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10 Great Things to Do in the Raystown Lake Region

Growing up in the Lehigh Valley, the question that always came to mind when it came to summer travel was “should we go to the mountains, or to the shore?” Raystown Lake makes it possible to choose both at the same time. It is a giant lake with excellent water recreation opportunities, along with the experience of visiting the mountains. Another upside for spending vacations in the Raystown Lake Region is that it is a safe place with lots of options, should the weather not cooperate, with several excellent museums and indoor attractions. It is pretty centrally located within the state, on the Route 22 Historic William Penn Highway Corridor as well, located two hours, give or take, from a large portion of the state and points south in Maryland. 

The Raystown Lake Region is an exceptional place in which you should plan a visit. This is a great place to explore in any season of the year, but especially in the summer. The region is home to so many different attractions that are sure to please everyone in your group.

1) Renting a boat, taking a guided boat excursion, or taking your boat onto Raystown Lake, the largest lake located completely within the state. 

You do not need to be savvy with boating to enjoy navigating Raystown Lake. There are tons of  different opportunities to take advantage of the lake. There are houseboats, speed boats, pontoons, kayaks, and canoes available for rental and launch through the Seven Points Marina, or through the Lake Raystown Resort. There are several other boat launches as well if you are bringing your own boat or watercraft. You are free to fish and swim wherever, along with exploring the islands throughout the lake. Several state record fish have been caught within the lake. With its vast array of recreational opportunities and large size, this lake is reminiscent of Lake Powell or Lake Tahoe out west.

2) Swimming, fishing, leisurely walks, and so much more on the shores of the lake 

While the region is best known for its boating opportunities on the giant Raystown Lake, you do not need to be on a boat to enjoy the largest lake fully contained within the state. You are free to roam around the lake with its wide array of different sightseeing and recreational opportunities. As I said earlier, fishing and swimming are excellent at the lake. There are so many ways you can enjoy the lake from the shoreline. There are beaches, fishing areas, hiking opportunities, and lots more, in addition to a number of different campgrounds, and walking and bicycling trails.

3) Sightseeing from the shore and from the overlooks around the lake 

Hawn's Overlook, a stunning look over Raystown Lake, its islands, the Juniata River Valley, and the Alleghenies. It is located near the Ridenour Overlook, a vista looking over the lake's dam
When the lake was created they ensured that there would be no development along the shorelines. That gives this lake a unique and remote feel that you do not see too often and it makes you feel like you are really away from it all. This spectacular overlook shows the rugged terrain of the Juniata river valley, and the lake itself, providing a view unlike any other within the state. Catching a sunset here is nothing short of breathtaking. There are also numerous places to enjoy the coastline of the lake, including the Seven Points Marina, the beaches, the Lake Raystown Resort with its waterpark and boardwalk eatery, and more.

4) Allegrippis Trails and Skills Park: World class mountain biking track

The Allegrippis is known worldwide as a premier mountain biking destination. When we visited last summer, there were people that drove many hours just to ride these trails. This is one of the largest and most elaborate mountain biking facilities on the planet. There are tracks for all skill levels as well and this facility was designed by professional mountain bikers.

5) Having some delicious food

Tops Diner is a place that looks like it is right out of the fifties. This family owned operation serves up delicious and traditional diner fare, and it is one the few places that I have seen scrapple on the menu this far west. Fantastic little diner.
The Lake Raystown Resort has a great little eatery that is built upon a boardwalk overlooking their marina. The food is reasonable and comes in huge portions. This is a place where people like to chill and hang out, a Pennsylvania version of a boardwalk restaurant.

6) Seeing World Class Collection of Automobiles and More at the Swigart Museum

Aside from these outdoor opportunities, there are so many different places you can visit that are indoors or protected from the elements. The Raystown Lake Region is located on the Route 22 William Penn Highway Corridor. On the William Penn Highway is the Swigart Museum, home to collections of awesome stuff, namely one of the finest collections of antique automobiles in the world. Included within the collection are several spectacular Duesenbergs, in addition to Herby the Lovebug, and many other priceless vehicles. This museum is a labor of love and getting a tour of it is something that is really special. The great people really make this place shine, and their passion for the collection makes this a relaxing and awe inspiring place to visit. 

7) Touring Lincoln Caverns

Located west of Swigart’s is Lincoln Caverns, another labor of love. This family institution was created by the Dunleavy family and consists of two show caves that were accidently found when the William Penn Highway was being built. They show the splendor of the state from underground with spectacular formations. This family institution is lead and maintained by many extremely passionate people that make this a place that is truly special and demonstrates the grandeur of mother nature's tremendous sculpting skills underground. 

8) Seeing Pulpit Rocks

This geological wonder is one of the first documented geologic sites in Pennsylvania. This outcropping is extremely beautiful and off the beaten path. It was once a major stop on the original William Penn Highway.

9) Hiking and Enjoying Trough Creek State Park

Balanced Rock: A geologic wonder at the park
It is rumored that the raven in Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven resided at Trough Creek. Is this place spooky? I do not believe so, however it is absolutely beautiful.
Rhododendron in full bloom in one of the many vast groves of them throughout the state park
Some of the attractions at the park include Balanced Rock, a swinging bridge, Rainbow Falls, and an ice mine.

The hiking at this state park is excellent, along with its campground and plethora of great picnic spots. We highly recommend exploring this state park.

10) Hiking the Thousand Steps and the Standing Stone Trail:
For hikers with a little more endurance, be sure to check out the Thousand Steps and the Standing Stone Hiking Trail! This trail has tremendous vistas and one of the highest vertical ascents in the entire state. This is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, hike in the entire state.

Bonus 11) Stay the night

There are numerous places to stay, but our favorite place is the Gage Mansion Bed and Breakfast. To bring back a recurring theme with the family business institutions, Gage Mansion is another labor of love. The building is a stunning mansion and home to some luxurious and comfortable accommodations. The food is delicious, and the hosts are gracious and welcoming. The mansion is located within the small city of Huntingdon, within walking distance of lots of fun things to do, in addition to the city's railroad station and Juniata College. The hotel is centrally located to all of the great attractions of the Raystown Lake Region, in addition to being within walking distance of most points within the city of Huntingdon. We highly recommend staying at Gage Mansion Bed and Breakfast.

All in all, the Raystown Lake Region in Huntingdon County is a great place to go and explore for some great fun. It has the makings for a terrific weekend or extended trip of relaxation. You could easily spend a week really taking some time to explore all of the attractions in the Raystown Lake Region. It is jam packed with natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, fun museums, and so much more.

Additionally, the region is pretty centrally located within the state as well, located two hours, give or take, from the bulk of the state, and roughly three hours from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.

For more information about visiting the region, be sure to check out the website for the Raystown Lake Region at www.raystown.org 

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