Pennsylvania Travel Guide

Pennsylvania is a big state with a lot of tricks up its sleeve. If you think the only thing to do in this state is explore the historic streets of Philadelphia, think again! Pennsylvania state parks, ski resorts, amusement parks, and sports are all redefining Pennsylvania vacations. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you can have in Pennsylvania!

Save your money by choosing vacation rentals instead of overpriced hotels, and you’ll have more to spend on sampling ales at breweries, trying adventurous activities like rock climbing, or going outlet shopping. For Pennsylvania lodging, look no further than VacationRentals.com and be tempted by the condo, cabin, or lakefront cottage of your dreams!

What to Do in Pennsylvania

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Get Wild in the Great Outdoors

Did you know that Pennsylvania state parks are award-winning? The mountains, trails, and lakes of Pennsylvania aren’t only well-preserved, but are just begging to be explored! Whether hiking, fishing, biking, or horseback riding is your activity of choice, the state parks of Pennsylvania are sure to delight. Don’t miss the chance to stroll along the famous Appalachian Trail or go kayaking on pristine Lake Erie. Pennsylvania ski resorts also provide an adrenaline rush. To get that same thrill outside of the winter season, visit Bushkill Falls (the Niagara of Pennsylvania) and take your mountain bike along the trails and bridges of the Pocono Mountains.

The vast stretch of land between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh has endless options for outdoor adventure: go hang-gliding in Hyner View State Park, head to the sparkling lakes for a tube ride, or plan an underground adventure in one of Pennsylvania’s caverns.

If you want to take Pennsylvania vacations a little slower, give fishing a try. You will find more than 30 species of fish in the rivers, lakes, and streams of this northeastern state. Favorite places for fishing include the Susquehanna River, Lake Erie, and Fishing Creek (one of the best trout streams in Pennsylvania). Round out your outdoor adventure with bird watching in Pennsylvania state parks, a round of golf, or hiking to a waterfall.

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Family Fun in Pennsylvania

All year long families can plan exciting getaways. Pennsylvania ski resorts are one of the top choices and help families to remain active in the cold winter months. Get your kids involved by arranging for ski or snowboarding lessons. For the little ones, spend some time building a snowman or going sledding. From ice fishing to snowshoeing, you will be surprised at all the winter activities available in Pennsylvania!

Beyond the Great Outdoors there are many ways for families to enjoy Pennsylvania vacations. Kids will smile from ear to ear when your trip includes the celebrated amusement parks of Pennsylvania. From Hersheypark to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom to Dutch Wonderland in Amish Country, there will be more rides and games than you could ever enjoy in just one trip!

Your kids will want to leave Pennsylvania lodging at dawn the day you plan on visiting the Elmwood Park Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, Erie Zoo, or Pittsburgh Zoo. From petting zoos to exotic creatures, the zoos of Pennsylvania will leave your kids in awe. Wildlife enthusiasts will also want to check out Lake Tobias Wildlife Park and Reptiland. Don’t forget about sports as well! Treat your kids to a hockey, baseball, or football game they won’t soon forget.

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Adults-Only Pleasures

Pennsylvania vacations can take many forms. Thinking about leaving the kids at home? Rent a little cabin in the Poconos and reconnect over a weekend retreat. The farmers markets of Pennsylvania will provide plenty of supplies for a gourmet meal and local hiking trails are ideal for a romantic picnic. Don’t forget the champagne!

Wine lovers will be interested to know that Pennsylvania contains 11 wine trails to explore. With over 70 wineries, there are many different wines to try! In the spring, head to the Susquehanna heartland for tastings. Brookmore Winery and Vineyard Inn, Hunters Valley Winery, and Shade Mountain Winery all provide delicious tastings and interesting details on the winemaking process.

Are you more interested in beer than wine? The Yuengling Brewery is a favorite for many travelers. If smaller micro-brews intrigue you even more, be sure to check out East End Brewing Company in Pittsburgh. Top off your romantic getaway with a visit to the spa or an intimate dinner for two at one of the top Pennsylvania restaurants.

Seasonal Events in Pennsylvania

There are annual events that draw crowds each and every year. For the following events, be sure to book Pennsylvania lodging in advance. Fairs and festivals celebrate everything from the Renaissance to the arts, so take your pick from a busy calendar of events!

For a spring event, head to Philadelphia on May 1 for the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival. This annual event closes Walnut Street for a celebration of food, family fun, and fashion. In the middle of May, the Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival is sure to keep the kids entertained. June brings an annual arts festival called the Gettysburg Festival, and August has a summertime family festival called Celebrate Erie.

Travelers that plan Pennsylvania vacations every year look forward to county fairs as well. The Bloomsburg County Fair is over 150 years old and has concerts, shows, games, and food to keep your whole family entertained.

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What to See in Pennsylvania

pennsylvnia driving

Scenic Byways

Across the state, there are 18 scenic byways that will make your road-trip dreams come true. From Pennsylvania state parks to historic treasures to gushing waterfalls, you never know what you will find around the corner of these scenic drives! Blue Route will bring you through a colonial plantation, Bucktail Trail will show you over 100 miles of unspoiled forests, and the Delaware River Valley will reveal many historic monuments and towns.

