- Pennsylvania is one of the best US states for nature, with beautiful nature-dotted towns, scenic major cities, and natural hotspots that deserve to be explored.
- Presque Isle State Park is a favorite nature spot for locals and visitors, offering ample recreational activities and fascinating wildlife.
- Bushkill Falls, also known as the Niagara of Pennsylvania, is a must-see attraction with eight series of waterfalls and stunning hiking trails.
Picture some of the beautiful towns in Pennsylvania that showcase the state’s natural beauty and major cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that fascinate with their technological advancements and iconic landmarks. Well, those are some of the many things that make Pennsylvania a top state to visit in America.
However, some of Pennsylvania’s natural places are often overlooked, but they deserve to be explored for their breathtaking and unspoiled beauty. From botanical gardens to state parks, these natural gems are the perfect places to appreciate nature’s beauty and tranquility.
Adventurers escape from the hustle and bustle of major cities to such natural areas for outdoor recreation, including hiking the most beautiful hikes in Pennsylvania. Whatever the interest, the most beautiful natural places in Pennsylvania evoke a sense of wonder, and tourists should visit them to witness their breathtaking beauty – starting with these serene nature hotspots.
Presque Isle State Park
Leslie Beach in Presque Isle State Park, Erie County, Pennsylvania, during winter
Presque Isle State Park curves along the shores of Lake Erie, making it a favorite spot for locals and visitors due to its ample recreational activities. The park’s natural beauty also lures nature lovers with its unique habitats, hosting fascinating wildlife ranging from ray-finned fishes to mammals and birds.
As a hot spot birding area, Presque Isle State Park hosts more than 300 species of birds, most of them best observed during their different migrations seasons. During early spring, birdwatchers spot ospreys and warblers, while the fall is the best time to witness the waterfowl migration.
- Location: Erie
- Admission fee: Free
- Best activities in Presque Isle State Park: Birdwatching, Hiking, Fishing, Boating, Surfing
Large rock formations in Bilger’s Rocks, a park in Clearfield County, PA
Bilger’s Rocks is another gem among the best nature spots in Pennsylvania; it allows visitors to experience the Carboniferous Period as they marvel at picturesque rock formations dating over 300 million years ago. The rocks were once coated with limestone and shale but have been eroding due to natural causes, such as the growth of plants and water passing through the crevasses.
However, they are still intriguing natural wonders that keep evolving and are worth seeing in Pennsylvania. Visitors wiggle through narrow passages as they stand in awe of their massiveness while the brave in heart explore the barely-body-width underground spaces.
- Location: Grampian
- Admission fee: Free (although donations are accepted)
- Best things to do in Bilger’s Rocks: Hiking, Rock climbing, Camping, Picnicking
Bushkill Falls, a natural tourist attraction in Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Bushkill Falls is one of the most scenic attractions in Pennsylvania that travelers need to see to believe. Nestled in the Pocono Mountains, the Bushkill Falls earned the nickname of Niagara of Pennsylvania due to the eight series of waterfalls that form it. And with such magnificence, visiting Bushkill Falls is considered one of the awesome things to do in Pennsylvania.
Adventurers can hike along nature trails, ideal for any skill level, to view the cascades from different vantages. The easiest route is the Green Trail, which takes about 15 minutes, while the most challenging is the Red Trail, leading nature lovers past all eight falls.
- Location: Lehman Township
- Admission fee: Bushkill Falls charges $20, $10, and $19 during weekends/holidays for adults, children, and seniors, respectively. However, during weekdays, visitors pay $17, $10, and $16 for adults, children, and seniors, respectively.
- Best things to do in Bushkill Falls: Hiking, Photography, Fishing, Mining for gems, Picnicking
Short hikes leading to Bushkill Falls attract many visitors, so hikers who want to escape the crowds can take the longer trail.
Erie Bluffs State Park
Erie Bluffs State Park’s Sign surrounded by wilderness in Pennsylvania
Erie Bluffs State Park is among the most beautiful state parks in Pennsylvania since it gives visitors a glimpse of how nature was before civilization. The 587-acre natural haven boasts a pristine shoreline, stunning 90-foot bluffs, densely forested wetlands, and a unique black oak woodland.
Additionally, the park is home to bald eagles, deer, and foxes, which visitors can see as they walk toward the bluffs for panoramic views of the park. During their visit, visitors gain an appreciation for Mother Nature through guided walks and hands-on educational activities offered throughout the year.
