It’s no question Pittsburgh has a lot to offer! From South Side to the Strip District to Downtown, it’s hard not to find a way to spend your weekend. But sometimes you just need a change of scenery, and a summer weekend road trip is the perfect way to do it! We gathered up 12 of the best summer weekend road trip destinations around Pittsburgh to help you enjoy all the season has to offer. Did your favorite destinations make the list?
12 Best Summer Weekend Road Trip Destinations Near Pittsburgh
1. Cook Forest State Park
1 hour 53 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh
Cook Forest State Park at any time of the year is a relaxing weekend getaway. The scenic state forest spans 8,500 acres. More than 3,000 of those acres lie near the Clarion River, providing breathtaking views. Enjoy activities including horseback riding, hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and camping on this summer weekend road trip must see.
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Cook Forest State Park: 91 miles
2. Penn’s Cave
3 hours from Downtown Pittsburgh
Penn’s Cave, America’s only all-water cave, it a great summer weekend road trip destination. Tour the natural wonder on a guided boat tour, explore the grounds, mine for gems and more. Afterward, see the natural setting on a wildlife tour or visit the Cave Rock Mountain Tour that will take you on a two hour off-road adventure.
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Penn’s Cave: 154 miles
3. Presque Isle State Park
2 hours from Downtown Pittsburgh
Presque Isle State Park in Erie provides abundant scenery and picturesque views to visitor. The day park is an ideal summer destination with its sandy beaches or hike along one of the 11 miles of trails through the park. Presque Isle also offers more than 3,000 acres of protected wildlife, attached to the city by a tiny sliver of land. Visitors can walk, bike, canoe and sail around the park while appreciating the robust wildlife. Presque Isle even has a bucket list of things to do and see in the area to give you a few ideas!
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Presque Isle State Park: 128 miles
4. Moraine and McConnells Mill State Parks
50 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh
If you’re looking to get the most out of your summer weekend road trip, this is a double whammy: Moraine State Park and McConnells Mill State Park. Both parks sandwich I-79 and are only 15 minutes apart. Perfect for a weekend or day trip.
McConnells Mill is best known for its rock climbing, hiking and stunning scenery. The park offers visitors numerous hiking trails, but Slippery Rock Gorge, a beautiful 6.2-mile gorge that runs through the center of the park should top your list.
Moraine State Park is famous for its beaches and plethora of water activities. It is easy to visit both parks in one day. Hike the gorge at McConnells Mill in the morning and then swim or sail at Moraine State Park in the afternoon.
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to McConnells Mills State Park: 42 miles
5. Ohiopyle, PA
1 hour and 30 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh
If you are from the Pittsburgh area, chances are you already know Ohiopyle is the perfect weekend escape! There’s a good reason for that as the area has something for everyone.
Ohiopyle boasts nearly 20,000 acres of protected wildlife, hiking trails, whitewater rafting and natural waterslides (Meadow Run). If biking is your thing, The Great Allegheny Passage, a bike trail that runs from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD and Washington D.C., runs through Ohiopyle. It is possible to pick up the trail in this area and ride it for a few very scenic miles. It’s the ideal location for a summer weekend road trip.
In addition to an outdoor adventure, only four miles from town is Fallingwater, an iconic structure designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright positioned over a waterfall. Four miles in the other direction is Kentuck Knob, another landmark home designed by Wright.
The Great Allegheny Passage, a bike trail that runs from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD, and then ultimately to Washington D.C., runs through Ohiopyle. It is possible to pick up the trail in this area, and ride it for a few (very scenic) miles.
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle: 70 miles
6. Youngstown, Ohio
1 hour and 20 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh
Between the art galleries, gluten free bakeries and pressed juice bars, it is clear that a lot is happening in this small town. It’s worthwhile to make the trip for the Youngstown Flea Market, held monthly during the summer. This market brings together a collection of local artists, musicians, vendors and antique sellers.
