Pennsylvania State Parks That Allow Gas Motor Boats

by Kip Holley
Not all Pennsylvania waterways are suitable for gasoline engines.

Not all Pennsylvania waterways are suitable for gasoline engines.

A limited number of Pennsylvania state parks allow gas-powered motor boats, but at least one is in every region in the state. Parks tend to prohibit the use of gasoline motors for health, safety and environmental reasons. Also, many Pennsylvania state parks have horsepower restrictions on motors as well. Your boat must meet all park requirements before setting off for a day at the lake.

Pennsylvania Great Lakes

All four state parks in this region permit gas motor boat usage to varying degrees. Presque Isle State Park allows gas motors of unlimited horsepower except in the interior lagoons located between Marina Bay and Misery Bay. Grave Yard Pond is excluded from the prohibition, but visitors must rent boats at the concession stand. Presque Isle State Park 301 Peninsula Drive, Suite 1 Erie, PA 16505 814-833-7424

Pennsylvania Wilds

Parks in this region tend to be more concerned with wildlife preservation, so gas motor boats are prohibited on most waterways. However, East Branch Lake in Elk State Park provides plenty of room for unlimited horsepower boating and includes one boat launch. Elk State Park Johnsonburg, PA 15845 814-965-2646

Northeast Pennsylvania Mountains

The Poconos Mountains dominate this region. Many parks feature scenic views and waterways too small for motorized watercraft. Beltzville State Park is the only park in northeast Pennsylvania that allows unlimited horsepower gasoline engines. Beltzville State Park 2950 Pohopoco Drive Lehighton, PA 18235 610-377-0045

Pittsburgh and Countryside

Parks in this region feature small lakes that are unsuitable for larger engines. Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park permits both electric and gas engines up to 20 horsepower. It features 10 boat launches and motor boat rentals. Moraine State Park 225 Pleasant Valley Rd. Portersville, PA 16051 724-368-8811

Alleghenies and Valleys Region

The region is dominated by the Susquehenna River. This limits the areas where gas motor boating is permitted. Shikellamy State Park boasts the largest lake in the region at 3,060 acres. It is as deep as 15 feet in some places and popular for water skiing. Gas boats of any size are permitted. Shikellamy State Park Bridge Ave. Sunbury, PA 17801 570-988-5557

Dutch Country Roads Region

Many of the lakes in this region are small. None allow unlimited engine sizes for motorboats. Codorus State Park allows gas boats engines up to 20 horsepower. The campground boat launch is for registered state park campers only. Codorus State Park 2600 Smith Station Rd. Hanover, PA 17331 717-637-2816

Philadelphia and Countryside

The two parks that do allow gas engines do so with special circumstances. Nockamixon allows boats up to 20 horsepower. Neshaminy State Park allows unlimited horsepower boats powered by gasoline. However, the boat launches along the Delaware River are private and demand is usually high. Contact the park before visiting to check if a launch is available. Neshaminy State Park 3401 State Rd. Bensalem, PA 19020 215-639-4538

About the Author

Kip Holley began writing professionally in 2010. He specializes in the areas of city planning and zoning ordinances, as well as geographic information systems. Holley holds an Associate of Science in in geographic information systems from Columbus State Community College.

Photo Credits

  • outboard motor boat image by Wimbledon from