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In South Fork, Pennsylvania, the Johnstown Flood National Memorial is a monument to a flood that nearly destroyed the town in 1889, killing more than 2,200 people. The monument doesn't just symbolize the flood itself, but also the public response to the catastrophe. The memorial site grounds are open all year long, from dawn to dusk; you can hike the flood path on your own (there are two separate paths) or join a ranger-led tour of the paths, by van or on foot. Secure one of the RV rentals in South Fork, and you can easily explore this special site.
The outdoor area of the memorial consists of marshlands, swamps, and wetlands, as well as the Little Conemaugh River's south fork, which runs through and divides the park. These areas rest on what was formerly Conemaugh Lake, now a dried-up lakebed; surrounding the shoreline of the former lake are stands of black cherry trees and oak trees which form a canopy, protecting the vegetation underneath. The memorial also has a visitor center and the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Clubhouse, which are worth having a look at (the clubhouse is included in the guided tour).
Once your explorations of Johnstown Flood National Memorial are complete, fuel up the South Fork campervan rental and head south to Gallitzin State Forest. It's a popular destination for numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, and mountain bike riding, to name a few. It's a working forest that provides habitat for wildlife and timber resources in addition to recreation. Following the forest trails through trees and sparse undergrowth, you'll have a good chance of witnessing some of the birds and mammals that call the park home. Fishing and hunting are also allowed.
Laurel Ridge State Park is another place to check out while RV camping near South Fork. The state park is named after the mountain ridge it's located on, spanning several different counties. Its main claim to fame is the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a mesmerizing hiking and backpacking path, but there is more to the park than this. The landscape is a kaleidoscope of shapes and shifting colors that change with the passing seasons. It can be just as breathtaking blanketed in snow as it is in the spring, summer, and fall. Mountain laurel and rhododendron are some of the flower species on hand (these bloom in the summer).
Raystown Lake Recreation Area is a human-made lake that was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, one of the largest within the state of Pennsylvania. Visitors come to the lake in large numbers for the panoramic views as much as for the recreational opportunities. The lake was built to control flooding and produce hydropower, but it is managed to provide an optimum fishing experience. The hills surrounding the lake are wooded in select areas and have trails where you can hike and mountain bike. Camping and hunting are allowed within the park.
There aren't facilities for camping at Johnstown Flood National Memorial, though there are several campgrounds and RV parks near South Fork. About 30 miles southeast, Friendship Village Campground & RV Park is in Bedford, sometimes known for having more covered bridges and fewer traffic lights. This family-friendly Bedford RV park is equipped with shuffleboard, several swimming pools, a jumping pillow, and more. The campsites are available with back-in or pull-through access, full or partial hookups, and are close to a lake and a stream where you can fish.
Mirror Lake Campground is in New Florence, about 30 minutes' drive west of South Fork. The campground is a short distance from many local attractions, such as an amusement park. The campground has numerous amenities like a volleyball court, a horseshoe pitch, and hiking trails; social events are often held on the weekends, and all campground guests are welcome to attend.
Wilmore is a few miles north of South Fork, and it's worth exploring while you're RV camping nearby. The city has ties to the Underground Railroad and is an important historical area with a handful of restaurants within its boundaries (there are many more located nearby). If you stop here for a meal, you'll find many pizzerias, a country inn, pub restaurants, and several chain restaurants.
Ebensburg is a quick drive north, nestled in the Allegheny Mountains. The city's surrounded by stunning scenery and has urban parks with trails you can enjoy, plus shopping venues and a community center. You can dine out here or grab some takeout and head back to your South Fork camper rental for a meal under the stars.