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In western Pennsylvania, Smith Grove Campground is a great place to make your home base while exploring the rugged wilderness of the region. Smith Grove is nestled among the pine trees, creating a sense of tranquility.
The campsites at Smith Grove Campground are equipped with electric hookups with 30/50 amp service. Visitors also have access to restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities for their convenience. The campground also has an on-site general store, so you can restock supplies if needed.
After you finish your explorations for the day, you can make use of the various amenities at the RV campgrounds. You can relax by the catch-and-release fishing lake and see what you can hook. Or instead, you can unwind by the pool and soak up some sun. Once the sun goes down, you can retire to the game room and play billiards or enjoy the arcade games. Treat yourself to a meal at the on-site restaurant and head back to relax at your campsite.
Just down the road from the RV campground sits Moraine State Park in Portersville. Former coal-mining land turned natural park, Moraine exists as a crowning achievement of what environmental restoration can accomplish. You can boat and swim in Lake Arthur, or instead enjoy the two sandy beaches and soak up some sun. If you’d rather enjoy the drier areas of the park, you can explore the 30 miles of trails that trace through the forest, the valleys, and over the hills. There are hiking options available for hikers of all abilities. Those looking for an easier walk can stroll along the Sunken Garden Trail and enjoy scenic views of Lake Arthur. Those looking for something a little more challenging can head out on the 15-mile Glacier Ridge Trail and cross over some of the park’s more rugged topography. The remote 4.5-mile Wyggeston Trail also offers rock scrambling, historic sites, and solitude in the park’s undeveloped areas.
Those with access to a boat can retreat to Allegheny Islands State Park in Cheswick. Made up of two alluvial islands and seven shoals in the current of the Allegheny River, this state park is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It remains completely undeveloped; there aren’t even boat docks, just a couple of hiker-created footpaths. However, because the islands have been relatively untouched, they are still in their original state. You’ll get to immerse yourself in lush vegetation or find yourself a quiet spot along the bank to do some fishing. Just keep in mind, the islands are prone to flooding, so be prepared for some mud.
The only national forest in Pennsylvania is the nearby Allegheny National Forest. Spread across the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Allegheny is a prime destination for those looking to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Pennsylvania. You can explore the rolling hills, the valleys, the streams, and the forests as you head out along the network of nearly 250 miles of trails. Those seeking true adventure can even venture out on the North Country National Scenic Trail, 96 miles of which are within the Allegheny National Forest. If you’re traveling to Pennsylvania in the winter, many of the trails are converted to either cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobile trails. You’ll get to experience the Pennsylvania winter wonderland with ease as you zoom about on the trails.
Those looking for something truly unique can spend some time at the Yellow Dog Village. Just a short distance from the campsites at Smith Grove, the Yellow Dog Village is an abandoned mining village. The village is being restored to its former glory. It welcomes those who are curious about the history of Pennsylvania mining. There are also several hands-on exhibits, such as learning how to make tools, build a house, and what life was like as a pioneer.
Lovers of art and history can spend some time at The Maridon Museum in the nearby town of Butler. The only museum of its kind in western Pennsylvania, The Maridon Museum is dedicated solely to Japanese and Chinese art. With four gallery spaces, visitors will get to see art from many different eras of Chinese and Japanese history. From jade and ivory sculptures to calligraphy and watercolor paintings, there is a lot to see. You can even arrange a docent-led tour to learn even more about the unique pieces in this private collection.
Those who enjoy historic structures can spend some time in Historic Saxonburg. Buildings feature Greek Revival and Gothic Revival styles, and the oldest dates to 1831. You can go in and out of one-of-a-kind shops, enjoy the bakeries and coffee shops, and stroll and soak in the Victorian charm. You are sure to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this preservation of American life.
When you travel with an RV rental near Smith Grove Campground, you may need to refuel and restock your rig. While there are a couple of grocery stores and gas station options available near the campground, you will find more options in nearby Butler.
After a day of exploring, treat yourself to a classic Pennsylvania sweet treat: the whoopie pie, made of two rounds of cake sandwiched together with a creamy frosting. It's a great way to end the day. The classic is chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, but you may find variations such as pumpkin, red velvet, or gingerbread.