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Why You Should Escape to Raystown Lake in PA This Summer

Is there anything quite as magical as an old-fashioned summer lake vacation with your family? Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania is what summer getaways are made of.

The gorgeous, unspoiled scenery makes Raystown Lake the perfect destination to get back to basics with your family.

An aerial view of beautiful Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania.
A summer view of beautiful Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania

Swimming, boating, hiking, mountain biking, paddling, and fishing can all be enjoyed here, and the best place for your lakeside home base is Lake Raystown Resort in Entriken, Pennsylvania.

At-A-Glance: Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania

Want to skip to the good part? Here’s a bite-sized snapshot of everything you need to know to plan your trip to Raystown Lake.

  • When to Go: Summer is the best time to get out on Raystown Lake.
  • Where to Stay: Lake Raystown Resort is the ultimate summer camp experience.
  • How to get here: Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) is about two hours from Raystown Lake.
  • How to Get Around: Having a car is useful in this rural area.
  • Highlights: Raystown Lake makes a perfect family vacation destination, and you’ll spend your time on the water fishing, swimming, and boating.

Covering more than 8,000 acres, Raystown Lake is the largest lake entirely within the borders of Pennsylvania.

There are so many incredible recreational opportunities in and around the lake, and because much of the surrounding land is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, you won’t see a lot of commercial or residential development.

The Lake Raystown Resort Marina in Entriken, PA.
Lake Raystown Resort Marina

If you’re looking for your next summer vacation destination, Lake Raystown Resort is the perfect retreat from the craziness of the rest of the world. This spacious camping resort offers every manner of accommodations, from simple tent sites and yurts to waterfront villas with all the amenities.

The lodging opportunities are a huge draw here, but there are even more reasons to love Lake Raystown Resort. 

Over the summer, we had the pleasure of spending a long weekend at Lake Raystown Resort. We spent almost all our time on the water and slept like babies in a beautiful camping yurt.

Here’s why you need to plan your summer trip to beautiful Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania.

Raystown Lake Camping, Glamping, and Cabins

A woman lies on a bed in a yurt at Lake Raystown Resort in Pennsylvania.
Inside one of the yurts at Lake Raystown Resort

Lake Raystown Resort is a huge complex with lodging and camping for all types of travelers. Much of Lake Raystown Resort sits on a peninsula, so whether you choose a campsite, cabin, yurt, or villa, you are always within a short walk of the water. 

There are a bunch of campground loops, all with their own character. Sites include water, electricity, and wi-fi, and there’s a dump station onsite as well. The sites are private enough for tent campers, and many are big enough for luxurious RVs. 

If camping isn’t quite your speed, there is a huge variety of lodging options, from basic rooms in the main lodge to waterfront villas and cottages, both of which have private bedrooms and bathrooms.

Our yurt rental at Lake Raystown Resort, Pennsylvania.
Home sweet home!

Try a yurt if you want the best of both worlds—a glamping experience where you are treated to a real bed each night and a camping experience where you cook outdoors and use the bathhouse in the campground loop.  

The yurts have air conditioning, electricity, a mini-fridge, an outdoor deck, a picnic table, and a fire pit. Linens are provided for the beds, which sleep up to six people.

Our yurt was the perfect place to retreat after long days on the water. We roasted marshmallows, relaxed on the deck, and listened to the owls arguing through the night—exactly how a summer weekend should be spent!

You Can Bring Your Own Boat or Rent One from the Onsite Lake Raystown Marina

A pontoon boat with a slide on the back that is available for rent from Lake Raytsown Resort in Entriken, Pennsylvania.
Our boat rental parked for a shoreside picnic.

Raystown Lake is huge, and boating is definitely the top recreational activity here.

If you own a boat, the property at Lake Raystown Resort is set up to make it extremely easy for you. You can rent slips, a spacious, easy-to-access boat ramp, docks with gas pups, and parking specifically for cars with boat trailers. 

