Essential Pittsburgh
5:41 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Three State Parks You Need to Visit this Summer

A view of the stargazing atmosphere at Cherry Springs State Park.
A view of the stargazing atmosphere at Cherry Springs State Park.
Credit Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors this summer, you can’t go wrong visiting one of the Commonwealth’s many state parks. From Erie to Scranton and all points in between, our guide to some of Pennsylvania’s state parks is travel contributor Elaine Labalme.

State parks can be found in 61 of Pennsylvania's 66 counties. Cherry Springs, Ricketts Glen, and Pine Grove Furnace are among Labalme's favorites.  

Cherry Springs State Park 

 - Cherry Springs is known for it’s dark sky, a must visit for star-gazers. You can see an infinite amount of stars on a good night at this park.

- Known for it’s stargazing events, Cherry Springs is still great for camping, hiking, and mountain biking.

- Beautiful black cherry trees are abundant throughout the park.

Ricketts Glen State Park

 - Water, water everywhere - the park is home to 24 waterfalls.

- The park's Lake Jean is a  popular swimming and fishing destination.

- The  Audubon society recognizes the park as a major “bird watching area."

Pine Grove Furnace State Park

 - The  midpoint of the Allegheny trail runs through the park.

- The nation's first museum dedicated to hiking is located in the park. 

- The parks Fuller and Laurel lakes offers Pine Grove visitors a pleasant afternoon of swimming.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tweets about food and travel under the Twitter handle @NewGirlInTown.