The Top 15 Things to Do in Pennsylvania

View of Beautiful Autumn Landscape of Warren, Pennsylvania, USA
Anjelika Gretskaia / Getty Images

Pennsylvania (officially known as a “commonwealth” ) was a part of the country’s 13 original colonies and is home to Philadelphia, which served as the US capital city while Washington, D.C. was being built. Pennsylvania is a diverse state with large cities and charming small towns like Hershey, Lancaster, and Historic Gettysburg. The state also has mountain ranges, acres of beautiful scenery, and stunning vistas throughout. Here are some of the top things to do in the state of Pennsylvania:

01 of 15

Eat Chocolate in Hershey, PA

Sign for Hershey's Chocolate World

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The town of Hershey (home to Hersheypark) is the home of the famous chocolate company and is often called “Chocolate Town, USA.” You can enjoy attractions like the Hershey Story museum, where visitors will learn about Milton Hershey and his chocolate empire. There’s also the Hershey Gardens, the Hershey Spa, and the opportunity to go to a Hershey Bears hockey game. Of course, you can’t miss the fabulous and exciting Hersheypark, a legendary amusement park that features the latest and greatest rides for all ages, as well as live music, shows, and entertainment.

02 of 15

Visit the Amish Country

Lancaster county Amish horse and buggy

 

Grant Faint / Getty Images

A sprawling rural region that’s made up of several small towns in the southern part of the state, Lancaster is often called Pennsylvania Dutch country and is home to a robust Amish community. It’s a great destination to experience authentic homemade PA Dutch foods and learn about their time-honored customs. It also happens to be a fantastic and fun shopping destination, known for its many vintage and antique shops. You can spend a lot of time here, as there are museums, spas, wineries, breweries, and family-friendly activities waiting to be explored.

03 of 15

Admire Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon

the tree-covered Pine Creek Gorge
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Address
Pine Creek Gorge, Watson Township, PA 17740, USA

Travelers are thrilled to learn there is a majestic ancient canyon spanning over 45 miles in rural Pennsylvania. That canyon, sometimes called "the Grand Canyon of PA," is Pine Creek Gorge. This exquisite area’s stunning panoramic views and beautiful nature trails attract visitors from across the globe. The most picturesque sites are located around the Pine Creek Rail Trail’s southern side. Aside from the mesmerizing views, you can also go hiking, fishing, or mountain biking, and visit historical sites or museums. The nearby town of Williamsport has several hotel accommodations.

04 of 15

Visit Fallingwater

Falling Water House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

 Getty Images

Address
1491 Mill Run Rd, Mill Run, PA 15464, USA
Phone +1 724-329-8501

Fallingwater is an architectural wonder designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939. The astoundingly impressive modern home is located about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh (about 1.5 hours’ drive from the city). The “Falling Water” home is nestled in the dense woods of Fayette County‘s Bear Run Natural Reserve and perched above a waterfall. In fact, the waterfall actually flows through the home and it’s a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The home quickly became one of Wright’s most well-known projects and features spacious outdoor terraces. If you'd like to tour the house's interior you'll need to purchase tickets in advance.

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05 of 15

Go Apple Picking at an Orchard

crates of fresh apples at an orchard

Anne Hawken / Getty Images

Address
137 W Knowlton Rd, Media, PA 19063, USA
Phone +1 610-876-7116

In the autumn, Pennsylvania offers some of the best apple-picking sites in the country. One of the most impressive and fun orchard destinations is Linvilla Orchards, which is located near Philadelphia, in the lovely Delaware Valley. This family-friendly expansive orchard covers more than 300 acres. It’s most popular in the autumn and offers hayrides, games, and pumpkin patches for kids to enjoy. Visitors can tour, stroll around the massive grounds, attend events, and pick up some fresh produce at the market, which also sells gourmet foods, candy, gifts, and much more.

06 of 15

Sip Some Pennsylvania Wines

Vineyard on the shores of Lake Erie, Pennsylvania, USA on a sunny day.
benedek / Getty Images

Pennsylvania has over 300 wineries situated throughout the state, and the Susquehanna Heartland Trail is one of the most scenic ways to visit a few. The wine trail includes 16 wineries that welcome guests with tasting rooms overlooking gorgeous vineyards, as well as cellar tours. The award-winning wineries Spyglass Ridge and Shade Mountain are always favorite stops along the trail.

07 of 15

Check Out New Hope

New Hope PA to Lambertville NJ Bridge over Delaware River
A Janick / Getty Images
Address
New Hope, PA 18938, USA

The quaint and cool historic town of New Hope is located by banks of the Delaware River (not far from the famed "Washington's Crossing"). It’s a charming and sometimes quirky destination lined with boutiques, antique stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and more. A former industrial town, it’s a great place to spend the day, especially on weekends, when there are often farmers markets and special events in full swing.  If you’re planning to explore New Hope, be sure to check the website for a calendar of upcoming activities. Some weekends get very crowded so it’s best to plan in advance.

