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PENNSYLVANIA TRAVEL GUIDE

Hershey's Chocolate World, Pennsylvania cheesesteaks in Pennsylvania Sesame Place, Pennsylvania

Welcome to the bigroads.com travel guide to Pennsylvania! Hopefully this page helps provide some inspiration and tips to help you plan your next trip to Pennsylvania.

Take note that I build and maintain this website as both a hobby and public service. I take joy in performing travel research and sharing my experiences and adventures. I do not make any profit from this website, and you will see no ads on it. Your constructive feedback about this site and its content is encouraged. Please email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons

OVERVIEW



Pennsylvania is one of the most popular states for tourism. There's just so many interesting places to be discovered all across the state. Do you enjoy amusement parks? Pennsylvania has a ton of top-rated amusement parks. Like waterfalls? Pennsylvania's got dozens of excellent ones. Like rail trails? Pennsylvania may just be the #1 state in the U.S. for cycling trails. Pennsylvania also has a lively Amish/Dutch culture region as well as several key Civil War and Revolutionary War sites. On top of all that are the attraction and museum-packed cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA



Are you short on time or struggling to choose something to do or see in Pennsylvania? Here are my selections for the top 10 attractions or experiences in Pennsylvania, in no particular order:

Take in the Revolutionary War and other historic sites in downtown Philadelphia
Enjoy the sights and food of Amish/Dutch country
Tour a decommissioned prison at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia
Visit the Civil War sites and museums of Gettysburg
Ride the famous rollercoasters of Hersheypark
Try a famous Philly cheesesteak, they definitely meet the hype (I recommend Dalessandro's or Sonny's)
Cycle one of Pennsylvania's legendary rail trails (e.g. the Great Allegheny Passage)
Visit other top-rated amusement parks in Pennsylvania, including Knoebels, Kennywood, Dutch Wonderland, Dorney Park, and Waldameer
Hike the waterfall-infused trails of Ricketts Glen State Park
Take a coal mine tour at Lackawanna Coal Mine

If I could select only one place to visit in Pennsylvania, I would choose the Amish/Dutch country area, which also isn't far from Hershey and its attractions.

For a list of 10 great attractions in each U.S. state, click here.

5-STAR ATTRACTIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA



Here is my opinionated list of 5-star attractions in Pennsylvania. I believe each of these attractions should be on your Pennsylvania bucket list since they are all noteworthy from a national perspective:

Northwestern Pennsylvania (including Erie)
Freedom Falls, Kennerdell - a pretty, 20-foot tall waterfall reached via a short hike
PennDOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden, Meadville - a giant art project made of retired PennDOT road signs; a top PA roadside attraction
Presque Isle State Park, Erie - offers excellent beaches plus bike paths and hiking trails
Pymatuning Spillway, Linesville - see hundreds of carp fish gather in a spillway on the Pymatuning Reservoir; "where the ducks walk on fish"
Splash Lagoon, Erie - a large indoor Polynesian-themed water park and hotel; to date, you don't need to stay the night to visit the water park
Waldameer & Water World, Erie - one of the best theme parks in the U.S.; features more than 75 attractions

Pittsburgh (see below for the rest of southwestern Pennsylvania)
Acrisure Stadium - the home of the Pittsburg Steelers NFL football team
Andy Warhol Museum - the largest museum in North America dedicated to a single artist often called a "pop art icon"
Bicycle Heaven - the world's largest bicycle museum
Carnegie Museum of Natural History - one of the premier natural history museums in the U.S.
Carnegie Science Center - a great science museum; Pittsburgh's most visited museum
Duquesne Incline - take an inexpensive and scenic ride up a historic steep incline railroad; offers great views of Pittsburgh
Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts - a highly-rated performing arts center and concert hall; home of the Pittsburgh Symphony
Heinz History Center - Pennsylvania's largest cultural and history museum
Monongahela Incline - take a ride up the oldest continuously operating funicular railroad
Mount Washington - a Pittsburgh neighborhood famous for its panoramic city views
National Aviary - the "only independent indoor nonprofit aviary in the U.S." features more than 150 species of birds
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens - spend 1-2 hours walking around this beautiful botanical garden
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium - a combination zoo and aquarium with more than 4,000 animals
Point State Park, Pittsburgh - a beautiful urban park with walking trails and historical sites along the Ohio and Monongahela rivers
PNC Park - one of the finest MLB baseball stadiums in the U.S.; home of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Randyland - a colorful building that is self-described as "the most painted house in the galaxy"; one of PA's best roadside attractions
Three Rivers Heritage Trail - an excellent 33-mile long, partially-paved urban rail trail network all within Pittsburgh city limits
West End Overlook Park - a small park with excellent views of the Ohio River and Pittsburgh

