With longer days offering more opportunity to enjoy the sunshine — and social distancing keeping nearly everyone indoors — it’s no wonder people might be itching to grab some fresh air. And with spring officially here, we’ve rounded up 10 regional parks and recreation areas where you can stretch your legs and shake off that cabin fever.
While several spots have playgrounds, some officials have recommended children stay off the equipment during the COVID-19 troubles. Others have closed facilities and canceled programs, but the grounds remain open.
All parks are open from dawn to dusk unless otherwise noted. With plans fluid as a result of the ongoing coronavirus situation, check with venues before you go for potential changes and closures.
Nay Aug Park
The largest park in the city of Scranton, Nay Aug offers walking trails — which offer looks at the notable gorge — plus picnic areas, two playgrounds, the David Wenzel Tree House and a pedestrian footbridge across Roaring Brook. The Everhart Museum is located within the park as well (it is currently closed because of coronavirus), and summertime guests can enjoy the pool and water slides.
Where: 500 Arthur Ave., Scranton
Details: scrantonpa.gov/nayaug_park or 570-348-4186
This 3.5-mile loop trail around Lake Scranton offers guests a few modest hills and flat asphalt paths for runners and walkers. Bicycle or vehicle traffic on the trail is not permitted. Parking is free.
Where: Route 307, Scranton
Details: visitpa.com/region/upstate-pa/lake-scranton or 570-963-6852
Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
Tracing the path of the Lackawanna River, the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail connects more than 30 communities in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna and Wayne counties. Parking lots are found at multiple trailheads along the route, which includes a variety of surface types and views of the river, woodlands and more.
Details: lhva.org or call 570-963-6730, ext. 8200
South Abington Community Park
Open from dawn to 11 p.m., the park contains a walking trail; an athletic field for softball, T-ball or little league baseball; basketball courts; a children’s playground; a picnic pavilion and newly-installed handicap bathrooms.
Where: 642 Northern Blvd., South Abington Twp.
Details: southabingtonpa.gov/parks-recreation or 570-586-2111
Wilkes-Barre’s Kirby Park consists of 52 acres just over the Market Street Bridge from the city’s Public Square. Guests will find walking and running tracks, a fitness trail, softball fields, volleyball and tennis courts, and a playground. Relax at the pavilions with a picnic after a day of outdoor fun.
Where: 160 Market St. Kingston (use 280 Market St., Kingston, PA 18704 on GPS devices)
Details: wilkes-barre.city or 570-821-1111
Enjoy the view of the Susquehanna River from Wilkes-Barre River Common, a 17.3-acre site that includes a fishing pier, gardens and paved paths in addition to an amphitheater and grand common.
Where: South River Street, Wilkes-Barre
Details: wilkes-barre.city or 570-821-1111
Lackawanna State Park
Just 10 miles north of Scranton, Lackawanna State Park has numerous trails and picnic areas spread over its 1,445 acres. At Lackawanna Lake, guests can enjoy boating and fishing, and opportunities for camping and mountain biking also are available. In the summer, guests can enjoy the recently updated pool and splash park.
Where: 1839 Abington Road, North Abington Twp.
Ricketts Glen State Park
Spread across Luzerne, Sullivan and Columbia counties, Ricketts Glen State Park has more than 13,000 acres and includes the Glens Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark. The trails network offers access to numerous waterfalls, including the 94-foot Ganoga Falls, the highest of the park’s 22 named waterfalls.
Where: 695 Route 487, Benton Twp.
Dick & Nancy Eales Preserve at Moosic Mountain
The Nature Conservancy’s 2,000-acre preserve is a popular site for birdwatching, hiking, biking and photography in Pennsylvania’s untouched heath barrens. It features more than 10 hiking trails, including “Bruised Ego,” and is contiguous with state gamelands. Visitors could spot not only birds, butterflies, moths and deer but also black bears, turkeys, ruffed grouse, snowshoe hares and coyotes.
Where: Moosic Lake Road/Route 247, Jessup
Details: nature.org or 717-232-6001
Promised Land State Park
Visitors can take to numerous hiking trails to explore the woods full of beech, oak, maple and hemlock trees at this 3,000-acre park surrounded by Delaware State Forest. Situated on the Pocono Plateau, the park is home to two lake as well as streams that afford fishing and boating options.
Where: 100 Lower Lake Road, Greentown
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest