The Best Camping Near Lancaster, Pennsylvania

The Best Camping Near Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Whether you’re curious about the Amish community or whether you feel most at peace among the rolling hills, campgrounds near Lancaster strike a balance between relaxing wilderness and cultural intrigue. Take a hike, cast a line, or venture downtown for historic landmarks galore.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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About Camping Near Lancaster

The peaceful Pennsylvania countryside beckons, and there are tons of ways to explore it! Strap on your hiking boots, set up a home away from home at campgrounds near Lancaster, or hop on a train ride on the Strasburg Railroad – the oldest continuously operating railroad in the country. Explore Amish farmlands on a scooter tour, or by horse and buggy. Downtown, head to Lancaster Central Market, Fulton Theatre, or Dutch Wonderland for a mix of historical attractions and family fun!

Top Campgrounds Near Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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Lancaster Camping FAQs

Lancaster, PA, is a city rooted in history that still holds strong Dutch, German, and English cultural influences. While known mainly as Amish country, this side of Pennsylvania puts you near some great outdoor spots. Camping near Lancaster, PA, is mainly focused around state parks and the Allegheny National Forest.

What’s the Best Time of Year to Go Camping Near Lancaster, PA?

Camping near Lancaster, PA, tends to be most comfortable in spring and fall. Summers in this section of the country are moderately warm with decent humidity. While temperatures rarely get above 90, summer months see humidity levels that not all travelers are used to. Spring has the advantage of cooler weather and lesser humidity, while the fall colors here keep visitors coming back.

What Are the Top Outdoor Activities Near Lancaster, PA?

Hiking and camping near Lancaster, PA, are usually the most popular outdoor options, but not the only ones. Nearby are some great biking trails and bodies of water, meaning mountain biking and kayaking options are plentiful. In peak summer, definitely consider hitting the water with a kayak or enjoying a restful afternoon on the riverbanks.

What Are the National Parks Near Lancaster, PA?

Valley Forge National Historic Park – 1 hour

Camping near Lancaster, PA, tends to center around the Allegheny National Forest and local state parks. While historic parks, like Valley Forge National Historic Park, are fascinating stops where visitors can learn about the region’s history, they aren’t camping options. There are still plenty of accommodations near the park for those wanting to spend a day here anyway.

Gettysburg National Military Park – 1.5 hours

While not strictly an option for camping near Lancaster, PA, Gettysburg National Military Park does offer unique overnight lodging. The historic, on-site Bushman House was restored in 2017. Visitors can spend the night in this updated historic house that’s fully equipped and features three bedrooms. Those staying at the Bushman House will enjoy the best location to get a jump start on an educational day at this national military park.

Allegheny National Forest – 4.25 hours

When it comes to federally managed land, the Allegheny National Forest is the best option for camping near Lancaster, PA. Not only do you have established campsites to choose from, but there are also cabins spread throughout the forest for rent. Of course, dispersed camping is allowed for those looking for a no-frills camping experience. For some of the best hiking, paddling, and trail riding in southern Pennsylvania, check out the Allegheny National Forest.

What Are Some of the Most Popular State Parks Near Lancaster, PA?

Susquehannock State Park

Of the popular state parks near Lancaster, Susquehannock State Park is relatively the least trafficked, just a bit behind Samuel S Lewis State Park. This small park comes in at just 224 acres but is just a short 30-minute drive from Lancaster. The park overlooks the Susquehanna River, offering some of the best views and best group camping near Lancaster, PA. There are no individual sites, but there are plenty of day-use amenities.

Samuel S Lewis State Park

Samuel S Lewis State Park is even smaller than Susquehannock at just 85 acres. However, Samuel S Lewis is home to Mount Pisgah, the park’s main attraction. At just under 900 feet, it still offers enjoyable views of the area.

The most popular trail here is a 1.6-mile loop trail, Samuel S Lewis Back Trail to Hilltop Trail, that takes you to Mount Pisgah. The elevation shouldn’t scare anyone away, as the trail is on the easier end of the “moderate” rating.

French Creek State Park

This popular state park is almost 8,000 acres in size and holds an oasis of wildlife in southeastern Pennsylvania. For travelers including Philadelphia in their plans, French Creek State Park is a good halfway point between Lancaster and Philadelphia. French Creek state park offers great options for camping near Lancaster, PA, as well as near Philadelphia.

For those seeking more amenities, some campgrounds here have full hookups and hot showers. French Creek also offers modern cabins, yurts, and camping cottages with increased comfort levels.

Marsh Creek State Park

Marsh Creek State Park is easily the most popular day-use area near Lancaster. While it’s a spacious park with plenty of activities, there are no overnight lodging options available. Marsh Creek is only half an hour away for those camping at French Creek State Park, making for an easy day trip. While there, be sure to see the Marsh Creek Lake.

What Are the Top Attractions in Lancaster, PA?

Dutch Wonderland

This theme park appeals to families with young children, calling itself “a Whimsical World of Family-Friendly Fun.” Dutch Wonderland has roller coasters, live entertainment, and on-site restaurants, making it easy to spend the day there. If you’re not ready to call it a day and leave, consider staying in the on-site lodging.

The Amish Farm and House

This historic site has been educating visitors about the Amish way of life since the 1950s. The Amish Farm and House was the first Amish-focused attraction in the entire country, and the team here has been striving to provide the most authentic tours ever since. A tour is definitely the best way to experience the Amish Farm and House, as guests receive conversational, unscripted tours from knowledgeable guides.

American Music Theatre

Lancaster doesn’t exactly leap to front of mind for live theater, but this venue actually hosts more than 300 shows a year! Between concerts and performances, the American Music Theatre has provided a cultural center for the region since it opened its doors in 1997. Be sure to check the upcoming calendar of events and get your tickets early.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum

Run by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, this museum preserves the history of rural German culture in Pennsylvania. From Wednesday to Sunday year-round, the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum opens its grounds to the public. While visitors are welcome to roam the grounds at their leisure, an interpretive tour is the best way to appreciate the history here.

Where’s Some of the Best Food in Lancaster, PA?

The Pressroom Restaurant

This downtown gastropub is one of the hottest places in Lancaster, and for good reason. Both the indoor and outdoor dining spaces are exciting, and the courtyard features relaxing waterfalls. The Pressroom serves high-quality New American fares in an upscale setting. Everything on the menu is fresh and in tune with what’s in season locally. Be sure to check out the live music calendar!

Lancaster Indoor Market

The Lancaster Indoor Market has been around since 1730 and is the oldest, continuously running public farmers’ market in the United States. Even if you can’t stay long, it’s worth a stop into the market to see a wide variety of local vendors selling their wares, offering high-quality meats and cheeses, among other options.


Things are simple at LUCA but always done well. LUCA is a classic wood-fired pizza spot offering a long drink list of inventive cocktails, local and Italian beer, and wine by the glass or bottle. LUCA does things the “Old Country” way and offers the best upscale Italian dining in the city.

Shot & Bottle

Looking for something a little more laid back? Shot & Bottle is a no-frills local spot with a deceptively exciting menu. While it’s far from haughty, the menu is exciting. Shot & Bottle has a wide variety of great appetizers and main courses, but the star of the show is, as the name suggests, their drink list. When in doubt, order a Horse & Buggy.

Lancaster, PA, wasn’t a tourist destination until it made its way onto tourism maps in the mid-20th century. Now, it’s a fascinating town with an exciting cultural scene in a beautiful section of the state. When camping near Lancaster, PA, don’t stray too far from town, or you’ll miss all it has to offer!

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