Try trendy coffee shops like Nova Coffee Company and restaurants like Mission Taco or Gordy’s Sandveech Market You can even visit The Butler Institute of American Art or the Soap Gallery too.
Of course, no trip to Youngstown is complete without exploring Mill Creek Park and Lanterman’s Mill. Both locations are among the most photographed landmark in the city.
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Youngstown, Ohio: 74 miles
7. Savage River State Forest
2 hours from Downtown Pittsburgh
Southeast of Pittsburgh, just over the Maryland border, is Savage River State Forest. This forest is renowned for its hiking, fishing in the summer. Start your day with a glorious hike or mountain bike ride through the forest then visit the nearby town of Frostburg, MD, known for its art galleries, restaurants and view of the Allegheny Mountains.
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Savage River State Forest: 92 miles
8. Cherry Springs State Park
3 hours and 50 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh
Drink in unobstructed views of the nighttime sky at Cherry Springs State Park. Offering the clearest views of the nighttime sky on the Eastern Seaboard, the park offers something for everyone. Spend a few unforgettable hours stargazing at the Nighttime Viewing Area. Serious astronomers can stay out overnight at the Astronomy Observation Field. Other popular activities at Cherry Springs State Park include hiking, picnicking, and camping.
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Cherry Springs State Park: 182 miles
9. Ghost Town Bike Trail
The trailhead is 1 hour 20 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh
Starting in Black Lick, PA, cyclists can ride a 36-mile bike trail through several Pennsylvania ghost towns if they are brave enough. These areas are former coal towns that were abandoned in the early 1900s. Riders will pass crumbling remains of homes, hotels, hot blast iron furnaces and even what is left of a turn-of-the-century bank vault. The trail ends in Ebensburg, PA. If you do not wish to bike back 36 miles to the start, consider having a friend drop you off in Black Lick, and pick you up later in Ebensburg (90 minutes from Pittsburgh).
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Ghost Town Trail: 62 miles
10. Conneaut Lake
1 hour 30 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh
Conneaut Lake offers plenty to do during the summer months. Enjoy sunbathing on the beach, go boating on the lake or spend the day at Conneaut Lake Park. Other popular tourist attractions in the area include Whispering Pines and Conneaut Cellar Wineries. Be sure to visit Linesway Spillway, just six miles from Conneaut Lake, where you can watch the ducks walk on fish.
Travel time from downtown Pittsburgh to Conneaut Lake: 91 miles
11. Pine Creek Gorge
3 hours 15 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh
Explore one of Pennsylvania’s most unforgettable natural wonders. Pine Creek Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, can be admired from Leonard Harrison State Park or Colton Point State Park. Hike along one of the trails or simply drink in the natural beauty from one of the scenic overlooks. Just an hour from Pine Creek Gorge is the charming town of Wellsboro, another perfect summer weekend road trip destination that features shops, restaurants, and scenic tours.
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Pine Creek Gorge: 189 miles
12. Foxburg Golf Course
1 hour and 30 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh
The oldest golf course in continuous use in the United States is located just 90 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh. Founder, Joseph Mickle Fox, learned about the sport of golf after visiting St. Andrews in Scotland. Fox was so taken by the game, he brought it back to Clarion County in 1887. Foxburg is considered a “throwback,” and is a must-visit for any golf enthusiast in southwestern PA.
Travel distance from downtown Pittsburgh to Foxburg: 72 miles
Did we miss your favorite destination? Tell us in the comments where we should visit on our next summer weekend road trip. Have you been to any of these suggestions? Show us your pictures!
Before you take off on the open road, be sure to tune up your vehicle and you auto insurance! Just call us today at 724-929-2300 and we’ll get you on the path to saving more this summer by comparing prices for you. Always get the best price on your car insurance and never overpay for coverage you don’t need. Also read our 5 tips on getting the most out of your next tank of gas to stretch your savings even further!