State parks are excellent places for those who seek to experience the natural beauty our area has to offer.
Whether its camping for the weekend or just a day trip full of hiking, swimming and picnicking, state parks are usually a great choice.
Following are the state parks in the Jamestown area.
A 40-minute drive from Jamestown, Allegany State Park features hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing, hunting, canoeing and horseback riding opportunities.
Long Point State Park
Located just 20 miles from downtown Jamestown, Long Point State Park is open for day use only, year round. It is most known for fishing Muskie, which are native to the lake and are noted for their size and fight. Long Point is also home to the most modern boat launch on Chautauqua Lake.
Midway State Park
Though not what someone would typically think of when a state park is mentioned, Midway is one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the nation. It was voted the best travel destination in the county by readers of the Dunkirk Observer and is valued for its family-friendly atmosphere. The park offers various kiddie rides, mini-golf, go-karts and bumper boats.
Lake Erie State Park
Named in 2005 as one of the nation's ''Top 100 Campgrounds,'' Lake Erie State Park has 97 campsites and 10 cabins. It is open daily, May through October, and is recognized for rare migratory birds that follow the lake's edge. In addition, visitors may enjoy hiking, swimming, fishing, picnic areas and playgrounds. It takes about 45 minutes, from Jamestown, to get there.
Allegany State Park
Allegany is the largest State Park in the system, including two developed areas, Quaker and Red House, 424 campsites, 375 cabins, three group camps and seven cottages throughout the park. It's located in Salamanca, just 40 minutes from Jamestown. The Park was listed as one of the nation's ''Top Amazing Spots'' by Reserve America in 2005. Activities include hiking, biking, birdwatching, picnicking, fishing, hunting, canoeing and horseback riding. The park is open year round.
Evangola State Park
Evangola State Park is best known for its arch-shaped shoreline and natural sand beach on Lake Erie. The park has 80 campsites and was named in 2007 as one of the nation's ''Top 100 Campgrounds.'' Camping season begins mid-April and ends mid-October. Located an hour away in Irving, visitors may enjoy swimming, picnic facilities, baseball and soccer fields, and tennis and basketball courts.
Woodlawn Beach State Park
Blasdell is about an hour and 20 minutes from downtown Jamestown and is home to Woodlawn Beach State Park. Woodlawn Beach is on Lake Erie and also boasts a natural sand beach. The park is open from dawn to dusk, year round. Swimming is permitted from mid-June through Labor Day.
Letchworth State Park
Letchworth celebrated their Centennial in 2006, just one year before being named one of the nation's ''Top 100 Campgrounds.'' It is open year round, though camping season is from mid- May to mid-October. The park is often referred to as the ''Grand Canyon of the East.'' Campers may choose between the tent sites, trailer sites, winterized cabins or opt for group camping. Letchworth also offers a summer lecture series, white-water rafting, kayaking, hot air ballooning, hiking, hunting, fishing and horse-back riding. It is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Jamestown.
Stony Brook State Park is located in Dansville, just 1 hour and 20 minutes from Jamestown. Camping is open from May to mid-October, but visitors are welcome year round. There are 125 tent or trailer sites. Attractions include hiking on rim, gorge or nature trails in addition to hunting.
PENNSYLVANIA STATE PARKS
Chapman State Park
Chapman State Park offers swimming, hiking, backpacking, fishing, boating and camping on one of the 83 campsites or three cottages. It is located in Clarendon, Pa., which is about an hour from Jamestown.
Presque Isle State Park
Pennsylvania's only ''seashore,'' Presque Isle was named a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. It's located about an 1 hours from Jamestown in Erie, Pa. In addition to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center being the new gateway to Presque Isle, the park also offers water-skiing, boating, hiking, biking, recreational scuba-diving, hunting and fishing. It is open year round.