Nestled in on the side of Locust Mountain and surrounded by beautiful forests, Locust Lake State Park is renowned for its great RV camping facilities and incredible nature. The crown jewel of the park is the 52-acre Locust Lake that is the perfect location for recreational activities or just chilling out.
The history of Locust Lake State Park predates European settlers as it was used by various Native American Tribes, such as the Lenape, Susquehannocks, and New York Iroquios League of Five Nations Native Americans. By the early 20th century the forests found in the area were gone and the land was used for farming before the lake was built and the land sold to The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The park offers many different recreational activities, including hiking, biking and those based around the use of the lake, such as boating, fishing and swimming. Camping at the park is spectacular as some of the sites overlook the gorgeous lake. There are two different campgrounds for visitors to the park, but one only serves tent campers. In total there are 77 electric sites that offer 50 amp connections along with water hookups and 125 non-electric that also have water available. Pets are allowed at some specific campsites and peak season runs from May until September.
RV Rentals in Locust Lake State Park
Transportation in Locust Lake State Park
The most common way to access the park is by taking I-81, which is located above the park and is a major road. The entrance to the park is in the northwest area and it serves as the access road to the camping grounds. If you are coming from the south the park is quite hard to get to if you have a big rig as there are winding roads that are heavily treed.
Mahanoy City is the closest town to the park and is around five miles from the entrance. Here you can find supplies such as gas and groceries. Other towns close-by include Lower Shaft (around nine and a half miles away), Frackville (around 10 miles away), and Girardville (around 13 miles away).
If you plan on just parking at Locust Lake and not staying the night you may have a problem finding a place to park due to its popularity. You won't be allowed to drop people off at the beach, and there are only a small number of parking spaces in this area that are exclusively reserved for those with disability permits. The only place to park for day-use is at the Visitors Center and then walk around half a mile to the beach.
Campgrounds and parking in Locust Lake State Park
Campsites in Locust Lake State Park
Locust Lake State Park
While there are two campgrounds at Locust Lake State Park, only one is available for RV use. Despite that, this campground is fantastic and offers a wide variety of different site locations and services. There are 77 electric sites in the campground that have water and 50 amp connections. A further 125 non-electric sites are also available that also come with water hookups. Having water hookups at all sites is rare for a campground so kudos to Locust Lake State Park for including this awesome feature. Pets are only allowed at specific sites, so check before you reserve if you have a pet that you can use the site you chose.
Other amenities in the campground include flush toilets, showers, dump station. playground, ADA disability sites and a campground concession store. Phone reception is available throughout the campground and the closest stores are around five miles away in Mahanoy City. Camping is open during the winter, weather permitting. Check the online reservation site to make sure that it is if you are thinking of coming during that time. Reservations can be made up to one year in advance.
Whether you want to hike part of the Appalachian Trail or hit the roller coasters at Hershey Park, Allentown KOA in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania could be your next destination. Located in a beautiful valley, campers that stay here enjoy nearly 40 acres of natural seclusion featuring a stream that travels the length of the land. The campground is alcohol-free, to create a more family-friendly environment. Centrally located, you can easily take trips into NYC, Philadelphia, or the Poconos. on-site, enjoy a rec center that has planned activities including movies and arts & crafts. There is also hiking available, both on-site and nearby. Other amenities include two large playgrounds, a half court basketball court, heated pool, cable, Wi-Fi, and full RV hookups. Each RV site is a pull-through and can accommodate up to an 80-foot rig.
Jonestown / Hershey NE KOA
Recharge your batteries any time of the year at Jonestown/Hershey NE KOA, featuring accomodations to make your stay the best. Just a quick drive or shuttle away from downtown Hershey. With 100 foot, level pull-through sites powered with 50-amp service bring almost any sized rig or tent. The general store is a perfect stop for those sweet and salty cravings. Along the Swatara Creek, at Jonestown/Hershey NE KOA, partake in fishing, swimming, and enjoy access to rentals for kayaking, canoeing, or tubing on-site. You can bike here, too! Relax with a show on cable TV, stay connected with Wi-Fi, or kick back underneath the pavilion.
Seasonal activities in Locust Lake State Park
The most popular summer activity in Locust Lake State Park is to get in the lake and go swimming. There is a sandy beach on the banks of the lake that is open at the end of May to the middle of September for you to enjoy. You will be able to tell which areas you can swim in thanks to the buoys that float in the lake. If you need concessions they are available from the camp store. Smoking is not allowed on the beach and in the swimming area.
Another popular summer activity is doing some boating out on the lake. There is one boat launch to get you on Locust Lake and the lake allows for both motorboats and non-motorized boats. If you want to boat but you don't have a vessel, there is a seasonal boat rental concession that offers canoes, paddleboards, kayaks, rowboats, and pedal boats. There are some conditions for boats using the lake that should be followed at all times, such as having a registration permit. Boats from outside of Pennsylvania will also need a state park permit (either launching or mooring) in order to use the lake.
Locust Lake is a great place to throw out a line and try to catch a big one no matter the time of year. Anglers can fish in the lake via watercraft, from the banks of the lake, or from the fishing pier (which is also ADA accessible). Locust Lake is home to many different species of fish, including brown trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, panfish, and pickerel, so you have the chance to catch many different fish.
Locust Lake State Park is a haven for hikers with over six miles of trails available for you to explore. There are four main trails in the park that wind through different parts of the forest and woodland. If you want a challenge, the Oak Loop Trails is the longest at around four miles and the most difficult to hike in the park. This trail encircles a ridge that is covered by a mature forest so you will see some amazing scenery.
During the established seasons you will be able to hunt in Locust State Park if that's your thing. There will be around 1,700 acres available for you to explore which are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs. There are special regulations areas within the park that allow only bow and arrow and flintlock muzzleloader hunting. Common species to hunt include pheasant, deer, rabbit, turkey, squirrel, grouse and dove. Hunting of woodchucks is not allowed and you should check in at the park office before you start hunting.
Once the winter really sets in, Locust Lake can freeze over and transform into a winter wonderland where you can skate the day away. The lake is most popular with people who want to just skate around, but you could also break out the hockey sticks for some more high-octane fun. Ice thickness levels on the lake are not regularly monitored, so you will need to make sure that it is all good to skate on before you head out. You must also bring your own skates and other equipment as there are no rentals available.