Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, is the largest lake that’s entirely within Pennsylvania. Completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1973, the lake covers nearly 13-square miles and 110 miles of shoreline.
Much of this shoreline is undeveloped, giving Raystown Lake a great sense of isolation. Since it’s hard to access much of the lake without a boat, that makes lake cruises like the Proud Mary Showboat all the more interesting.
The Proud Mary Showboat departs from the marina of Lake Raystown Resort, the only option directly on the lake for cabin and hotel room rentals.
Having explored Raystown Lake from land, I was excited to have a chance to hop aboard the Proud Mary Showboat to see the lake from the water. I decided to take a 90-minute sightseeing cruise that is offered any day the boat is operating. I’d previously taken several river tours in Pennsylvania, such as aboard the Hiawatha in Williamsport and the Gateway Clipper in Pittsburgh, but hadn’t ever taken a lake cruise in PA.
On the lake cruise, the boat sails south past the Lake Raystown Resort. The trip travels five miles over the course of 45 minutes, turning around at lake mile marker 26.
On the trip south, the boat plays a very informative narration that offers information on the lake, the history of the area, and even the story of Raystown Ray, the mythical monster that some say patrols these waters. Unlike some tour boats I’ve taken in Pennsylvania, the speakers on the boat made it possible to hear the narration from anywhere aboard.
After 45 minutes, the Proud Mary Showboat turns around and heads for home. On the return voyage, you can sit back and relax while taking in the beautiful and secluded scenery along the lake and listening to the pleasant music that is played over the speakers.
The Proud Mary offers an enclosed lower deck and an exposed top deck, both of which have tables and chairs to relax on. This ensures that no matter the weather, you’ll have somewhere great to enjoy the lake from.
The lower deck also features a small snack bar that sells a variety of snacks during the cruise. Another option for visitors of the Proud Mary is the dinner cruises they offer on select evenings throughout the season.
The scenery along the route of the Proud Mary is beautiful and impressive. The site of the mountains rising around you and the birds and other wildlife on the lakeshore offer an enchanting look into the natural beauty of the area as it twists and turns through the valleys.
If you’re looking for a relaxing way to see Raystown Lake from the water, there are few better options than a cruise on the Proud Mary Showboat at Lake Raystown Resort. While they are great during the summer months, I’d imagine the sightseeing cruises are even more beautiful during the autumn, and I can’t wait until I can return to take a Lake Raystown cruise in late September or October.
Note: My ride on the Proud Mary Showboat was hosted by the resort. However, the opinions expressed are my own.
Proud Mary Showboat on Raystown Lake
Hours: Cruise days and times very.
Cost: Sightseeing Cruise: $12.95
Address: 3101 Chipmunk Crossing