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5 Great Places to Camp Near Philly

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Camping outside is more than just a chance to make s’mores (as key as that may be). It also provides the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family, reconnect with the natural world and strengthen important life skills. Plus, recent research has linked this traditional pastime with real, tangible health benefits.

Spending time in forest environments, for example, is linked with lower concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol, lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure compared to city environments, according to several studies. In another experiment, scientists found that exposure to only natural light—meaning no phones or flashlights—helped reset campers’ internal body clocks. Even better, being around nature can strengthen your body’s immune system, possibly thanks to nature’s conduciveness to deep relaxation, one review suggests.

Reap the benefits for yourself by booking a campground at one of these sites just outside Philly. Call ahead for the latest information on each park’s reservation process and the social distancing guidelines in place. Travel restrictions may remain in effect. And once you get the go-ahead,  don’t forget to pack the s’mores.

Hibernia County Park — Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Explore over 900 acres of trails or drop a line in Brandywine Creek at this Chester County park. The campsites—open weekends May through October—also welcome pets, so bring the family pooch along (on a leash, of course).

Mauch Chunk Lake Park — Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

For those who prefer glamping to camping, the modern facilities as this Carbon County campground include camping cottages, pavilions with kitchen areas, restrooms and hot showers. Each site reservation also comes with beach and swimming access. Prefer to stay dry? Explore the 345-acre lake via rented canoe, kayak, rowboat or paddleboat instead.

Wharton State Forest — Hammonton, New Jersey

Combine your camping trip with a history lesson at this southern New Jersey park, home to a late-18th century Pine Barrens village. Tour up to 33 historic buildings and structures (including a mansion, gristmill, sawmill and general store) during the day and then pitch your tent at one of the many campgrounds scattered throughout the forest for the night.

French Creek State Park — Elverson, Pennsylvania

Bring your binoculars to French Creek State Park, officially dubbed an important bird area by the National Audubon Society. The wetlands (including a 90-acre pine swamp) are home to ducks, herons, warblers and kingfishers. Overnight guests can retreat to traditional campsites as well as yurts, modern cabins or smaller cottages.

Ricketts Glen State Park — Benton, Pennsylvania

Take in 22 different waterfalls along this scenic trail system, including the 94-foot Ganoga Falls, and then grab ice cream from the Lake Jean concession stand. Ricketts Glen campers have access to restrooms and warm showers, but furnished cabins and deluxe cottages can also host your group overnight.

Get more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.