Pennsylvania is an amazing place to visit. There are so many things to see and do no matter what time of year it is. From the mountains in the winter to the many state parks to explore in the spring, summer and fall. Pennsylvania truly has something for everyone.
Pennsylvania was one of the 13 original colonies and the 2nd to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Needless to say PA is packed full of history. From being the home of the first US Capital (Philadelphia) to being home of the bloodiest battle on US soil (Gettysburg). There is history in all 4 corners of the commonwealth. But why should you visit?
Why should you spend a weekend, week or even a month exploring PA on your next getaway. We put together 5 reasons to visit Pennsylvania on your next vacation.
The food throughout PA is amazing. From the Cheesesteaks in Philly to the Pierogies in Pittsburgh and everything else you love scattered in between. You could spend at least a week just exploring all the unique food that comes out of PA.
Did you know that everyone’s favorite Easter treat the Peep is made in PA?
It’s true. Peeps are made Bethlehem by the Just Born company who also make Mike and Ikes, Hot Tamales and my favorite candy the Peanut Chews.
Just a short drive from Bethlehem you will come across Philadelphia which I would consider a food mecca. Cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, tastykakes, hoagies, Italian water ice and so much more. You can’t find a better city to get a delicious slice of pizza in.
Sure NYC has good pizza too. But if you ask me they are both about the same and Philly gets the nod just when you consider the price. Anywhere you go in the city, suburbs, or countryside in PA you will find not one but many amazing pizza shops.
Now when you are talking about sandwiches you can’t find a better state or commonwealth to get your hoagies or steak sandwiches at. Places all around the country and world try to make a Philly Cheesesteak and they all fail. While some places make a good attempt unless they are from the area and have the correct roll (yes the roll makes a difference too), it won’t be correct.
You don’t need to go to Pat’s or Geno’s to get a delicious cheesesteak either. Most pizza shops around Philadelphia make great cheesesteaks too. I could list all the ones that I’ve enjoyed over the years but that list would be pretty long.
When visiting Philadelphia to try all the different famous cheesesteaks, save room for some scrapple and Melassichriwwelkuche AKA Shoofly Pie. Both are one of those you either love it or hate it. It’s an experience nonetheless.
Many people also say that PA is the snack capital of the world. It’s hard to see why you won’t either. Pennsylvania leads all other states in the making of potato chips and pretzels. Utz, Herrs, Handover and just some of the companies that are based in PA. Most of them also offer tours through the factories so you can sample their products and see how they are made. Most of the tours are free or very cheap.
One of the best tours you can do is at the Hershey Chocolate World in Hershey, PA. Hershey Chocolate is another wonderful snack food made in the Keystone state. Who doesn’t love a Hershey kiss? Once you get off the little ride (tour) you can get a fun size Hershey bar and check out what has got to be the world’s largest candy store. Any Hershey product you are looking for is here. You might even find something you completely forgot about from your childhood. I know I have.
With all this food you need to find a way to wash it all down, right? Why not stop off at the United States oldest brewery in Pottsville. Of course, we are talking about the one and only Yuengling. This is another great place to visit and see first hand the beer making process.
With so much delicious food in the commonwealth you are going to need to find a way to burn it off.
There are 121 state parks in Pennsylvania. That’s not counting all the county and local parks too. PA is just full of amazing outdoor spaces to spend your days in and you can do just about anything in PA.
From fishing, camping and hunting. To rock climbing, hiking, skiing and so much more. Just about any outdoor activity can be done throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
Now for a truly unique experience on the East Coast you NEED to visit Cherry Springs State Park. It is one of only a handful of truly dark skies around the East Coast. So grab a blanket and your loved ones and spend the night star gazing.
If you are looking to do some memorable hikes. The states miles upon miles of trails has you covered. Everything from easy hikes to more challenging ones. The Appalachian trail runs through Pennsylvania and covers some great hiking for those that are up to it. For a list of the best trails click here.
