Black Moshannon State Park, Philipsburg, Pa.

  • Site 17 (with our former van and small pop-up in 2008)
  • Site 19 (with the new van and larger pop-up in 2012)
  • Site 16: our favorite (with new van and full size travel trailer in 2013)
  • Site 19, in 2012
  • Site 19, in 2012
  • Bilgers Rock (about 30 minutes west of the park)

We knew the first time we visited Black Moshannon State Park in Philipsburg, Pa., that it would become one of our family’s favorite state parks. We have camped at Black Moshannon three times now and we are still finding new things to do and explore in the area.

The 250-acre lake located in the park is unique in itself, featuring tea-colored waters that result from the wetland plants’ tannins coloring the water. For those who don’t mind the blackish water, there is a beach and swimming area. It is also a great place to canoe or kayak, and the park offers seasonal water classes for older children and adults (schedules vary by week).

The park also offers a special “DiscoverE” program geared for young explorers. After checking in, you can make a stop at the park office to check out backpacks stocked with outdoor discovery tools, such as a nets, containers, and field guides that children can use while exploring the park. This was the first time we had found such a program at a state park, and our kids just loved it. The first time we participated, our wetland net sweep uncovered tadpoles and other fun water creatures we had fun studying before releasing them back into the wetland. Other fun things to do as a family at the park include Frisbee golf and geocaching.

Black Moshannon is more of a destination camping experience for us, partly due to its location farther from touristy spots. But outside of the park, we enjoy making a day trip to State College, Pa. Our favorite experience was visiting over the Fourth of July weekend and experiencing the incredible fireworks display and festival held annually on the college campus. If you ever have the chance to make the trip over this holiday weekend, you won’t be disappointed. Other places we have enjoyed visiting around Penn State include the Penn State Arboretum, dining at the Austrian bistro Herwigs, and always making a stop for ice cream at Penn State’s Creamery.

If you are traveling to Black Moshannon and coming in from the west, make sure to detour at Bilger’s Rocks where you can explore a maze of boulders.

Also when traveling to Black Moshannon, I suggest using Route 504 out of Phillipsburg from the west and State Route 3032 off U.S. 220 from the east. If you attempt to pull a camper in the way the park signs on Interstate 80 bring you, be prepared for tight turns, gravel roads, steep hills, and low hanging branches. Fortunately, I made this mistake while pulling the old pop-up, not the much longer travel trailer!

As far as amenities, the bathroom/shower facilities were more recently remodeled and include a handicap-accessible family bathroom. A dishwashing station is also available at the shower house buildings. (Unfortunately during these early trips we didn’t think to take pictures of the facilities.) Campsites offer a lantern pole. The playground is newer as well.

Our Site Number: 16

Date(s) of visit: 6/5/13-6/9/13

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