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Parks, Forests, Trails Help Make Pennsylvania — The Great American Getaway

June 12, 2024 12:00 AM
By: DCNR

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​Leading up to and over the Memorial Day weekend, Governor Josh Shapiro unveiled Pennsylvania’s new state tourism brand and summer travel marketing campaign to encourage more people to travel across and visit the Commonwealth -- Pennsylvania: The Great American Getaway​.

Governor Shapiro and his family visited more than 50 stops and 14 counties and enjoyed several outdoor experiences on public lands.

The First Family joined millions of visitors across the Commonwealth who were kicking off the summer with outdoor adventures and campfires in Pennsylvania’s 124 state parks and more than two million acres of state forests on the holiday weekend.

“This is the first time a sitting Governor spent the night at a state park in an official capacity,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “As the Governor highlighted, our parks, forests, and trails provide world-class outdoor experiences including cycling, stargazing, hiking, and boating that make Pennsylvania an amazing weekend getaway destination.”

The Governor’s tour included:

  • Five state parks
  • One national forest
  • Two trails
  • One astronomy field
  • Two outstanding geological features

Ohiopyle State Park

Two people ride bikes on flat gravel trail through dense trees and green foliage in Ohiopyle State Park.

Governor Shapiro and his family arrived at the train station in Ohiopyle State Park to start their bike ride along the Great Allegheny Passage.

After the ride, First Lady Lori Shapiro and the Shapiro kids enjoyed lunch at the nearby Lucky Dog Café.

Ohiopyle is the southern gateway to the beautiful Laurel Highlands​ and the Youghiogheny River that runs through the park provides some of the best whitewater boating in the eastern United States.

Lyman Run State Park

Governor Josh Shapiro and family at a picnic table at night next to Recreational Vehicle at a campsite at Lyman Run State Park.

On to Lyman Run State Park in the Potter County, where Governor Shapiro became the first sitting governor to spend the night in a state park in an official capacity.

The family stayed in a recreation vehicle (RV) in one of the park’s 35 RV and tent campsites.

Lyman Run has a 45-acre lake with a swimming beach that makes it a great destination for families and provides a launch point for other locations in the Pennsylvania Wilds​.

Leonard Harrison State Park

Governor Josh Shapiro and family at vista overlooking Pennsylvania Grand Canyon at Leonard Harrison State Park at sunset.

Timing was right, and the Shapiro family gazed out over Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon from its rim at Leonard Harrison State Park just as the sun was setting.

What could be more Instagram worthy for your next weekend getaway?

Be prepared and test yourself on the one-mile but steep Turkey Path Trail​ at the park that offers scenic views of the Pine Creek Gorge and waterfalls.

Cherry Springs State Park

Group of people in the distance illuminated by red lighting underneath dark sky and stars at Cherry Springs State Park.

Night sky enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Cherry Springs State Park​ in Potter County for its dark skies which are famous for great views of the Milky Way, planets, and hard-to-see astronomical objects and phenomena.

State park environmental educators offer a number of in-person and virtual programs​ at the park, and the Governor and his family enjoyed a full moon and observing the night sky with park staff.

Hickory Run State Park

Large smooth rocks stretch across large field with green trees in the distance at Hickory Run State Park.

Leaving the Pennsylvania Wilds and heading east, the Governor and his family spent their second night in a park at Hickory Run State Park in the Pocono Mountains.

At almost 16,000-acres, Hickory Run State Park​ in Carbon County offers opportunities for a variety of outdoor pursuits from disc golf to ice skating.

Many people visit for its unique geologic feature -- a striking field of boulders that is a National Natural Landmark.

Stay the Night in Pennsylvania Parks and Forests

There are nearly 7,000 overnight sites available in Pennsylvania state parks from tent sites to the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle, and rugged wilderness camping experiences in state forests if that’s what calls you.

Reserve a spot online​ up to 11-months in advance.

During the day, Pennsylvania’s 124 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forests are beautiful and free to visit -- and with 72 million people within four hours’ driving distance, the Commonwealth is truly The Great American Getaway!


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