Going on a Pittsburgh to New York City road trip is a great way to combine urban fun with rural scenic beauty as you roll through Pennsylvania and New Jersey before reaching New York. You will find lots of opportunities to go hiking and play on lakes at state parks. Bring along your fishing gear. You will also find wonderful places to explore history. Buckle your seatbelt and head out on this memory-making trip through big cities and the countryside surrounding them.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge National Historical Park near King of Prussia, Philadelphia, covers more than 3,500 acres. Start at the visitors center by watching the 18-minute overview film. Then, consider joining a ranger or volunteer on one of their tours. Self-lead driving, bike, or trolley tours of the encampment areas are available. You can rent a bike at the camp store. As you stroll through the park, watch for special storytelling benches where individuals will tell you stories about the events that happened to George Washington and his troops during that fateful winter. While most come here for the history, there are many hiking trails available. Special mileage hiking challenges are held for adults and kids. Reenactments and events occur often at this national historical park, so you may want to come back often. Check out our national park guide to find other National Parks to visit.
Ohiopyle State Park
Many people come to Ohiopyle State Park located near Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, to go hiking. Many of the trails within this park connect to longer paths, including the Great Allegheny Passage and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. You can even use the Pennsylvania state park guide to plan more adventures near these longer trails. The Youghiogheny River is the busiest place to go whitewater rafting east of the Mississippi River. It is also an outstanding spot to go trout fishing. Seasonally, you can go hunting and trapping on over 18,000 acres of this park for deer, turkey, and small game.
Shawnee State Park
Head near Bedford, Pennsylvania, to enjoy visiting Shawnee State Park. The 451-acre Shawnee Lake in the middle of this park offers outstanding boating conditions, and you can rent a boat on its shores. You can also go swimming in a part of this lake. See stunning views of the park from the Field Trail, or stroll along one of the shorter nature paths where you might see a variety of birds who stop at this park during their summer and fall migrations. Deer, rabbits, and squirrels are often harvested in the dedicated hunting areas.
Gifford Pinchot State Park
Gifford Pinchot State Park between Rossville and Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, is a favorite spot of many to go bass fishing in the 345-acre Pinchot Lake. While it is a popular spot when the weather is nice, iceboating and ice fishing are also allowed on the lake. It is a great spot to go for a swim as well. Adventurous hikers will want to follow the Mason-Dixon Trail that connects to the 200-mile-long National Recreation Trail, but there are also many short hikes along well-maintained paths.
Nockamixon State Park
Nockamixon State Park near Quakertown, Pennsylvania, is a great spot to go sailing, paddleboating, canoeing, and to enjoy many other boating activities. You can rent your favorite type of small vessel and launch it from this park’s marina. Consider timing your visit to coincide with the dam’s water release for a great whitewater rafting experience. The lake is also a popular place to go windsurfing or just watch them while taking a swim in the 1,450-acre lake. Anglers love to go walleye and bass fishing here. The south side of the lake and the Sterner Mill area are popular spots to go hiking along the lakeshore and through mature forests.
Cheesequake State Park
Cheesequake State Park near Matawan, New Jersey, offers many unique ecosystems including freshwater and saltwater marshes, open fields, pine barrens, and a hardwood forest. Trails up to 3.5 miles long wind through the park allowing you to see these different areas. Canoeing and kayaking are allowed during the fall and winter months. Play on the sandy beach and go swimming at Hooks Creek Lake. The lake is also a fantastic place to go fishing for largemouth bass and trout. Bring your crabbing equipment to crab from the specially designed Crabbing Bridge. You can also check out the New Jersey state park guide for other neat New Jersey state parks along the way.
Your whole family will enjoy visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. At this UNESCO World Heritage site, you can tour the structure and learn more about this home that is built above a waterfall. Staff frequently plan organized children’s activities that challenge them to create their own architectural designs. Check out the special workshops and lectures given at this home. If you are interested in architecture or in Wright’s life, this is a must-add to your road trip itinerary from Pittsburgh to New York City.
Gettysburg National Military Park and Museum
Gettysburg National Military Park and Museum allows visitors to see where the Battle of Gettysburg occurred while accompanied by rangers or experienced tour guides. See the home where Abraham Lincoln put the finishing touches on his infamous Gettysburg Address. There are also many miles of hiking trails to explore. Stop at the museum on your road trip from Pittsburgh to New York City and watch the overview film and see numerous Civil War exhibits.
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Over 100 train cars and steam engines are available for viewing at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. This Strasburg, Pennsylvania, museum also showcases tools needed to work on railroad tracks and cars, fine china used in dining cars, railroad artwork, lanterns, and much more.
Da Vinci Science Center
People of all ages will enjoy visiting the Da Vinci Science Center to learn about biology, chemistry, and physics through hands-on activities. Visitors can crawl through a blackened tunnel to learn to use their other senses, create energy through body movements, experience a stimulated category 1 hurricane, and more at this museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
Workers started constructing the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey, in 1899 and did not complete the task until 1927. This is one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture in the Western Hemisphere. The towers are 223 feet tall. The main sanctuary with its 106-foot-tall ceilings and stunning stained glass windows is often home to outstanding instrumental concerts.
Located on the banks of the Susquehanna River, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a great spot to go boating and fishing. It also often hosts trade shows, including one of the largest indoor farm shows in the United States. Deer Run Resort and Western Village RV Park are very scenic campgrounds in Harrisburg. You may want to use the Oak Creek Campground or the Dutch Cousin Campground RV dump stations near Harrisburg.
Watch a Harley Davidson being made on a factory tour in York, Pennsylvania. You can also watch how potato chips are made and bagged and watch pretzels and other snack foods being made in York, which is famous for being an industrial center of the Eastern Seaboard. Consider campgrounds in York like Ben Franklin RV Park and PA Dutch Country Campground. York-area RV dump station options include Indian Rocks Campground and Gretna Oaks Camping. You can also look at these other Pennsylvania locations.
Take in a professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, or soccer game during your visit to Philadelphia. There is also lots of history to explore, like touring the Eastern State Penitentiary and the Betsy Ross House. Philadelphia campground options include Village Scene RV Park and Little Red Barn Campground. Options for Philadelphia RV dump stations include Flory’s Cottages and Camping or Blue Rocks Family Campground.
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is located just 10 miles from New York City. You can find lots to do there including visiting the Turtle Back Zoo and the Newark Museum of Art. Jump on the Staten Island Ferry to see the entire area. Campgrounds in Newark include Mahlon Dickerson Campgrounds and FLA-Net Park Campgrounds. Newark RV dump station options include Liberty Island Marina & RV Park and Sun Air Lakeside Camp. You can also check out other New Jersey dump station choices.