Pittsburgh has plenty to keep us busy all summer long. But, sometimes it’s good to just put the hustle and bustle of the city behind and hit the road on a daylong road trip. Living in Pennsylvania offers so many choices for unique road trips that even choosing 10 poses a pretty hefty challenge. Here are 10 unique day trips near Pittsburgh that are an absolute must do:
Day trips included range from a little over an hour away to three hours or so away. Some people like the short day trips while others prefer the longer hauls so a mix of both are featured.
1. Pine Creek Gorge
Just 189 miles from Pittsburgh lies one of Pennsylvania's most spectacular natural wonders. Pine Creek Gorge, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, promises stunning views of the massive gorge that runs 50 miles long and is nearly 1,500 feet deep. Enjoy amazing views of the gorge from either Leonard Harrison State Park or Colton Point State Park.
2. Bedford County
Forget going to outer space. Visit Gravity Hill in Bedford County where the concept of gravity isn't exactly what we're used to. In fact, experience the phenomenon of your car rolling uphill, not downhill. Only 104 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, Bedford County is also home to Old Bedford Village, a “living history village.”
3. Penn's Cave
Sure, you'll drive further – 155 miles, to be exact – but Penn's Cave in Centre Hall certainly makes the trip worthwhile. Tour the cave by boat before heading above ground to join a 90 minute wildlife tour that will bring you face-to-face with Pennsylvania's most popular animals. Get lost then find your way out of Miners Maze or pan for gemstones.
4. Conneaut Lake Park
A short 95 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, Conneaut Lake Park takes visitors back to those carefree childhood days. Get your adrenaline pumping on the park's many rides. Play a game of mini golf or head to the authentic boardwalk to eat, to lounge along the beach, or to go boating on the lake.
5. Presque Isle State Park
Fill up the gas tank and start your 132 mile day trip to Presque Isle State Park in Erie. Kick back and relax on one of the state park's pristine beaches, bike along the park's trails, get an up close view of the Presque Isle Lighthouse, or go kayaking on the lake.
6. Allegheny National Forest
Allegheny National Forest, just 129 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, caters to outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Try your hand at geocaching. Or, go golfing, go-karting, biking, or boating. Really up for adventure? Try skydiving or hit the trails in an ATV.
7. Ricketts Glen State Park
Definitely the farthest from Pittsburgh at 245 miles, Ricketts Glen State Park offers so much that it's just natural to put it on this list. (You may, however, have to camp out or stay overnight, if you don't have a driving partner.) Ricketts Glen State Park boasts 22 waterfalls with Ganoga Falls the tallest at 94 feet. Popular activities in the park range from horseback riding and hiking to swimming and boating.
8. Kinzua Bridge
Kinzua Bridge in the Allegheny National Forest, only 143 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, provides visitors with a stunning view of the park. Partially destroyed in 2003, Kinzua Bridge no longer functions as a bridge and is now a sky walk. Visitors can cross the sky walk and stand on the glass floor for a terrifyingly spectacular view of the lush green below.
9. Indiana County
Enjoy a day trip closer to home. Indiana County, a mere 63 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, offers something for just about everyone. Movie buffs can check out downtown Indiana, the home of legendary actor Jimmy Stewart and the Jimmy Stewart Museum. Visit the nearby Amish town of Smicksburg or hike along the Ghost Town Trail.
10. Laurel Highlands
A 51 mile sprint from downtown Pittsburgh, Laurel Highlands offers a full menu of outdoor activities – Living Treasures Wild Animal Park and Idlewild Park & SoakZone, for example – photogenic covered bridges and quaint towns, like Ligonier, that beckon visitors to embark on leisurely strolls, to eat at locally owned and operated restaurants, and to visit eclectic shops and museums.
No time for any of these day trips near Pittsburgh any time soon? Not to worry. You can find plenty to do right in the Burgh. Check out the 10 top outdoorsy things you can do in Pittsburgh, for example, by