Southwestern Pennsylvania (including Altoona; see above for Pittsburgh)
Fallingwater, Mill Run - tour a world-famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home that is known for its integration of nature and home
Flight 93 National Memorial, Stoystown - a powerful memorial to those that died on 9/11
Go Ape Zipline & Adventure Park, Allison Park - a fun aerial adventure park with zip-lining
Great Allegheny Passage Trail ("GAP") - one of the top rail trails in the U.S.; travels 150 miles from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh
Idlewild & SoakZone, Ligonier - a good children's amusement park; about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh
Johnson Inclined Plane, Johnstown - take a ride up the world's steepest vehicular inclined plane (railway); features a 71% grade
Kennywood, West Mifflin - a large amusement park with rollercoasters and more other rides and attractions
Laurel Caverns, Farmington - guided underground tours of a large natural calcareous sandstone cave
Ohiopyle State Park, Ohiopyle - known for its whitewater kayaking, waterfalls ("the Niagara Falls of western PA"), and hiking/cycling trails
Tubing the Stonycreek River - the best river tubing in western Pennsylvania
Whitewater rafting the Youghiogheny River - the most popular whitewater rafting in western Pennsylvania

Central Pennsylvania
Bill's Old Bike Barn, Bloomsburg - an excellent motorcycle museum with nearly 200 motorcycles on display
Coffee Pot, Bedford - an 18-foot tall building in the shape of a coffee pot; one of PA's most famous roadside attractions
D.G. Yuengling and Son Brewery, Pottsville - visit America's oldest brewery (established in 1829)
Kinzua Bridge State Park, Mt. Jewett - walk 600 feet out onto a railroad structure for great views of the Kinzua Gorge
Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg - an excellent free-admission amusement park with a variety of pay-as-you-go rides and attractions
Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, Halifax - a 150-acre wildlife park and zoo; known for their safari rides
Leonard Harrison State Park, Wellsboro - offers scenic views of the east rim of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon ("Vista View")
Lincoln Caverns, Huntingdon - guided underground cave tours
Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park, Centre Hall - offers top-rated guided underground cave tours and bus tours of a 1,600-acre wildlife park
Pine Creek Rail Trail - an outstanding 62-mile long crushed stone (unpaved) rail trail that passes through Pine Creek Gorge
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train, Ashland - guided underground coal mine tours plus steam train rides
Ricketts Glen State Park, Benton - one of the most dense collections of waterfalls in the U.S. (there are more than 20 waterfalls here)

Southcentral Pennsylvania (including Gettysburg)
Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, Gettysburg - part visitor center, part excellent history museum
Gettysburg Museum of History, Gettysburg - a privately-owned museum that is a great compliment to the official national park
Gettysburg National Cemetery, Gettysburg - the site of Gettysburg Address and the final resting spot for 1,000s of troops
Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg - visit the site of one of the Civil War's most important and bloody battles
Hickory Hollow Horse Farm, Gettysburg - a highly-rated horseback riding farm

Northeastern Pennsylvania (including Scranton, the Delaware Water Gap, and the Poconos region)
Bushkill Falls, Bushkill - a tourist attraction that features trails to several excellent waterfalls
Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark, Tannersville - the largest outdoor water park in Pennsylvania
Columcille Megalith Park, Bangor - a 19-acre park with walking trails that visit 90-plus megaliths (aka large stone monuments or structures)
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area - known for its outdoor recreation in and around the longest free-flowing river in the East
Dingmans Falls / Silver Thread Falls, Dingman Township - two great waterfalls found within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Hickory Run State Park, White Haven - known for its giant boulder field, 40 miles of hiking trails, Hawk Falls, and excellent trout fishing
Kalahari Waterpark, Pocono Manor - supposedly the largest indoor water park on the East Coast
Lackawanna Coal Mine, Scranton - underground guided tours of a coal mine
Raymondskill Falls, Milford - one of the fine waterfalls found within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Seven Tubs Recreation Area, Pinchot State Forest, Wilkes-Barre - a series of interesting potholes and waterfalls
Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton - a great railroad museum that also offers train rides
Zippo/Case Museum & Flagship Store, Bradford - features the flagship Zippo lighter store and a Zippo repair clinic

