Nockamixon State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:1542 Mountain View Drive, Quakertown, PA
Hours:8 a.m. to sunset daily
Fee: Grounds free; fee charged for pool and boat rental
Bathrooms: At the marina, Tohickon and Haycock boat launches, fishing pier, and elsewhere
Water/Snacks: Water fountains at restrooms (but may be inoperative); snack bar at day-use area/pool in season
Map: (click on Find a Park)

With loads of options for boating, fishing, and hiking, families won’t tire of Lake Nockamixon, no matter how often they visit.

Nockamixon State Park
Photo by: Susan Charkes

Nockamixon State Park, like many other lake-centered parks in the region, is a by-product of an engineering project. Lake Nockamixon was created in the late 1960s by the damming of the Tohickon and Haycock creeks and Three Mile Run. Today it seems like it has always been here, enclosed as it is by deep green forests. Stone ruins hidden in the woods reveal its history as a mill valley.

The huge lake attracts boaters and anglers from afar. There’s a 20-horsepower limit on motor craft so paddlers can feel safe on the busy lake. You can rent canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats at the marina boat rental concession in season. For the youngest anglers, a children’s fishing pond in the day-use area makes a good starting point before trying out the big pond.

Lake Nockamixon’s size might make it intimidating for a novice solo boater, especially when a big breeze kicks up, but Nockamixon’s rewards are abundant enough for a lifetime. The long, quiet, mostly undeveloped shoreline is a haven for birds, fish, and other wildlife that kids can spot from a boat or look for on a trail. Despite the proximity of a nearby highway, the lake is quiet enough to hear the splash of fish from the far shore, and the songs of birds in the woods.

Hiking trails thread through these woods. The Sterner Mill hiking area is designated for foot traffic only and has an easy-to-follow set of loop trails that go down to the lake and back, good for school-age kids. Other trails in the park in the Old Mill area are more rugged and rocky, suitable for older kids, though they are also always easy to follow.

Many of the park’s other unpaved trails are open to mountain bikes and horses. A paved trail around the day-use area is a nice, short lakeside route for bikes and strollers.

A half-acre swimming pool, with two waterslides as well as a shallow end with fountains for young children, is located in the day-use area and open seasonally.

Remember: In hunting season, some hiking areas may be open to hunters; check a map and always wear blaze orange in hunting season (hunting is prohibited on Sundays). Swimming is not permitted in the lake.

Plan B:

Peace Valley Park is south, off of PA 313; it has trails, boating, and fishing. Its Lake Galena, which also has a boat rental, is a smaller, less intimidating alternative to Lake Nockamixon.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Continue down PA 563 South to a small commercial area near PA 413, or go to Quakertown, north on PA 313.


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