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Centered around an early 20th-century courthouse and its historic district, Somerset is a county seat in southern Pennsylvania that's just over an hour's drive from Pittsburgh. It was famously home to several leaders of the late-18th-century Whiskey Rebellion, which operated from its headquarters in nearby Berlin. It was also here where the Quecreek Mine Rescue took place in 2002 as the world’s media watched on.
With numerous reserves and parts of the Appalachian Trail on its doorstep, Somerset is the perfect place to rent an RV. It’s within easy access of family-friendly campsites and open-air museums while being just a stone's throw from northern Maryland and West Virginia.
Book a travel trailer rental in Somerset and make the short drive west to the Laurel Hill State Park, which sprawls across 3,935 acres around a human-made lake. Follow the Hemlock Trail that winds beneath an ancient stand of trees or try your luck at fishing for trout, perch, and bass in Laurel Hill Lake. There are numerous picnic areas and a children’s playground, as well as a small beach where swimming is permitted. If you’re visiting during the winter months, the Laurel Hill State Park also provides a setting for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing.
Continue driving west, and you’ll arrive at the Roaring Run Natural Area, a 3,500-acre woodland reserve on the west slope of Laurel Ridge. It’s crisscrossed by numerous hiking trails and meandering streams, which are fed by springs at the summit of Laurel Ridge. Stretch your legs along the North Loop trail that follows the remains of an old logging railroad and explore the abandoned fields of the Painter Rock Trail or follow the Roaring Run for most of its length along the 3.3-mile-long Roaring Run Trail.
Alternatively, drive in the other direction from Somerset to the Shawnee State Park, which is named after the Shawnee Native American tribe who once occupied the region. It centers around a recreational reservoir and warm water fishery, which is regularly stocked with fish such as yellow perch, northern pike, and largemouth bass. It’s also a popular hunting destination in designated parts, with squirrels, white-tailed deer, and ruffed grouse all for the taking.
Pick up your RV rental in Somerset and pull into one of the wooded RV sites at the Woodland Campsites Inc, which is situated adjacent to Somerset Lake. Spend your days fishing, playing miniature golf, or splashing in the swimming pool, with a children’s playground, recreation room, and picnic tables also available.
A short drive west of Somerset is the Pioneer Park Campground, which extends across 185 acres at the foot of the Laurel Ridge Mountains. It’s on the doorstep of numerous fishing lakes and another that’s designated for paddle boating and children’s fishing, as well as being home to an Olympic-size swimming pool, miniature golf course, basketball, and tennis courts.
A little farther south is the Hickory Hollow Campground, another family-friendly campground with full hookup, back-in and pull-through sites. You can cast a line to see what’s biting in their well-stocked fishing lake or spend an afternoon paddle boating, with recreation courts, and hiking and biking trails also available.
There is a Walmart to the north of the city where you may be able to set up camp for a night or two with the manager’s permission.
Park your campervan rental near Somerset and stroll through the Uptown Somerset Historic District, which includes 190 buildings around the Somerset County Courthouse. Admire the turn-of-the-20th-century Somerset Trust Company Building and the First National Bank, as well as the County Jail and Sheriff’s Residence that date from the mid-19th century. Other notable landmarks include Lansberry House and St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, as well as the former Somerset Academy that was built in 1882.
You can learn more about the people and events that have shaped the region at the Somerset Historical Center, a rural museum that sprawls across 150 acres to the north of the city. It details the lives of the region’s first farmers through a range of outdoor exhibits while also conducting workshops related to modern-day rural living. Begin your visit at the “Patterns of the Land” where a range of agricultural artifacts is displayed, then join a guided tour to explore the historic buildings of the open-air museum.
Continue driving north, and you’ll arrive at the Quecreek Mine Rescue Site where you can hear the fascinating story of nine miners who were rescued on this very spot in 2002. Walk right up to the rescue shaft where they emerged from the mine after more than three days at 240 feet below, with a seven-foot-tall bronze statue of a coal miner now positioned at the top. Visitors can even touch the rescue capsule that was involved in the operation and imagine being squeezed inside, just as the miners were.
Somerset is home to a couple of supermarkets where you can grab supplies, and there are a handful of restaurants and fast food eateries for dining out. There are also gas stations if you need to fill up your motorhome rental in Somerset.
Whether you’re visiting Somerset County for its heritage district or hiking trails, book an RV in Somerset and start exploring!