Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the most exciting and family-friendly and fun outdoor activities near Pennsylvania for kids! The Keystone State has a lot to offer when it comes to outdoor family activities in PA, – our state is the perfect backdrop for creating unforgettable memories with your children. From thrilling amusement parks to serene nature trails, there is something for everyone. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the top outdoor activities you should consider for your next family outing in Pennsylvania.
35 Outdoor Activities Near Pennsylvania for Kids
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Ronks, PA
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, Ronks: Get lost in the fun at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, home to one of America’s most impressive corn mazes. This family-friendly destination offers over 50 attractions, including a petting zoo, wagon rides, and a giant slingshot. It’s a delightful place to spend a day outdoors with the kids.
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg: This family-owned amusement park combines nostalgic charm with modern thrills. Knoebels offers free admission, free parking, and over 60 rides, including roller coasters, a haunted house, and a carousel. The park also features a swimming pool, picnic areas, and playgrounds for endless family fun.
Sesame Place, Langhorne
Sesame Place, Langhorne: Located just outside of Philadelphia, Sesame Place is the only theme park in the US based on the beloved children’s TV show Sesame Street. Kids will love interacting with their favorite characters, enjoying live shows, and exploring the park’s exciting rides and water attractions.
Hershey Gardens, Hershey
Hershey Gardens, Hershey: Stimulate your senses at Hershey Gardens, a 23-acre botanical paradise. Kids can explore the Children’s Garden, complete with interactive exhibits and whimsical sculptures. Don’t miss the Butterfly Atrium, where hundreds of colorful butterflies flutter around in a tropical oasis.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown: This two-in-one amusement park offers excitement for the whole family. With over 100 rides, roller coasters, and attractions, Dorney Park has something for everyone. Next door, Wildwater Kingdom provides a refreshing escape on hot summer days with numerous water slides and attractions.
Lehigh Valley Zoo, Schnecksville
Lehigh Valley Zoo, Schnecksville: Situated within the Trexler Nature Preserve, Lehigh Valley Zoo is home to over 325 animals from around the world. The zoo offers interactive exhibits, daily animal demonstrations, and unique events throughout the year. It’s an ideal destination for kids who love wildlife and conservation.
Presque Isle State Park, Erie
Presque Isle State Park, Erie: This 3,200-acre sandy peninsula on Lake Erie is perfect for family outings. Enjoy sandy beaches, picnic areas, and diverse wildlife at this beautiful park. Kids will love swimming, hiking, and spotting migratory birds while exploring the park’s various habitats.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton: Visit one of the world’s premier bird-watching destinations, where thousands of raptors migrate each year. The sanctuary features miles of hiking trails, breathtaking vistas, and a Visitor Center offering educational programs for kids and adults alike.
Pocono TreeVentures, East Stroudsburg
Pocono TreeVentures, East Stroudsburg: Challenge your family to an aerial adventure at Pocono TreeVentures. With over 100 elements, including zip lines, rope ladders, and suspension bridges, kids can test their courage and agility while exploring the treetops of the beautiful Pocono Mountains.
Ricketts Glen State Park, Benton
Ricketts Glen State Park, Benton: Home to 22 gorgeous waterfalls, Ricketts Glen State Park is a true natural wonder. Hike the 7.2-mile Falls Trail System to witness the cascading waterfalls or enjoy other park activities like fishing, boating, and picnicking in this breathtaking outdoor paradise.
Ohiopyle State Park, Ohiopyle
Ohiopyle State Park, Ohiopyle: This 20,500-acre park is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. With stunning waterfalls, exhilarating whitewater rafting, and miles of hiking and biking trails, Ohiopyle State Park offers endless opportunities for adventure. Kids will love exploring the natural waterslides and picnicking by the scenic Youghiogheny River.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Eastern PA
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Eastern PA: Spanning 70,000 acres, this recreation area features a diverse array of activities for families to enjoy. Hike along the Appalachian Trail, paddle down the Delaware River, or explore historic sites like Millbrook Village. With waterfalls, wildlife, and breathtaking vistas, it’s an unforgettable outdoor experience for kids.
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh: Discover more than 4,000 animals from around the globe at this world-class zoo and aquarium. The Pittsburgh Zoo offers immersive exhibits like the Asian Forest, African Savanna, and The Islands, as well as interactive shows and animal encounters that will delight children of all ages.
Adventure Aquarium, Camden NJ
Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ: Just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Adventure Aquarium boasts over 15,000 aquatic species, including sharks, sea turtles, and penguins. The kids will be mesmerized by the underwater shark tunnel, the 40-foot suspended Shark Bridge, and hands-on exhibits like the Stingray Beach Club.
Franklin Institute, Philadelphia
Franklin Institute, Philadelphia: Ignite your child’s curiosity at the Franklin Institute, one of America’s oldest and most respected science centers. The museum offers interactive exhibits on topics like electricity, weather, and space exploration. Don’t miss the iconic Giant Heart, where kids can crawl through a two-story replica of the human heart.
Tyler Arboretum, Media
Tyler Arboretum, Media: Explore 650 acres of natural beauty at this historic arboretum. The kids will enjoy the hands-on learning opportunities in the Butterfly House, the Tree House Village, and the interactive Nature Playscape. Wander through the picturesque gardens and hike the serene woodland trails for a perfect family outing.
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square: Immerse your family in the horticultural wonders of Longwood Gardens, boasting over 1,000 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows. The Children’s Garden offers interactive exhibits and water play features, while the rest of the gardens delight visitors with seasonal displays, fountains, and exquisite landscapes.
Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown
Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown: Home to over 100 species of animals, Elmwood Park Zoo focuses on conservation and education. Kids can feed giraffes, enjoy a birds of prey show, and explore the Treetop Adventures course, making it a perfect destination for animal lovers of all ages.
Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia
Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia: As America’s first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo has been delighting visitors since 1874. Discover more than 1,300 animals in naturalistic habitats, ride the ZooBalloon, or explore the unique Zoo360 animal trail system. Interactive exhibits and educational programs make this a must-visit destination for families.
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, Halifax
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, Halifax: Experience a safari adventure in the heart of Pennsylvania at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park. Spend the day with your family and friends exploring over 150 acres of pristine wildlife and natural beauty. Watch animals such as zebras, giraffes, water buffalo, camels and more as they roam freely in their natural habitats. You can also feed them from the comfort of your car or take an open-air safari tour around the grounds for an even more in-depth experience.
Pymatuning State Park, Jamestown
Pymatuning State Park, Jamestown: This 17,088-acre park surrounds the beautiful Pymatuning Lake, offering a variety of outdoor activities for the whole family. Enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking in this picturesque setting. Don’t miss the popular “Spillway,” where kids can feed the large carp and watch ducks walk on the fish.
Coudersport Ice Mine, Coudersport
Coudersport Ice Mine, Coudersport: Visit the mysterious Coudersport Ice Mine, a natural phenomenon where ice forms in the summer and melts in the winter. Kids will be fascinated by this geological wonder while learning about the unique conditions that create this icy attraction.
Crystal Cave, Kutztown
Crystal Cave, Kutztown: Explore the underground world of Crystal Cave, one of Pennsylvania’s most famous show caves. With guided tours, kids can marvel at the stunning formations and learn about the cave’s history and geology. The site also offers gemstone panning and a nature trail for a full day of adventure.
Columcille Megalith Park, Bangor
Columcille Megalith Park, Bangor: This unique park is an outdoor sanctuary featuring Celtic-inspired megaliths and stone structures. Wander the peaceful grounds, and let your kids’ imaginations soar as they explore this magical landscape. The park is a perfect place for quiet reflection and creative play.
Claws ‘N’ Paws Wild Animal Park, Lake Ariel
Claws ‘N’ Paws Wild Animal Park, Lake Ariel: Get up close and personal with exotic animals at this interactive zoo. Home to over 120 species, Claws ‘N’ Paws offers animal shows, a petting zoo, and the chance to feed giraffes, creating a memorable experience for animal-loving kids.
Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton
Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton: Step back in time at this living museum dedicated to the history of steam railroading. Kids can explore massive locomotives, enjoy train rides, and participate in educational programs that bring the golden age of railroading to life.
Jim Thorpe River Adventures, Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe River Adventures, Jim Thorpe: Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River with family-friendly guided tours suitable for kids aged six and up. In addition to rafting, Jim Thorpe River Adventures offers inflatable kayaking and bike rentals for a day of exhilarating outdoor fun.
Skytop Lodge Adventure Center, Skytop
Skytop Lodge Adventure Center, Skytop: Located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, Skytop Lodge offers an array of outdoor activities for families, including a treetop adventure course, zip-lining, archery, and hiking. The Adventure Center provides endless opportunities for kids to challenge themselves and explore nature’s beauty.
Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg
Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg: Immerse your family in the rich history of the Civil War at this iconic battlefield. With guided tours, museums, and living history programs, kids will gain a deeper understanding of the events that shaped our nation. Explore the grounds, monuments, and watch reenactments for an unforgettable educational experience.
Conneaut Lake Park, Conneaut Lake
Conneaut Lake Park, Conneaut Lake: This historic amusement park on the shores of Conneaut Lake has been entertaining families for over a century. Enjoy classic rides like the wooden roller coaster, Blue Streak, and the iconic carousel. The park also features a water park, mini-golf, and scenic picnic spots for a full day of family fun.
Worlds End State Park, Forksville
Worlds End State Park, Forksville: This 780-acre park is nestled in a narrow S-shaped valley and offers breathtaking views, hiking trails, and a picturesque swimming area. The diverse terrain is perfect for adventurous kids who enjoy exploring forests, rock formations, and waterfalls in the great outdoors.
Great Allegheny Passage, Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA
Great Allegheny Passage, Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA: This 150-mile rail-trail offers a safe, car-free path for families to bike, hike, or walk through stunning scenery. Experience the beauty of the Allegheny Mountains, historic tunnels, and charming small towns as you traverse this incredible trail with your kids.
Idlewild & SoakZone, Ligonier
Idlewild & SoakZone, Ligonier: Voted one of the best kids’ parks in the world, Idlewild & SoakZone combines classic amusement park fun with modern water attractions. The park features themed areas like Storybook Forest, where kids can interact with their favorite fairy tale characters, and the exciting SoakZone water park.
Whitewater Rafting Adventures, Nesquehoning
Whitewater Rafting Adventures, Nesquehoning: Discover the adrenaline-pumping fun of whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River with guided trips suitable for kids aged eight and up. In addition to rafting, Whitewater Rafting Adventures also offers paintball, ziplining, and biking for a full day of action-packed family entertainment.
Wildwood Wildlife Park, Hermitage
Wildwood Wildlife Park, Hermitage: This charming wildlife park offers a hands-on, interactive experience for kids who love animals. Home to over 100 species, Wildwood Wildlife Park features an expansive petting zoo, deer feeding, and pony rides. Enjoy a day of educational fun as you explore the park and learn about the animals and their habitats.
With a mix of natural wonders, thrilling amusement parks, and educational experiences, these 35 outdoor places near Pennsylvania offer endless possibilities for kids to engage with the world around them. Take advantage of the diverse outdoor activities available and create unforgettable memories with your children. No matter your child’s interests or age, there’s always an adventure waiting to be explored in the Keystone State.outdoor family activities in paoutdoor family activities in pa