Best Islands of Pennsylvania
- SWATHI RAMASWAMY
- UPDATED May 31, 2018
- 2 Views
It’s not just the world-famous city of Philadelphia that is worth a visit in Pennsylvania, it is also the small islands in the state that are considered hidden treasures. Far from the usual idea of an island, the state of Pennsylvania has small river islands that are no less in beauty. From a wide range of flora and fauna, you can see and do a lot in these islands. Here are 10 of the best islands that you must visit in your trip to Pennsylvania:
Presque Isle State Park
Located on the beautiful Lake Eerie, the Presque isle is considered to be one of the best places to visit in all of Pennsylvania state. Reachable by road itself, it is still considered to be an island as it is quite isolated and cut off from the busy city roads. Declared as a ‘Natural National Landmark’, this state park has one of the best bird sanctuaries in the country. Be sure to explore the different activities in the park including the bird sanctuary, fishing grounds, summer sports such as hiking, biking, inline skating and ice ishing, ice boating, ice skating, and cross-country skiing during the winters.
Allegheny River Islands Wilderness
A collection of beautiful and uninhabited islands, the Allegheny river islands comprise of Crull's Island, Thompson's Island, R. Thompson's Island, Courson Island, King's Islands, Baker Islands, and No-Name Island. Reach here by canoeing or kayaking, it’s a great way to explore the untouched wilderness in this area. Although the island permits camping on the grounds, it has a strict ‘leave no traces’ policy in order to protect the wild inhabitants of the island. All the islands are easily accessible and explorable with crull’s island being the largest here. Canoeing, camping, birdwatching and hiking, are some of the activities to explore this set of islands.
Partially connected to the mainland of Philadelphia, this island is easily reachable by boat. Close to the city of Philly, the island makes for a great place to explore for the weekend. Away from hustle and bustle of city life, the island houses the Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center. This center is a 250-seat theatre overlooking the scenic river, making a great place to watch a production and unwind for the day. The island also has basketball and volleyball courts, a park for the kids and more such family-fun activities. Make a weekend of it and head to the Venice island in your next visit to Philly.
Home to the only township on the entire island – Neville township – this island is located on the Ohio River on the state. Reachable by bus from Pittsburgh, the island has a very close-knit community of locals. The island also houses the Robert Morris University island sports center and hockey arena, a great place to practice some games for the locals and tourists alike. Other activities on the island include the golf range, the sports fields, a miniature golf course, ice skating rinks and more such sporting things to do. You can even indulge into some of the local cafes for a rustic experience in this township.
Big and Little Indian Rock
For a historically enriched getaway, get to the Big and Little Indian Rock. These islands rise out in a rocky section in the Susquehanna River near Safe Harbour in Lancaster County. Reachable by experienced kayakers easily, there are guided trips to these rocks for other uninterested in kayaking. Home to thousands of authentic Native American petroglyphs carved into the rocks, these are beautiful relics of the past that are visited by all who come to the state. Believed to be more than a thousand years old, these relics are a natural formation of a piece of history. Visit here in the early morning or evening, for a good view and easy sighting of these petroglyphs.
Home of the Commerce Band Park, the City island is easily reachable by bus or boat. With the Harrisburg senators baseball team here, the island is no stranger to the locals of Harrisburg. Head here for a great day away from the city with grassy parks, a miniature golf course, boating trips up and down the river and more. Families with children enjoy this island immensely as there are many such affordable options of activities here. Couples also enjoy the place, with a romantic evening of relaxing by the beach.
For a day gazing at and exploring wildlife, head to the Hendrick island on Delaware river. A very unique change in the river separated the island from the mainland, wherein it was previously connected to the mainland. Reachable by a boating trip to the island, camping on this island, is strictly prohibited. A part of the Natural area of the Delaware Canal State Park, you can sight plenty of wildlife, from otters swimming across the river to deer which swim to the island from the mainland. This is therefore, a popular family destination as well.
Officially part of the neighbourhood of Pittsburgh, the Herrs island is a fully inhabited island with both residential and business areas. Reachable by boat or road from Pittsburgh, the island is the start line for the annual two-day regatta to Ohio, every October. The crew race being its most popular reason as a tourist spot, you can also come here for its beautiful views of the river, the marina, and mostly the big grassy parks in the island. Be sure to also explore some of the river trails by boat which give some of the best views of the city.
The protected area for several endangered species, the Wade island is a part of the Sheets Island Archipelago. This island serves as a rookery and nesting area for egrets, herons, and other such water birds of the Susquehanna River. Reachable by paddle boat, these grounds are not permitted for camping but make for a great place to explore the river trails while glancing at the most beautiful wildlife residents of this island. Be sure to spot some beavers, deer, otters and more such mammals sure to be roaming about this undamaged forest area for the best and most authentic wildlife experience.
Little Tinicum Island
With several trails for hiking and biking, the Little Tinicum island is a part of the William Penn State forest in the state of Pennsylvania. Surrounded by freshwater and tidal wetlands, this Iittle island is a great place to explore wildlife. Reachable by boat or kayak, this island is also home to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum considered to be a urban wildlife reserve and green oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia. With species like bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and many more species not found in any other place in Penn state, this island is well-loved by wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers alike.