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Enjoy the great outdoors in Pennsylvania’s Cook Forest State Park

SmarterTravel

There’s just something about floating down a river on a summer day that instantly lowers your blood pressure. A friend of mine chose to do just that at Cook Forest State Park, two hours from Pittsburgh, and the setting for her 30th birthday weekend bash. It was a blast—we had two days of tubing down the Clarion River, hiking past white pines and hemlocks, and raucous nightly storytelling around a blazing campfire.

Our group featured a mix of rugged adventurers and those a bit less so (like me). Cook had something for all of us—some camped, enjoying the outdoors 24/7; others shared a comfortable cabin at MacBeth’s, just a few minutes’ walk from the campsite. It was easy on the budget, too. Cabins range from $80 to $230 per night and accommodate between three and 12 travelers. Basic campsites in the area average $25 per night.

Whether you’re planning an extended trip or a one-day outdoor excursion, there are plenty of activities for all traveler types. While I didn’t get a chance to try horseback riding or go on a bird-watch last time, I’m planning on it for our reunion weekend this summer. I’m very much looking forward to going back and spending a few days free of the distractions and congestion of city life.

To plan your trip, visit the websites of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Cook Forest Vacation Bureau.

Read more of the 50 Affordable Stateside Escapes.

Have a recommendation for the Cook Forest region, or another great getaway within Pennsylvania? Post your comment below!

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