As a kid, I spent a fair amount of time at the state parks in our region. I have great memories of swimming in the lakes at Moraine, Keystone or Laurel Hill, then picnic dinners and short hikes before sleepy drives home. For many years, our big family vacation involved driving two hours or so north to spend a few days at the Presque Isle beaches.
As a much bigger kid, I now fully appreciate our free access to these beautiful lands. Even if you’re not terribly outdoorsy (I promise you, I’m not), you can still get so much out of braving the Kinzua Bridge skywalk or learning about the fossils on Ferncliff Peninsula at Ohiopyle.
Ready to go on an adventure? A full list of the state parks can be found on Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website, and the Library has books about some of the local parks available in the catalog:
- Pennsylvania State Parks: A Complete Outdoor Recreation Guide for Campers, Boaters, Anglers, Hikers and Outdoor Lovers
- Moraine State Park
- McConnell’s Mill State Park, Pennsylvania
- The Cook Forest: An Island in Time
- Presque Isle State Park
PCN also produced a few tours that are available on DVD, including Cook Forest, Ohiopyle, Presque Isle, Pymatuming, McConnell’s Mill and Raccoon Creek.
Want to be prepared to make even more of your visit?
- Identify trees and flowers on your hike with Pennsylvania Trees & Wildlife: An Introduction to Familiar Species or A Guide to Common Pennsylvania Wildflowers
- Be confident out on the water with Basic Illustrated Canoe Paddling or Illustrated Handbook of Kayaking, Canoeing & Sailing
- Spend a night (or two) under the star with Basic Illustrated Camping or Camping in the Old Style
And even if hiking or canoeing isn’t your style, there is nothing wrong with bringing a good book and relaxing by the water.
Jess is the Clerical Specialist at the Woods Run branch on the North Side. She’s your girl for YA lit, romance novels and knitting.