With all the wonderful scenery and fun activities here, it’s no wonder that Raccoon Creek State Park is one of the most heavily visited parks in Pennsylvania. Located on the western edge of the state, near the Ohio border, it’s also one of the largest Pennsylvania parks, consisting of 7,752 acres of pure natural beauty.
This park had been providing visitors tranquility and entertainment since the 1930s when the Civilian Conservation Corps began to work on it to preserve the area and boost the economy. When you visit this park in your RV, you’ll be able to really get a feel for the historical significance here. You can learn all about what it was like in this area during the pioneer days, and you can actually see 142 tombstones of war veterans at the King’s Creek Cemetery. The earliest tombstones date all the way back to 1810, while the most recent are from 1906.
You can visit the park any time of the year. When you come during the warmer season, you’ll be able to enjoy all the trails -- whether hiking, biking or horseback riding on them. You’ll also have the opportunity to go for a refreshing swim, and even take the boat out on the 100-acre Raccoon Lake. There are plenty of places to set up for the perfect picnic too.
If you decide to visit during the snowy season, you’ll get to go ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and much more. There are so many fun opportunities when you bring your RV to Raccoon Creek State Park, and no matter what time of year you visit, you'll find a place to park the campervan and rest your head. The park's 172-site campground is open from April to October, and there are also a number of lodges and cabins open year-round.
Located in western Pennsylvania in Beaver County, Raccoon Creek State Park is just half an hour from Pittsburgh -- making the park highly accessible, even for those driving big rigs or hauling a trailer. Both US-30 and PA-18 run directly through the park, so no matter which direction you're coming from you'll have access to wide, paved roads. There are a few curves and gradual inclines, but nothing that will make maneuvering your RV rental too difficult. There is a bridge by the Route 30 entrance on the main park road that is often washed out, so you may need to take a detour to get around it. Another thing to be aware of is the driving restrictions that you might face at some of the campgrounds if you visit when there is a lot of snow.
There are little parking lots located all through the park at key places such as the trailheads. To avoid trouble with limited parking though, especially in a large RV, it’s best to set up your rig at a campsite, then take a smaller vehicle to get to where you need to go in the park. Biking is also allowed on park roads, so feel free to pack your bikes along in the motorhome.
There are 172 campsites that are perfect for just about any kind of camper at Raccoon Creek State Park. There is a dump station and five central washhouses with flush toilets and warm showers available inside the campground, and you’ll be guaranteed to have a picnic table and a fire ring at your site. If you prefer to have electricity hookups, there are sites that have it for your convenience.
The campground is split up into six sections. If you brought your pet along with you, you’ll need to pick a campsite at either Loop C or Loop F, because these are the sites that are pet-friendly. There are also four sites that are ADA-accessible for anyone that needs them. Three of these accessible sites are in Loop B, while the other one is located in Loop F. Rigs up to 50 feet long can be accommodated in the campground.
Loops A, B, C, and D are open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, and loops E and F are open from the second Friday in April to mid-October. Reservations for all sites are available up to 11 months in advance.
If you’re planning on camping during the off-season when most of the campsites are closed for the winter, then you still have the option to stay at the Sioux Rustic Campground. This campground is much more primitive, but it stays open all year long. You won’t have nearly as many amenities as the other campground, but you will have water and pit latrines available to you. Keep in mind though that access to the campground is not guaranteed if the weather gets bad enough. This campground has earned its spot under first-come, first-served simply because there isn’t really any competition for campsites during the winter and off-season.
The Lakeside Lodge is yet another great option for family vacations. This is a cottage with three bedrooms that can sleep up to 10 people at once. The lodge is nicely furnished, is equipped with a full kitchen and one and a half bathrooms, and it even has heating and air so that you can be perfectly comfortable. You will need to bring linens, towels, and certain cleaning supplies along if you choose to stay at the Lakeside Lodge.
If you changed your mind about RV camping here, then you can choose to stay in a cabin instead. Cabin camping is much nicer with furniture, a full bathroom, kitchen, and room to sleep either six or eight people at a time. Cabins are a great choice for family vacations and winter visiting since they’re available year-round and have electric heating. There are just a few things that you’ll need to bring with you though, such as utensils and linens.
Those looking to get out of the RV and off the beaten path during their time at Raccoon Creek State Park can hit the trails and stay at one of the five backpacking sites available. The sites are located off of the Heritage, Forest, and Appaloosa Trails, and a permit is required for each site. Sites are pretty bare, so be sure to bring plenty of water and any other supplies you might need for your night off-grid.
If you're camping with a crowd, there are several group camping options available at Raccoon Creek State Park.
