Looking for a family-friendly RV getaway destination in northeastern Pennsylvania? If so, you need to check out Lackawanna State Park. Featuring 1,445-acres with a 198-acre lake, Lackawanna State Park provides year-round recreation for campers from all walks of life. The lake is the central attraction offering an idyllic setting for fishing, swimming, and boating. There are plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy from ice skating and sledding in the winter, to biking and horseback riding in the summer.
Lackawanna is an Indian American word that means “the meeting of two streams.” Lackawanna State Park in Dalton, Pennsylvania is the embodiment of that word and houses four tributaries along with the Lackawanna Lake. Located just 10 miles north of Scranton, the park has a rich history starting many years before 1805 when one of the first settlers came to call this place his home. Dr. Maurice Goddard, the secretary of the Department of Forests and Waters, started an initiative to create parks within 25 miles of residential areas. The park was opened in 1975 and since then has continued to serve as a place for family fun and adventure.
Along with having some great family-friendly recreational activities, the campground within the park is another huge plus. There are 102 sites for camping, with 68 of them being specifically for RVs. You can also stay in a yurt, cabin, tent, or go group camping during your visit. Lackawanna State Park serves as a wonderful RV destination to sit back and enjoy the beauty of mother nature in the Keystone State, so hit the road and come check it out!
Lackawanna State Park can easily be reached off I-81, with close proximity to Scranton, Clarks Green, and surrounding towns near Dalton, Pennsylvania. Those who have reservations should go directly to the campgrounds on Fair Grounds Road. You will need to stop by the Campground Contact Station to pay for any permits and licenses you may need. Those who do not have a reservation should head to the main office to pay for park entrance fees and other permits they might need. With Scranton being within 10 miles, you can easily stock up on groceries and do a little shopping in town.
The road leading into the park is a bit hilly and narrow, so it’s best to drive slowly and be on the lookout for the entrance. A large sign will welcome you to the park and provide directions as to where you may want to go next. The roads are well maintained, and the Rangers make it their duty to greet each visitor and assist them in finding the correct loop.
The campground’s high elevation helps to prevent excess flooding, but be advised that the campground may close due to bad weather. Be sure to watch the forecast for the days of your travel and remember to pack a jacket as the nights can get pretty chilly. In the event of inclement weather, the park will reach out to its visitors and provide a plan of action to secure your safety.
The park is spread out around Lackawanna Lake, but parking is available in several areas on different sides of the lake. The largest section with parking is located on the north end of the lake, which is where you will find the campgrounds and boat rental area. Parking is available towards the northeastern end of the lake by Bullhead Bay where you find a boat launch. You can also head to the southern side of the lake near the South Shore where you will find parking by another boat launch or near the Park Office.
Widely regarded as being a fantastic place to stay for RV lovers of all ages, Lackawanna State Park is waiting for you to call home during your visit. The campground is very unique since there are multiple loops for you to choose from, including some like the Little Fern Loop that only has five spots while some loops can accommodate over 50 rigs. The campground is suited to smaller rigs, so only RVs 40 feet in length or smaller will be able to stay here.
In total, there are 68 RV sites to choose from, including 56 that are equipped with either 30- or 50-amp connections. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring so that you can cook smores to your heart's content. Campground-wide amenities include water collection points, pet-friendly loops, restrooms, hot showers, and a dump station.
Reservations for the Lackawanna State Park Campground can be made up to 11 months in advance, and it is open from the second Friday in April until mid-October.
If you did not make a reservation in advance, you may be able to snag an open spot if any are available throughout the campground loops. Make sure to check in with the park rangers when you arrive if you have not reserved a site so they can help you out finding somewhere to stay. If any sites are available, they will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Arriving without a reservation during the summertime means that you are risking not having anywhere to stay since it is a popular destination during the peak season.
Want to get out of the RV for a bit? Lackawanna State Park has some great alternative camping options, including three cottages within the Carpentertown loop. These camping cottages are suitable for up to five people and are equipped with bunk beds, a porch, electric lights, and power outlets. The cottages are on the more rustic side, so there are no kitchen or restroom facilities available, but you can make use of the campground amenities.
