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Pennsylvania is home to some of the most idyllic countryside landscapes in America, and it’s also home to many unique cities that have played an important role in U.S. history. It’s been called the Keystone State, the Oil State, and the Quaker State, but there’s a lot more to this eastern destination than meets the eye.
Perfect for a family vacation or a romantic weekend getaway, Pennsylvania is a haven for history buffs, foodies, craft beer fans, and adventure seekers. Where else can you step back in time and see the progress of the future in a single day?
These are some of the top destinations to visit in Pennsylvania when you start planning your trip.
Dramatic Nature at Bushkill
The best reason to visit Bushkill is to marvel at the scenic Bushkill Falls, which has been called the Niagara of Pennsylvania. This area actually encompasses eight waterfalls in the Pocono Mountains. Take some time to hike the trails and photograph the scenic bridges. This is a family-friendly destination that’s perfect for taking a paddleboat out on the water, going fishing, or playing a few games of miniature golf.
History in Philadelphia
There’s simply no way that you can pass through Pennsylvania without visiting the legendary city of Philadelphia. Located in the southeastern part of the state along the Delaware River, this city is packed with things to do, from historical sites and libraries to universities, museums, and theaters. Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are the most famous landmarks here, but there are also some diverse neighborhoods that you can explore on a tour or on your own.
Art & Brews in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has a reputation for being a hardworking industrial city; however, it has been transforming itself into an ideal place to travel with modern attractions and charming bed and breakfast accommodations. It’s been climbing the list of the most livable cities in the U.S. and famous for the Carnegie Museums, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Lots of breweries have popped up around town, so sample some local brews for happy hour. While in the area, travel seven miles to Mount Lebanon for more shopping and dining opportunities.
Civil War Battlefields of Gettysburg
Many of us learned about the Battle of Gettysburg in history class, but there’s nothing quite like visiting this area first-hand on a trip to Pennsylvania. This historic town is where President Abraham Lincoln read the Gettysburg Address and the epic battle was fought. Stop by to see historical battlefield reenactments and check out the National Military Park.
Amish Farms in Lancaster
Pennsylvania is one of the few places in America where the Amish communities still thrive today. There is an extensive Dutch community in Lancaster County, which is known for its idyllic farms and rolling countryside. Some of the inhabitants allow you to take a tour of their homes and farms, and the Amish Farm and House is a great place to learn about this unique and enduring culture.
Lake Culture in Erie
In the summer, head to Erie, Pennsylvania for plenty of fun in the sun and water sports. This town is located right along the shore of Lake Erie and is a popular destination for relaxation and spending time with family. Don’t miss Presque Isle State Park’s hiking trails to get active and enjoy the scenery while staying here. Plan to visit the shoreline around sunset to take in Pennsylvania’s lovely coastal view.
Christmas Festival in Bethlehem
It should come as no surprise that a town called Bethlehem is a top destination for people who love celebrating Christmas. Christkindlmarkt, the annual holiday market, hosts live music and choirs, shops, and more. But even if you’re not visiting in December, this town is worth a visit to see the German-inspired architecture and catch a classical music performance.
Amusement Park in Hershey
Hershey’s chocolate bars bring back fond memories of childhood for many of us, and you can relive those memories at Pennsylvania’s chocolate-themed amusement park. Hershey Park, located in the town of Hershey, draws in millions of people each year to ride the rollercoasters, walk through the gardens, and sample plenty of delicious chocolate.
Amish & Railroad History in Strasburg
Another unique place to visit in Pennsylvania is Strasburg, which is an Amish village with lots of cute shops to browse. One top attraction here is the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, which is fascinating for visitors of all ages and provides a fun way to learn about how the railroad made the state what it is today. There are some nice bed and breakfasts to stay in here after checking out a theatrical production and taking a ride in an authentic Amish buggy.
Resorts & Scenery in the Pocono Mountains
The Pocono Mountains are a haven for Pennsylvanians seeking beauty and relaxation. One town to visit in this multi-county region is called Jim Thorpe, which is popular with adventure seekers looking to hike, bike, and raft. Other areas to check out in this area are Milford and Honesdale. This is a great place to visit for golfers, and there are some amazing resorts, inns, and spas here to rejuvenate your mind and body.
Wineries in the Susquehanna River Valley
Like many states across the U.S., Pennsylvania has its own wine region, and here it is the Susquehanna River Valley. This area provides a peaceful backdrop and a secluded hideaway that is home to some amazing vineyards. Fero Vineyards in Lewisburg, Four Friends Vineyard & Winery in Montgomery, The Winery at Hunters Valley in Liverpool, and Spyglass Ridge Winery in Sunbury are just a few good options to check out. Some of the best places to stay in this area are B&Bs, inns, and cottages in the rolling countryside. Depending on when you visit, you may be able to attend the Mifflinburg MayFest Wine Festival, the Anthracite Heritage Festival of the Arts, the McClure Bean Soup Festival & Fair for some local fun.
Capital City of Harrisburg
Harrisburg is the capital city of Pennsylvania and also a beautiful place full of fun things to see and do. The city has a quaint vibe and a historic feel along the Susquehanna River. Top attractions here include the State Museum of Pennsylvania and the National Civil War Museum. When you visit, don’t miss the Broad Street Market, which is a classic farmer’s market that has been part of the local culture for a long time.
Galleries and Food in New Hope
One Delaware River town called New Hope is a favorite destination in the state for foodies and shopaholics. Take a walk down the streets of New Hope to check out local art galleries, antique shops, and unique boutiques. Foodies will love visiting this town because culinary tours are available to sample the local favorites and specialties. The historic importance of the railroad is also evident, especially when you visit the New Hope Railroad and take a passenger trip to see the area.