Spring is the perfect season to explore the magnificent beauty of the great outdoors. The rolling hills and mountains in southwestern Pennsylvania create some of the most picturesque views this time of year. Combined with the historical and cultural resources found along the Historic National Road, the landscapes of the keystone state make this region ideal for exploration during the warm months ahead.
Discover the history, natural beauty, and culture of Southwestern Pennsylvania while enjoying the sunshine this season by visiting these incredible sites along the Historic National Road:
- Youghiogheny River Lake
Whether you are seeking and area for a family camping trip or a lake for boating and fishing, the Youghiogheny River Lake will serve as a perfect destination. In the heart of the Laurel Highlands, this beautiful body of water is a 16-mile flood control reservoir often considered the best powerboat and water-skiing lake in southwestern Pennsylvania. The tail waters of the nearby Youghiogheny Dam are ideal for trout fishing because they are are stocked by the Fish and Boat Commission frequently throughout the spring and summer.
- Fort Necessity National Battlefield
In the summer of 1754, the Battle of Fort Necessity sparked the French & Indian War. Fort Necessity National Battlefield commemorates this opening battle, in which Colonel George Washington surrendered to the French. This site is a National Park and arguably one of the most important historical areas in western Pennsylvania, making it a fantastic destination to explore the history of this region. Nearby, you can also visit Braddock’s Grave and Jumonville Glen for added outdoor sightseeing.
The main unit contains the battlefield with the reconstructed fort, the Mount Washington Tavern, and the Fort Necessity and National Road Interpretive and Education Center, featuring history detailing history from Washington’s first trip over the Alleghenies to the creation of the National Road itself.
Fayette County features the stunning Ohiopyle State Park, one of the largest state parks in Pennsylvania. Its beautiful scenery and multitude of outdoor activities make it one of the most popular state parks in America. The site spans over 19,000 acres and features outdoor activities like whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking, and fishing. Surrounded by historical sites along the National Road, this park makes the ideal location for a family vacation with options for lodging and camping.
After many years of planning and hard work, the new Ohiopyle State Park Office/ Laurel Highlands Falls Area Visitor Center will have its grand opening this June. The Center provides visitors a window into the history, heritage and geology that further defines the importance of the region. Spectacularly designed interpretive elements by the 106 Group and built by Blue Rhino Studios, will provide an interesting and immersive experience!
- Laurel Caverns Park
On those warmer spring days, you can enjoy the beauty of nature under the cool shelter of the brilliantly beautiful Laurel Caverns. This geological park features the largest natural cave in Pennsylvania. The ceilings in the three mile labyrinth are between ten and fifty feet in height. It is also the largest natural bat hibernaculum in the state. To preserve the habitat, the site is closed November through April, so spring is its opening season.
The park hosts guided tours of the caverns, but for the more adventurous, spelunking and cave rappelling are also available.
Use this spring season to take advantage of everything that southwestern Pennsylvania has to offer and don’t stop after these locations. Click here to plan a more in depth tour of the incredible destinations along our state’s Historic National Road.