Fans of the quintessential waterfront getaway will undoubtedly agree with Thoreau's description of the lake as "the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature." With an array of aquatic activities to enjoy – fishing, swimming and boating, to name a few – lakes are popular vacation destinations year-round. Even during the coldest months of the year, lakefront cabins, lodges and even campsites are perfect for getting away from it all to enjoy ice fishing, skating, hiking, cross-country skiing and more. There are a number of popular lakefront vacation spots near Philadelphia, and these five are among the top.
French Creek State Park
843 Park Road
Elverson, PA 19520
Just an hour from Philadelphia, a cabin vacation at French Creek State Park offers vacationers plenty of recreational options including boating and fishing in the park's two lakes, swimming in the summertime at a lifeguarded pool, and hiking, cross-country skiing and more year-round. For those that want to "rough it," a yurt –a cross between a cabin and a tent – is just the ticket. For those who prefer a few more creature comforts, a reservation in one of the park's camping cottages or modern cabins is in order. Each of the three camping cottages – wood cabins that sleep five -- is equipped with electric lights, heat, a porch, picnic table and a fire ring, while the ten modern cabins, which each sleep six, are just that – modern – with electric heat, a private bath with shower, a kitchen and wall-to-wall carpeting to keep your feet warm on those chillier mornings. Note: You will need to bring your own cookware and bedding.
Related: Top Camping Sites Near Philadelphia
Mountain Springs Lake
Mountain Springs Drive
Reeders, PA 18352
Mountain Springs Lake is a private resort that's perfect for families and couples hoping to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Tucked away in the picturesque Pocono Mountains, this waterfront destination is practically in Philly's backyard - an easy morning's drive from the City of Brotherly Love. The perfect destination for a weekend getaway of fishing, tennis and hiking in the warmer months, Mountain Springs Lake also offers easy access to skiing, ice-fishing, snowboarding or snowshoeing in the winter. With convenient nearby shopping and almost 40 cabins to choose from, this venue is sure to meet your weekend getaway needs, whether you're seeking romance or the ideal setting for reconnecting with the family.
Nockamixon State Park
1542 Mountain View Drive
Quakertown, PA 18951
Just outside of Philadelphia, Nockamixon State Park is located in Bucks County, less than an hour from the City of Brotherly Love. This local gem holds ten cabins, each furnished and complete with electricity and plumbing. The cabins, which are available year-round, can be booked by the weekend (minimum stay is two nights) during the cooler months, and by the week during the summertime. Vacationers can enjoy fishing, boating, hiking and biking in the summertime. Swimming is also available during the summer, but in the pool only, as swimming is not allowed in Lake Nockamixon. The half-acre pool complex holds two water slides and a shallow area with water fountains for the little ones, as well as a snack bar and first aid station. Sledding is allowed in the area above the marina during the winter, and cross-country skiing is permitted on the bicycle trail and roads in the closed day use area. Ice skating and ice fishing are allowed on the lake when the ice is four inches thick, which helps make this destination an ideal getaway any time of the year.
Parvin State Park
701 Almond Road
Pittsgrove, NJ 08318
A popular getaway destination for many Philly area families is neighboring New Jersey's Parvin State Park. Eighteen cabins are available to rent there from April through October, and each is equipped with two bedrooms that provide enough sleeping space for six, while a furnished living room comes with either a fireplace or wood-burning stove. A couple of the cabins are equipped for persons with disabilities, and the kitchen offers running water, an electric stove and fridge, and for added comfort, each cabin has its own fully appointed bathroom. These cabins are nestled on the north shore of Thundergust Lake -- one of the two sparkling lakes in Parvin State Park, where guests will enjoy hiking, fishing, boating and swimming. On Parvin Lake, the other of the two lakes in this park, a lifeguard staffed swimming beach is available from Memorial Day through Labor Day at Parvin Grove, where the amenities include a bathhouse, first-aid station, canoe rental and a concession offering refreshment, novelties and beach supplies. On the either side of the beach area are picnic groves, tables, grills and playgrounds.
Prince Gallitzin State Park
966 Marina Road
Patton, PA 16668
Just over three hours from the Philadelphia area, Prince Gallitzin State Park is nestled in the Allegheny Plateau and home to Glendale Lake, a 1,635-acre body of water with 26 miles of shoreline. Popular with anglers, boaters and campers, vacationers can choose from a variety of accommodations, from camping to cabin retreats. Three rustic camping cottages, available from early April through late October, have a deck and windows with a view of the lake, and ten furnished, modern cabins are available year-round. The modern cabins come with either two or three bedrooms, a living area, a kitchen and dining area, and a shower area. Boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding are all popular activities, with swimming available at Muskrat beach from May to September. Snowmobiling, ice fishing and ice boating are a few of the activities available during the coldest months.
Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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