The cottages are available to reserve online like all campgrounds, so if you are thinking of using one during your stay reserving in advance is a must since there are only three available.
Another alternate camping option that you have available to enjoy at Lackawanna State Park are the two yurts that are also located within the Carpentertown loop. The yurts have two sets of bunk beds, so they are suitable for four or five people and will give you the chance to experience calling in one of these unique structures home.
The yurts are a little more luxurious than the camping cottages and feature a small kitchen with a microwave oven, countertop, table, chairs, a fridge, electric heating, and electrical outlets. They can be reserved up to 11 months in advance, and since they are limited like the camping cottages, it is recommended that you book your reservation well in advance.
Want to do some tent camping during your visit? You will be pleased to know that the campground in Lackawanna State Park has 23 tent-only sites to choose from. Featuring a flat grassy area to pitch your tent, these sites are designated as modern, so you can expect to have water collection points at each site. Other site-specific amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post.
The tent-only sites are located in the Hemlock Grove and Ledges loops, but if you wish to camp in the other areas of the campground you can use the sites that are also RV-friendly. The tent-only sites are preferred by many since they are reserved for tents, so make sure to book a reservation prior to your arrival.
Lackawanna State Park is also a great place to visit if you want to find a place to go group camping. There are three group camping areas available inside the park and combined there is room for 160 people. The group camping area is only suited for tent camping, so no RVs will be able to stay here. There are no hookups available, but there are a shower house and multiple picnic tables, fire rings, and water collection points, so you won't have to head to the main campground area. Reservations for the group camping area can be made by calling the park office or by using the online reservation system.
Horseback riders are encouraged to bring their horse to the park due to the multi-use horse-friendly trails that are free for you to enjoy. There is an area for you to unload your horse along the northeastern section of the park near Wallsville Road, but there are no other developed equestrian facilities, so you will have to bring your own feed. Horses are not allowed on the walking trails, so remember to only keep to the trails that are designated as being multi-use.
The main picnic area at Lackawanna State Park overlooks the lake with a grill nearby and picnic tables for you to use. You may also choose to lay a blanket down on the grass to enjoy a lovely evening with family and friends. The smaller picnic areas are located near Bullhead Bay Boat Launch to the north and the States Creek Mooring Area to the southern end of the lake. There are grills and restrooms littered throughout the area for your convenience. The three picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance, so if you are visiting with a group you can book the picnic area prior to your arrival. Without a reservation, the area follows the first-come, first-served basis.
In the winter months, if the weather permits, the park’s staff will clear an area near the fishing pier to allow ice skating, so don’t forget to pack those ice skates in the RV. The staff do not monitor the thickness of the ice, so be sure to check it out before you go. Please remember to follow all safety regulations when on the ice. You must wear a life jacket and remember to spread out on the ice so as to not weaken it due to the number of people in one area.
Love to hike? There are 18 miles of trails specifically available just for hikers, so you have plenty of areas that you are free to explore during your visit. These trails are accessible via the campground and day-use areas, but if you want to do even more exploring there are also multi-use trails near the lake, woodlands, and fields. Remember to take a map of the trails with you for your own safety and be back within the developed area of the park before sundown.
One of the best features of the park during the summer months is the pool. Perfect for splashing around, the pool opens the weekend of Memorial Day and closes the weekend after Labor Day. There is no swimming allowed in the lake or surrounding ponds at any time during your stay, but hopping into the pool is a great way to cool off. Please remember to follow all safety regulations while in the water. The park also provides an ADA-compliant area to join in the water activities, so nobody will miss out on the fun.
Lake Lackawanna offers year-round fishing for anglers wanting to cast out a line. The 198-acre lake offers cold and warm water fishing and common species found in the lake include walleye, perch, channel catfish, and bass. There is a small pond on the northern side of the park for youth fishing for ages 12 and under too, so the little ones can have their own area to go fishing. You will need a valid fishing license before you are able to fish, with the exception to the rule is for visitors under the age of 17 years old.