I'm trying to find an overnight backpack trip in or near SE im planning on taking my 8 year old and 16 year old to get them used to overnight back pack / camping. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Are you taking a tent? If not do the AT and stay in the shelters, but make sure the shelter you stay in allows fires. Some do not, which is kind of dumb. Better get there early since the shelters fill up fast espically on weekends and when the thru hikers get to this area.
We're looking, too. The middle one asked to go back country camping for her 8th birthday, so also appreciating any ideas. Near Cabela's would be good - haven't made it there yet, for some reason. It's never on the way. We'll be hiking in with a tent.
All the state forests allow camping from primative to regular car camping http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/recreation/camping/index.htm ,however if you want amenities you have to go to state parks.
For the "wilderness" in the SE I would choose the AT keeping in mind that chances are good that other people will be in the area esp. in the Hawk Mt/Pinnicle/Cabela's area. I have walked through camps on trails(as in right on) twice in the pre dawn during spring turkey season
For the OP, if you want to do regular state park camping (either primitive or cabin), I recommend looking at Delaware state parks which are pretty nice and well-run. I've stayed at Killens Pond and Lums Pond in DE. In SEPA for state parks, there is Gifford Pinchot, or if you want to drive a bit Hickory Run. I have been told that French Creek can get a little sketchy in terms of camping (sounded like a drunk teenager problem). Or you could look at small private campgrounds. We've stayed up near the Delaware Water Gap and near Dutch Wonderland and Hershey Park. Some of it depends on whether you just need to give them a "taste" or want to be in a more remote-feeling area.
I've backpacked extensively in the Adirondacks. I'm from up there originally. Worth going to if you have the time.
I'm still looking forward to a first backpacking trip in Pennsylvania, even at my advanced age.
Bought a book last year called Backpacking Pennsylvania. I've got a trip sketched out for the Loyalsock Trail. That's in NE PA. The book was helpful. Not sure when I'll be able to make that trip though.
I highly recommend the loyalsock trail. I have hiked it starting out in Worlds End State Park. It is absolutley beautiful, with streams, waterfalls and abundant wildlife to view. I recommend taking a three day weekend and doing the 50ish mile loop. Take your time and enjoy.