- Location: Lake City
- Admission fee: Free admission
- Best activities to do in Erie Bluffs State Park: Hiking, Hunting, Geocaching, Fishing
Ohiopyle State Park
Tourists admiring Ohiopyle Falls’ beauty in Ohiopyle State Park, a natural place in Pennsylvania
Ohiopyle State Park covers over 20,000 acres, luring travelers with its wealth of outdoor activities and otherworldly, rugged natural beauty. The park is one of the best places in Pennsylvania for nature, featuring standout natural features like the borough of Ohiopyle and the rushing Youghiogheny River, which offers excellent rafting opportunities.
The park is home to the 30-foot Cucumber Falls, accessed via a handful of stair steps from a gravel parking lot near Kentuck Road. The waterfall is a sight for the eyes, whether waterfall chasers see it in winter when surrounded by ice formations or in spring when the water levels are higher.
- Location: Dunbar, Henry Clay, and Stewart Townships
- Admission fee: Free (tourists pay for rafting tours and to rent boats)
- Best activities in Ohiopyle State Park: Whitewater rafting, Hiking, Fishing, Camping, Biking
Cherry Springs State Park
Cherry Springs State Park under a beautiful starry night in Pennsylvania
Cherry Springs State Park is another one of the best natural places in Pennsylvania to visit; it’s an enchanting and wild slice of paradise surrounded by the lush Susquehannock State Forest in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. This park exposes visitors to the beauty of Mother Nature due to its remoteness.
During the day, nature lovers explore the resident flora and fauna, while the night brings a spectacular show in the dark skies. Cherry Springs is one of the best places in the world to see the grandeur of over 30,000 stars, asteroids, Venus, and the Milky Way on clear nights.
- Location: Coudersport
- Admission fee: Free admission, but visitors pay to access some of the park’s amenities
- Best activities in Cherry Springs State Park: Stargazing, Camping, Hiking, Picnicking, Hunting
Cook Forest State Park
Path between a forest in Cook Forest State Park, a beautiful natural space to visit in Cooksburg, Pennsylvania
Although lesser-known, Cook Forest State Park is one of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful natural areas that people need to see to believe. Classified as a National Natural Landmark, the park boasts serene old-growth forests, rightfully gaining the Black Forest of Pennsylvania name. Visitors can admire the one-of-a-kind forest as they hike or picnic around the park.
Besides the towering trees, the Clarion River meanders through the park for about 13 miles, offering water sports lovers opportunities to kayak, canoe, and tube. Additionally, the river is a perfect spot to catch trout and panfish as adventurers soak in the awe-inspiring beauty surrounding them.
- Location: Cooksburg
- Admission fee: Free
- Best activities in Cook Forest State Park: Hiking, Camping, Canoeing, Picnicking
Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area
Tobyhanna Creek near Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area, Pennsylvania
Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area is one of the most photogenic places in Pennsylvania, known for its rolling hills, mesmerizing waterfalls, and tranquil forests. This unspoiled natural area transports nature lovers to a fairytale-like world as they hike along scenic trails and stop to admire their surroundings on picturesque bridges.
The blazed trails lead hikers through mixed hardwood and pine forests as they follow a creek. However, the Blakeslee’s star of the show is a wide Tobbyhanna waterfall surrounded by rocks, soothing visitors with its rushing sounds and pleasing them with its captivating sight.
- Location: Blakeslee
- Admission fee: Free
- Best activities in Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area: Fishing, Hiking, Birdwatching, Picnicking
Ricketts Glen State Park
Ricketts Glen State Park, one of the most beautiful natural places in Pennsylvania
Ricketts Glen State Park is a sprawling natural area covering over 13,000 acres across Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia Counties in Pennsylvania. It’s one of the most popular state parks in Pennsylvania, featuring scenic gorges, waterfalls, and stunning trails leading nature lovers to some of its wonders.
However, the most popular trail is the Ricketts Glen Falls Loop, which starts from three points and leads adventurers to 21 waterfalls. The trail passes through a dense old-growth forest at the lower elevations and then spruce trees as adventurers ascend the higher areas.
- Location: Benton
- Admission fee: Although the park offers free admission, visitors pay to access Ricketts Glen State Park’s amenities
- Best activities in Ricketts Glen State Park: Boating, Hiking, Camping, Wildlife watching, Fishing
Pine Creek Gorge
Aerial view of Pine Creek Gorge, also called The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, USA
Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, the massive and beautiful Pine Creek Gorge stretches for approximately 47 miles and has a depth of nearly 1,450 feet. The canyon is part of Tioga State Forest and encompasses Colton Point and Leonard Harrison State Parks.
These two parks offer scenic overlooks where adventurers can bask in the gorge’s jaw-dropping beauty, especially during the fall and winter. However, outdoor adventurers can explore the gorge along sections or the entire Pine Creek Rail Trail, starting from Jersey to Wellsboro.
- Location: Wellsboro
- Admission fee: Free
- Best activities in Tioga State Forest: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Horseback riding, Kayaking, Fishing