What to See and Do in Southern Pennsylvania
Horse and buggy in Amish Country
If you are thinking of new and interesting places for a fun camping trip this summer you may be surprised to see how much Southern Pennsylvania has to offer. Not only are there more than 40 campgrounds in and near Lancaster County, but there are plenty of greats things to do in Dutch country.
When to Go:
The best time to visit is during May through June and September through October.
How to Get There:
Philadelphia is the nearest city with an international airport. Southern Pennsylvania is a two hour drive from Washington D.C or NYC. You can get there via I-95, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, or U.S. Routes 30, 222, or 322.
What to Do:
Allow two days minimum to visit. Below we give you our list of 6 must see attractions.
- Strasburg Rail Road - Allow 1 hr minimum.
The Strasburg Rail Road offers a scenic 9 mile round-trip excursion from Strasburg to Paradise, Pennsylvania. The train, which dates back to 1832 and was originally chartered to carry milk, is powered by and iron steam locomotive and has wooden coaches. You can make a day of this attraction by letting the conductor know you want to hop off the train for a picnic at Groff's Grove, where picnic tables overlook a massive field and the children can play on swings and jungle gym.
- National Toy Train Museum - Allow 1 hr minimum.
The museum is built like a historic train station and is shaped like a toy train. Visitors can enjoy any of the hundreds of electric model electric trains, from mid 1800's style to present, that whizz by on the toy tracks. The museum is only open Friday through Monday, but is worth the visit. It is free for children under 6 years old, $3 for 6-12 year olds, and $6.50 for adults, but they also have family discounts. You can spend time looking at all the exhibits of trains or go into the train store and pick up a few more for your own collection.
- Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park - Allow 4 hrs minimum.
Dutch Wonderland is called A Kingdom for Kids for a reason - it features over thirty rides all geared towards little ones. That means no more tears for being too short or too scared to ride. At the Wonderland you will find all of the classic rides, ranging from bumper cars and a log flume, to the dizzying tilt-a-whirl. Those aged 3-59 can buy a royalty ticket for $32 or can book a combination ticket with the more adult Hershey park for $71. Either way it makes for a great day and is a stop that the kids are sure to remember.
- Plain and Fancy Farm - Allow 3 hrs minimum.
Plain and Fancy Farm is open daily from 9 AM to 8 PM and offers visitors the ability to experience the Amish way of life. The farm is set on 9 acres of land and is surrounded by Amish farmlands. You can jump on a 2 hour "Amish Experience" farmland Buggy Ride tour that travels through the middle of real Amish Farms, and passes by Amish schools, shops, farm stands, businesses, and even a horse dealer. Other highlights include the Amish Experience Theater, Country Homestead and Farmland Tours, a Country Store, gardens and farm animals.
- Gettysburg National Military Park and Museum - Allow 2 hrs minimum.
The sight of one of the U.S.A's greatest speeches is now a simple field, but the momentous history that can be felt there and the message Abraham Lincoln sent is, to this day, inspiring. Here you can go on a guided bus tour for $25, or do your own self-guided driving tour, watch a Gettysburg documentary on the renowned Cyclorama - a massive 360-degree, three dimensional "Battle of Gettysburg" painting measuring 377 feet around and 42 feet high, or walk around the beautiful battlefield on your own. A visit to Gettysburg National Military Park and Museum can range from 2 hours to a full day, if you decide to tour the battlefield, have a picnic, and walk around the battlefield on foot.
- Hershey Chocolate World - Allow 1 hr minimum.
The sites motto, "Welcome to a World of Chocolate", does not even begin to explain the experience here. This year they opened up a "create your own chocolate bar" attraction, where you choose your own ingredients and design your own wrapper to create your own customized candy bar! Other highlights include trolley tours through Chocolate Town USA, and a guided, interactive discussion of chocolate lore. There is a charge for each attraction, but expect to pay around $20 per person if you visit two or three of the attractions. Such attractions include the Tasting Tour, a 3-D show and Little Learners Tour. It is great fun for all chocolate lovers and depending on interest it can be either a one hour adventure or three or four.
As a whole, Southern Pennsylvania offers a great escape into a part of the country that isn't often associated with tourism. Whether it's great homemade food, easy pleasings, country scenery, or amusement parks that you're after, Southern Pennsylvania has all this and more. Southern Pennsylvania offers the perfect family getaway.
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