Established in 1951, Shawnee State Park has been entertaining and educating RV visitors for decades. The park stretches for nearly 4,000 acres across Schellsburg, Pennsylvania, with its main attraction being the gigantic 451-acre warm water lake resting in the center. When it opened, Shawnee State Park was named after the Shawnee Cabbins Native American tribe that once inhabited the area just south of Schellsburg before there was development in the area.
The park is practically overflowing with wildlife and scenic views, making it the perfect place to relax and connect with nature or indulge in a little wildlife photography. With year-round recreation, the park is a popular RV vacation spot during all four seasons. During the peak season, visitors can take part in activities such as nature walks, self-guided hikes, biking, swimming, boating, disc golfing, and fishing. During the off-season, you can also go snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, sledding, picnicking, hunting, and ice skating.
The campground at Shawnee State Park is one of the best in the Pennslyvania state park system and features over 200 sites, some of which feature full hookups and room for rigs up to 45 feet in length. Peak season at Shawnee State Park runs from April until October.
Driving to and from Shawnee State Park is relatively easy since the US-30 and PA-96 run through the northern and southern borders of the park. The entrance to the park is located off of US 30, which can be reached in a few different ways. The majority of the roads within the park are paved, but there are a few unpaved roads that may prove tricky to navigate with a large rig. Some of the unpaved roads are a bit narrow and should be navigated with extra caution, but any experienced RV driver shouldn't have a problem.
If you need to pick up any supplies before your arrival there are a few places that you can stop into, including Schellsburg (around two miles away), Fishertown (around seven and a half miles away), and Bedford (around nine miles away). The closest city to the park is Altoona, which is around 42 miles to the north.
During the wintertime, the park is known to get large amounts of snowfall, so if you are traveling during this time it is wise to check the weather conditions before you begin. The park is open all year round, but if you are visiting between January and March you won't be able to stay in the campground.
Shawnee State Park is home to one campground that is perfect for RV travelers wanting to call the park home during your stay. The Shawnee State Park Campground is very large and consists of over 200 individual campsites of varying sizes with a maximum length for RVs of 45 feet.
To make it a little easier to navigate and less crowded, the campground is split up into six sections. Fifteen of the campsites have full-service hookups, while 98 of the sites have electric hookups only. If you are bringing your furry friend along with you, be sure to reserve a site in one of the pet-friendly sections since pets aren't allowed at all of the campsites.
Showers and restrooms are located throughout the campground and a dump station is located at the entrance for those who do not have full hookups. Most of the roads within the campground are paved, but several of them are unpaved, and they are all one-way, so be careful while driving within the campground. The campground itself isn't located near any attractions, but it is just a short drive from the lake.
It is recommended to make a reservation before arriving, which can easily be done online. The campground is open from mid-April until near the end of December.
If you are planning a last-minute trip to the park, you will be pleased to know that there is a first-come, first-served area of the campground during the months that the campground is open. These designated sites are found in section E of the park and here you will find 14 sites that are all primitive with no hookups available. If you wish to stay at a site with electrical hookups, you can do so if they aren't all reserved upon your arrival to the park.
Besides the group camping areas, there are no tent-only places for you to stay when visiting Shawnee State Park. Tents are allowed at all of the regular sites in the main campground, so if you don't have an RV you won't have to miss out on all of the fun that camping has to offer. Depending on the size of your site, you may be allowed more than one tent, so make sure to check out specific site information before reserving a place to stay.
One of the many unique amenities within Shawnee State Park is the Lakeside Lodge. Located on an island within the lake, the Lakeside Lodge is a house comprising of two stories that visitors can stay in during their visit to the park. This accommodation is suitable for up to eight people and it contains four separate bedrooms that have a total of four single beds and two double beds. There is also a modern kitchen and air conditioning to keep you cool during the warmer months. If you wish to stay at the Lakeside Lodge, you will have to bring your own linen, towels, and book a reservation in advance.
Shawnee State Park is home to some more luxurious accommodations to choose from. There are three camping cottages suitable for up to five people featuring some great amenities. Inside you will find bunk beds, electric heat, and power outlets, while outside there is a picnic table, porch, and fire ring perfect for grilling s'mores.
Along with the camping cottages, there are also two yurts suitable for up to six guests. The yurts feature more amenities than the cottages, so if you are looking to do some basic cooking you should consider staying at a yurt since they feature a stove, refrigerator, and microwave. The cottages and yurts are available from mid-April to late December, and reservations should be made in advance.
Visiting Shawnee State Park with a youth or adult group? If so, there is one major group camping area suitable for those who are camping in tents. There are four campsites for you to choose from, all of which are located near the Kegg Run area of the lake. Each site can accommodate up to 20 people and there are no electric, water, or sewer hookups available. The major amenities in the group camp area are non-flush toilets and a water collection point that you will need to hand pump. Reservations can be made by calling the park prior to your arrival, and you can stay here between mid-April and mid-October.
Get the family together and take part in one of the many fun and educational guided nature walks offered during the summer. The walks aim to educate visitors about the natural wildlife and history of the area while getting in some good exercise as well. They can be a great opportunity to learn more about nature without just reading, you actually get to get up close and see exactly what you're learning about. Although some of the programs are geared more towards kids, many adults love the walks, if not just for the beautiful scenery.
There are multiple ways to spend a day at Shawnee State Park by the lake, with one of the most popular activities being fishing. Three boat launches are available on Shawnee Lake so that you can go fishing out in the harder to reach spots. Paddle boats, canoes, and rowboats are also available to rent during the summer. From your boat or the comfort of the fishing pier, you can cast out your line into the stocked lake and reel in anything from bass and walleye to catfish, sunfish, carp, and Northern pikes.
Sixteen miles of trails are laid out throughout the park, which more than enough to keep hikers entertained outside the camper. The trails vary in length and difficulty, but there is certainly something for everyone's taste and skill set. The Colvin Trail is a great choice for anyone with kids or those looking for just a short walk since it is only a half-mile long, whereas the Lake Shore Trail stretches along the scenic shore of the lake for over three miles.
Shawnee State Park has something most state parks don't: a deep lake that is perfect for ice skating. In the winter when the lake freezes over, you can still travel out to the park for fun on the lake, including ice skating and ice fishing. The thickness of the ice is not monitored, so always be sure to be careful and err on the side of caution if a spot looks a little thin. And if you don't have skates, or don't know how to skate, the hills in the park make the perfect spot for sledding after a good snowfall.
Located in the main day-use area is a nine-hole disc golf course that is open year-round. It's a great place to spend an afternoon and hone in on your skills or learn an entirely new skill. Although trying a new sport can seem daunting, first-time players shouldn't be scared of playing. It's not too hard to pick up and can be fun for the whole family. If you don't have your own discs, check in with the park office to see if they have any available for rent.
Hunting is allowed at the park, but with some stipulations. Hunting can only be done in designated areas and during specific seasons. Hunting, trapping, and training of dogs are all allowed at Shawnee State Park on over 3,000 acres of land, and common game in the park include deer, rabbit, squirrel, and grouse. Both firearm and archery hunting are permitted, but just remember to always exercise the highest level of caution to avoid any accidents. So if you're an avid hunter and RVer, Shawnee State Park is the place for you.