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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

13 Best Things To Do In Pennsylvania – Hand Luggage Only


Tucked away in the northeast of the United States, Pennsylvania is an incredible (and pretty easy) state to visit. With good transport links between New York City and other major cities on the East Coast, it’s the kind of state that’s well worth exploring whilst on a trip around the US. Not only that, there are so many of the best things to do in Pennsylvania dotted all across the state. 

Now, you can easily spend weeks exploring wider Pennsylvania, but most of us don’t have that luxury. However, don’t think you can’t see some of the top places in Pennsylvania, even on a shorter trip.

So, to help you get the most out of your visit to Pennsylvania, take a look at some iconic spots you don’t want to miss. Have the best time in the United States. 

1.) Laurel Highlands

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Stewarton Falls Laurel Highlands

Nestled in the southwest region of Pennsylvania, the Laurel Highlands is a beautiful region to visit. Easily reached in a few hours by car from Pittsburgh, visiting is one of the best things to do in Pennsylvania if you’re on a wider road trip of the East Coast. 

Now, the region is pretty big, which means there are quite a few different spots to explore. For instance, we absolutely loved visiting Stewarton Falls. It’s right on the fringes of Ohiopyle State Park and really easy to visit. Now, a visit here will take around 15 minutes, unless you’re following one of the trails around the park on a hike. 

Afterwards, head on over to Fallingwater, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Yes, the tours can be a little pricey but it’s honestly well worth it, especially if you’re interested in his architecture and the building itself. 

Alternatively, you can head over to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kentuck Knob, that’s another historic home that was built not too far away. Visits take around 60 minutes and are totally easy if you’re already driving around Pennsylvania.  

Finally, make sure to visit the Laurel Caverns which are so impressive to see. They are Pennsylvannia’s largest cave system and well worth visiting to go inside. 

Read more: Best things to do in Pittsburgh

2.) Raymondskill Falls

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Raymondskill Falls

Right on the state border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Raymondskill Falls is easy to visit if you’re passing through the town of Milford. 

Once here, be sure to head out hiking on some of the trails that crisscross this beautiful area of Pennsylvania. We loved the Pittman Orchard McDade Trail and the cliff or waterfall trails that all start just off Raymondskill Road. Here is the trailhead on Google Maps.

Afterwards, you can head further south to Dingmans Falls. It can be easily reached from this car parking point and is so worth seeing if you’re already in this area of Pennsylvania.  

3.) Philadelphia

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Liberty Bell Philadelphia

Philadelphia is one of Pennsylvania’s best cities to visit. It’s a city that’s steeped in history and well worth visiting for a few days trip. 

Once here, make sure to visit Independence National Historic Park. In fact, it’s one of the most historic sites in the United States, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. It is also the very place where the Constitution was drafted.

After arriving, you can take a tour of the historic Independence Hall and Congress Hall. Not only that, you’ll be able to see Franklin Court, Old City Hall, and other sites where the modern-day United States was born.

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Philadelphia Museum of Art

Later on, make sure to head over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It has a vast collection of artefacts and art that is so incredible to see.

There are a whopping 200,000 items in their collections, which are seasonally displayed throughout the rooms. 

Read more: Best things to do in Philadelphia

4.) Valley Forge National Historical Park

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania George Washington's Headquarter Valley Forge

 in Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania

Just on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Valley Forge National Historical Park is really easy to visit when staying in the city. Once here, you’ll be able to head to see George Washington’s winter headquarters and see the National Memorial Arch.

Not only that, you can easily follow the Mount Misery Trail which takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. It’s around 3 miles in length and totally lovely to visit if you’re looking for a ramble whilst in the park. 

Also, nearby, you can visit the Wharton Esherick Museum. It’s a cosy little museum that’s been created by the artist Wharton Esherick. t’s totally kitsch and well worth it for a 30-minute visit. 

Read more: Best things to do in Philadelphia

5.) Hershey Park

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Herhseypark Visit Book Tickets

Not too far from Harrisburg, Hershey Park is easily one of the best things to do in Pennsylvania if you’re a chocolate-lover like me! Famed for its yummy candy and chocolates, a visit to Hershey Park is a whole-day adventure that is so much fun, 

Once inside, you’ll be able to visit so many of the different areas and ride some of the best rides in Pennsylvania. We totally love Skyrush. It’s a huge rollercoaster that will have you screaming in no time. After all, it’s over 200 ft in height. 

Also, the Great Bear rollercoaster is totally fun, too. Just be sure to plan your trip in advance so you can head on as many rides as possible. 

6.) Gettysburg

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania General Hancock Gettysburg visit

You can’t visit the historic sights in Pennsylvania without stopping in Gettysburg. You see, it’s one of the best things to do in Pennsylvania that will teach you all about the 1863 Civil War.

