New to camping? Try it out in Happy Valley this season

– by Ellen Matis

Adding camping to your 2024 bucket list? Happy Valley has camping options that are perfect for any kind of camping style — whether you want to rough it or try glamping.


When you’re planning your trip, you’ll want to consider a few things:

Modern vs. rustic campgrounds

The region’s state parks are a great place to start planning your first camping adventure. In Howard, Bald Eagle State Park offers both rustic and modern camping facilities.

In a rustic facility, expect the bare minimum amenities: A campground bathroom without running water and sites without electricity or bells and whistles. Most state park campgrounds in PA have fire rings at all sites, and that’s the case at Bald Eagle’s sites.

If you’re looking for a more upgraded experience, modern campgrounds typically feature a bathhouse with hot water showers, electricity available at campsites, and some other campground-dependent features.


Hammock, tent, or camper

There are lots of options for how and where you’ll actually sleep while camping, but the most common options tend to be in either a hammock, hung between two trees while through-hiking; in a tent, or in a camper/RV.

The Allegheny Front Trail in Black Moshannon State Park is a 43.6-mile loop near Philipsburg that offers visitors to Happy Valley an opportunity to really get immersed in nature, and there are spots to hang a hammock or pitch a tent so that you can complete the trail in a few days.

In state parks, sites suitable for tent camping as well as camper or RV parking are offered.


Activities or solitude

At more modernized campgrounds, activities are often offered to guests — like concerts, movies, kids' crafts, and more. This is often the case at privately owned campgrounds in addition to state park facilities.

If you’re looking for a little more peace and quiet to connect with nature, rustic campgrounds or state forests are your best bet.

Where to camp in Happy Valley

There’s no shortage of great camping experiences in Happy Valley. State park options include Bald Eagle and Black Moshannon, and privately owned campgrounds include Kearns Campground and Woodward Cave.

For more information, visit and check out the Campgrounds section.

Nature Inn sunset

The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle

Want to immerse yourself in nature, but not feeling totally ready to sleep outdoors? The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle is different from any experience in the Pennsylvania state parks system. With 16 overnight guest rooms and multiple meeting spaces, the inn offers sweeping lake views, comfortable modern accommodations, and amenities, all within the natural setting of Bald Eagle State Park.

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at