Shaver’s Creek Summer Bucket List

It’s summer at Shaver’s Creek, and we’ve got a lot planned! What’s on your bucket list? Browse ten of our top summer suggestions below for some inspiration for making the most of your visit to Shaver’s Creek.

Feeling ambitious? Grab a summer bucket list bingo board and see how many boxes you can check off! Bingo boards can be printed at home (PDF), picked up in our visitor center, or found digitally in our Instagram highlights. Be sure to share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook so we can be part of the fun!

1. Hike the Lake Trail

We’ve got a lot of beautiful trails at Shaver’s Creek, the longest of which is the roughly 2.9 mile Lake Trail. This trail wraps entirely around dazzling Lake Perez, through varied terrain and even across the dam — the perfect trail for a dog walk, a trail run, or just a casual stroll.

A trail at Shaver's Creek winding through lush green forest
A trail at Shaver’s Creek

2. Have a picnic with friends

Shaver’s Creek has plenty of picturesque places for an afternoon picnic! Pack your lunch and bring your friends to the Outdoor Classroom, the Point Pavilion, or one of the various picnic tables hidden along the forested trails of Stone Valley. Bask in the bird songs and a nice breeze while you enjoy some good times and good food with your people! Swing by the visitor center afterwards to end your day with a look at some live birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.

3. Try your hand at nature journaling

A person wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap sits in the sun and sketches a flower in a notebook
Nature journaling

Have you tried nature journaling? This meditative practice doesn’t require any prior artistic or writing experience – it’s all about observation! Bring a notebook and a pen (and any other materials you like) out onto the trails, and use your creativity to explore whatever speaks to you! What do you notice? What details are new to you? What colors are standing out? There is no wrong way to nature journal – it is all about connecting with the outdoors through the process rather than about any final result.

If you find yourself enjoying this practice, consider looking into Shaver’s Creek’s community nature journaling program where you can connect with fellow nature journalers and explore this fun practice together!

4. Brush up on your nature photography

The Stone Valley forest is the perfect place to see all sorts of plant life, wildlife, and scenic landscapes. From micro to macro, we’ve got plenty of subjects to focus your lens on. Whether you are exploring a new hobby or you’re a seasoned pro, the trails and facilities at Shaver’s Creek offer great opportunities to practice real-life nature photography. Apologies in advance if your models wont sit still!

5. Borrow binoculars for some birding

A great blue heron walks through shallow water at the edge of a lake
Great Blue Heron

Birds animate the world. Have you ever really stopped to take note of them? Plenty of species make their homes in the varied habitat of Shaver’s Creek in all seasons of the year — come see what you can spot! If you’re in need of binoculars and a good field guide, stop by our Visitor Center to borrow some during your visit.

6. Attend a free program

Shaver’s Creek is a field classroom for students and community members alike. Come learn something new! Our weekly Meet the Creek programs are free and fun opportunities for all ages to learn about plants, wildlife, ecology, and more from our experienced and knowledgeable programming staff.

7. Rent a kayak or canoe at Stone Valley

Just a short walk along the Boardwalk Trail at Shaver’s Creek will bring you to our neighbor, Stone Valley Recreation Area. Stone Valley is part of Penn State’s Campus Rec and offers a variety of rentals from kayaks to canoes to stand-up paddleboards and more! Discounts are offered for Penn State students, but rentals are also available to the public at affordable rates. This is a great place to try a new activity on a sunny day!

A person in a small boat floats near the damn in Lake Perez
Boater on Lake Perez

8. Play some nature bingo

Stop by our Visitor Center to borrow one of our nature bingo boards during your visit or print one at home (PDF) to bring along. This fun outdoor spin on the classic game will have the kiddos excited to unplug and explore all along the trails.

9. Read a book on the shores of Lake Perez

What’s more relaxing than a sunny day by the water? Bring your favorite book to the lakeside and enjoy a good story in the nice breeze. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

10. Take in the view at the Jo Hays Vista

If you’re coming from downtown State College — or perhaps heading there after your visit — you’ll be passing by the Jo Hays Vista on PA 26 S, just outside of Pine Grove Mills. This is the perfect place to stop for a beautiful view overlooking downtown and the surrounding farmlands. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even take a trek along the ridge via the trails that connect to the overlook.

There is so much to do at Shaver’s Creek this summer! We hope this list gives you a good starting point for some of the many ways you can explore our site and connect with the outdoors in beautiful Stone Valley.

We’d love to hear from you — tag us or send us your photos on Instagram and Facebook so we can showcase all the ways our community enjoys Shaver’s Creek. Do you have more bucket list activities that we missed? Let us know in the comments below. Hope to see you soon!

Looking for even more must-do summer bucket list items? Our partners at Penn State Outreach have compiled a summer bucket list that spans various Outreach units across the state of Pennsylvania!