The last stop of our 2016 Pennsylvania adventure took us to Shawnee State Park in Schellsburg, Pa. With nearly 300 campsites, this is quite a large campground with multiple loops–and based on the number of occupied campsites, it appears to be a popular destination! Find out what we discovered about trees, tunnels, and gravity hills while camping at this Pennsylvania campground.
Campground: Shawnee State Park is in the process of updating several portions of the campground. While we were there, the B and E loops were closed and the office secretary said those sites were being developed into full hook-up sites. She also said sites 8-24 and the new E loop are slated to be pet friendly.
One of the most interesting things about this campground is the number of trees. While the environmentalists in us loves how “natural” things were left, the location of many trees creates quite a few challenges for RVers. In order to use the slide-out and awning on our site we had to carefully wedge the camper between several trees. And this wasn’t just a problem on our site–some of the loop roads were also very narrow because of trees growing right alongside the road (see the pictures in the slider below).
We noticed a couple other “different” things about this state park:
- The electric boxes on some sites were on the wrong side of the campsite.
- Some sites had quite a bit of slope, which would have made sleeping in a tent interesting.
- Several campsites had campers parked in creative configurations. Whereas most campgrounds have rules about how campers can be parked in a campsite, Shawnee seems to be open to allowing variations (especially in the grass sites). This was nice for families or groups that were camping together and wanted to create a defined group camping area.
Each loop at Shawnee had some variances:
- Section A: Included a play area and some nice pet sites. However, there is only one showerhouse in the loop.
- Section B: Closed for renovations.
- Section C: This section has several pull-through sites and was home to a camping group/club while we were there.
- Section D: There seemed to be two types of sites–very level or grassy hills. This loop also had many trees to contend with when parking a camper.
- Section E: Closed for renovations.
- Section F: These sites have some road noise from the nearby interstate but they are definitely the nicest in the campground. This loop also boasts the new shower house.
- Section G: This area also has road noise from the interstate. It is a pet-friendly section off a long gravel road. The roads in this loop were steep and not conducive for larger campers. Site 300 in this loop is probably one of the nicest in the campground (especially for pet campers). It is a pull-through and looks out over a meadow. It also has a water faucet on the site that you could hook in to if your camper needs a refill.
Bathrooms: Getting to the bathroom from our site was a LONG walk with kiddos and, as Kristin put it, the bathrooms were old and somewhat rough. So for showers we ended up driving to another loop that had a new bathhouse with very nice accommodations. As the park continues with renovations, it’s likely the older bathrooms will soon be replaced–we’re just not sure on the park’s plans or the timeframe.
Amenities: Dishwashing stations were available in the loops. An automated firewood dispenser was located at the entrance to the campground. While there is a playground in the campground and two amphitheaters, most of the other amenities are located in other parts of the park. Shawnee State Park features a large lake that offers kayaking, canoeing, a large beach, and plenty of spots for fishing.
Touring: There are several things to see in the area and some of our suggestions include:
- Flight 93 Memorial: We visited the memorial on a previous trip, but if you are in the area, consider adding this National Park stop to your itinerary. It’s well-done–and quite sobering.
- Gravity Hill: We have always wanted to visit one of these optical illusion roads–the science geek in me finds them very interesting. 🙂 I will include a few short videos below that will help you see what we are talking about. Bring along a ball and have fun experimenting!
- Abandoned Turnpike Tunnels: Just east of Breezewood is a section of the old Pennsylvania Turnpike that is not yet “officially” open to biking. (You would not know that based upon the number of people we saw biking it on a Saturday!) The latest news, though, is that this area is going to be turned into an official Pike2Bike trail.
- Buchanan State Forest: If you are looking for a place to log some hours on the trail, check out this state forest. In addition to vistas and picnic spots, it also features several pre-Civil War cemeteries and a cave where saltpeter was mined for gunpowder around the time of the American Revolution.
Dates of Stay: July 15-17, 2016
Cost per night: $27.50 per night