By: Levi Opsatnic
It wasn’t long ago that we discussed a list of beach games for the summer season, but like we said in that article, Pennsylvania doesn’t really have the warm ocean water or the white sand that you may expect to find along the Atlantic and Pacific coast. However, that doesn’t mean that Central Pennsylvania doesn’t have its own set of freshwater beaches that are just as fun, and what these beaches may lack in saltwater, they totally make up for with their own unique environments, fewer crowds, and the addition of wooded trails that are just as appealing as the beaches. So whether you’re just looking to work on your tan, go for a swim, or test out that new game of Spikeball, this list is sure to have a beach that helps all of you enjoy the summer season.
Black Moshannon Beach
Right next to a large bog, Black Moshannon Beach offers a quiet getaway that equally splits a sandy beach and a wooded forest. One of my favorite beaches in the area, Black Mo’s water takes on an awesome color due to the tannins found in the bog, and while it may not have that blue water/white sand appeal, it offers a look into Pennsylvania’s unique biodiversity that you simply can’t find everywhere. And when you’ve had enough of the beach, the surrounding area boasts an impressive 3,394 acres of forests and wetlands that all nature lovers can enjoy.
Bald Eagle State Park
Located along Joseph Fosters Sayers Reservoir, Bald Eagle’s beach has everything that you need to kick back, go for a swim, and enjoy Pennsylvania’s beauty. This man-made reservoir is surrounded by classic Pennsylvanian forests and mountains and provides a great escape for anything from some kayaking to hiking and even fishing.
Poe Valley State Park
The beach at Poe Valley State Park is another favorite of mine. While it shares a similar appearance to a lot of the other beaches in the area, its surrounding forests offer an amazing look at Pennsylvania’s forestry that, when coupled with its beach, offers a diverse view of Pennsylvania’s beauty that’s unique to this area of the state. Another man-made lake, Poe Lake was constructed during the Great Depression and provides a shallow place for a swim with water that’s usually nice and warm. And if you make it to Poe Valley, it’s worth a stop at Poe Paddy State Park for some hiking and a drive up Pine Swamp Road for an awesome overlook.
Whipple Dam State Park
While I feel like I’ve found each of these beaches to be a favorite, I’d be lying if I didn’t include Whipple Dam in that list. Featuring a small lake and beach that’s surrounded by woods that hikers of all skillsets will enjoy exploring, Whipple Dam is an ideal place to escape State College without having to travel too far. Its beach allows for swimming and sunbathing that the whole family will love and its rocky dam gives just the right place to soak all of the nature in and take that perfect “outdoorsy” picture. Another great addition to Whipple Dam is its local business SUP State College that rents stand up paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks that allow you to really explore every nook and cranny of this awesome state park.
All images courtesy of PA DCNR.