Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on February 22, 2023.
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Camp life near Pittsburgh is a cherished thing. Everyone knows someone with a camper, and virtually every camp is about an hour away from home (at least, every camp we've ever heard of through friends and acquaintances).
We, unfortunately, never got to experience camp life until only recently, and our first outing brought us to Bear Run Campground near Moraine State Park as guests of the Butler County Visitor's Bureau. After spending two days at the property, we now fully understand why camp life is so popular!
Staying in the Family Lodge Cabin – Panda Bear
During our visit to Bear Run Campground, we were able to stay in a family lodge style cabin known as Panda Bear.
The cabin itself is designed to easily accommodate four with a master queen bed and a set of bunk beds, but the living room couch also offers a pull-out bed as well. The main living area doubles as a kitchen and was quite spacious and offered more or less every amenity we needed, from coffee pot to a full set of cookware. And, since we can hardly ever disconnect, we also were within range of the camp's modestly fast wifi as well.
The only downside to the cabin itself is that most of the higher-ends cabins are located right in the heart of the RV park section of the campground and we were only a stone's throw away from four or five other cabins/trailers during our visit.
In the future, we would likely opt for a deluxe cabin on the hilltop (a bit larger) or one of the log cabins in the woods (a bit smaller) in order to have a bit more space between buildings and a nature-focused ambiance. Out of all of the dedicated cabins on the camp's property, these two most certainly had the most ideal locations. (And, if going for the log cabin, note that not all of those options contain attached toilets and showers, so choose accordingly!)
All things being equal, we really enjoyed our lodging here and were not wanting for much with regard to the cabin layout and features.
Every Kind of Camp Amenity at Bear Run Campground
During our visit, I was fortunate enough to get a tour of the grounds from the owner, and after seeing the entire property I feel like it is pretty safe to say that the campground has just about every kind of amenity you'd want.
Most every site has a picnic table and fire pit. The cabins and lodges are fairly stocked with kitchen cookware. The general store sells virtually every camp-related item you can hope for (ranging from S'mores ingredients to firewood). The grounds have a dog run, pool, hiking trails, and massive kids play area. There are even covered patio facilities, horseshoe pit, basketball and baseball courts, and weekend events as well.
Suffice it to say, going bored at this campsite is not an option.
Likewise, there are also camp options for every style.
There are conventional walk-in campsites with room for a tent, fire pit, and picnic table, to RV hookups, to basic cabins, and rather high-end deluxe accommodations as mentioned above (plus many that are pet-friendly!). Some are located close to the amenities and toilet facilities, some are ensuite, and others are so far into the woods that you can feel quite isolated in nature if you so choose- the sky really is the limit in the options that this campground provides.
Our only slight downside would be that the prices are slightly on the high end, with a base camp-site starting at $29/night going all the way to $169/night for a deluxe cabin with all the amenities in 2019. But as this one offers all combination of camping scenarios (walk-in tent camping, no toilet lodge, TV hookups, you name it), you can truly find an option for all interests/budgets.
The Best Perk? Accessibility to Moraine State Park
While we could speak on all of the amenities at Bear Run Campground and call it fine on its own, one of our favorite aspects of this campground is how close it is to Moraine State Park.
Close, here, is a relative term because Bear Run actually borders the park along part of the property, such that some of the hiking trails take you into Moraine State Park itself. These trails are, sadly, not blazed the best for those looking to explore, and instead most guests of the park drive or walk down the gravel road by the camp as it is an easy 0.5 miles to the shore of Lake Arthur- the focal point of the park.
The boat launch is found at the Porters Cove section of the lake, and is actually quite the calm section of water such that we saw guests swimming and enjoying the waters outside of the more conventional kayaking and boating that you find on the lake.
As much as we like a good swim, we took this time to take out one of the camp's kayaks and explore this section of the lake as it was one we had not been to before. We made it all the way around to the gorgeous New Castle Road bridge, but due to time constraints and exhaustion decided against making the journey all the way to the North Shore beach (that would require a full-day outing with snacks/a meal if we are to be honest).
No matter what you do at this campground, getting out onto Lake Arthur is one of the highlights and is easily achieved with its close proximity (especially since no tent camping is allowed on state park property)!
Overall, Bear Run Campground is the kind of place that has a little something for everyone. Whether you're looking to relax out in nature, explore the beauty of Moraine State Park, or simply enjoy camp life, you'll find it at this one.
Bear Run Campground is located at 184 Badgerhill Road in Portersville, PA. We were guests of the campground and Visit Butler County for this review. As always, all opinions all our own. To read more reviews of Bear Run, click here.
While at the campground, be sure to grab a Yeti from The Snowman just outside of the property!