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Where to camp near Philly

All sites are within a one-hour drive

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Philly in the summer has many things: fireworks (still, even after the Fourth of July, apparently), lots of live music, great food trucks, and a lively festival scene.

But we get it: sometimes you just need to get away for a night or two.

And luckily, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have plenty of options for some great camping in their state parks. There are spots to bring pets, do some great bird watching, hike and bike, fish, and kayak, all while ending the day around a campfire or lounging in a tent.

This summer we’ve put together the best camping sites the general Philly-area has to offer. If you’re not tent-inclined, fine! There are plenty of lean-tos, cabins, or otherwise. If you want to be around people or you want to be secluded, there are great options for you. Need to take 50 friends and family members on a camping trip? The Philly area has you covered.

Behold: the 9 best spots to camp, all within a one-hour drive of the city.

Did we miss your favorite? Drop us a line and let us know.

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French Creek State Park

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If you’re in the market for some more secluded, rustic camping, this is your site. French Creek State Park has plenty of places to pitch a tent for around $25. At 7,700 acres, it also happens to be the largest contiguous forest between D.C. and New York. Here, you can hike, bike, and fish, as well as take in some great bird watching; it’s been designated an important bird and mammal area by the National Audubon Society.

Ridley Creek State Park

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Just a 30 minute drive from Center City, Ridley Creek State Park has some gorgeous scenery to check out, as well as some killer activities. You can hike and bike, or you can opt to explore by horse. Hidden Valley Farms operates a stable in the park that offers riding lessons, pony rides, and more. If you want to stay, you’ll need to book fast. There are a few options available for groups to pitch tents and stay overnight.

Nockamixon State Park

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This 5,000-acre park is right on the water and offers some beautiful, quiet overnight spots. There are chances to hike, bike, boat, and even fish. For younger kids who want to swim, there’s even a pool nearby. The site offers several secluded cabins along the water which run a little upward of $100.

Fort Washington State Park

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If you want to stay a little closer to Philly check out Fort Washington State Park, which is a popular spot for day-trippers, hikers and campers alike. There are only four places to pitch a tent here, but they’re all beautiful. Check out the greenery or go watch birds and catch some scenery from the park’s observation tower.

Parvin State Park

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If you’re camping in Parvin, chances are you’ll be right on the water. There are two big campsites here: one sits along the banks of Thundergust Lake, which offers mainly cabins that run around $55. The other offers camping either on the banks or at least nearby Parvin Lake, where you can bring a trailer or a tent and get a site that costs about $25. For the botanists out there, the site offers 220 different kinds of flowering plants. Plus, as with many of these sites, there’s plenty of biking, kayaking, canoeing and more to be had.

Washington Crossing State Park, NJ

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This is one for the history buffs: George Washington stayed here with his troops after crossing the Delaware in 1776. Now, it’s a very secluded park with only four campsites available. You can only do “primitive camping” (meaning in tents) but you can bring up to 50 friends at many of the sites. Costs (for non-residents) run from $60 to $200, but again, bring a big group of friends to this one.

Belleplain State Forest

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There is a lot of camping to be had out in Belleplain State Forest (a quick drive from the shore, if you want to knock out two vacations in one). It all surrounds the beautiful Lake Nummy and, while you’ll probably be nearby other campers, chances are that won’t matter as soon as you get there. It’s basically a nature wonderland, with tons of swimming, biking, and hiking. Plus, it offers a range of options: you can pitch the typical tent, or you can opt for a lean-to, small cabin, or bring a trailer. A lot of the sites are pet-friendly and the experience can run you between $25-$60 depending on where you choose to stay.

Wharton State Forest

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There is plenty of camping to be had in the Pine Barrens including here, at the massive Wharton State Forest. Campsites are more spread out here, and you can choose to do anything from tent camping to a full-fledged trailer. There’s hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and even the historic Batsto Village nearby. Prices can run as low as $5 per person.

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest

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With flat, sandy trails and plenty of places to pitch a tent, the Brendan T Byrne State Forest is a great getaway. There’s a blend of opportunities, from group and family campsites, to shelters. Plus, you can bring a dog (on a leash) to some of the pet-friendly sites and check out all the great streams and woodland the area has to offer. Costs will run you around $20-25 per night.

French Creek State Park

If you’re in the market for some more secluded, rustic camping, this is your site. French Creek State Park has plenty of places to pitch a tent for around $25. At 7,700 acres, it also happens to be the largest contiguous forest between D.C. and New York. Here, you can hike, bike, and fish, as well as take in some great bird watching; it’s been designated an important bird and mammal area by the National Audubon Society.

Ridley Creek State Park

Just a 30 minute drive from Center City, Ridley Creek State Park has some gorgeous scenery to check out, as well as some killer activities. You can hike and bike, or you can opt to explore by horse. Hidden Valley Farms operates a stable in the park that offers riding lessons, pony rides, and more. If you want to stay, you’ll need to book fast. There are a few options available for groups to pitch tents and stay overnight.

Nockamixon State Park

This 5,000-acre park is right on the water and offers some beautiful, quiet overnight spots. There are chances to hike, bike, boat, and even fish. For younger kids who want to swim, there’s even a pool nearby. The site offers several secluded cabins along the water which run a little upward of $100.

Fort Washington State Park

If you want to stay a little closer to Philly check out Fort Washington State Park, which is a popular spot for day-trippers, hikers and campers alike. There are only four places to pitch a tent here, but they’re all beautiful. Check out the greenery or go watch birds and catch some scenery from the park’s observation tower.

Parvin State Park

If you’re camping in Parvin, chances are you’ll be right on the water. There are two big campsites here: one sits along the banks of Thundergust Lake, which offers mainly cabins that run around $55. The other offers camping either on the banks or at least nearby Parvin Lake, where you can bring a trailer or a tent and get a site that costs about $25. For the botanists out there, the site offers 220 different kinds of flowering plants. Plus, as with many of these sites, there’s plenty of biking, kayaking, canoeing and more to be had.

Washington Crossing State Park, NJ

This is one for the history buffs: George Washington stayed here with his troops after crossing the Delaware in 1776. Now, it’s a very secluded park with only four campsites available. You can only do “primitive camping” (meaning in tents) but you can bring up to 50 friends at many of the sites. Costs (for non-residents) run from $60 to $200, but again, bring a big group of friends to this one.

Belleplain State Forest

There is a lot of camping to be had out in Belleplain State Forest (a quick drive from the shore, if you want to knock out two vacations in one). It all surrounds the beautiful Lake Nummy and, while you’ll probably be nearby other campers, chances are that won’t matter as soon as you get there. It’s basically a nature wonderland, with tons of swimming, biking, and hiking. Plus, it offers a range of options: you can pitch the typical tent, or you can opt for a lean-to, small cabin, or bring a trailer. A lot of the sites are pet-friendly and the experience can run you between $25-$60 depending on where you choose to stay.

Wharton State Forest

There is plenty of camping to be had in the Pine Barrens including here, at the massive Wharton State Forest. Campsites are more spread out here, and you can choose to do anything from tent camping to a full-fledged trailer. There’s hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and even the historic Batsto Village nearby. Prices can run as low as $5 per person.

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest

With flat, sandy trails and plenty of places to pitch a tent, the Brendan T Byrne State Forest is a great getaway. There’s a blend of opportunities, from group and family campsites, to shelters. Plus, you can bring a dog (on a leash) to some of the pet-friendly sites and check out all the great streams and woodland the area has to offer. Costs will run you around $20-25 per night.