Hershey/Harrisburg/York area in southeastern Pennsylvania (see below for Amish/Dutch country)
AACA Museum / America's Transportation Experience, Hershey - a large and excellent auto museum with many types of vehicles on display
Haines Shoe House, Yorklyn - a home designed in the shape of a shoe; one of Pennsylvania's most famous roadside attractions
Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations, York - factory tours of the famous motorcycle manufacturer
Hershey Chocolate World, Hershey - a tourist attraction and retail shop that is obsessed with all things-chocolate; very close to Hersheypark
Hershey Gardens, Hershey - a lovely 23-acre botanical garden and arboretum
Hershey Story Museum, Hershey - features five major exhibits that tell the story of the famous chocolate company
Hersheypark, Hershey - a world-class, chocolate-themed, family-friendly theme park with more than a dozen thrilling roller coasters
Indian Echo Caverns, Hummelstown - excellent underground 45-minute guided cave tours
National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg - one of the best Civil War-focused museums in the U.S.
Northwest Lancaster County River Trail - an excellent 14-mile long, partially paved rail trail that connects Columbia to Bainbridge
Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire (event), Manheim - one of the best Renaissance Faire festivals in the U.S.
Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat, Harrisburg - sightseeing cruises on an authentic stern-driven paddlewheel riverboat
Troegs Brewing Company, Hershey - one of Pennsylvania's largest and highest-rated breweries
United States Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC), Carlisle - indoor and outdoor exhibits of various military vehicles and gear

Amish/Dutch country in southeastern Pennsylvania (including Bird-in-Hand, Ephrata, Intercourse, Lancaster, and Strasburg)
American Music Theatre, Lancaster - a top-rated, 1,600-seat theater that features concerts, Broadway shows, comedy acts, and more
Amish Experience, The, Bird-in-Hand - a tourist attraction with Amish buildings, farmlands, a theater, Amish food, and guided tours
Amish Farm and House, Lancaster - guided bus tours of Amish country and an Amish farmhouse
Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market, Bird-in-Hand - an excellent farmers market with many local goods; try the local shoofly pie!
Choo Choo Barn: Traintown U.S.A., Strasburg - a museum with a huge model train display (one of America's largest)
Dutch Apple Dinner Theater, Lancaster - a popular dinner theater; eat while being entertained!
Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster - one of the finest kid-friendly amusement parks in the country; great for young children (under 8 I would say)
Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata - a history museum with nine buildings to explore; has guided and self-guided tours
Fulton Theatre, Lancaster - supposedly the nation's oldest continuously operating theatre; popular for its musicals and Broadway-like shows
Horse & buggy rides - there are several companies in Amish/Dutch country that offer informative and scenic horse and buggy rides
Kitchen Kettle Village, Intercourse - one of the best places to shop in Amish/Dutch country
Lancaster Central Market, Lancaster - visit the oldest continuously operated public farmer's market in the U.S. (since 1730)
Northwest Lancaster County River Trail - an excellent 14-mile long, partially paved rail trail that connects Columbia to Bainbridge
Old Windmill Farm, Ronks - take tours of a highly-rated authentic working Amish farm that has many farm animals
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg - one of the best railroad museums in the U.S.; has more than 100 locomotives and railroad cars
Refreshing Mountain, Stevens - a fun aerial adventure park with zip-lining
Shady Maple Smorgasbord, East Earl - one of the most famous buffet-style restaurants in the U.S.; "200ft of all-you-can-eat PA Dutch cooking"
Sight and Sound Theatres, Strasburg - a Christian-based theater with musicals and biblical-based shows
Strasburg Rail Road, Strasburg - take a tour on one of the best scenic railroads in the U.S.

Southeastern Pennsylvania (including Allentown; see below for Philadelphia)
America on Wheels, Allentown - an excellent transportation museum with many types of vehicles on display
American Treasure Tour Museum, Oaks - an eclectic museum offering guided tram tours of an amazing collection of Americana
Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope - catch a Broadway shown at "America's most famous summer theater"
Chanticleer, Wayne - walk the grounds of a 48-acre estate and its botanical gardens
Coca-Cola Park, Allentown - an excellent minor-league baseball park; home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown - a large amusement park and water park with more than 60 rides and attractions
Fronthill Castle, Doylestown - 60-minute guided tours of a huge 44-room castle; located one mile from the Mercer Museum
Herr's Snack Factory, Nottingham - fun tours of a potato chip factory
King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia - currently the 3rd largest mall in the U.S. (behind Mall of America, MN and American Dream, NJ)
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square - one of the largest and best gardens in the U.S.
Mercer Museum, Doylestown - self-guided tours of a castle and industrial tool museum; located one mile from the Fronthill Castle
Ringing Rocks Park, Upper Black Eddy - bring a hammer and strike rocks to try to try to hear the famous ringing sounds that they offer
Sesame Place, Langhorne - a fun and very popular Sesame Street-focused children's theme park and water park
SteelStacks, Bethlehem - a public park with many attractions and events, plus views of the former Bethlehem Steel structures
Valley Forge National Historic Park, King of Prussia - visit the famous winter camp of George Washington's troops

