Happy Valley’s Raystown Lake: Your family’s fun-in-the-sun summer getaway

By Karen Shan

Hiking, biking, boating and fishing. Dining, shopping and touring. Central Pennsylvania’s 30-mile Raystown Lake — also the state’s largest lake — is 8,300 surface acres of beauty that is just overflowing with fun for all!


Raystown Lake Trails: Raystown Lake is surrounded by 21,000 acres of wooded forests, sunny meadows and rocky outcrops, including more than 65 miles of trail covering short nature walks to day-long mountain bike excursions. Pictured is the 2.5-mile Greenside Pathway that is made of 38,000 recycled tires and connects 19 recreation destinations within Seven Points Recreation Area. Photo: U.S. Army, Alicia Palmer


Rustic retreat or comfy inn, your vacation stay awaits

Sleep under the stars at the Lake Raystown Family Camping Resort, Raystown Lake Susquehannock Campground and Heritage Cove Resort campgrounds. Or, if camping isn’t quite your cup of tea, snuggle up at the Rustic Ridge Retreat, Gage Mansion Bed & Breakfast or Fairfield Inn & Suites.


Chalk the Walk: Children create chalk art on a sidewalk during the annual Chalk the Walk event in the Seven Points Beach Area at Raystown Lake in August 2016. The event encourages amateur and professional artists and youngsters to create chalk art that reflects both water safety and environmental stewardship themes. Photo: U.S. Army photo, David Gray.


Ready for action?
Hike, bike, boat, swim and picnic your way through the Raystown Lake Project in the Seven Points Recreation Area. Go mountain biking at Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake; swim, fish, boat and bird-watch at Whipple Dam State Park. Cool off in the caves of the Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks or on a boat tour through Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park. With everything the region has to offer, you’ll never run out of adventures!


Raystown Lake Kayak Tour: Visitors to Raystown Lake enjoyed a ranger-led kayak tour. The project can be followed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RaystownLakeProject/. Photo: U.S. Army, Alicia Palmer


Enjoy exciting entertainment!
If you’re looking for a show to cap off your day of adventuring, you’re in luck! Sing and sway with Dylan Miller & Kevin Koa and the Altoona Horseshoe Barbershop Chorus during the Raystown Lake Summer Amphitheater Series. Cheer daring rodeo riders at the Central Pennsylvania Rodeo in June and see the night sky explode with light during Independence Day Fireworks on the lake. At the Lake Raystown Resort, dance to the beat during Friday Night Dances, get your scare on at the Halloween in June weekend and make merry during the All-American Christmas in August.


But wait there’s more!
Think you can handle more? Then let’s go! Celebrate Dad at the Father’s Day Weekend at Rockhill Trolley Museum, share in colorful costumes and music at the 22nd Annual Native American Pow Wow & Dance Competition at Delgrosso’s Amusement Park in July and later in the month, see battle reenactments during Revolutionary War Days 2019 at Fort Roberdeau. August marks Centre County’s not-to-be missed 145th Grange Fair, a week full of concerts, rides, food, games and competitions.


Shoppers’ alert!
Bring home a special memento to remember your trip with a little — or big — something from Happy Valley’s Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe, the Log Cabin Gallery Shop or Thompson’s Candle Company Gift Shop. Inside, you’ll find artisan jewelry, handmade goods, housewares and gorgeous clothes.



You certainly can’t enjoy your vacation on an empty stomach. Drop by for a casual bite at Boxer’s Café, Standing Stone Coffee Company and Tops Diner. Or dine in delightful comfort at the Chuckwagon at Newburg Country Store, Marina Café at Lake Raystown Resort, Mimi’s Restaurant and Martini Bar and the Village Tavern Bar & Grill.

Get ready and get set for your family’s most memorable summer yet with a fun-filled, action-packed getaway at Happy Valley’s own little paradise: Raystown Lake! https://raystown.org, https://happyvalley.com


Karen Maserjian Shan is a freelance writer based in Poughkeepsie, New York.

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