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You’ve decided to take the family camping this summer, but where do you want to go? A quick Google search leads you to Locust Lake State Park in Pennsylvania, realizing it has everything you want in a campsite. The lake offers year-round swimming and fishing opportunities, while the park also provides hiking trails and opportunities to enjoy nature at its finest. However, certain things to be aware of when camping at Locust Lake State Park can make your trip more enjoyable or even keep you safe from harm if you do your research first.
Which is the Right Time to Camp at Locust Lake State Park?
One of the most important things you need to know about camping at any state park is that it costs less during off-peak times than peak times. Off-peak rates are as low as $2 a night for non-residents. At other times, prices can be more than four times higher. The best way to save money is by visiting Locust Lake during its off-peak months.
From October through May, there’s no better time to visit. If you crave to experience nature in all its glory, plan your trip between June and September when temperatures are milder and campgrounds aren’t as crowded.
Who Can Come to Locust Lake State Park?
The park is open year-round and allows pets on leash. It’s a great place for swimmers, campers, kayakers, canoers, boaters, anglers, or anyone who enjoys a day of picnicking in beautiful surroundings.
The state park consists of 595 acres of land; most of it is uninhabited, with seasonal campsites available from April 15th through November 1st. The lake spans about 1,700 acres and is spring fed so that its water level remains constant throughout all seasons.
Fishing enthusiasts will find largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, northern pike, walleye (in season), muskellunge (in season), sunfish (in season), and perch in these waters.
What Should You Bring to Locust Lake State Park When Camping?
To ensure you get a restful night’s sleep, bring pillows, sheets, blankets, a sleeping bag or air mattress, flashlights, and batteries. It would be helpful to pack plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses, and bug spray.
Since you won’t have access to running water, be sure to bring your own water with you. You should also pack your fishing gear as there is plenty of fish in Trout Lake. Also, don’t forget your camera! The scenery at Locust Lake is stunning for photo sessions.
Where to Stay at Locust Lake State Park
Locust Lake has several campsites, all available on a first-come, first-served basis. Waterfront sites offer up some of the best views in town. Depending on your site, you might have access to your dock or a view of Tallulah Gorge from your tent.
Boat camping sites are also available at Locust Lake. These sites are equipped with water and electric hookups. These spots will do just fine if you’re looking for an RV experience without leaving your car behind.
Tent camping is also available at Locust Lake; however, these spots tend to fill up quickly during peak season (summer). If you’re planning to visit during the summer months, it’s recommended that you make reservations well in advance.
Remember that you will be roughing it when camping for a weekend or a week. If you are not prepared, your trip may be less enjoyable than it could have been. Use these tips to ensure your camping trip is as fun as possible:
1. Bring Games and Activities with You When You Go Camping
This helps keep boredom at bay while out in nature. There are many options, like Frisbee golf, badminton, playing cards, or even board games if it rains. You can enjoy yourself without technology!
2. Don’t Let Sleeping Bags Touch Each Other
Sleeping bags need room to breathe so they do not get moisture from each other. It is best to store them separated by some space between them. The right sleeping bag will keep you warm during cold nights but also cool during hot nights.
The fill power of your sleeping bag determines its warmth level. Fill power means how much space one ounce of down takes up. A higher number means more loft and warmer bags; lower numbers mean less loft and cooler bags.
3. Keep an Eye on Local Laws Before Taking a Canoe Out Onto Any Water Body
Many bodies of water require life jackets to be worn by all passengers, including those who are paddling. Also, avoid shallow areas where you could run aground easily.
4. Don’t Bring Valuables Along
leave your valuables at home in a safe place whenever you go camping. While it is nice to get away from everything electronic, there are still dangers lurking around every corner when you camp out in the wilderness.
Outdoor Activities at Locust Lake State Park
One of Pennslyvania’s most beautiful parks, Locust Lake has several hiking trails ranging from easy (an hour or two) to challenging (nearly all day).
If you’re just starting, head for Champlain Mountain—the spectacular view will be worth every step. If you want something less strenuous, try Tower Trail. Or go for a swim in beautiful Locust Lake.
Bring along some bread for bait. Fishing is also popular at Locust Lake; if you catch anything, enjoy it with your fellow campers over an open fire. You can also canoe around Locust Lake.
Water Sports At Locust Lake States Park
Locust Lake is one of PA’s biggest, most beautiful, and cleanest lakes. Known for being a camping enthusiast’s paradise, it’s also popular among anglers and canoeists who spend their weekends near its shores.
No matter your reason for visiting Locust Lake State Park, you can be sure there will be plenty of recreational activities for you. Here are some highlights. If you wish for a fun thing to do during your visit:
- Try renting a boat at Locust Lake Marina. The lake offers plenty of public beach areas for swimming, fishing, or sunbathing.
- You can also bring your kayak or standup paddleboard—just remember to register with a life jacket before hitting the water.
- If you’re not a motorized boat fan, there are plenty of places where you can launch a canoe or kayak.
Ensure you let a family member or a friend know where you’re going and when you expect to return. If you plan on camping overnight, it’s wise to take a friend or family member with you, or at least tell people where you’re going and how long you expect to be gone.
Also, if your plans include swimming in any lake, be aware of water safety. CDC recommends that children under five should not swim in freshwater lakes, ponds, or rivers due to the increased risk of drowning.
Be sure you understand all rules regarding swimming before getting into any body of water.
The Final Thoughts
This park is excellent for swimming, biking, hiking, bird watching, fishing, and snowmobiling. Whether you’re looking for a long walk or an adventure, you’ll find that in Locust Lake States Park.
In addition to these activities, keep your eyes peeled while exploring. The Adirondack Mountains are home to over thirty species of salamanders—and with luck, you may see them sunning themselves on a rock or a crayfish scurrying in the water nearby.