Philadelphia (see above for the rest of southeastern Pennsylvania)
Barnes Foundation - self-claims to be "one of the world's greatest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and modern art"
Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia - Philadelphia is overloaded with amazing cheesesteak restaurants (my favorites are Dalessandro's and Sonny's)
Citizens Bank Park - an excellent MLB baseball stadium; home of the Philadelphia Phillies
Eastern State Penitentiary - offers exceptional guided tours of a decommissioned prison; one of the best prison tours in the U.S.
Elfreth's Alley - one of Philadelphia's most historic and pretty streets; the 32 houses on this street was built between 1703 and 1836
Franklin Institute - a large and excellent science museum
Guided food tours in Philadelphia - Philadelphia is a culinary destination, and several companies offer guided food tours
Guided ghost tours in Philadelphia - Philadelphia is very popular for ghost/paranormal tours, and several companies provide tours
Independence Hall - visit the birthplace of the United States; this is where the Declaration of Independence was signed
Independence National Historic Park - visit "American's most historic square mile"
Liberty Bell, The / Liberty Bell Center - visit the iconic bell that "changed the world" in 1776
Museum of the American Revolution - an excellent history museum with many exhibits on the Revolutionary War
Mutter Museum - one of the finest medical museums in the U.S.
National Constitution Center - a U.S. history museum that serves as "America's leading platform for constitutional education and debate"
National Museum of American Jewish History - features exhibits on the history of Judaism in the U.S.
Philadelphia Magic Gardens - an eclectic indoor and outdoor folk art museum/art gallery
Philadelphia Museum of Art - one of the U.S.'s largest art museums; a statue of Rocky is also here
Reading Terminal Market - a nationally famous indoor farmer's market with a delicious variety of foods, including Philly cheesesteaks
Rocky Statue - a larger than life statue of the famous Hollywood boxer; located on the grounds of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Are you aware of any other 5-star attractions in Pennsylvania? If so, please email me at gparsons66@hotmail.com.

For a list of 5-star attractions in neighboring states, click on any of these links:  DE  |  MD  |  NJ  |  NY  |  OH  |  WV

BEST TOWNS & CITIES TO VISIT IN PENNSYLVANIA



These towns and cities in Pennsylvania are generally regarded as the most interesting to travelers:

Adamstown - a small town often called the "antiques capital of the U.S.": there are more antique shops to be found neawrby along PA-272
Bird-In-Hand - a small town in the heart of Amish/Dutch country; awesome food (e.g. shoofly pies) and close to many attractions
Gettysburg - a small town with significant Civil War history; visit the historic battlefield and other Gettysburg-related attractions
Erie - a small city on the coastline of Lake Erie; has beaches, an amusement park (Waldameer), and is close to Presque Isle State Park
Hershey - a town famous for its chocolate-themed attractions, including the Hersheypark amusement park
Intercourse - a small town in the heart of Amish/Dutch country; many boutique shops and several companies offer horse-carriage rides
Jim Thorpe - a small town known for its Victorian architecture; close to the Pocono Mountains and Hickory Run State Park
Lancaster - a small city in Amish/Dutch country that has several live performance theatres; close to the Dutch Wonderland theme park
New Hope - a small town with historic buildings & mansions; nearby attractions include Bucks County Playhouse and Delaware Canal SP
Philadelphia - a major city packed with historic attractions; famous for its amazing cheesesteaks, museums, and professional sports teams
Pittsburgh - a major city famous for its steel industry, professional sports teams, bridges, and many excellent museums

West Chester may also be worth a look, but I haven't visited there yet.

My favorite city in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 2-3 nights there. Try a few cheesesteaks and visit some of the city's famous historic sites and museums. If you can, catch a professional sports game too.

My favorite small town in Pennsylvania is either Bird-In-Hand or Intercourse - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 2-3 nights in this area. These two towns are next to each other and they are in the heart of Amish/Dutch country. There's an unbelievable amount of attractions and amazing food in this area. It's also beautiful with rolling hills that are full of pretty farms.

If you want to visit Amish/Dutch country, stay in or near Intercourse or Bird-in-Hand. Lancaster is another option.

If you want to visit Hersheypark, stay in Hershey.

Click here if you'd like to see a complete list of towns and cities that I find interesting across the entire U.S.

WHAT IS PENNSYLVANIA FAMOUS FOR?



Here are some things that Pennsylvania is famous or well-known for:

Amish/Dutch culture
cheesesteaks
chocolate
Civil War history/sites
coal mining
covered bridges
funicular railways / inclines
gambling/casinos
mushrooms
pretzels
professional sports
rail trails
Revolutionary War history/sites
rolling hills
shoo-fly pies
steel production

Click here if you'd like to explore what other U.S. states are famous for.

