With so many waterways across Pennsylvania, it’s hard to find a town that ISN’T on a river. We are so excited for warmer weather that we just had to make a “to visit” list of our favorite riverfront towns. Here are 12 that we think everyone needs to spend a day (or more!) exploring.
Northumberland sits at the junction of the North and West branches of the Susquehanna River...so we consider it a double-river town.
One of the coolest landmarks in Northumberland, the Joseph Priestley House, was home to the renowned scientist and philosopher in the 18th century. Priestley is credited with the invention of soda water...oh yeah, and the discovery of oxygen.
If you can tear your eyes away from the beautiful view, spend some time exploring the Northumberland Historical District.
Wrightsville, which also sits along the Susquehanna River, was once the home of the world's longest covered bridge.
Shank's Mane Outfitters offers tons of opportunities to get out and play. Their kayak trips are the perfect way to enjoy the river.
After you explore the river, head over to John Wright Restaurant for a meal with an excellent view.
Sunset over the Susquehanna is magical.
Renovo is located on the West Branch Susquehanna River.
Renovo sits along the Bucktail State Park Natural Area. The park is a great spot to watch for wildlife - deer, mink, otters, and black bears are common visitors, as well as osprey and bald eagles.
Renovo is close to many beautiful waterways, including Kettle Creek State Park.
Hyner View State Park is only six miles east of Renovo, and offers some beautiful views of the Susquehanna.
Sunbury sits just across the river from Northumberland, so you could easily stretch out a day trip between both of these lovely river towns.
The Shikellamy State Park offers some great hiking trails (leading to some excellent viewpoints!) and historical remnants of the area's early industry.
Wyalusing has a rich Native American history; the Wyalusing Path was once used as a "shortcut" for those traveling between the North and East branches of the Susquehanna river from Wyalusing to the Native American village of Canaserage (which is now Muncie).
The Wyalusing Hotel is a great place to stop for lunch in the the downtown area.
The Grovedale Winery is another popular destination, both for their tasty wines AND amazingly beautiful location.
6. Lock Haven
Lock Haven was founded in 1833 as a lumber town and is now home to three sites on the National Register of Historic Places: Memorial Park Site, Heisey House, and Water Street District. All three showcase some amazing architecture and a worth checking out.
We can't wait to check out Broken Axe Brew House, which just opened up in December 2015.
Danville began its days as a trading post after it was purchased from the Iroquois by William Montgomery in 1774. It became an important transportation hub for the railroads and mining companies.
Montour County is the smallest in Pennsylvania, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of things to do. The Montour Area Recreation Commission has done an amazing job to build up the parks and trails in the area. The volunteer group helped to clear a path along the 200-year-old North Branch Canal, which is now open to walkers and bikers.
Hess Field and the J. Manley Robbins Trail - one of the oldest rail-trails in the nation - are popular destinations. The rural areas around Danville provide tons of opportunities to see local wildlife - especially for birdwatchers.
Selinsgrove is home to Susquehanna University, but is best known as the site of Penn's Creek Massacre in 1775 - local legends claim that Penn's Creek is still haunted by those killed in battle.
The Isle of Que - a narrow island in the Susquehanna River - is a beautiful spot to spend the day kayaking and a popular spot for fishing.
Selin's Grove Brewing Co., which was recognized as the 2014 "Best Beer in Pennsylvania" by the popular website RateBeer.com, is a refreshing spot to spend the afternoon following a day of adventures along the river.
Tidioute sits at the edge of the Allegheny River in a valley of the Allegheny National Forest.
Unlike many Pennsylvania towns, whose histories are rich with oil, mining, and lumber operations, Tidioute got its start in the cutlery industry. English immigrants built the Tidioute Cutlery Company in 1897 and produced knives in their Tidioute factory until 1911.
One of the most popular attractions in Tidioute is the Simpler Times Museum. The museum contains a huge collection of gasoline pumps and signs, as well as early oil and lumber equipment that is definitely worth a trip to see.
Tidioute is a hidden gem of a town. Too many people make the mistake of overlooking the tiny, beautiful town.
Lewisburg is home to Bucknell University and Lewisburg Federal penitentiary, both of which are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Campus theater looks a bit shaggy from the outside, but it is spectacular from the inside. We thought about positing an interior shot, but we don't want to taint your experience - you just have to see this one in person.
The Lewisburg Farmers Market is well known for its well stocked farm-fresh produce. If you are a foodie, or even just like to eat, you must come to check it out.
If you love the outdoors and adventures, Tionesta is the perfect place for you.
The Tionesta Market Village is a cute little shopping center that pops up in the center of town when the weather warms up (It's opening this year in May).
There are dozens of pop-up shops selling all kinds of artisan goods, local restaurants serving up to-go dishes, and live music to listen to while you wander through the "Mini Main Street."
The Tionesta Lighthouse (properly, the Sherman Memorial Lighthouse) sits atop the small Lighthouse Island directly off shore from downtown Tionesta. It stands only 50 feet tall and has a 76-step spiral staircase to the top. The Lighthouse opens up for tours a few times each year.
Although Franklin is most famous for AppleFest, which is held each year in the fall, we think this city needs some spring exploration too.
The downtown area is pretty, and serves as a great place for a leisurely stroll.
While in Franklin, you must check out DeBence Antique Music World. This unusual museum showcases more than 100 unusual mechanical musical instruments. Some pieces of the collection are very rare - possibly the last remaining of an antique line. There will definitely be a few you've never heard of, and others will make you wonder how the heck someone came up with it in the first place.
Other popular attractions in Franklin include the Barrow-Civic Theatre, the Franklin Public Library, and Riverfront park.
No matter what time of day it is, Franklin will always be a lovely river town - just check out this amazing photo of the Milky Way Galaxy taken by Nicholas A. Tonelli in Franklin.
Of course, there are hundreds of other river towns in Pennsylvania that absolutely deserve to be recognized…we just couldn’t fit them all into one list. Do you have a favorite that you don’t see here? Do you live in a lovely river town and want to show off your city pride? Tell us about it in the comments!
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