Pennsylvania may be best known, at least on the world stage, for its larger cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but one of its most prominent selling points is the many charming towns that make up the landscape. Here are 14 Pennsylvania towns you really must visit in 2017.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Plan to visit Jim Thorpe, America's very own Switzerland, in 2017, especially if you enjoy the friendliness and charm of small town Pennsylvania. Explore the enchanting town on foot or climb aboard the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. Jim Thorpe, which hosts an annual fall festival and old-fashioned Christmas celebration, provides the perfect backdrop for a getaway any time of the year.
Snuggled halfway between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, the historic town of Bedford offers plenty to do for visitors. Some of the town's highlights include the historic St. James Church, Old Bedford Village, and nearby Coral Caverns. Be sure to make time to go shopping in the charming downtown.
Arguably one of Pennsylvania's most striking ghost towns, Fricks Lock once boasted a small village that spanned 18 acres. Today, the ghost town beckons curiosity seekers who want to explore the now dormant rail town. The East Coventry Historical Commission leads free tours on select Saturdays through the year to give visitors an up close look at the historic village.
A picturesque town that looks as though it's stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, Lititz is a small town with a big personality. In addition to a quaint downtown dotted with shops and restaurants, Lititz is also famous for being the home of Wilbur Chocolate and Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.
Every Pennsylvanian should visit Bristol, the state's oldest town, at least once. Dating back to 1681, the tiny town sits directly across the Delaware River from Burlington, New Jersey. A stroll through the town where everyone knows everyone else's name will take you past buildings built as far back as 1681, including King George Inn, the town's oldest restaurant.
Get away from it all - quite literally - when you visit Renovo, the most remote town in Pennsylvania. Less than 1,300 Pennsylvanians call Renovo home, making it the perfect spot for a tranquil getaway. Famous for its Flaming Foliage Festival, Renovo beckons antique collectors with its antique shops and outdoor lovers have easy access to nearby Kettle Creek State Park and Sproul State Forest.
Pennsylvanians most likely know Bloomsburg for its famous annual Bloomsburg Fair, which will celebrate its 162nd season in 2017. Home of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, the picturesque town is packed with things to do, including shopping in the quaint downtown, watching a performance at the Bloomsburg Theatre, and hanging out at the sprawling Bloomsburg Town Park.
Perched along the Allegheny River, the tiny town of Foxburg - population of less than 200 - is an ideal day trip or a weekend getaway destination. Explore Foxburg on foot, by bike (traditional or tandem), or by pontoon boat. Visit the Foxburg Wine Cellars and dine at the Allegheny Grille, which frequently features live entertainment.
Journey back in time when you visit Wellsboro, a small town with a charming Main Street dotted with shops, an old-fashioned theater (Arcadia Theater), and the Wellsboro Diner. Visitors will also want to trek to the nearby Pine Creek Gorge where they can explore the canyon floor aboard a horse drawn covered wagon.
Only 12 miles from State College, the cozy town of Bellefonte - with its Victorian architecture and small town friendliness - feels as though it's been frozen in a time long gone. Embrace the town's history by visiting the Historical Railroad Society, the Pennsylvania Room and Historical Museum, and the Art Museum for Centre County.
A tiny town of only 1,200 people, Hawley packs a pretty big punch with plenty to do for visitors, such as dining at the picturesque Glass Wine Bar (complete with a dining room that overlooks a waterfall), the historic Ritz Company Playhouse, independent shops (The Hawley Depot and Time Machine Antiques), and Lake Wallenpaupack.
Visiting Punxsutawney is something of a rite of passage for Pennsylvanians. After all, Punxsutawney is the home of our beloved little Phil, the world's first and most prominent weather-predicting groundhog. A trip to Punxsutawney wouldn't be complete without a visit to Phil's Burrow, the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center, and the Groundhog Club Headquarters.
Embrace the spirit of Christmas any time of the year when you visit Bethlehem, more commonly known as Christmas City. Bethlehem is perhaps the most magical Christmas town in the state, inviting visitors to tour the town on a horse drawn carriage, to hop aboard a Bethlehem By Bus Night Tour, and to explore Christkindlmarkt, the town's annual holiday market.
Gettysburg plays a significant role in American history, particularly during the Civil War. Because of its storied history, Gettysburg has also earned recognition for its paranormal activity, drawing countless visitors - from paranormal investigators to curiosity seekers - to its haunted and hallowed grounds, including Devil's Den, the Jennie Wade House, The Gettysburg Hotel, and Dobbin House Tavern.
These are just 14 Pennsylvania towns you’ll definitely want to visit in 2017. And, if you’re not too far away, add
The Street of Shops in Lewisburg, a charming indoor shopping village, to your 2017 itinerary.