It will be difficult to choose between all of the scenic drives: Gateway to the Endless Mountains, High Plateau, Lake Wilhelm, the Seaway Trail, and more. Of these 18 scenic byways, the one that is often cited as favorite is the Viaduct Valley Way, a leisurely drive through tree-shaded Susquehanna Valley.

History & Heritage

Across the state of Pennsylvania, you will find attractions, monuments, and museums that bring a variety of points in history to life. From a visit to Amish Country to the site of the Civil War's biggest battle, you will be glad you took a moment away from Pennsylvania state parks to discover the rich history. Visit Gettysburg and you will leave with a greater understanding of the Civil War. Many points in history saw significant events in Pennsylvania. Throughout the state you will discover points of interest dealing with the Underground Railroad, Women's Rights, and the Labor Movement. If you're looking for something a little less serious, historic covered bridges are beautiful to see and historic towns such as Milford will transport you to a different time.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Pennsylvania

pennsylvania shopping

Squeeze in a Little Shopping

Any true shopping enthusiast will have heard of the many opportunities for value in Pennsylvania before they even step foot in the state. Famous for outlet centers, Pennsylvania vacations wouldn’t be complete without a bargain or two. Extra room in your Pennsylvania lodging might quickly fill with purchases from flea markets, antique shops, country markets, and factory outlets.

If you don’t ski, let your family enjoy Pennsylvania ski resorts while you do a little shopping. You will find outlet centers across the state with some of the most popular being Tanger Outlet Center, Rockvale Outlets, Franklin Mills, and the Premium Outlets in Limerick. Antique enthusiasts will love the Antique Dealer’s Association which puts 500 individual dealers under one roof in New Oxford while those looking for the latest looks will head for the chic boutiques of Rittenhouse Row in Philadelphia.

The Flavors of Pennsylvania

From Scranton to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh to Lake Erie, there are restaurants and chefs that are producing top-quality cuisine. No matter how comfortable your Pennsylvania lodging is, you must get out and see what they’re cooking. From fine dining to barbecue and quirky cafes to Irish pubs, you will find it all in Pennsylvania!

For a special night on the town, put on your high heels and make a reservation at Fountain Restaurant in the Four Seasons of Philadelphia or Buddakan for modern Asian dining. For casual dining in Pittsburgh, try 1902 Landmark Tavern or August Henry’s City Saloon. If you’re in Scranton, head for Coopers to sample fresh seafood on an outdoor deck. On Lake Erie, dining favorites include Angry Bull Steakhouse and Black Bear Saloon.

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When to Visit Pennsylvania

Whether you are planning a trip to Pennsylvania ski resorts or state parks, there are reasons to plan this vacation all year long. During the summer, families flock for Pennsylvania lodging to enjoy fishing, hiking, and kayaking. These months will be the most crowded and visitors will see the highest prices. The spring and fall offer more affordable prices and the weather is still pleasant for all of the outdoor activities. Pennsylvania ski resorts are growing in popularity, so reserve your vacation rental in advance!

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What to Bring to Pennsylvania

What to pack depends on what type of vacation you are planning. If you want to explore the Pennsylvania state parks, don’t forget your hiking boots, insect repellent, and sunscreen. Dig deep in the closet for that picnic set you haven't used in a while, and put it into good use on your next trip! For a city break in Philadelphia, pack along your high heels and get ready to hit the town. Whether you want to attend the theater or dance the night away, there are many reasons to get dressed up in Philadelphia. Be sure to bring entertainment for the kids, especially if you plan on cruising along the scenic byways during your trip. A good map or GPS system is essential as well.

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Local Services in Pennsylvania

Local services vary widely across Pennsylvania. In the urban centers of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh you will find anything you need almost 24 hours a day. If, on the other hand, you’re planning a trip to explore Pennsylvania state parks, services might be a little further and farther between. In general, you can depend on farmers markets and grocery stores to meet your basic needs. Banks, post offices, and stores operate under normal business hours, but might have limited openings during the off season. At Pennsylvania ski resorts, expect to be able to rent any equipment you might need.

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What to Know About Pennsylvania

There is a Pennsylvania vacation for every type of traveler. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, shopaholic, or budding foodie there is an area of this large state that is worth exploring. Escape to the Poconos, explore the University of Scranton, wander through the Italian Market of Philadelphia, or discover your own favorite corner of a state park. Whether you choose to do so on this or a future trip to Pennsylvania, exploring the history of Philadelphia is a wonderful way to learn more about America's history. From sightseeing to walking tours, you will be surprised at all the fascinating information there is to learn about America's Revolution in Philadelphia.

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Getting to Pennsylvania

Most visitors to Pennsylvania find that a car is the best way to explore. Whether you drive from home or rent a car at one of the airports (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are the two largest), you will be glad to have the freedom that a car will provide. Pennsylvania is bordered by New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. It is easily accessible from these states and beyond in the Northeast.

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Why Pennsylvania vacation rentals?

There is the perfect Pennsylvania rental for every traveler. Whether you want a sleek condo in the newest neighborhood of Philadelphia or a remote cabin in the Pocono Mountains, you will find your ideal match on VacationRentals.com. A spacious rental will provide a cozy environment whether you want to spend quality time with your family or are looking to set the mood for a romantic getaway. You can look for amenities in a rental that hotels just don't offer, from a gourmet chef's kitchen to a wood-burning fireplace. Don't spend your vacation in a cold hotel room, but in a warm home away from home!

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