Pennsylvania and West Virginia’s Can’t-Miss Camping Excursions
Ready for a vacation full of fresh air, mountain vistas, and untouched wilderness? Pack the camping gear and get ready for a scenic retreat to Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This trip is full of daytime activities and city adventures too, but don’t worry - an escape back into nature is never far. Plus, there’s no need to bring those campfire hotdogs: West Virginia and Pennsylvania’s culinary scene is so tantalizing, you’d best come hungry.
Kick off your trip in one of the United States’ most iconic cities: Philadelphia. Take a walk downtown, and you’ll feel the collision between modern, urban Philly and its charming, historic roots. Don’t miss a visit to the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall, and lay your eyes on one of history’s most famous symbols of freedom and justice. Need more American history? Explore the Benjamin Franklin Museum, where you’ll learn about the true life and times of the man behind the fame. And after a long day of learning, fill up with an iconic Philly cheesesteak. Try Pat’s King of Steaks, Geno’s Steaks, or both!
Where to Stay:
- Sleep under the stars at French Creek State Park, located roughly 80 kilometers outside of Philly. The 7,730-acre park is the perfect destination to hike, fish, camp and bike after your big city adventure.
- If you’d rather start the trip with a different experience, stay connected to the city at Warwick Rittenhouse, a sleek boutique hotel that’s the perfect blend of yesterday and today.
What to Eat:
- You can’t leave Philadelphia without first trying its famous cheesesteak. Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks are legendary cheesesteak rivals. Try both, and pick a winner!
- Grab a coffee or a bite at Franny Lou's Porch, a space for community activism that celebrates two influential Black women from the Civil Rights movement.
- Music meets cuisine at South’s, a restaurant and jazz club in the heart of Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood.
- The Reading Terminal Market is one of the largest and oldest public markets in the United States and offers an incredible selection of locally grown foods and restaurants.
What to See:
- Take in the wide open spaces of eastern Pennsylvania at Codorus State Park. Lake Marburg, located within the park, covers 1,275 acres and is a popular location for sailing, boating and birdwatching.
- Visit the iconic Liberty Bell and learn more about the history of the country from this famous landmark.
- Take a step back in time with a stop at the Benjamin Franklin Museum where artifacts, computer animations and interactive displays depict this founding father’s life.
Snowshoe, West Virginia
Head out of the city and into nature, with West Virginia landscapes so stunning, they’ve inspired song lyrics for generations. Rolling mountains, scenic waterfalls and even three ski areas make this region a perfect outdoor destination any time of the year. Highlights include Blackwater Falls, the awe-inspiring Seneca Rocks, and a visit to the historic Bolivar Heights Battlefield. For an extra scenic adventure, go when the leaves change. Fall foliage in West Virginia occurs in a 6-week window, from roughly late September through early November.
Where to Stay:
- If the season is right, we suggest camping as the best way to take in the sites and commune with nature. Before booking your camping trip, check the weather (and those overnight low temps!)
- Disconnect in nature with a stay at River Riders in Harpers Ferry, where campsites, luxury tents and RV hookups are available.
- Nestled in the heart of the mountains lies Canaan Valley Resort, a true four season resort offering golfing, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and biking opportunities.
What to Eat:
- Located in Harpers Ferry, Battlegrounds Bakery is the perfect spot to refuel with a hearty sandwich or hot cup of joe.
- Harper's Old Country Store and Front Porch Restaurant, positioned in front of the stunning Seneca Rocks, is one of the oldest continuously operated businesses in West Virginia. Be sure to order a hand-tossed pizza, it’s their specialty!
- The best southwest food at Snowshoe Mountain can be found at Sunset Cantina, where traditional dishes are served with a twist.
What to Do:
- Walk through history at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, a quaint riverfront community that was instrumental in shaping the history of the United States. Visit John Brown’s Fort or hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail. There’s something for everyone to love in historic Harpers Ferry.
- Seneca Rocks, standing tall at 478 meters, is one of the best-known landmarks in West Virginia. Adventurous explorers can take guided rock climbing tours to the top.
- Snowshoe Mountain Resort is the ultimate mountain getaway with three unique ski areas of 60+ trails, 40 mountain bike trails, and activities like snowmobiling, tubing, biking, swimming, and much more.
Charleston, West Virginia
Get ready to explore a capital city with small town charm in Charleston, West Virginia. This city’s slogan is “hip, historic, and almost heaven” for good reason - you’ll find modern eateries, quaint shops and historical attractions all across town. After adventuring through Charleston, take a quick trip south to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, and take in the beauty of the New River. (Contradictory to the name, this river is one of the oldest on the entire continent.)
Where to Stay:
- Get the full experience of the New River Gorge at ACE Adventure Resort where cabins, campsites and resort lodging await.
What to Eat:
- Try Appalachian favorites, like corn & scallion griddle cakes, with a low country influence at 1010 Bridge in Charleston.
- Capitol Market, in Charleston, is the ultimate indoor/outdoor market located in a turn-of-the-century train station. Enjoy a meal from a wide variety of restaurants like Soho’s Italian Restaurant, Sushi Garden and The Fresh Seafood Co. & Market.
- Heavenly dishes can be found at Cathedral Cafe, an eclectic eatery in Fayetteville that’s housed in an old church.
What to Do:
- Visit the gold-domed Capitol Building, which stands approximately 1.4 meters taller than the nation's capital dome in Washington, D.C.
- Just an hour south of Charleston, head to the United States’ newest national park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. It’s a true outdoor enthusiast's paradise with whitewater rafting, mountain biking, climbing and hiking.
- Did you know West Virginia is home to an ancient underground sea? J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works has been mining the all-natural salt from this sea by hand for seven generations dating back to the 1800s. Tour the facility for a behind-the-scenes look and be sure to stop by the store to take some salt home for yourself!
- Woman-owned Base Camp Printing Co. is the perfect spot to pick up a truly unique souvenir of your time in Charleston. This unique store uses an old-time letterpress to make postcards, greeting cards and posters that feature iconic West Virginia landmarks.