If you don’t have a boat of your own, you’re in luck at Lake Raystown Resort. You can make reservations to rent one at the marina.

During our stay, we rented a so-called “fun ship” for a full day. This is basically a double-decker pontoon boat with room for 10 people and a slide from the second story to the water. Our rental also came with a tube, but you can also get waterskis with your rental.

The author driving a boat for the first time on Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania.
My first time driving a boat!

The boat we rented was so easy to operate, even for me, who had never driven a boat before.

We watched a short safety video, were given a safety talk, and the guys at the dock showed us everything we needed to know to get out on the water. 

We thought the yurt was awesome, but spending a day on Raystown Lake was our trip’s highlight. This would be a perfect adventure for a family vacation. No kid will be able to resist the allure of the slide, and Raystown Lake is perfect for swimming in! 

Want to rent a smaller watercraft or something human-powered?

Port Side Rentals is located within Lake Raystown Resort. They rent kayaks, paddleboards, jet skis, and pedal boats by the hour or the day. They’ll even deliver to your campsite, villa, or cabin within Lake Raystown Resort. 

Read Next: The Best Lakes in the USA for a Family Vacation

You Can Enjoy Family-Friendly Activities and a Waterpark!

WildRiver Waterpark in Lake Raystown Resort, PA.
Just a small section of WildRiver Waterpark

Lake Raystown Resort is definitely geared toward active families!

During our stay, we saw more kids than adults. They were playing on playgrounds, swimming at the beach, roasting marshmallows, and riding their bikes through the campground. There’s ample space for kids to play, and the resort speed limit is 15 mph throughout to keep families safe.

One of the coolest attractions at Lake Raystown Resort is WildRiver Waterpark where kids can experience the Atomic Blaster, enjoy a soaking under the dumping bucket, or relax in the heated swimming pool.

Family-friendly activities at Lake Raystown Resort are offered throughout the season, from canoe races to family campfires. It’s easy to make life-long friends and treasured memories here!

The Parks and Attractions Near Raystown Lake are Awesome 

View of Raystown Lake from Ridenour Overlook, in Huntington, Pennsylvania.
View of Raystown Lake from Ridenour Overlook in Huntington, Pennsylvania

Sure, you can spend your entire vacation at Lake Raystown Resort without running out of amazing things, but if you want to explore farther afield, you’ve got many options.

Here are just a few great parks and trails around Raystown Lake.

  • Trough Creek State Park: The highlight of this 541-acre park is a scenic gorge formed as Great Trough Creek cuts through Terrace Mountain before emptying into Raystown Lake. Be sure to hike the Balanced Rock Trail, which takes you over a suspension bridge, past Rainbow Falls, and onto the geological wonder that is Balanced Rock. 3 miles from Lake Raystown Resort.
  • Allegrippis Trails: 36 miles of single-track mountain biking trails that also work for hiking and trail running. These trails are run by Friends of Raystown Lake and are located 17 miles from Lake Raystown Resort.
  • Lincoln Caverns: Head underground and experience an interpretive tour of two spectacular crystal caverns, Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks. You’ll see a variety of cave formations, including delicate crystals, sparkling stalactites, and flowstones. 20.5 miles from Lake Raystown Resort.

Ready to plan your family vacation to Raystown Lake?

For more information about things to do in the area, visit the Raystown Lake Region website, where you’ll find even more attractions, things to do, and suggestions for dining, and shopping.

To book your accommodations, head over to Lake Raystown Resort.

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Two photos featuring Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania. Text Overlay: Family Lake Vacation - Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania.
Tara Schatz sits with her two dogs, Gatsby and Flynn.

Tara is a freelance writer and travel blogger with a passion for outdoor adventures. She is the co-author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in Vermont and currently blogs at Back Road Ramblers and Vermont Explored, where she shares travel tips, adventure destinations, and vacation ideas for the wanderer in everyone.