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In the southeastern quadrant of Pennsylvania, less than 30 miles from Harrisburg, is Swatara State Park. When you book an RV in Lebanon County, you’ll be able to explore Swatara State Park and all of its rich history and natural features. Camping in an RV near Swatara State Park will allow you to hike, bike, hunt, fish, and more in this history-rich area.
Swatara State Park was originally slated to become a large lake by creating a dam on the Swatara Creek in 1987. However, that plan never came to fruition. Instead, in 2012 the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources decided to scrap the lake plan and instead started building trails and other features in the park. In the modern-day, the park sports waterfalls, plenty of hiking trails, places to hunt, old cabins to explore, and plenty of picturesque moments.
There is a lot to do while motorhome camping near Swatara State Park, the majority of which will keep you outdoors in the fresh air. Hiking is popular with visitors, and there are over 18 miles of trails to enjoy, many of which interloop with one another. Some of these trails are rated as easy, while others can be a bit more difficult. When you have the desire to explore more, head to the nearly 10 miles of trails located in the Mountain Biking Complex.
Although Swatara State Park never became a lake, there are still places to fish inside state park boundaries. There are many places to fish on Swatara Creek, which is what attracts many anglers to what is locally known as Trout Run. Trout Run is the park’s primary stocked trout stream, and it supports native populations of brook trout. Other fish that can be caught in Swatara Creek include smallmouth bass and panfish.
To enjoy nature without interfering with it, bring your binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for birds and other wildlife to Swatara State Park. There are nest boxes maintained throughout the park to help support a variety of birds, and visitors have reported spotting bluebirds, hawks, wrens, ducks, and more. Many migratory birds also use Swatara State Park as a resting point, so take advantage of the opportunity by RV camping at Swatara State Park during your favorite bird’s migratory time.
Although there are no state park RV campgrounds at Swatara State Park, there is a KOA located just south of the park that is only a few minutes away. The Jonestown/Hershey NE KOA has plenty of space for RVs of all sizes, and reservations can be made ahead of time after you sort out the details of your rental RV. The campground has plenty of exciting families and child-centric activities to keep everyone busy and happy.
All sites that are RV compatible have 20, 30, and 50 amp hookups, WiFi, cable TV, and more. The maximum RV length is 90 feet, and a camp store sells items like snacks, propane, firewood, and other easily forgettable items. All campsites have access to centrally located bathrooms with flushing toilets and showers, laundry facilities, bike rentals, mini-golf, and a dog park. This KOA typically offers discounts for weekly, monthly, and seasonal rentals that are worth checking out when you plan on camping with an RV for an extended period of time.
Harrisburg, which is to the southwest of the park, is one of the closest large cities with plenty to offer visitors. Harrisburg is home to The National Civil War Museum, which is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum offering hundreds of Civil War artifacts, scheduled lectures, reenactment events, and more for visitors. The museum is popular for families and adults, and there is plenty of information to learn, making it easy to spend multiple days here.
Other museums in Harrisburg include the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum, the Harrisburg Midtown Art Center, the Visit Hershey & Harrisburg Visitor Center, the Jefferson Memorial, the MLK Memorial, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, and many others. Harrisburg also has dozens of restaurants of many varieties to explore, ranging from small local cafes to fancy restaurants with dress codes. Be sure to park your RV and explore downtown on foot, the walk by the river is a local favorite.
When you’ve exhausted, all Harrisburg has to offer, other large cities like Allentown and Philadelphia are within driving distance for a day trip. It may be easier for you to camp in an RV near Philadelphia when you plan to spend multiple days exploring this large city so that you’ll be able to cut down on commute time back and forth. Both Allentown and Philadelphia have museums, restaurants, and dozens of other modern attractions to entertain you during your visit.