If you're hunting around for an easily accessible state park that offers a taste of life in Pennsylvania's great outdoors, Raccoon Creek State Park is well worth a visit. Located just half an hour west of downtown Pittsburgh, Raccoon Creek is one of the largest and most popular parks in the state.
Not only does it offer wonderful hiking, swimming, and fishing, but it also features a large modern campground as well as several primitive campsites. There's plenty to see and do when you camp in Raccoon Creek State Park, so let's take a look at how you can plan your perfect outdoor adventure.
Raccoon Creek State Park encompasses 7,572 acres on Raccoon Creek and is an area of dense forest and unspoiled natural beauty. However, the main attraction for many visitors to the park is the 100-acre Raccoon Lake.
From late May until the middle of September, the park's 500-foot sand beach becomes a hive of activity. Swimmers and sunbathers find plenty to keep them happy on this pretty little beach, and there's a bathhouse and concession stand nearby for added convenience.
If you'd prefer to get out on the water, the lake has two boat launching areas and 48 mooring spaces. Canoes, rowboats, kayaks, and hydrobikes are all available for rent, and the lake's still waters offer a relaxing and peaceful backdrop for cruising.
Fishing is also permitted on the lake all year round. Anglers have plenty of options when casting a line. Bluegill, sunfish, catfish, yellow perch, walleye, and several other species call the lake home, while trout can also be found in the lake and in its feeder streams. A fishing peninsula near the beach is accessible to people with disabilities, while a separate body of water, the 12-acre Upper Lake, is open for catch-and-release fishing all year round.
Hiking is another popular activity in Raccoon Creek State Park, with more than 40 miles of trails just waiting to be explored. Campers will probably find themselves frequenting the Beach Trail, which leads from the campground's D loop to the swimming area. If you're looking for something longer, the six-mile Forest Trail, which offers excellent views of the lake and leads you past several streams that feed the lake, is well worth a look.
Finally, don't forget to check out Raccoon Creek State Park Wildflower Reserve during your stay. Covering 314 acres, the reserve is home to over 700 species of plants, and can treat visitors to views of particularly spectacular blooms in April-May and August-September.
Camping at Raccoon Creek State Park
If you're planning on camping with an RV at Raccoon Creek State Park, book an RV in Beaver County and then reserve a site in one of the park's campgrounds. Campers have two campgrounds to choose from:
- Modern Campground. This campground sits in a wooded location and features 172 tent and RV sites spread around several loops. Electricity, flushing toilets, and hot showers are all provided, while each site also gets its own picnic table and fire ring. There are five bathhouses in total, while a dump station and kids' playground are also provided. Loops E and F are open from mid-April to mid-October, while loops A, B, C, and D are open from May to September. Pets are welcome on sites in loops C and F.
- Sioux Rustic Campground. Open all year round, Sioux Rustic Campground offers a handful of non-electric sites. Water and pit toilets are provided, but please note that it may not be possible to access the campground during severe winter storms.
Elsewhere, Raccoon Creek State Park also offers backpacker campsites, 10 modern cabins, and a camping cottage.
Exploring the Area
With more than 7,500 acres to explore in Raccoon Creek State Park, you'll need to take a while to see everything the park has to offer. But once you're ready to load up your RV rental and move on, you'll find plenty of other excellent attractions just a short drive away.
If you want to keep exploring the great outdoors, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, with its 125 miles of hiking trails, is just an hour and a half northwest. The peaceful forest of Beaver Creek State Park is also just a short drive away, while several other Pennsylvania and Ohio state parks are within easy reach.
And if you'd rather head for the city, you can be in Pittsburgh in around half an hour. While you're there, make sure you check out the excellent Andy Warhol Museum, or meet the rare and exotic animals at Pittsburgh Zoo.
Whatever sort of experience you want, you won't have to travel too far to find it. So why not rent a camper near Raccoon Creek State Park and start planning your dream motorhome camping getaway?