Your Summer Tradition: Raystown Lake
By Curtis Stratton
With summer in Happy Valley just around the corner, there is only one option for a weekend getaway: Raystown Lake. Pennsylvania’s largest in-state lake is a favorite of all Nittany Lions, and for good reason. Whether it’s the scenic 36-mile Allegrippis Trail, the cooling waves of the Wild River Water Park or the ancient Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks, Raystown Lake has something perfect for every member of your family.
Start your weekend with a drive down I-99 and across U.S. 22. Just as the sun appears above the rolling green ridges overlooking the lake, you might see yourself staying at Rooster Retreat, the mountainside cabins of Bitter Goose Lane or camping at Putt’s Camp. Once you’re settled, there’s no better way to quench a breakfast hankering than an All-American breakfast at Sandy Ridge A&W. Then, it’s time to visit the Swigart Antique Automobile Museum — or, perhaps an aerial tour with Pine Bottom Aviation is more your speed?
Follow lunchtime at Boxer’s Cafe with a stroll through the iconic red-brick district of downtown Huntingdon. As the afternoon warms up, the Splash and Play Pool at Wild River Waterpark provides endless play for your little ones, while you and the big kids enjoy the 380-foot twisting slides and the White Water Innertube Ride. As the afternoon winds down after all that excitement, it may be time for relaxing in the shade on the shore of Raystown Lake or exploring the artisan marketplaces scattered throughout the region.
With the evening comes the black light tours of Lincoln Caverns and the home games of the Pirates’ Double-A team, the Altoona Curve. Live music at the Lake Raystown Resort fills the air as you roast delicious s’mores fireside. By the time the first day ends, it’s almost like it flew by only for the fun to pick up once again in the morning.
The options for your second day are just as fun and adventurous as they are endless: the Cultural District walking tour, the Mount Union Farmers Market, the Isett Heritage Museum, a quaint trolley ride in the Rockhill Trolley Museum, fishing excursions on the lake, the Thousand Steps of the Standing Stone Trail, the suspension bridge and Rainbow Falls at Trough Creek State Park and oh so much more.
The Tradition Begins
Your summer weekend at Raystown Lake will only have you wanting to come back again and again, and with new activities every year, you’ll need to! Whatever you decide to do in your Happy Valley getaway, there’s no place in Centre County that has so much for families of all ages.
Your family tradition may begin this year, or it may be generations long. In either case, Raystown Lake welcomes you this summer. For more information, be sure to visit the Raystown and Happy Valley websites, and we look forward to seeing you there!
Curtis Stratton has published work in magazines, newspapers, websites and books across the country. A Philadelphia native, he now lives in North Carolina.