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Top 10 Best State Parks in the Northeast

Going to a state park can be fun for the whole family—you get close to nature, experience the beautiful great outdoors, and learn some history along the way. If you’re headed to the Northeast, here are 10 wonderful state parks you need to visit.

  1. Letchworth State Park, New York
    Letchworth State Park is so beautiful that some people call it the "Grand Canyon of the East," only instead of deep gorges, there are rushing rapids and sparkling waterfalls. Hikers can enjoy 66 miles of trails, or you and your family can view the cliffs, which can be as tall as 600 feet. Other activities include horseback riding, biking, cross-country skiing, swimming, and even hot air balloon rides! In 2015, the park was also voted Best State Park by USA Today
  2. Thomas Edison National Historical Park, New Jersey
    Thomas Edison was the inventor of the photograph, mimeograph, movie camera, and so much more. Now, you can visit Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory. Many things that brought America into the modern age were created right in this area by one of the smartest men in U.S. history. Kids can learn about science, history, and more at this fantastic park. 
  3. World’s End State Park, Pennsylvania
    The name may seem scary, but that’s no reason to avoid it. This park has some of the most gorgeous views in the United States. When you get to the highest point, you can see for miles and miles, and you may even notice the curvature of the Earth. World’s End also has history, as Native Americans once lived in the area and survived off of the land. Activities you and your family can participate in include camping, white-water rafting, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, wildlife watching, and more. 
  4. Burton Island State Park, Vermont
    This smaller state park is something every American should visit once in their lifetime. It’s accessible by a 10-minute ferry from Kamp Kill Kare State Park. Previously referred to as the “Isle of White,” the calm waters are enjoyable to canoe or swim. One of the main reasons families choose to visit this park is to camp. If you don’t have your camping gear, most of it can be purchased from a shop near the marina. You’ll never find another park like this one. 
  5. Old Furnace State Park, Connecticut
    Whether you love hiking, fishing, hunting, or boating, this stunning state park is perfect for you. Old Furnace State Park was used for water energy and iron ore mining from the surrounding area in the 1800s. Today, you can go on short hikes to view the landscape with your own eyes. No matter what season you visit, the trees are incredibly vibrant and lush. And if hiking isn’t your thing, Half Hill Pond is the perfect place for a picnic.  
  6. Pawtuckaway State Park, New Hampshire
    Pawtuckaway State Park has so many things to do, it’s impossible to stay just one day. You can swim, canoe, fish, cross-country ski, mountain bike, hike, picnic, and ride horses. The beach is clear, and water softly laps the sand, providing a relaxing environment for everyone. If you’re the type who enjoys intense activities, you can rock climb in several places throughout Pawtuckaway State Park. 
  7. Halibut Point State Park, Massachusetts
    Made of 440-million-year-old granite sheets, Halibut Point State Park is a sight to see. It’s definitely not a park to fly through in 30 minutes. You can pick up a pamphlet in the Visitors’ Center to guide you while you walk the various trails of this park. Plus, Halibut Point has one of the best coastlines in all of Massachusetts. The waters are calm enough to swim, there are plenty of areas to picnic, or you can cross-country ski in the winter. 
  8. Baxter State Park, Maine
    Hiking enthusiasts love Baxter State Park for the view from Maine’s highest mountain, but there are several other less intense trails for you to experience. The Appalachian Trail winds through the park, and you can hike it with ease. If you plan on hiking a long distance on this trail, you may need to pick up an Appalachian Trail Permit, although it’s easy to obtain through Baxter State Park’s website. Other things you can do include fishing, hunting, attending educational programs, boating, and snowmobiling. 
  9. Camden Hills State Park, Maine
    Birdwatchers from all over the country come to this state park to see unique bird species that are difficult to view in other locations. Some species you may spot include hawks, great blue herons, and even bald eagles. Additionally, there are over nine miles of trails to walk, bicycle, or even ride on horseback. Nothing is more fun than experiencing nature atop a horse. 
  10. Gillette Castle State Park, Connecticut
    There are few places in the United States where you can see an actual castle. Home of renowned actor William Gillette, this medieval architecture will amaze you and your children. The historic building is open for the public to walk through, and guides are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. There are also various “viewpoints” where you can see what Connecticut looked like over a century ago! 
Last Updated: June 06, 2016