08 of 15

Gaze Upon Bushkill Falls

Bushkill Falls, PA

 Getty Images

Address
138 Bushkill Falls Trail, Bushkill, PA 18324, USA
Phone +1 570-588-6682

Bushkill Falls (aka the “Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania") is a jaw-droppingly beautiful retreat where you can admire eight picturesque waterfalls by hiking along a few easy-to-moderate trails. Bushkill Falls features marked nature trails that meander around the falls, and there's some facilities at the entrance as well. You’ll adore the lovely lookout points and scenic wooden bridges to cross while you stroll along the pathways. Be sure to check the recent rainfall in the region before heading to Bushkill falls, as that will determine the strength and size of the waterfalls.

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09 of 15

Take a Ride on the Railroad

Address
1 Susquehanna St, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229, USA
Phone +1 570-325-8485

If you’re ready for a scenic and fun train ride along a mountain range, hitch a ride on the Pocono’s Lehigh George Scenic Railway train. Operated by Reading and Northern Railroad, this train begins its travels from Downtown Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania into the Lehigh Gorge State Park. This 16-mile scenic, narrated round-trip excursion provides an abundance of information about the history of the area, including the natural surroundings. This train follows the Lehigh Valley and the gorge, so you’ll be amazed by the spellbinding views along the way.

10 of 15

Face Your Fears on This Ghost Town Trail

Address
Ghost Town Trail, Pennsylvania, USA

If you’re into secluded towns with intriguing histories, Pennsylvania is the place for you. You'll find several abandoned towns in Indiana and Cambria Counties connected by the Ghost Town Trail. This scenic drive is designated as a National United States Recreation Trail and attracts over 80,000 visitors each year. The trail passes through a number of former coal-mining towns, covered bridges, and state parks with pretty views as well as the towns like Blacklick, Dilltown, and Nanty Glo.

11 of 15

Go Stargazing in the Mountains

view of the milkway in Cherry springs park

Jack R Perry / Getty Images

Address
4639 Cherry Springs Rd, Coudersport, PA 16915, USA
Phone +1 814-435-1037

Stargazing enthusiasts know that Pennsylvania is home to one of the best destinations for stargazing in the world: Cherry Springs State Park. This remote state park is famous for its exceptionally dark skies in conjunction with its ideal location for viewing the stars, planets, and other celestial beings. Professional astronomers and casual stargazing enthusiasts flock here throughout the year to admire the night sky. During certain times, this park hosts several special stargazing events that coincide with appearances of stars, constellations, and planets that draw avid stargazers from across the world.

12 of 15

Admire Impressionist Art at the Barnes Foundation

people looking at painted landscapes and portraits in an art gallery

 Courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

Address
2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130, USA
Phone +1 215-278-7000

Located on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway the Barnes Foundation is a modern art museum that contains the vast and mind-blowing private collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes, a famous chemist and art enthusiast who owned an incredible number of rare works until he passed away in the 1950s. The art was kept at his private estate until it was relocated to this landmark 12,000 square foot building with massive galleries. Today, the museum is home to the largest collection of impressionists in the world, with approximately 200 works by Renoir, and about 4,000 pieces by Picasso, Monet, Cezanne, Degas, Matisse, among others.

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13 of 15

Explore the Mountain Town of Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe, PA

 Getty Images

Address
Jim Thorpe, PA, USA

The small town of Jim Thorpe is a tiny mountain destination with a lot of history. Located on the Lehigh River, this former coal-mining town was home to one of the first railroads in the United States and is named for the Native American Olympic athlete and football player. Today, this compact town is bustling with retail stores, a variety of restaurants, and fun outdoor activities, such as white-water rafting, hiking, and camping in summer (and lots of nearby skiing in winter). With plenty of lively festivals scheduled throughout the year, the town of Jim Thorpe is home to many ongoing events, so check out the website before visiting.

14 of 15

See the Liberty Bell

Philadelphia's Independence Hall in the early evening

Mike Makela / Getty Images

Address
526 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Phone +1 215-965-2305

Located in the Old City district of Philadelphia across from Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell is a top historical destination for tourists visiting the city. A symbol of American independence that’s steeped in history, the Liberty Bell is situated in the middle of Independence Park and can be accessed via a guided tour. There are also a number of related exhibits adjacent to the bell and it's within steps of Independence Hall and the Constitution Center.

Note: Tickets are required to visit the Liberty Bell, however, you can see it through the glass enclosure if you don’t have tickets or arrive after the facility is closed. As an added bonus, the bell is illuminated at night, making it a great time to see the landmark without the crowds.

15 of 15

Visit the Historic Town of Gettysburg

Cannons at Gettysburg, PA

 Getty Images / dszc

A trip to historic Gettysburg can be compared to truly taking a step back in time. It’s a must-see destination in Adam’s county that’s educational as well as entertaining for the entire family. This noteworthy battlefield known for the incredibly high number of casualties during the Civil War is the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s famous “Gettysburg Address.” This area has many impressive highlights. In addition to the world-renown battlefield, visitors come to pay respects at the cemetery and view multiple historical museums. You’ll find plenty of walking tour options and shops. There's also an abundance of active outdoor activities such as horseback riding, golf, mountain biking, hiking, and many other great options.

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The Top 15 Things to Do in Pennsylvania