Spring’s almost here, making it just about the perfect time to start planning those carefree weekend getaways. Pittsburgh sits in the ideal location for those short (no more than four hours) but sweet drives to big cities, small towns, and jaw-dropping natural wonders. Here are nine of the best weekend getaways from Pittsburgh.
1. Pine Creek Gorge
Journey to Pine Creek Gorge - a little over three hours regardless of what route you take - for an unforgettable adventure. Spanning 50 miles and more than 1,000 feet deep, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania promises spectacular views. Get a bird's eye view of the canyon from either Colton Point State Park or Leonard Harrison State Park.
Less than hour from Pine Creek Gorge sits the charming town of Wellsboro where you can climb aboard a covered wagon from Ole Covered Wagons for a delightful trip around the base of Pine Creek Gorge. Explore the quaint town of Wellsboro, which sports tree-lined streets and old-fashioned gas street lights. Take a scenic trolley ride around town. Catch a flick at the Arcadia Theater and dine at one of the many restaurants, such as the Wellsboro Diner, the Timeless Destination Restaurant, or Dumpling House.
Embrace Americana when you visit the storybook small town of Lititz. Stroll along Main Street, where you'll discover an array of eclectic shops: The Teddy Bear Emporium, Candy*ology, and Wilbur Chocolate. Learn the art of pretzel twisting at Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery or spend a relaxing day at Lititz Springs Park.
Discover a truly unique part of Pennsylvania with a visit to Wolf Sanctuary. Tour the sanctuary to get a unique look at the resident wolves, all rescued and given a permanent safe haven, and top off your evening with marshmallows around a bonfire.
3. Washington DC
While our nation's capital may be just a tad bit over four hours away, it also happens to promise plenty to do on the perfect weekend getaway from Pittsburgh. You'll find a score of free things to do in Washington DC, including the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Museums, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. And, that's just scratching the surface.
After a long day of sightseeing, relax with a delicious meal at one of the city's many restaurants, such as Toki Underground, DC Grill Express, POV, and Sequoia. Stay in the city or find a hotel in Northern Virginia or Maryland, both generally accessible by the Metro.
4. Cleveland, Ohio
Sure, some bad blood might run between Steelers and Browns fans but Cleveland still offers a delightful weekend getaway. Drive or hop aboard an Amtrak train for your two hour journey to the city by the lake where a full menu of sights await: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the house from A Christmas Story, and the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.
Carve out time to enjoy Cleveland's eclectic dining scene, visiting such eateries as Pier W, Sterle's Lake House, The Greenhouse Tavern, the Standard, and Soho Kitchen and Bar.
5. Baltimore, Maryland
Enjoying the rolling hills and quiet countryside as you drive toward the beautiful city of Baltimore, which boasts the jaw-dropping Inner Harbor. You'll find plenty to keep you busy in the Inner Harbor alone - from the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center to the Port Discovery Children's Museum and the Babe Ruth Museum.
Climb aboard a water or taxi or drink in spectacular views of Baltimore from high atop the Top of the Level Observation Level. Don't forget to take in an O's game if you're in town during baseball season.
Check in for the night at a harbor-front hotel - such as the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront - or opt for something quainter like the 1840s Carrollton Inn.
6. Lake Erie
Indulge in a relaxing vacation on the sandy beaches of Lake Erie. Presque Isle State Park boasts a plethora of things to do: Hiking, biking, kayaking, bird watching, and fishing. Of course, you'll also want spend some time soaking up the sun on one of the beaches along Lake Erie. Journey beyond the state park for more adventure, such as the Erie Zoo and Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park, perfect for those winter or humid summer days.
Relax as you explore the eclectic restaurants in Erie: Sara's, Peninsula Getaway, and New York Lunch. And, if you get a little homesick for the Burgh, go for Eat 'N Park.
7. Cherry Springs State Park
Experience the most unspoiled views of the nighttime sky that you'll find on the eastern seaboard. Cherry Springs State Park beckons aspiring and professional astronomers as well as those who just love stargazing. Spend the entire weekend at the park, which offers 30 campsites.
The 82 acre state park is flanked by the massive Susquehannock State Forest, also the perfect spot for a weekend getaway. Embrace the outdoors at the state forest by hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and fishing. Pitch a tent at one of the campsites, most of which feature bathrooms and showers, for a relaxing weekend under the stars.
8. Mt. Gretna
Experience the tranquility of small town life with a weekend getaway to Mt. Gretna, a tiny town of only 200 full-time residents. But, don't let its size fool you. Mt. Gretna offers plenty to do and sheer relaxation, whatever your heart desires. Indulge in old-fashioned fun with a trip to the Mt. Gretna Roller Rink. Learn more about the small town at the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society. Or, spend a few lazy days at Mt. Gretna Lake and Beach, which features swimming, kayaking, a kids' dock, and a cozy snack bar.
No trip to Mt. Gretna would be complete without a visit to the Jigger Shop Ice Cream Parlor or the Gretna Timbers dinner theater. Curl up each night at the fairy tale Mt. Gretna Inn.
Immerse yourself in history with a visit to Pennsylvania's most historic and
haunted town. Gettysburg is the ideal weekend getaway for history buffs who can visit Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg Battlefield, the Eisenhower National Historic Site, and the Gettysburg Museum of History.
Feel chills slither down your spine by also checking out some of the town's most famous haunted sites: Devil's Den, Jennie Wade House, Sachs Covered Bridge, the Gettysburg Hotel, the Farnsworth House Inn, and Gettysburg College. For a unique experience, check into the Tillie Pierce House or the Gettysburg Hotel and dine at the Dobbin House Tavern, all sites that are said to be haunted.
Don’t have the time to hit the road on one of the best weekend getaways from Pittsburgh? How about a
delightful day trip by train?