Nearby camping spots for the adventurer in you

A river with raging rapids
A view of Ohiopyle and the Youghiogheny River.

My weekends tend to blur in with the rest of the week. Errands, housework and everyday life bleed into my Saturdays and Sundays no matter how hard I defiantly push my foot out attempting to shoo away the reality of daily life away.

That’s why it’s important for me to get away from it all.

How do I break the vicious cycle of responsibilities you may ask?  I book a quick camping trip at one of our many local options in the area.

You might be surprised to find out that we have several campgrounds within a three hour drive of Mt. Lebanon. These places are so close that even if you didn’t want to commit to sleeping tucked away in a tent, you could simply plan a day trip and be home for dinner.

Here are some ideas if you’re like me and need to get away to enjoy the weekend:

A camp site with a trailer, dog and truck
A campsite at Raccoon Creek State Park.


Raccoon Creek State Park

3000 State Route 18

Hookstown, PA 15050-1605

Approximate drive time from Mt. Lebanon – 45 minutes

Insider notes – This appears first on my list because it’s my absolute go-to and it’s the closest to home. If you want a quick hike, make sure to take the Frankfort Mineral Springs Loop Trail. You’ll be rewarded with a waterfall and cave you can go into and explore. Also, Raccoon Creek State Park has its name for a reason. Don’t be like me 15 years ago and leave out your S’more makings while you wash dishes only to come back to a shredded (and empty) bag of marshmallows laying at the edge of the woods.

A child tosses something into a creek
Hiking at Ohiopyle State Park.


Ohiopyle State Park

400 Kentuck Road Dunbar, PA 15431

Approximate drive time from Mt. Lebanon – 1½ hours

Insider notes – Pack your bikes for this one and plan to ride on the Youghiogheny River Trail. Since it’s a flat ADA Accessible trail, everyone in the family can join on the trek. For more seasoned riders, you can spend the entire day exploring since this is part of the Great Allegheny Passage. (For me, I stay on two feet with my four-legged dog and hike around the river and scramble over boulders.)

The shadow of a person overlooking a lake
A Pymatuning campsite at sunset.

Option 3

Pymatuning State Park

2660 Williamsfield Road

Jamestown, PA 16134-3560

Approximate drive time from Mt. Lebanon –2 hours

Insider notes – If you’re more of a water lover, this one might quench your thirst. The campground I stayed at offered some waterfront sites with a spectacular view of the lake. You will also find boat launches and beaches available to you. You can also visit a fish hatchery and try your luck casting a line to catch your own dinner.

A man warms his hands by a fire
A campfire at Shawnee State Park.


Shawnee State Park

132 State Park Road

Schellsburg, PA 15559-7300

Approximate drive time from Mt. Lebanon –2 hours, 15 minutes

Insider notes – The campground boasts some of the bigger campsites I’ve stayed at. We always find spots with adequate shade and privacy. When we visit this destination, we typically take a break from the great outdoors and work our way over to the nearby historic town of Bedford, where quaint shops line the town’s streets and various venues will keep you busy.

A child in a sleeping bag, with a dog next to them on a blanket. Bikes are lined up under a tent.

If you find the time to venture to some of my favorite local camping haunts and decide you want to discover more, this small list only outlines the tip of the ice burg. We live in such a rich natural region where there’s no shortage of outdoor options available for anyone who’s looking for some fresh air.

Do you have any hidden gems where you sneak away for a weekend adventure?


Kaplan also recently shared her packing list for camping in a LeboLife blog.

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