Are you wondering what to do this weekend? Maybe your parents are visiting and you want to take them on a fun mini-trip. No matter the occasion, these day trip ideas showcase Pennsylvania in its best light. Take your pick, and enjoy!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Fallingwater, Fayette County
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Fallingwater house in 1935 and since it has been declared a National Historic Landmark and has been lauded as the architect's most beautiful work. The house is tucked away in the mountains, with the famous waterfall underneath its foundation. Originally the house was built as a residence for the owners of Kaufman's Department Store, but now it is open to visitors for guided tours. Be sure to call at least ten days ahead if you plan to visit.
2. The Philadelphia Art Museum
The Philadelphia Art Museum is among the largest and most impressive art museums in the country, and is well-worth the visit from anywhere in the state. If you aren't much of an art enthusiast, there are other options! Check out the Franklin Institute, which is a huge science center, the Mutter Museum, which houses a plethora of medical oddities and preserved body parts, or the Please Touch Museum, a children's museum which invites you to fondle an array of various objects.
Bethlehem is an often overlooked town that has much to offer. A few years ago, the abandoned steel stacks from Bethlehem Steel were converted into Sands Casino and a venue where musicians perform. If you're looking to do something a little quieter, explore the Moravian bookstore, the oldest bookstore in the world, and the row of shops and businesses on its street. Throughout the year, Bethlehem rings in various seasons with different festivals and events-- every fall it holds Celtic Classic, every summer it holds Musikfest, and during the holiday season, Bethlehem decks the halls with glittering lights.
4. Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square
One of the top botanical gardens in the country, Longwood Gardens is the place for anyone who enjoys flowers or unusual plants. Open year-round, it has extensive indoor and outdoor exhibits and events for every season. Be sure to check out the pipe organ while you're there-- it has 10,010 pipes.
5. The Amish Experience, Lancaster
Pennsylvania is famous for its thriving Amish community that inhabits much of the countryside. The Amish Experience, located at Plain & Fancy Farms in Lancaster, allows visitors to explore the area's culture with guided tours of farmlands, a theater that plays "Jacob's Choice", and an Amish house and one-room school that is open for exploration. While you're in town, be sure to take a buggy ride and to try some scrumptous baked goods.
6. Carnegie Museums, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has plenty to offer, but the Carnegie Museums are one of the first stops we'd recommend. You'll have a difficult time deciding which museum to visit first-- there are four: the Carnegie Museum of Art, which was one of the first museums of modern art in the country, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which has one of the most impressive collections of dinosaur skeletons in the world, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Carnegie Science Center, which is the most visited musuem in Pittsburgh.
7. Crystal Cave, Kutztown
The Crystal Cave website boasts that it is the most popular natural attraction in Pennsylvania-- and understandably so. At affordable rates ($13.50 for adults and $9.50 for children), you can spend part of your day on a guided tour through the ancient caverns. Once you emerge from the cave, enjoy ice cream, miniature golf, and a gift shop. This is a day trip geared well towards families with children.
The Battle of Gettysburg is famous for incurring the largest number of deaths of any battle during the American Civil War, and it is also considered the war's turning point. It is also rumored to be incredibly haunted. Gettysburg battlefield is a popular destination for those who wish to explore a rich piece of our country's heritage or to seek supernatural encounters.
9. Lehigh Valley Zoo, Schnecksville
Enjoy a peacful afternoon admiring the animals at the Lehigh Valley Zoo, including the Mexican Wolves which are North America's most endangered land mammal. They are part of a species survival plan that aims to release wolves back into the wild in order to boost their population. The non-profit zoo has a variety of other animals held in a quiet, kid-friendly environment without too many crowds. Buffalo roam in the surrounding land.
10. Hershey Park, Hershey
Hershey is famous for its mouth-watering chocolate and candy products, and every year thousands of tourists visit to enjoy a tour of the factory and the adjacent amusement park. Visit to enjoy roller coasters, the smell of chocolate that permeates the air, and learning about the place that produces your favorite candy bar.
Amusement parks, zoos, gardens, oh my– what are your favorite places to visit in Pennsylvania?