There are six group tent camping sites situated on the west side of the park, and each site can accommodate between 20 to 60 guests. The two Sioux Campground group sites are pet-friendly and available year-round, while the more remote Pioneer group camping area is open from April through November and does not allow pets.
If you prefer to have your creature comforts while you camp, there are also three cabins available for organized groups. The cabins can accommodate between 30 and 130 guests and are available as weather permits. There are also dining halls, utility buildings, and washhouses near each cabin. Call the park office if you are interested in reserving group accommodations.
The wintertime is a time for personal reflection and tranquil silence. So take a deep breath, take it all in, and relax all of those tensions that are bearing down on you. Curl up inside the Airstream for a while with a warm blanket and a great book, or play a round or two of cards with the family and reflect on the fun activities you've taken part in during your time at Raccoon Creek.
Raccoon Lake may have frozen over, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get some fun out of it. Under the surface, the fish are carrying on with their lives, and you can still try and catch a keeper by drilling a hole and casting a line in the water. The park does not monitor the ice thickness, so be sure to bring an auger along in the campervan and measure it yourself before dropping a line.
Even when the snow and ice come to the park, you'll still be able to enjoy some thrilling activities. If you’d like to take the snowmobile out for a ride during your time at Raccoon Creek, there are two roads that you can choose from at the park. Those roads are Nichol and Pioneer Camp roads, and together they total four miles. Be cautious while you’re out there though because this area is also open to hunters.
Ice Skating can be a lot of fun, and you can do it here on the 101 acres of frozen Raccoon Lake. Just be sure to check that the ice is thick enough for it to be safe before venturing out. Once you know that it’s safe, take a friend out on the ice with you and spend the day practicing your figure eights or racing each other across the lake while taking in views of the snow-covered landscape.
When snow covers the ground at Raccoon Creek State Park, most of the trails become available for cross-country skiing, but you should probably steer clear any trails that are labeled “most difficult” to avoid trouble. One of the best trails for cross-country skiing is the two-mile White Blazes Trail located near and around Heritage Trail. Be sure to bring your own equipment along in the travel trailer, as the park does not offer rentals.
Even if you're not visiting Raccoon Creek during the busy summer months, you'll have plenty to keep you busy. Throughout the year the park offers environmental education programs that are great for the whole family. You can learn a lot about the area, along with some of the park's flora and fauna, through a series of programs like guided hikes, junior ranger programs, and other hands-on activities. Stop in at the interpretive center to learn about which activities are offered during your stay.
Given the park’s namesake, you can be sure that raccoons are common here. But that's not the only wildlife you might see during your RV vacation to the park. Deer and beavers are pretty common too, and if you're near the lake you may spot beavers, minks, or muskrats. If you like to go birdwatching, the Audubon Trail inside of the Wildflower Preserve is a great place to go to spot warblers and other birds. Just remember not to disturb or feed any wildlife that you come across.
If you’re looking for a great place to have a picnic, you’ll have plenty of options at this park. There are around 200 picnic tables in total, and they are located all around in various locations of the park. Most picnicking areas are equipped with everything you'll need for the perfect outdoor meal, including grills, drinking water, and nearby restrooms - you'll just need to bring the food! Choose the spot that you think has the best view, and share a meal with loved ones.
One of the main attractions at Raccoon Creek during the summer months is the lake. Raccoon Lake totals 101 acres, and there are two boat launches and 48 mooring spaces available to park guests. Only electric motors are acceptable on the lake, and you’ll also need to have your boat registration displayed. If you didn’t tow your own boat behind the Sprinter, you can rent a canoe, kayak, rowboat, paddleboard, or hydro bike from the park.
Summers at Raccoon Creek State Park can get hot, so don't forget to pack your bathing suit along in the teardrop. From May to September, you can go out and enjoy splashing around in the water at the 500-foot sand and turf beach located here in the park. You’ll have a bathhouse located nearby for your convenience, as well as a concession stand. The beach is also ADA-accessible, but please swim at your own risk.
There are 42 total miles of trails at Raccoon Creek, so after you park the motorhome and set up camp, lace up those hiking boots and stretch your legs. The trails range in length and difficulties, from a casual stroll to an overnight backpacking trip. You can also take bikes, and even horses, out on some of the trails. There is a lot to see in this park, and you can explore a great deal of it when you get out on these great trails.
One of the most unique and tranquil places in the park is the Wildflower Reserve. There are over 700 varieties of plants spread over 314 acres, and you could easily spend a whole day perusing the reserve on the four miles of walking trails available. The best times to see the flowers are when they are in full bloom, usually between April and early September. Dogs are not permitted inside the reserve, and picking plants is strictly prohibited. You can, however, take as many pictures as you'd like, so don't forget to grab your camera out of the Class A before walking through the reserve.