New Skateparks in Pennsylvania

Back in the day, the local “skateboard park” was an empty parking lot. School property after class was dismissed. Bank parking lots on a Sunday. Basically any place that had a skatable surface where you could set up a makeshift ramp. These were the options. And they weren’t great options for lots of reasons. 

Besides not being entirely free of traffic, skateboarding in parking lots and on residential streets were designed for function – and not fun. Luckily times have changed and many communities are adapting to the need for designated places that accommodate safe skateboarding, in-line skating and even BMX biking. 

Pennsylvania is leading the way with some of the newest and most innovative skate parks in the country. Here are just a few of the best places to skate in the state! 

Free Fall Action Sports  

Quakertown was home to the popular Main Street Skatepark. Once a wonderful location for skating and recreation, the park fell into neglect and disrepair. Rather than tear it down, the borough and some dedicated community members decided to save the park. Ten years ago, these community members began to reclaim the park through a series of outreach efforts such as fundraising cookouts and skating competitions. 

Through their efforts the park regained its popularity. Seeing the positive impact the park had on the community, the local Borough Council decided that the best course of action was to expand the park. Fundraising efforts began and within a year, the community had enough money to begin planning and constructing a modern, state-of-the-art skatepark. 

Now that new skatepark is a reality! In June 2021, the Free Fall Action Park opened. Now Bucks County residents and PA skaters and action sports enthusiasts can enjoy this cutting-edge park’s many perks including a large flow bowl, a pool, a traditional street section, and even lights for nighttime fun. Fans can also enjoy classic skatepark standards like rails and ramps, too!

Bethlehem Skateplaza

This is not just a great skatepark – it also has one of the coolest backdrops! Much like the transformation of Quakertown’s Main Street Skatepark, this park is the product of the hard work and fundraising efforts of committed community members. 

Totally free to the public, the Bethlehem Skateplaza provides skateboarders, skaters and bikers with the classic elements of an old school, ad-hoc skatepark in a safe and welcoming environment. Action sports enthusiasts can apply their magnificent skills and tricks of their trades on the various rails, stairs and benches. 

Open from dawn until dusk all year long (weather permitting, of course), the Bethlehem Skateplaza also hosts classes, local competitions and national skateboarding and BMX bike events. Easily accessible by major roadways, the Skateplaza is part of the area’s “Rails-To-Trails” program that transformed three miles of decommissioned railroad tracks into an open space for recreational activities. 

Gettysburg Alternative Sports Park

Don’t know how to skateboard or skate but always wanted to learn? Then the Gettysburg Alternative Sports Park is the place for you! This popular spot draws many enthusiasts to its various ramps and obstacles. It also caters to beginners and skaters of varying levels with its cool tutorials, courses and community events. Open every day from dawn until dusk, this park does require a small entrance fee (but if you’re a PA resident you can enjoy a significant discount!). 

If you’re ready to break out your skateboard, lace up your inline skates, or take your BMX Bike for a spin, you can’t go wrong with these three fantastic PA skateparks. Be sure to check these and other great skateparks in the state this year!

Road Tripping for Parks, Playgrounds and Ice Cream

We all know that summertime is the perfect time to enjoy the warm weather and hit the local parks for fun, play, fitness and general wellness. It’s also the best time to enjoy the cooling comforts of a delicious scoop of ice cream! 

To celebrate our state, small businesses, and everyone’s favorite treat, the fine folks at VisitPA have created a super ice cream trail. What’s an ice cream trail?  It’s actually three separate trails in Eastern, South Central and Western Pennsylvania that showcase 31 of the best local creameries and ice cream shops in their respective communities. Folks who set off on the trails not only enjoy a variety of wonderful flavors and treats, they see gorgeous scenery, meet new people, discover new places, and witness the many wonders found throughout the state.

Realizing what a wonderful idea the PA ice cream trail is, we thought we would lend our assistance and spotlight some of the best local parks located near some of the trail’s most popular attractions. Whether you’re working up an appetite from a day of play in the park or looking to walk off that triple-scoop on a nearby trail, these parks are the perfect places for extra ice cream trail fun. 

East PA 

Chester Springs Creamery at Milky Way Farm is a historic, multi-generational, family owned and operated working farm in beautiful Chester County, PA. In addition to providing the community with high-quality farm-fresh products, Chester Springs Creamery at Milky Way Farm boasts over 40 fantastic flavors. After one bite, you’ll understand why this popular creamery has garnered high praise from the locals. 

Chester Springs residents not only have this wonderful creamery in their community, they also have one of the best local parks, too! Hickory Park showcases a variety of age-spanning offerings in a clean, quiet and serene setting. Smaller children can let their imaginations run wild on the playground, while older children and teens will enjoy access to ball fields, basketball courts and sand volleyball courts. If a stroll in the park sounds perfect, the paved walking trails are ready for you. For more rigorous activity, the hiking trails will do the trick. 

South Central PA 

Fox Meadows Creamery in Ephrata, PA not only serves up thousands of cones, shakes and treats each year – they also let visitors get a peek behind the scenes! Step into the creamery, place your order and then take a look in the nearby window to see how their ice cream is made! Owned and operated by the Fox family since the 1950s, this popular ice cream destination features this signature “Baked Fox” treat: customer choice of a hot-pressed chocolate chip cookie or brownie outer shell with a cold scoop of their favorite ice cream inside!

Just down the road from Fox Meadows, you’ll find the Ephrata Township Community Park. Located on US-322, this 50-acre park features paved and stoned hiking trails throughout, baseball and soccer fields, and a pavillon that is able to rent for special events. Best of all, the park’s beautiful lake and pond are open to the public for fishing (subject to rules and regulations of the PA Fish & Boat Commission). 

Another great option in Ephrata is the Thomas P. Grater Community Park. This 19-acre park includes favorite features such as a playground, multiple ball fields, a community pool and walking trails, along with some uncommon additions like a skate park and wetlands area. 

West PA 

One of Mt. Lebanon’s local gems, Betsy’s Ice Cream has been pleasing taste buds from 1 to 100 with delicious handcrafted, homemade ice cream. Along with their topnotch ice cream, visitors can enjoy frozen yogurt, thick frosty shakes and other assorted frozen treats. Betsy’s has become so popular that they even offer catering services and online ordering! 

If you’re looking for a wonderful local park, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s one just down the road from Besty’s. Bird Park is a quick three minute drive from the area’s popular ice cream spot. A great place for a picnic, this popular park offers a grilling area, picnic tables, a pavilion, multiple athletic fields and is also dog friendly. Best of all, it features some of the area’s best nature trails. 

If you’re looking for one of the best playgrounds in the neighborhood, you’ll find it at Church Place Park! Located just 2 minutes away from Betsy’s doorstep, this gem of park also features a picnic area and game tables, too.  

This is just a quick glimpse at the many wonderful creameries, shops and parks you’ll discover on this year’s ice cream trail! No matter which part of the trail you choose, we’re sure you’ll have a fun (and delicious) time!