NATIONAL PARKS IN PENNSYLVANIA



While there are currently no national parks or national monuments in Pennsylvania, there are many other federally-managed parks and properties in the state, including:

National Recreation Areas
Allegheny National Recreation Area
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

National Forests
Allegheny National Forest

National Historical Parks / Other National Parks & Properties
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site
Eisenhower National Historic Site
First State National Historical Park
Flight 93 National Memorial
Fort Necessity National Battlefield
Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Gettysburg National Military Park
Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Independence National Historical Park
Johnstown Flood National Memorial
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River
North Country National Scenic Trail
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
Steamtown National Historic Site
Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial
Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail

For more information on Pennsylvania's national parks, visit the Pennsylvania page of the National Park Service. For an overview of all U.S. national parks, click here.

STATE PARKS IN PENNSYLVANIA



Pennsylvania has more than 120 state parks. Here is a list of the finest state parks in the state:

Northwestern Pennsylvania (including Erie)
Presque Isle State Park, Erie - offers excellent beaches plus bike paths and hiking trails

Southwestern Pennsylvania (including Altoona and Pittsburgh)
Ohiopyle State Park, Ohiopyle - known for its whitewater kayaking, waterfalls ("the Niagara Falls of western PA"), and hiking/cycling trails
Point State Park, Pittsburgh - a beautiful urban park with walking trails and historical sites along the Ohio and Monongahela rivers

Central Pennsylvania
Kinzua Bridge State Park, Mt. Jewett - walk 600 feet out onto a railroad structure for great views of the Kinzua Gorge
Leonard Harrison State Park, Wellsboro - offers scenic views of the east rim of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon ("Vista View")
Ricketts Glen State Park, Benton - one of the most dense collections of waterfalls in the U.S. (there are more than 20 waterfalls here)

Northeastern Pennsylvania (including Scranton, the Delaware Water Gap area, and the Poconos area)
Hickory Run State Park, White Haven - known for its giant boulder field, 40 miles of hiking trails, Hawk Falls, and excellent trout fishing

My favorite state park in Pennsylvania is Ricketts Glen State Park. This state park has 22 natural waterfalls, most of which can be seen on a single moderately difficult day hike.

To see my list of the top 100 state parks in the country, click here.

BEST WATERFALLS IN PENNSYLVANIA



Pennsylvania has several hundred natural waterfalls. Here is a list of the finest waterfalls in Pennsylvania:

Southwestern Pennsylvania (including Altoona and Pittsburgh)
Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park

Central Pennsylvania
Dry Run Falls in Loyalsock State Forest
Lewis Falls in State Game Lands #13 in Davidson Township
Ricketts Glen State Park waterfalls

Northeastern Pennsylvania (including Scranton, the Delaware Water Gap, and the Poconos region)
Bushkill Falls in Bushkill - this is a privately owned tourist attraction
Dingmans Falls in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Hawk Falls in Hickory Run Sate Park
Raymondskill Falls in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Shohola Falls in State Game Lands #180 near Shohola
Silverthread Falls in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the premier areas in the United States for waterfalls. There are 22 named waterfalls in the state park, the tallest of which is 94 feet tall. You can see most of these waterfalls on an 8-mile loop hike.

For a listing of all known waterfalls in Pennsylvania, visit the World Waterfall Database.

BEST SCENIC DRIVES IN PENNSYLVANIA



Here is a list of the best scenic drives in Pennsylvania:

Lancaster County - the backroads in Amish Country are a joy to drive (e.g. Intercourse, Bird-in-Hand, Ephrata, Marietta, New Holland, etc.)
Longhouse National Scenic Byway - a seasonal 29-mile paved loop through Allegheny National Forest in northwestern PA

I haven't drive the Bucktail Trail Scenic Byway or Brandywine Valley Byway yet, but it's possible these are good scenic drives. There may also be one or more scenic drives in the Laurel Highlands, but I'm haven't found one yet.

For a list of great scenic drives in each U.S. state, click here.

BEST RAIL TRAILS IN PENNSYLVANIA



Pennsylvania is one of the very best states for rail trails in the country (along with states like FL, OH, MI, MN, and WI). Here is a list of some of the best rail trails (or similar cycling paths) in Pennsylvania:

Northwestern Pennsylvania (including Erie)
Allegheny River Trail
Oil Creek State Park Trail
Rail 66 County Trail
Redbank Valley Rail Trail
Sandy Creek Trail

Southwestern Pennsylvania (including Altoona and Pittsburgh)
Armstrong Trail
Butler-Freeport Community Trail
Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) - this trail is widely considered one of the very best rail trails in the U.S.
Montour Trail
Panhandle Trail
Three Rivers Heritage Trail
West Penn Trail
Westmoreland Heritage Trail

Central Pennsylvania
Ghost Town Trail
Pine Creek Rail Trail - this trail is widely considered one of the very best rail trails in the U.S.

