With Labor Day behind us, it's time to welcome in fall. What better way to embrace autumn than to get the family together for a weekend camping trip? Within a few hours' drive of Philadelphia, you'll find great spots where you can pitch a tent, rent a cabin, or park an RV and enjoy the changing foliage and cooler weather. Unwind and get your kids out in nature--hiking, fishing, and bicycling. If you're able to get cell reception, try a geocaching app for a twist on the traditional scavenger hunt. And don't forget the s'mores!
1. Atsion Family Campground - Shamong, NJ
Less than an hour's drive from Center City, this lakefront campsite is nestled in South Jersey's Pinelands. Have dinner on one of the park picnic tables and then tell stories or sing songs around a campfire. Tent and trailer sites are available through October 31, and some sites are pet friendly, though you'll need to register your pet with the park. Community bathrooms are onsite.
2. West Chester KOA - Coatesville
In under an hour you can drive from Philly to this family campground located in Coatesville along the Brandywine River. Activities abound here, where you can rent canoes, mine for gems, play mini golf, or rent bikes. Plus, this KOA features a playground, bounce pad, and volley ball court. A dog park and small convenience store are also onsite. RV camping, cabins with bathrooms, and tent sites with electric hookups are available until November 1.
3. French Creek State Park - Berks County
Situated in Chester County, this state park is about one hour from Philadelphia. Campsites are open year-round, with the peak season ending October 31. Choose from camping cottages, yurts, or tent sites with communal bathrooms, some of which are pet friendly. Take a nature walk, fish, or visit one of a few park playgrounds. Then before you head home, head to the local Hopewell Furnace and let your kids run through the expansive grounds, view an iron casting demonstration, and see a water wheel up close and personal.
Enjoying the fall colors is easy in the Delaware Valley. Photo courtesy of C. Mooney
4. Brendan T. Byrne State Forest - Burlington/Ocean County, NJ
This Southern New Jersey campground is about an hour from the city. It boasts 25 miles of marked hiking trails for daytime adventure. When dinnertime rolls around, visit one of the park shelters and have a cookout on one of the wood burning stoves. A playground is also onsite. Tent and cabin camping is available year-round, with bathrooms in the family campground featuring hot water showers and functional toilets throughout the year (though cabins only have running water through October).
5. Hickory Run State Park - White Haven
Roughly one-and-a-half hours outside of Philadelphia you'll find this state park with cottages and tent site camping, including some pet-friendly options. Play a round or two of disc golf and then head to one of the streams and fish for trout. Don't leave before checking out the 20,000-year-old Boulder Field, recognized by the National Park Service as a natural landmark. Camp sites are open year-round, with the peak season ending October 21.
6. Mauch Chunk Lake Park - Jim Thorpe
Located in Jim Thorpe, about one-and-a-half hours from the city, you'll find this campground offering more than 100 camp sites. Choose a cabin or enjoy lakefront tent camping, each site featuring a fire ring, cooking grill, and picnic table. There are also shared bathrooms with hot water and showers. Forgot something? Visit the park store for small convenience items or firewood. Pets aren't permitted here, so if you're interested in visiting this spot, be sure to make other accommodations for your furry friends.
7. Ricketts Glen State Park - Sugarloaf
While the farthest away from Philadelphia, about two-and-a-half hours, the drive is sure to be worth it. This state park is lauded for its waterfalls, including the 100-foot Ganoga Falls. Horseback riding is also available here. So rent a camping cabin or cottage or bring a tent and savor all that Mother Nature has to offer. Some sites are open throughout the year, with others closing November 5. The park is pet-friendly, and toilets and showers are available to campers.
Check out one or more of these campgrounds this fall and let us know how it went by commenting on our Facebook page.