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.
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.
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.
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 of our time out on the water, and we slept like babies in a beautiful camping yurt.
Here’s why we think you need to plan your own summer trip to beautiful Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania.
Camping, Glamping, and Vacation Rentals are all Available
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 are a huge variety of lodging options, from basic rooms in the main lodge to waterfront villas and cottages, which both have private bedrooms and bathrooms.
Try a yurt if you want the best of both worlds – a glamping experience where you a treated to a real bed each night, but also a camping experience, where you cook outdoors and use the bathhouse in the campground loop.
The yurts have air conditioning, electricity, and a mini-fridge, plus an outdoor deck, picnic table, and fire pit. Linens are provided for the beds, which sleep up to six people.
Our yurt was the perfect place to retreat to 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
Raystown Lake is huge, and boating is definitely the top recreational activity here. If you own a boat of your own, the property at Lake Raystown Resort is set up to make it extremely easy for you. There are slips you can rent, 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 boat we rented was so easy to operate, even for me, who had never driven a boat in my life. 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 really was the highlight of our trip. 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.
You Can Enjoy Family-Friendly Activities and a 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
Sure, you can spend your entire vacation at Lake Raystown Resort without running out of amazing things to do, but if you do want to explore farther afield, you’ve got tons of options. Here are just a few of the great parks and trails located 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 on to 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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Our Favorite Resources for Road Trips and Outdoor Adventures
These are the resources we use to plan road trips, save money while traveling, and shop for outdoor gear.
Car Rentals: While we use our own car most often for road trips, we also enjoy flying into major airports and then renting a car for more regional road trips. We use Kayak to compare prices and find deals from dozens of car rental agencies at once.
Flights: We use Kayak to search out flight deals.
Money-saving tip: If you find yourself using the same airline repeatedly (we are huge Southwest fans), consider joining their loyalty program and getting an airline credit card. With our Southwest Rewards Visa, we earn a few free flights each year.
Hotels: When it comes to lodging, we seek out small boutique hotels or quirky roadside motels. First, we search for hotels on TripAdvisor so we can read reviews from other travelers. Then, we use Booking.com to make reservations (they have the best prices, plus a flexible cancelation policy).
Camping: Camping is one of our favorite things to do on long road trips. It allows us to explore the outdoors, cook our own food, and save money. We use They Dyrt Pro to find campsites and read reviews before booking on Recreation.gov or state park websites.
Glamping and Vacation Rentals: For weekend getaways and shorter vacations, we love glamping (check out our glamping resource guide). We book glamping properties through Tentrr, Hipcamp, and Airbnb. For cabins and vacation rentals, we like to use VRBO (they have fewer fees and a better cancelation policy than Airbnb).
Guides and Maps: If we are visiting a new region, we usually invest in a Moon Travel Guide for the area. We pass them on to friends and family after our trip. If we are planning on hiking, we also purchase a Falcon guide in the Best Easy Day Hikes series.
Outdoor Gear: We are REI Co-Op members. It cost us $20 for a lifetime membership, but we get a yearly dividend based on our purchases, plus great deals and coupons throughout the year. REI also has a great return policy.
Check out our complete guide for planning a road trip on a budget
Disclaimer: We received complimentary lodging at Lake Raystown Resort to facilitate writing this post.