You can easily spend all morning at Gettysburg National Military Park and visit places like; Culp’s Hill, Spangler’s Spring and the State of Pennsylvania Monument nearby. 

Even from an international perspective, we loved the museum and wider park. It does such a great job of explaining, in detail, the facts of the Civil War. It’s so worth doing it. 

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Sachs bridge Gettysburg

Oh, and don’t forget to spot the Sachs-covered bridge in Gettysburg, too. It spans over 100 feet and you can even stroll across it. 

7.) Pittsburgh

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Phipps Conservatory Botanical Gardens Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is another incredible city to visit in Pennsylvania. Not only that, you can easily visit Pittsburgh as you head west to Ohio. 

Once here, make sure to visit Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. You can easily spend a whole afternoon here and you can explore the wider Schenley Park, too. 

Afterwards, head into the centre of Pittsburgh and explore Fort Pitt Museum. It’s a great way to explore more of this 1700s British fort that still stands. Visits will take around 1 hour and it’s so easy to see whilst you’re in the downtown area. 

Oh, and don’t forget to visit the Andy Warhol Museum. Here, you can see so many of Warhol’s installations and visit the different rooms where you can learn more about his life. It’s actually incredible and one of the best places in the world for Andy Warhol lovers. 

8.) Pine Creek Gorge

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Pine Creek Gorge

Tucked away in the heartland of Pennsylvania, Pine Creek Gorge is one epic place to visit whilst driving through the state. Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Pine Creek Gorge is located in Tioga State Forest.

If you’re fancying a longer hike, head out on the Pine Creek Rail Trail that follows the historic train route. It’s a great way to explore the wider area around Pine Creek Gorge and is so beautiful. 

Hankering for a bite to eat? Head to Wheary’s Pine Creek Inn for their pickle fries. They are so good. 

9.) Elysburg

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Elysburg Knoebels Free

Around 2.5 hours from Philadelphia, visiting Elysburg is one of the best things to do in Pennsylvania whilst heading west across the state. 

Now, one really fun spot to visit is Knoebels Amusement Resort. It’s so much fun. It has over 60 rides and heaps of shows in the summer months. We totally loved Impulse; it’s a huge rollercoaster which is so epic. You will scream so much! 

Read more: Best things to do around Lake Eerie

10.) York

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania York City

Perched in the southern region of Pennsylvania, York is a historic city that you really should visit. Although it’s not as big as the likes of Philadelphia, York is a totally epic city to visit for a few days. 

Once here, make sure to visit Central Market House for all the local produce. You’ll find heaps of regional farmers selling their seasonal products that are so tasty. Just be sure to arrive hungry, I guarantee you’ll be stuffed by the time you leave. 

Afterwards, head over to the Agricultural Museum which shares the journey of this area and its development over the last few centuries. Now, it’s a great museum to visit; that being said, it can be a little specific if that makes sense. If you’re not interested in the agricultural heritage of Pennsylvania, you might want to give it a miss. 

Read more: Best things to do around Lake Eerie

11.) Lancaster

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Central Market Lancaster

Not overly far from the city of York, Lancaster is well worth visiting whilst driving the southern regions of Pennsylvania. 

Once here, make sure to visit Central Market in downtown Lancaster. It’s a thrive of activity and a great little spot to try the local produce, grab a coffee and even a few souveniers.

Afterwards, make sure to visit the cosy Demuth Museum. It’s within the former home of Charles Demuth where you’ll learn more about his art and the modernist twist in his work. 

Oh, and be sure to visit Bird in Hand Bakeshop that’s just outside Lancaster itself. It’s something of an institution in Pennsylvania and their whoopie pies are so tasty. We absolutely loved it. 

Read more: Best things to do around Lake Eerie

12.) Presque Isle State Park

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Presque Isle State Park

If you love spending time in the great outdoors, then make sure to visit Presque Isle State Park. It’s one of the best things to do in Pennsylvania if you’re driving around Lake Eerie

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Presque Isle State Park

After arriving, make sure to see Presque Isle Lighthouse which dates all the way back to the 1800s. Also, don’t forget to spend some time strolling Presque Isle Beach and visit the Bicentennial Tower on the mainland itself.

You’ll get some stunning views from here. 

Read more: Best things to do around Lake Eerie

13.) Harrisburg

Best Places To Visit In Pennsylvania Harrisburg

Right on the shores of the Susquehanna River. Harrisburg is a great stop to make as part of a wider Pensylvannia road trip. Now, you can easily see quite a few of the main sights in Harrisburg in one day (as long as you plan accordingly). 

Once you arrive, make sure to visit The National Civil War Museum. It’s a great place to learn all about the American Civil War and the lasting impact it’s had on modern-day America. 

Plus, you can easily visit West Shore Farmers Market for some local treats or visit the Lancaster Brewing Company. Their brews are so good and well worth having a tasting tray while you’re here. 

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