Southeastern Pennsylvania (including Allentown, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Hershey, Philadelphia, and Amish/Dutch country)
Heritage Rail Trail County Park
Ironton Rail Trail
Lebanon Valley Rail Trail
Northwest Lancaster County River Trail
Perkiomen Trail
Schuylkill River Trail
Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail Trail

For detailed information on all known rail trails in Pennsylvania, visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARKS / THEME PARKS IN PENNSYLVANIA



Pennsylvania is one of the very best states for amusement parks. In fact, several of the finest amusement parks in the country can be found in the state. Here are the best amusement parks in Pennsylvania:

Northwestern Pennsylvania (including Erie)
Splash Lagoon, Erie
Waldameer Park, Erie

Southwestern Pennsylvania (including Altoona and Pittsburgh)
Idlewild & SoakZone, Ligonier
Kennywood, West Mifflin
Lakemont Park, Altoona

Central Pennsylvania
Delgrosso’s Park & Laguna Splash Water Park, Tipton
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg

Northeastern Pennsylvania (including Scranton, the Delaware Water Gap, and the Poconos region)
Camelbeach Mountain Outdoor Waterpark, Tannersville
Kalahari Resort, Pocono Manor

Southeastern Pennsylvania (including Allentown, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Hershey, Philadelphia, and Amish/Dutch country)
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown
Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster
Hersheypark, Hershey
Sesame Place, Langhorne

BEST MUSEUMS IN PENNSYLVANIA



Pennsylvania has many outstanding museums. The best museums in Pennsylvania include:

Pittsburgh
Andy Warhol Museum
Bicycle Heaven
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Carnegie Science Center
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Heinz History Center
Randyland

Central Pennsylvania
Bill's Old Bike Barn, Bloomsburg

Southcentral Pennsylvania
Gettysburg Museum & Visitor Center, Gettysburg
Gettysburg Museum of History, Gettysburg

Northeastern Pennsylvania (including Scranton, the Delaware Water Gap, and the Poconos region)
Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton
Zippo / Case Museum & Flagship Store, Bradford

Southeastern Pennsylvania (including Allentown, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Hershey, and Dutch country; see below for Philadelphia)
AACA Museum / America's Transportation Experience, Hershey
America on Wheels, Allentown
American Helicopter Museum and Educational Center, West Chester
American Treasure Tour Museum, Oaks
Asa Packer Mansion, Jim Thorpe
Hershey Story Museum, Hershey
Mack Trucks Historical Museum, Allentown
Mercer Museum, Doylestown
National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg
National Museum of Industrial History, Bethlehem
President James Buchanan's Wheatland, Lancaster
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg
State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg
United States Army Heritage and Education Center

Philadelphia
Barnes, The
Eastern State Penitentiary
Franklin Institute, The
Independence Hall
Independence National Historic Park
Liberty Bell, The / Liberty Bell Center
Museum of the American Revolution
Mutter Museum
National Constitution Center
National Museum of American Jewish History
Philadelphia Museum of Art

BEST DAY HIKES IN PENNSYLVANIA



Pennsylvania has many great hiking trails, and there is good hiking to be found all over the state. Here are some of the best day hikes in Pennsylvania:

Northwestern Pennsylvania (including Erie)
Presque Isle State Park trails

Southwestern Pennsylvania (including Altoona and Pittsburgh)
Ohiopyle State Park trails (e.g. Baughman Trail, Jonathan Run Trail, Meadow Run Trail, Cucumber Falls, etc.)

Central Pennsylvania
Barbour Rock Trail Overlook, Pine Creek Gorge Natural Area
Bear Meadows Natural Area trails
Chimney Rocks, Michaux State Forest
Kinzua Bridge State Park trails
Pine Trail and Hemlock Mountain, Tiadaghton State Forest
Thousand Steps Trail, State Game Lands #112

Northeastern Pennsylvania (including Scranton, the Delaware Water Gap, and the Poconos region)
Boulder Field National Natural Landmark, Hickory Run State Park
Bushkill Falls trails
Dingmans Falls, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Falls Trail, Ricketts Glen State Park
Glen Onoko Falls and Lehigh Gorge Overlook, Lehigh Gorge State Park
Hackers Falls and Cliff Trail Loop, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Mount Minsi, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Tank Hollow Trail, State Game Lands #141

Southeastern Pennsylvania (including Allentown, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Hershey, Philadelphia, and Amish/Dutch country)
Flat Rock Loop, Colonel Denning State Park
Furnace Creek Trail to Pinnacle Trail Loop
Gettysburg National Military Park trails
Hawk Mountain / Pinnacle Trail, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Hawk Rock, State Game Lands #290
Lehigh Gap via the Appalachian Trail
Pole Steeple, Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Pulpit Rock & The Pinnacle Loop, Appalachian National Scenic Trail - one of the best views along the A.T. in the state
Valley Forge National Historical Park trails

The highpoint of Pennsylvania is Mount Davis (3,213'). You can drive very close to the top and then walk to and then up a firetower (which offers good views).

