10 Stunning Beaches To Explore In Your Next Pennsylvania Vacation (2024)
Pennsylvania is blessed with nearly 60 miles of shoreline; however, it isn’t along the ocean but along the beautiful Lake Erie. Lake Erie is the 11th largest lake in the world and the 4th largest of North America’s five Great Lakes. It is also the warmest and most biologically productive of all five, and a small portion of its 871 miles of shoreline lies within the State of Pennsylvania. Coming here from most parts of the world, visitors often expect the lake shoreline as some small, compact space, but thanks to the larger than landlocked ocean covering, the shoreline here leaves no chances to impress.
While Swimming in the United States, the Pennsylvania beaches might not come first to your mind, but these unique areas are definitely worth it during the scorching summer months. Most of the beaches in Pennsylvania State appears after passing through the huge State and National forests, but once you reach the coast amidst the forests, every single view makes your efforts worthwhile.
10 Stunning Beaches To Explore In Your Next Pennsylvania Vacation
So even if you are not fond of lakeside beaches, on your next trip to Pennsylvania, you must certainly check a few.
1. Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach
Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach is a family-owned beach and one of the most serene recreational spots in Pennsylvania. Today’s Gretna Lake was once the historic Lake Conewango; thus, its existence dates back to the 18th century. Though a small beachfront, being here is a unique experience on its own. The beach offers seasonal operations from Memorial Day through Labour Day with a paid entry for everyone above 4 years of age. A tree loaded mountain range covers the beach from each side, transforming its beauty and views to another level. No matter you are new or well-versed with swimming, there are plenty of lifeguards and shallow roped areas for utmost safety. The recreation lawn and picnic grove adjacent to the beach adds up for a full fun-packed experience.
2. Poe Valley State Park Beach
Poe Valley State Park Beach is another pretty beach located amidst the lush green wooded settings. Inside the State parks lies the 25 acres of Poe Lake that arguably provides for one of the beautiful stretches of soft sandy beach in Pennsylvania. Sand around the beach is soft and warm, whereas once you dip into the water, it definitely will calm down all your nerves with the coldness. The lake isn’t protected by lifeguards, though it isn’t really deep as well. Visitors can even launch their paddle boat, canoe, or kayak and even the registered electric motorboats. Fishing is another famous activity at the Poe Lake beach, and one does not require any permit for that. Visitors can be here only from Memorial Day through Labour Day. Ice skating and ice fishing activities are flourished here during winters, though timings and permission have to be checked with the officials.
3. Kohler Beach
Kohler Beach or the beach 11 of Presque Isle Beaches is one of the most sheltered and shallow beaches in the region. The calmness of the beach makes it ideal for a family-friendly vacation and specifically if you have kids along. The shoreline here is broad and flat with gentle water and almost no waves at all. It has some of the shallowest waters in the State, and even if you have newbies or small kids along, this beach is one of the safest destinations to be at. There’s also a playground for kids and some concessions stationed nearby selling some lip-smacking snacks and drinks. Only make sure you check the operational days before heading towards the beach.
4. Palmyra Township Public Beach
A leisured picnic or a quick dip, everything is fun when you are at the Palmyra Township Public Beach. The Palmyra Township Public Beach takes you near the waters of Lake Wallenpaupack, the second largest lake (entirely contained) in Pennsylvania. It gets excessively crowded in summers, and if you want an authentic beach experience in the State, then there isn’t a better location than this. Boating and kayaking are some popular activities here, though one has to ensure the speed limit as per day time and guidelines. Lake Wallenpaupack also offers fishing opportunities, and kids under 16 can fish even without a license. Though if you are a parent monitoring them, make sure you have a fishing license.
