These Are the Best Spots to Go Camping Near Philadelphia

Four camping sites in the Philly area that can scratch your itch for pretty scenery, fresh air, and adventure.

There’s still plenty of time to go camping at one of these picturesque spots, like Ricketts Glenn State Park. / Photograph by Intrepid00 on Flickr/Creative Commons

This strange, unpredictable summer has us wanting to spend more time outdoors than ever — which is maybe why everyone and their brother seems to be on a camping trip. Don’t worry if you haven’t boldly ventured out into the great outdoors for a camping weekend yet. There’s still plenty of time to test your prowess in nature, improve your tent-building abilities, and prove your mettle against woodland spiders.

Moreover, camping at the end of summer and beginning of fall is ideal, because you can —in a perfect world — enjoy cooler nights and less humidity. As we round out a particularly sultry August, we need distractions and new activities more than ever. And, woodsy activities like hiking and camping (with proper social distancing measures, of course) offer some beneficial time in nature, which could be helpful in defeating any oncoming back-to-school blues. So, why not clear out a weekend on your calendar for some good old-fashioned sleeping outdoors? Below, four top picks for where to pitch a tent around Philly.

If you want to learn more about the great outdoors …

Go to: French Creek State Park in Elverson, Pennsylvania

This state park offers the largest block of connected forests between Washington, D.C., and New York City and is a known oasis for people and wildlife alike. Your time at French Creek can be action-packed with swimming in the pool, fishing, and biking — or spent relaxing comfortably in a fancy yurt equipped with fire pits, fridges (!!), and cook tops. The coolest part? It’s great for first-time campers or families with young children because French Creek is so close to the city that you could easily just head back to town if things don’t go your way. Here’s to hoping you make it through the weekend, though! Starting at $21 per night. 

If you want to see waterfalls …

Go to: Ricketts Glen State Park in Benton, Pennsylvania

Take a tour of Ricketts Glen’s 21 ahh-inducing waterfalls on the Falls Trail, a 3.2-mile loop of moderate difficulty that leads you in and around most of the waterfalls, displaying the park’s beauty in all its glory. After you work up a sweat climbing through the falls, cool off with a swim at the park’s Lake Jean, where canoe and kayak adventures are welcome as well. When it’s time to hit the hay, set up your tent and sleeping bags in the park’s campground. Starting at $19 per night. 

If you want to be near the beach …

Go to: Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Delaware

Located close by the Cape May ferry drop-off, Cape Henlopen is just a short walk from the beach, so you can indulge in fishing, swimming, or kayaking. You may want to reserve a much larger and sandier tent-only site well ahead of time for more privacy, because Henlopen tends to get crowded with people escaping the city in summer. The park also offers themed hikes such as a search for reptiles or ghost crabs. Bird and dolphin watching and disc golf are a couple other activities to add to your agenda. Starting at $20 per night.

If you want to canoe …

Go to: Wharton State Forest in New Jersey

Picturesque Wharton State Forest is the largest forest in the state and located in the Pine Barrens. This getaway boasts countless number of rivers, streams and hiking trails perfect for fishing, swimming, or canoeing. In addition, pet-friendly sites are available if you want to take your pup. Starting at $20. 

Additional reporting by Seraphina DiSalvo. This post was updated on August 24th, 2020. 

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