BEST BACKPACKING TRIPS IN PENNSYLVANIA



Pennsylvania offers many great backpacking opportunities. Some of premier backpacking routes in Pennsylvania include:

Appalachian Trail (AT)
Baker Trail
Black Forest Trail
Chuck Kepier Trail
Laurel Highlands Trail - this is part of the part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
Loyalsock Trail
Mid State Trail (MST)
North Country Trail (NCT)
Old Loggers Path, Loyalsock State Forest
Quehanna Trail
Susquehannock State Forest trails
West Rim Trail

An excellent overview of some of the best backpacking in Pennsylvania can be found on the (trustworthy) Trek website.

CLASSIC OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN PENNSYLVANIA



Pennsylvania offers many great outdoor adventures, including these classics:

Backpacking the Appalachian Trail
Backpacking the Loyalsock Trail
Backpacking the Mid State Trail (MST)
Bouldering at Coopers Rock
Bouldering at Governor's Stable
Bouldering at Haycock Mountain
Bouldering at Mt. Gretna
Canoeing/kayaking the Clarion River
Canoeing/kayaking Conewango Creek
Canoeing/kayaking the Conemaugh River
Canoeing/kayaking the Youghiogheny River
Cycling the Allegheny River Trail
Cycling the Ghost Town Trail
Cycling the Great Allegheny Passage ("GAP") Trail
Cycling the Heritage Rail Trail County Park
Cycling the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail
Cycling the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail
Cycling the Panhandle Trail
Cycling the Pine Creek Rail Trail
Cycling the Sandy Creek Trail
Cycling the Schuylkill River Trail
Horseback riding in Gettysburg
Hot air ballooning in Bird in Hand, Coopersburg, or Glenmoore
Kayaking the Delaware River
Mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake in Hesston
Mountain biking the Blue Mountain Bike Park
Mountain biking in French Creek State Park
Mountain biking in Michaux State Forest
Mountain biking in Moraine State Park
Mountain biking in Nockamixon State Park
Mountain biking in Rothrock State Forest
Mountain biking in Trexler Nature Preserve
Mountain biking in Wissahickon Valley Park
Rock climbing at Birdsboro Quarry
Rock climbing at McConnells Mill State Park
Rock climbing at Ohiopyle State Park
Skydiving in Chambersburg, Hazle Township, Mercer, Perkasie, or Smoketown
Tubing the Stonycreek River
Whitewater rafting the Cheat River
Whitewater rafting the Youghiogheny River

Pennsylvania is one of the very best U.S. states for bouldering. There are dozens of great bouldering areas, especially in the western part of the state.

SKI RESORTS IN PENNSYLVANIA



There are roughly 20 ski resorts in Pennsylvania. While the majority of the best ski resorts are found in the northeastern section of the state, there are some good ski areas in other regions of the state. These ski areas/resorts are generally considered the best in Pennsylvania:

Blue Mountain Knob
Blue Mountain Resort
Camelback Mountain
Elk Mountain
Seven Springs
Sno Mountain

PENNSYLVANIA TRAVEL TIPS



For offbeat and unique Pennsylvania attractions, visit one or both of these amazing websites: Atlas Obscura and Roadside America

UNIQUE / SPECIALTY FOODS TO TRY IN PENNSYLVANIA



Here are some unique / specialty foods to try while you are in Pennsylvania:

apple fritter donuts
cheese steaks
chipped ham (chopped ham) BBQ sandwich
chow chow
dippy eggs
god cakes
goulash
haluski (fried cabbage and noodles)
halupki (stuffed cabbage)
hoagies
Jewish apple cake
Lebanon bologna
lemon sponge pie
montgomery pie
pierogies
Pittsburgh salad
polish sausage
potato pancakes
pretzels / soft pretzels
primanti sandwich
ring bologna
scrapple
shoofly pie
soft pretzels
tearberry ice cream

If you are visiting Amish/Dutch country, try at least some of these foods: apple dumpling, apple butter, buttered noodles, country sausage, dried corn, funnel cakes, scrapple, Shoo-fly pies, sweet bologna, and soft pretzels.

