Pennsylvania might not be the first state you think of when it comes to vacation possibilities. But it’s full of very well-kept secrets, including an array of weekend getaways that will make you want to keep coming back.
Whether you’re looking for a mountain escape, a ski vacation, or an adventure fit for a history buff, you’ll find it in Pennsylvania. Traveling with young adventurers? There’s something for them, too, whether they’re budding naturalists or amusement park aficionados.
Here you’ll find 8 excellent choices to start your weekend getaway search. You might find yourself booking something more than a long weekend after you see what Pennsylvania has to offer.
You won’t find much beach in Pennsylvania, but what you will find–on the shore of Lake Erie–is worth a visit. Presque Isle State Park is a lovely escape, drawing birdwatchers, hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts each year. The Presque Isle Lighthouse is a picturesque spot to visit while you’re there.
Although there is no camping or lodging on Presque Isle, the town of Erie offers excellent amenities and is a worthwhile getaway on its own.
Blue Mountain Ski Resort
It’s no Vail or Aspen, but central PA offers several well-equipped sea resorts. The Poconos have been a ritzy area ski resort area for decades. One of the largest, Blue Mountain Ski Resort, has been operating for years and boasts the largest vertical drop in the state.
Other popular lodges include Camelback Mountain Resort (which also has a next-door indoor waterpark, making it a great choice for families), and Blue Knob, in the Allegheny Mountain Range.
Enjoy a Weekend of Camping (Or Glamping)
Whether you like to pitch a tent far from civilization or hook up your RV in a well-equipped RV park, Pennsylvania provides countless camping options to suit your preferences. Bear Run Campground, located in the western part of the state next to Moirane State Park, is a popular choice.
Here you can choose from cabins, RV hookups, and primitive campsites–and enjoy a large heated pool, a stocked trout pond, and an on-site cafe and gift shop before heading out to hit the trails in Moirane State Park.
Take in the History at Gettysburg
This quaint, flourishing town has managed to keep its air of history and gravity, despite being a major tourist attraction. Every year, civil war reenactors flock to Gettysburg in period clothing to take part in battle reenactments. History buffs love touring the Gettysburg National Military Park, as well as Cemetery Ridge.
The town itself offers excellent dining and delightful shops and bars, including multiple traditional Irish pubs. The surrounding area offers thousands of acres of apple orchards and a smattering of family-run vineyards.
Soak In the Peace of Amish Country in Lancaster
Lancaster, Pennsylvania is home to gorgeous parks, excellent dining and shopping, and some of the best furniture and food you’ll ever eat thanks to the Amish influence in the area. This is the place to book a hot air balloon ride.Or you might take a walk through the world’s oldest continually-operating farmer’s market at Lancaster Central Market.
Lancaster County is a great area to go for a scenic drive; rolling hillsides, covered bridges, and roadside fruit stands are just a few of the features that keep visitors coming back.
Get a Taste of The City Of Philadelphia
The City of Brotherly Love is full of contrasts, from state-of-the-art technology and five-star hotels to the oldest continuously-inhabited neighborhood in the nation. Philadelphia is a haven for history buffs who journey from far and wide to see the Liberty Bell and visit the Betsy Ross House and the National Constitution Center.
A Sweet Weekend in Hershey
The town of Hershey, Pennsylvania is most famous for its namesake, the chocolate factory. Expect streetlights shaped like Hershey’s Kiss chocolates, a chocolate-themed amusement park, and five-star shopping and dining.
Hershey Park is the company’s amusement park. Although it’s relatively small compared to some amusement-park destinations, it brings in tens of thousands of repeat visitors each year.
After touring the chocolate factory, you can always make a reservation at one of the area’s gourmet eateries or enjoy a wine tasting at an area vineyard.
Step off the Grid In the Allegheny National Forest
Allegheny National Forest is a welcome haven for those who enjoy getting their feet muddy hiking, kayaking, or just enjoying a secluded cabin in the mountains.
No matter the time of year, you’ll find an escape here, along with outdoor activities that vary depending on the season. You’ll find outdoor outfitters that rent out the equipment you need at reasonable prices. Allegheny Outfitters are one of the most popular.