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Searching for stones beneath a cascading waterfall in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Parks: 3 Parks, 3 Incredible Days

By: Idoia Gkikas

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  • States:
    Pennsylvania

Hiking, hang gliding, kayaking, swimming... how will you experience Pennsylvania?

This three-day itinerary will take you to state parks across Pennsylvania from the mountains to the beach, with a few fun pit-stops along the way.

Day 1 – Hyner View State Park

Hyner View State Park in central Pennsylvania is renowned for its picturesque mountain and river views, but it’s also a well-trekked spot for hang gliding. Gliders take off from a ramp under the park’s scenic overlook, soaring over the western branch of the Susquehanna River and the soft peaks of the surrounding mountains. The view is simply awe-inspiring, particularly in the fall as the trees blaze with autumn colors. 

About 40 minutes east is Pine Creek Gorge, dubbed the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and an excellent place for wildlife watching and hiking. Access the gorge via Leonard Harrison State Park or Colton Point State Park. Both offer scenic trails of varying difficulty, from a short and scenic stroll to a challenging descent that takes you to the bottom of this impressive gorge.

Taking flight above Hyner View State Park

Taking flight above Hyner View State Park
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Ron Lutz 2nd

Day 2 – Kinzua Bridge State Park

Drive about two hours northwest of Hyner View to visit Kinzua Bridge State Park, recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s top, must-visit state parks. 

When the Kinzua Viaduct was built in 1882, it was the highest and longest railroad bridge in the world. For more than a century, it transported trains over the Kinzua Creek Valley. A tornado destroyed the bridge in 2003, but today you can walk the Kinzua Skywalk, a walkway that extends 183 meters over the gorge. If you’re not shy of heights, look through the glass-bottomed observation deck to the ground below. 

Don’t miss a side trip to Flickerwood Wine Cellars, less than 30 minutes away. This popular winery offers 30 varieties of wine along with cocktails, food and great live music.

Walk along the Kinzua Skywalk for breathtaking views of the Kinzua Gorge

Walk along the Kinzua Skywalk for breathtaking views of the Kinzua Gorge
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Day 3 – Presque Isle State Park

On the shores of Lake Erie, just two hours from Kinzua, is Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania’s very own beach town. The activities offered here are endless – soak up the sun on the beach, swim in the lake, check out the two lighthouses, bike or walk the recreation trail, rent a kayak and explore the lagoons, but do not, under any circumstances, miss the sunset over the water. It’s a true postcard moment.

Stay overnight in the town of Erie, a full-service destination with cultural attractions, shopping, dining and nightlife. If you’re not ready to leave, take an extra day to explore the Erie Zoo, then check out Waldameer Park and Water World featuring roller coasters, carnival rides and games, and a water park.

Skimboarding along the shores of Lake Erie

Skimboarding along the shores of Lake Erie
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Getting There

Pennsylvania is centrally located between several gateways. Choose Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) or Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to fly direct into the state. Or, fly to international airports in nearby Washington D.C. and Newark, New Jersey. Regular rail service from New York is also available.