You could write a whole book on all the amazing outdoor spaces PA has to offer. But we are not going to do that just yet. But here’s a list of some of the must see outdoor spaces in PA.
|Rickets Glen||Tyler State Park||Hawk Mountain||Appalachian Trail|
|Hickory Run State Park||Delaware Water Gap||Ohiopyole State Park||Allegheny National Forest|
|Laurel Hill State Park||Rothrock State Forest||World’s End State Park||Colonel Denning State Park|
That’s just 12 of the popular locations throughout the state to spend some time outdoors. While I’ll admit that Pennsylvania doesn’t have some of the Epic scenery you can find out west. It does have some amazing trails and epic photo locations if you have the guts and will to get there.
Like we said before, Pennsylvania is one of the 13 original colonies. With that being said, the state is full of history. If you think about it, the history of the US runs through PA. From the Declaration of Independence up to the space race and beyond.
Pennsylvania’s cities and towns have played a major role in US history. You can learn all about the founding of the country in Philadelphia and it’s suburbs. Or learn about the tragedy of 9/11by visiting Shanksville. From the country’s earliest history to more recent events, can all be found in this beautiful state.
Step out onto the battlefield of the bloodiest battle in American History at Gettysburg. Take in the beautiful scenery all around you and just picture what this area would have looked like back in 1863 when the battle was raging. Walk around and explore Devil’s Den or Little Round Top. Can you smell the gunpowder and hear the cannons?
Did you spot something out of the corner of your eye? You never know. After all, Gettysburg is one of the most haunted places in America. People have claimed to see ghosts, hear musket fire and even screams and cries from the battlefields.
Gettysburg is one of those places all Americans should visit at least once in their lifetimes. Just so we won’t forget why we fought so hard to keep this country together.
Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs are another great place to soak up some history. From Valley Forge National Historical Park, Washington’s Crossing, Independence Hall and so much more. You could easily spend a few days exploring the Philadelphia region and all the history it has to offer.
You might not think of Pennsylvania as having anything special or unique but you would be wrong. Places like Pine Creek Gorge (Grand Canyon of PA), Bushkill Falls (Niagara of Pennsylvania), an abandoned section of America’s first Superhighway and many other amazing and unique places.
Looking for a place no one will believe you that it exists? Then you need to make a visit to Ringing Rocks County Park in Bucks County, PA. There are very few places in the world where you can strike a rock with a hammer and it rings like a bell.
Speaking of bells, have you ever heard of the Kecksburg UFO incident? It’s Pennsylvania’s very own Roswell when a Bell Shaped object crashed in the woods outside of Kecksburg, PA in 1965.
Who has ever heard of the burning coal mines in PA? Well if you haven’t here is a little back story. Back in 1962 in the town of Centralia, a fire was started in the local landfill. The fire spread into the abandoned section of the coal mines and have been burning ever since. Sadly this was just covered with dirt in 2020 during the Covid 19 pandemic. You are no longer able to see this beautiful and interesting site. However, the coal mines are still burning.
The area is off limits due to the danger of sink holes and gas from the underground mine fires. People do still go and mark up the area. Just know that the PA State Police due patrol the area.
If you are feeling even more adventures but with no chance of breaking the law. Check out the abandoned section of the PA turnpike. It’s a nice little walk down the rundown abandoned highway. There is even an old creepy abandoned tunnel to go through. If you are brave enough to walk all the way through make sure you bring a flashlight as it gets very, very dark in the middle.
Another great location to visit is Lancaster County. Here you will find many Amish communities. It is pretty amazing to see how they preserved their way of life even with all the changes around them. It is not uncommon to see a horse and buggy riding down the roads all throughout Lancaster county.
The Amish also have some of the best farmer markets in the entire state. In many of these farmers markets you will find all kinds of delicious food. Handmade goods and furniture. While it is more pricey than what you find in the big box stores. The quality is much higher too.
The Keystone state is packed full of wonderful places for you and your family to discover. You could do weekend trips every weekend and it would still take you over a year to see everything that is unique and mysterious.
I can’t think of a better start to spend the day, week, month or even year in. Of course it is my home state and I’m a little biased towards it. From the mountains to the lakes and everything in between. Pennsylvania is a great place to visit. Let us know in the comments below what you like about visiting PA.
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- Cherry Springs and Lyman Run State Parks
- Day 13 Vacations Over
- Day 12 Four Parks One Day? Can we do it?
- Day 10 Relaxing day off
- Day 7 Checking things off my list
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