5. Bald Eagle State Park Beach
1,200-foot-long sand and surf beach, the Bald Eagle State Park Beach in Pennsylvania is an expansive space and a dreamland for any beach enthusiast. It covers the Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir that offers a beautiful 23 miles of shoreline. Swimming is permitted on the beach, though if you are a beginner, avoid getting far into the water. Considering it is huge in size, the crowd here does not feel excessive, and one can relax in peace without getting disturbed by fellow visitors. Horse powered motorboats are allowed in the lake though one has to follow the 45-mph speed limit and counter clockwise pattern to the boat. Nearby the beach, there’s also a children’s playground, restrooms and changing rooms. Image Source:
6. Harveys Lake Beach
Harveys Lake Beach in Pennsylvania is more of a green beach than those of regularly sandy stretch. It is also named Sunset beach, thanks to the beautiful sunset views and picturesque skies that can be captured from the beach. Swimming here is one of the favourite time-pass, though it is confined to roped areas, and if there are kids, adult supervision is compulsory. Even though it is one of the most heavily used areas in the region, there is lesser safety and guidance from an authority; thus, make sure you are extremely cautious of each step. The end of July also hosts the Arts on the Beach event that is full of food, fun, music, dance, raffle baskets, art contest and a lot more options for fun and enjoyment.
7. Black Moshannon State Park Beach
Black Moshannon State Park Beach in Pennsylvania is home to the Black Moshannon, ideal for swimming or spending a day in leisure and relaxation under the sun. The beach is formed around one side of the 250-acre Black Moshannon, whereas the entire remaining portion is covered with a lush green forested settlement. The water here is mostly tea-coloured; however safe for swimming and other fun activities (avoid swallowing the water, though). Fishing and boating as well are allowed in the lake, though electric boats are strictly prohibited. The beach area is shallow, small and sheltered, ideal if you are here with kids. For Pennsylvanian locals who are looking for some peace out of their hustle and bustle life schedule, the Black Moshannon is any day one fine spot.
8. Raccoon Creek State Park Beach
One of the cosiest, quiet and less crowded beaches in Pennsylvania, the beach at Raccoon Creek State Park is ideal for recreation and rejuvenation. It is a 500-foot sandy beach surrounding Raccoon Lake, though most of the part here is grassy rather than the authentic sandy beaches like. One can visit the site for boating, swimming, taking a dip in the lake, but what holds the maximum charm here is definitely the fishing experience. Raccoon Lake is full of large and smallmouth bass, bullhead catfish, yellow perch, crappie, walleye, muskellunge, and bluegills. The entire area is quite clean, and you can bathrooms, changing stalls, concession stands, along with several picnic tables around.
9. Laurel Hill State Park Beach
The 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake opens up the way to the 1,200-foot sandy beach. The beach area is a go-to spot for fishing, swimming, dipping, boating and kayaking, but what draws the major share of the crowd here are the beach side picnic facilities. The locals of the region operate snack stands and concession stands; thus, you won’t have to take along those heavy picnic eateries with you. However make sure you carry cash along as the stalls here does not deal in any kind of digital payment, and there are no ATM’s around. Sledging and snowshoeing activities bloom during winters, though the ice thickness isn’t measured and getting into the fun here is totally a choice full of risk. There’s also a small playground at the beach.
10. Conneaut Lake Beach
Conneaut Lake Beach, though, is a lake fed beach but because you cannot see it on another end; it looks no less than an ocean beach. Conneaut Lake is also Pennsylvania’s largest beach, and the vibe here is more like of the Pacific Coast beaches and lesser of what you would have generally explored in the State. The beach park is also home to one magnificent amusement site; it isn’t something modern, but being here feels like walking back into the past. Considering the beach is adjacent to the amusement park, you would find half of the Crawford County locals enjoying their time here, thus do not expect to find some peace or free space here. However, the unique combination of beach and amusement park under $10 is worth more than what you will pay and expect.
- Most of the Pennsylvania beaches are operational only from Memorial Day to Labour Day that too with limited timings (for the day). Make sure you check that beforehand planning your trip.
- As a lot of beaches in Pennsylvania are a part of State Parks, accessing them will require you to take entry to the park first (check for passes, entry fee, entry hours etc).