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Memorial Day is a wonderful reason to celebrate the brave men and women who have served our country and also to take a trip to enjoy America’s natural and unique beauty. Fortunately, if you are planning to be in Pennsylvania over the holiday weekend, there are lots of things to do, ways to participate in local events, and peaceful natural scenes to indulge in. These are our favorite Memorial Day weekend getaways in the state of Pennsylvania.
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One of the most patriotic cities in the country and one of the richest in original American history is Philadelphia, also known as the “City of Brotherly Love”. Some of the top things to do here are the Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Zoo, and the Franklin Institute. It’s also fun to grab a milkshake at the iconic Franklin Fountain and enjoy a Philly cheesesteak sandwich for lunch.
To get both your outdoor fix and your culture fix, Erie is a great family-friendly Pennsylvania city to visit for Memorial Day weekend. Here you can find beaches and the Presque Island State Park for water sports. If you’re spending your weekend with kids, head to Waldameer Park for roller coasters and water slides. The Memorial Day Classic takes place at the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Campus and is a premier soccer tournament that draws in over 200 teams.
To slow down your pace of travel and experience a totally different side of modern life, head to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to explore the Amish communities and the small, homegrown business the Amish have created and sustained. You can take a buggy ride in an authentic Amish buggy, browse furniture and quilt stores, and learn about this fascinating way of life. In the actual town of Lancaster, there’s a great dog park where you can let your pup off-leash to play, the Lancaster Central Market is a fun place to browse and shop, and there are some great theaters here too. Check to see what’s playing at the Fulton Theatre and the American Music Theatre, or visit specialty museums here, such as the Landis Valley Museum and the Biblical Tabernacle Reproduction. Dutch Wonderland is also a fun theme park if you’re traveling with kids for the holiday weekend.
Best known for Hershey’s chocolate bars, the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania is a fun place to visit for families this Memorial Day weekend. Hershey Park is popular during this weekend for roller coasters and water rides to cool off on warm days. You can learn more about the chocolate empire at The Hershey Story, have a picnic at Hershey Gardens, and even head over to the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum for something entirely different.
If you’re looking to go camping over Memorial Day weekend, consider booking a spot at the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Mill Run. This is when the pool and water slides open up for the season, and you can also join craft-making activities for adults and kids, evening entertainment, paintball specials, fire truck rides, breakfasts, and picnic lunch. The big attraction in this area is Fallingwater, which is a home that Frank Lloyd Wright built and that you can tour. The Bear Run Nature Preserve is a nice place nearby to get outdoors.
Capital cities are often fun places to spend Memorial Day, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is no exception. This top Pennsylvania city is home to a Civil War Museum that you can explore and also some nice walking paths and picnic areas to make the most of a beautiful day in May. In addition to the Pennsylvania State Capitol, it’s also nice to visit the Fort Hunter Mansion, Wildwood Park, and City Island.
You can also take a trip out to the Laurel Highlands in Western Pennsylvania and to the town of Farmington to celebrate your Memorial Day weekend. One fun place to stay is Benner’s Meadow Run Camping & Cabins, which opens up the pool and offers bingo, games for teens, face painting, karaoke, and mini golf specials. For a posher stay, book a room at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, which has a spa, old-fashioned family games, and nightly activities for families. Other top things to see in Farmington are the Laurel Caverns and Fort Necessity National Battlefield.
Pittsburgh is one of the most underrated cities of Pennsylvania and also a wonderful place to visit for food and craft beer lovers. Some of the top restaurants in town include Morcilla, Umami, and Butcher & the Rye. There are also some great vintage shops and the Warhol Museum to explore. There’s an annual Memorial Day celebration at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in town that’s worth checking out to get into the true spirit of the holiday. It’s also fun to take the kids to the opening weekend of the Sandcastle Water Park in Pittsburgh, which has been a local fixture since 1989 and is full of exciting rides and water slides.
Interestingly, Boalsburg, Pennsylvania claims to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, which makes this a top spot to enjoy the holiday weekend. Ever since 1974, there has been an evening service and a daytime festival held to celebrate Memorial Day in Boalsburg. The one-day festival features music, craft vendors, food, and Civil War battle reenactments. Other local stops to make over the weekend are the Nittany Theatre at the Barn and the Boalsburg Heritage Museum.
One must-visit place in Clarion for your Memorial Day weekend is the Cook Forest Area Scenic Trail Ride & Dude Ranch. This is where you can take a guided horseback riding trip, camp overnight, and even enjoy a delicious meal. Come here to relax for your weekend in a wooded setting, down-home cooking, and a horse lover’s paradise. You can also shop at the Clarion Mall and visit the nearby Deer Creek Winery in Shippenville when you’re in this area.