For a list of unique foods and mom-and-pop type eateries and restaurants in Pennsylvania (or any other U.S. state), visit the Roadfood.com website.
For a list of unique foods to try in each of the 50 U.S. states, click here.
For a list of the top-rated beers to try in Pennsylvania (or any other U.S. state), visit the Beer Advocate website.

OTHER KEY PENNSYLVANIA INFORMATION



State Capital:
Harrisburg

Major Airports:
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)

Largest Cities:
Philadelphia (1,619,355), Pittsburgh (302,425), Allentown (127,407), Reading (96,518), Erie (93,439), Scranton (76,376), Bethlehem (75,941)

Primary U.S. Interstates:
I-70, I-76, I-78, I-79, I-80, I-81, I-83, I-84, I-86, I-90, I-95, I-99

State Highpoint:
Mount Davis (3,213') in Forbes State Forest in southwestern Pennsylvania; you can drive very close to the top and then walk to and up a firetower (which offers good views)

Professional Sports Teams:
MLB: Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates
NBA: Philadelphia 76ers
NFL: Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers
NHL: Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins

Funny or Unique Town/City Names:
Bird-in-Hand, Blue Ball, Burnt Cabins, Husband, Intercourse, King of Prussia, Mars, and Paradise

Take note that in general this travel guide intentionally excluded restaurants, lodging/hotels, breweries, wineries/vineyards, and certain other types of attractions (like arcades, ax-throwing, bowling alleys, and escape rooms). These types of places tend to come and go, and keeping up with that would be too challenging. I encourage you to use Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and other travel sites that have reader reviews to find the latest and greatest places that I haven't covered here.



Bushkill Falls in Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Bushkill Falls in Bushkill, Pennsylvania

Ricketts Glen State Park in Benton, Pennsylvania
a map showing all the waterfalls of Ricketts Glen State Park in Benton, Pennsylvania

Sonny's restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sonny's restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(our 2nd favorite place for Cheesesteaks)


Sesame Place theme park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Sesame Place theme park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania

the legendary shoofly pie of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania
the legendary shoofly pie of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania

Big Amos in Ronks, Pennsylvania
Big Amos in Ronks, Pennsylvania

Giant Barbell in Sellersville, Pennsylvania
Giant Barbell in Sellersville, Pennsylvania

Red Caboose Motel in Ronks, Pennsylvania
Red Caboose Motel in Ronks, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania pretzel store
Pennsylvania takes pretzels very seriously

view from Hawk Rock near Duncannon, Pennsylvania
view from Hawk Rock near Duncannon, Pennsylvania

Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Peeps, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is home of the famous Peeps brand

Dalessandro's Steaks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
one of many cheesesteak restaurants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(this shop is actually our #1 cheesesteak place)


sign near the highpoint of Pennsylvania
sign near the highpoint of Pennsylvania

Mt. Davis firetower in Pennsylvania
Mt. Davis firetower in Pennsylvania

PennDOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden in Meadville, Pennsylvania
PennDOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden in Meadville, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
one of many roadside attractions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

cheesesteak restaurant in Folcroft, Pennsylvania
cheesesteak restaurant in Folcroft, Pennsylvania

Schaefer's Auto Art: VW Bug Spider in Erie, Pennsylvania
Schaefer's Auto Art: VW Bug Spider in Erie, Pennsylvania

The Coffee Pot in Bedford, Pennsylvania
The Coffee Pot in Bedford, Pennsylvania

Dutch Wonderland theme park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Dutch Wonderland theme park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Dutch Wonderland theme park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Dutch Wonderland theme park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Giant Quarter in Everett, Pennsylvania
Giant Quarter in Everett, Pennsylvania

Haines Shoe House in York, Pennsylvania
Haines Shoe House in York, Pennsylvania


ROAD TRIP GUIDEBOOKS



In addition to the information found on my website, I personally recommend purchasing these road trip/travel-related guidebooks. Click on any book cover to read reviews and/or purchase these books on Amazon.com.

        


MORE U.S. STATE TRAVEL GUIDES



Did you enjoy this state travel guide? If so, here are links to more of my comprehensive U.S. state travel guides:

Alabama Maryland Oregon
Arizona Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Arkansas Michigan Rhode Island
California Minnesota South Carolina
Colorado Mississippi South Dakota
Connecticut Missouri Tennessee
Delaware Montana Texas
Florida Nebraska Utah
Georgia Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico Washington DC
Iowa New York West Virginia
Kansas North Carolina Wisconsin
Kentucky North Dakota Wyoming
Louisiana Ohio  
Maine Oklahoma  

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