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The beautiful Mid-Atlantic state of Pennsylvania is full of great weekend getaway options, whether you’re looking for a romantic escape for you and your loved one, or a full-fledged family adventure. There’s history, culture, recreation and even a whole lot of chocolate. And because Pennsylvania is conveniently located, you can easily travel there in just a few hours from several major cities like Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City. So, toss a few of your favorite things in the car and hit the road to check out these awesome getaways in the Keystone State.
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Whether you’re actually bringing children along on your getaway or not, kids of any age (including the grown-up kind) will love the family attractions in the quaint town of Hershey. Famously known for being the birthplace of Hershey’s Chocolate, the town’s nickname is “the sweetest place on Earth.” Of course, the most obvious thing to do here is to visit the Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction, where you can take a free tour ride to see how chocolate is made, sample lots of delicious treats and even design your own candy bar. Just down the street is Hersheypark – a massive theme park with over 70 rides and attractions, including 14 roller coasters. Plus, there’s plenty of shopping, dining, professional-level golf and luxurious spas to enjoy, including the MeltSpa by Hershey, where you can indulge in a Hershey’s Cocoa Facial or a Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Body Wrap.
Civil War buffs will love visiting the town of Gettysburg where there’s a wealth of history to be discovered – from the famous battlefield, which you can tour by walking, by car or even on horseback, to the Gettysburg Museum of History and the Gettysburg History Center, where you can view a diorama of the entire 6,000 acre battlefield. Near the battlefield, there’s also the Eisenhower National Historic Site, where you can visit the home and farm of the former President, and if you’re feeling extra adventurous, the Gettysburg/Battlefield Paranormal Excursions where you can go ghost hunting with professional equipment and an experienced tour guide.
For the ultimate romantic getaway in Pennsylvania, plan a trip to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Although there are plenty of bed & breakfasts and historic inns in the area as well, the area is most well-known for their resorts that feature everything from skiing and sailing, to casinos and waterparks. If you’re looking for a romantic, adults-only getaway, choose an all-inclusive, adults-only resort like the Pocono Palace Resort, where you’ll enjoy unlimited breakfasts and dinners, in-room swimming pools and even heart-shaped whirlpool tubs.
Philadelphia, known as the “city of brotherly love,” is the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania. Which means, there’s plenty to do and see. Although there’s way too much to cover in just one weekend, there are some “must see” things to check out like the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where you can also pretend you’re Rocky and run up the steps out front), the famous LOVE sculpture and Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written. Plus, the city is home to Reading Terminal Market – the country’s oldest farmers market that has a huge selection of meats, cheeses, produce and over 30 different restaurants serving a variety of cuisine.
Although Pittsburgh is a large city overall, the 90 different neighborhoods that make it up each have their own unique vibe, from the artsy Lawrenceville to the neighborhood of Bloomfield – known as “Philadelphia’s Little Italy,” where you can enjoy some authentic Italian fare like cannolis and gelato. There are tons of attractions to check out like the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, as well as an endless amount of restaurants and shops to explore. And for kids, there’s the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, where they can learn about nature, art, woodworking and more.
For a more relaxed, slower paced getaway, try visiting the beautiful countryside of Lancaster County, which is the home of the Pennsylvania Dutch, the oldest Amish settlement in the country. You can visit a working Amish farm, take a buggy ride through the hills and covered bridges, purchase handmade Amish crafts and enjoy made-from-scratch Pennsylvania Dutch cooking at one of many restaurants in the area. Plus, there are plenty of modern-day attractions too like craft breweries and wineries, theatres and even an amusement park that has more than 35 rides, live shows and a waterpark. And, since Lancaster was home to the country’s first commercial pretzel bakery, there are more than a half dozen pretzel bakeries in the area that offer tours and samples!