it is an excellent location for kids. You can spend time on these 7,700 acres of land and enjoy bird watching, biking, swimming, or fishing. You can also rent one of the yurts, which are equipped with fancy fire pits for story-time and marshmallows, as well as cooktops and fridges. 

Mauch Chunk Lake Park

Kayakers on lake
The lake is best viewed from the water (photo: Jared Archer/Shutterstock)

Mauch Chunk Lake Park is another great location for camping near Philly. Established in August 1974, it is located in Jim Thorpe and was recognized as the National Watershed of the Year in 1978. This park started out as a means to control flooding in the area. It also served as an opportunity to provide recreation to the community.

Mauch Chunk Lake Park currently receives over 150,000 guests every year. Families who are looking to spend some quality time outdoors come here to enjoy camping, boating, swimming, biking, hiking, and fishing.

The park has 135 different sites, and these include a lakefront tent, group camps, and exclusive camping cottages. The park also has a store that sells firewood, snacks, and other camping essentials.

Fort Washington State Park

Fort Washington State Park is one of the closest locations for camping near Philadelphia, located just a few miles outside of the city in Montgomery County. It is the perfect location for a day trip and offers beautiful hiking trails.

This park is not so big, so there are only four places to pitch a tent. However, these spots are very beautiful and will provide the ultimate outdoor experience for visitors. Other activities to enjoy here include bird watching and climbing the park’s observation platform.

While there aren’t state parks to go camping in Philadelphia, this is the closest you’ll get.

Lake Raystown Resort

Lake viewed through trees
A great spot for boating! (photo: Christian Hinkle/Shutterstock)

Located in Entriken, Pennsylvania, this is one of the most popular locations for camping in Pennsylvania. A full-service resort set beside a beautiful body of water, this camping location occupies three peninsulas on the Raystown Lake.

It has such an immaculate landscape and offers different types of accommodations for guests. You can choose from the houseboats, villas, yurts, cabins, bungalows, and a lodge. Lake Raystown Resort also has outstanding campsites where you can fully enjoy the great outdoors. Categorized from basic to supersites, every single campsite has access to clean water, 30-50 amp electricity, cable hook-ups, and wireless internet.

Picnic tables are also available for guests to use. The lake is accessible for every sort of water activity. Be sure to come with your own tents. Trailers and RVs are also welcome on site.

Cape Henlopen

Trail leading to beach
There’s a gorgeous beach and a lighthouse (Photo: Yvonne Navalaney/Shutterstock)

Located in Lewes, Delaware, Cape Henlopen is awash with loads of fun beach activities at one of Delaware’s best beaches. This location also features lots of hiking and biking trails that are accessible all year round.

One major attraction at this site is the World War II Observation Tower which offers spectacular 360-degree views of the area. You can also find the military bunker, which offers views of the Atlantic Coastline. This location is perfect for a solo traveler. Start your day with a walk along the Pinelands Nature Trail or the seaside and bask in the beautiful sounds of nature. Listen to the waves as your toes dig into the silky soft sand.

If you plan to visit with your family, be sure to bring your tent. The campsites can also accommodate a full-sized RV. Cabins are available for rent as well.

Belleplain State Forest 

Lake with pine trees
The pine trees of South Jersey (photo: Thom Hall/Shutterstock)

Surrounding the beautiful Lake Nummy in Upper Township, New Jersey, Belleplain State Forest is a nature wonderland. Head down here to enjoy some of the best camping near Philadelphia.

This vast state forest has tons of open spaces for camping. It is also a great location for hiking, biking, and swimming. You can rent a cabin, but the space is vast enough to accommodate a trailer or an RV as well. The campsites here are pet-friendly and typically cost between $25 and $60.

Ricketts Glen State Park

Waterfall, with wooden stairs on the right side
Don’t miss the Onondaga Falls (photo: Jon Bilous/Shutterstock)

This is one of the secluded campgrounds near Philadelphia. It is located in Benton, Pennsylvania – about 3 hours drive from Philly. The park features several elevated overnight options such as cottages, trailer sites, tents, and cabins. It also offers a 200-amp electric service and a great water supply.

It is an excellent location for exploring lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and picnicking. This park also has 21 breathtaking waterfalls that can be seen while hiking. During winter, you can enjoy snowmobiling and skiing here. Be sure to call ahead and make reservations before heading out.

Cherry Springs State Park

Star photo of Milky Way galaxy above trees at night
A great spot for stargazing (photo: Michael Ridall/Shutterstock)

Cherry Springs State Park is a 4 hour drive from Philly. Located at the New York-Pennsylvania state border, in Potter County, Pennsylvania, it is perfect for a road trip and camping adventure.

The nights here are really dark with very clear skies, and this makes it a great location for stargazing. You can also enjoy spending time on the beach and hitting any of the numerous hiking trails.

There are a couple of campground options for guests. You can go with a rustic non-electric campground and enjoy the full natural camping experience. You could also choose to stay at the Overnight Astronomy Observation Field.

Wharton State Forest

Wooden cabin along shore of lake
Pure tranquility! (photo: Zhiwei Huang/Shutterstock)

For a more affordable Philadelphia camping experience, head on to Wharton State Forest in New Jersey. Prices here run as low as $5 per person. The campsites here are vast and can accommodate trailers, tents, and RVs.

You will enjoy spending time with nature as you hike, swim, or explore the waters in a canoe or kayak. Be sure to check out the historic Batsto Village nearby.

Of course, this is only a brief selection of camping locations near Philadelphia. There are countless more, including in nearly all the Pennsylvania state parks. If you want to get away from the city without being too far, this list should help provide you with a few ideas.

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