The county seat for Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County, Wilkes-Barre is a city ripe with opportunities for outdoorsy types. Cutting through the middle of the city, the Susquehanna River presents the ideal environment for kayaking, rafting and hiking. Nearby recreations also include the Seven Tubs Natural Area, a trail with several fascinating rock formations -- plus, don’t forget to visit at least a couple of the four state parks in close proximity!
The Best Nearby State Parks
- Frances Slocum State Park is only 10 miles north of Wilkes-Barre and offers 13 miles of trails as well as an expansive campsite with amenities like toilets and showers. Spanning 165 acres, Frances Slocum Lake is a warm-water fishing paradise, with bluegill, perch, catfish and more available in all seasons -- ice fishing is allowed as well.
- Nescopeck State Park, a 30-minute drive south, lies tucked between Mount Yeager and Nescopeck Mountain. One of the park’s main draws is its 19 miles of hiking trails, which in the winter can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Nescopeck Creek, which threads through the park, is a popular cold-water fishery containing trout.
Major Roadways Near Wilkes-Barre
- Interstate 81 cuts vertically through the eastern side of Pennsylvania. Driving north on I-81 from Wilkes-Barre will take you to Scranton and eventually the Maryland border, while driving south gets you to Harrisburg, though you could take a detour to Lehigh Gorge State Park for some white water rafting.
- Located a few miles north of Wilkes-Barre, Route 118 runs 42 miles east-west from Hughesville to Dallas. The approximate midpoint of Rt. 118, only 30 miles from Wilkes-Barre, goes through Ricketts Glen State Park. The park is a National Natural Landmark known for its 22 waterfalls, and visitors enjoy taking advantage of its well-kept campsites, 600-foot beach and beautiful scenery.