Pennsylvania, with its long and fascinating history, adventurous big cities, and stunning landscapes have long been a major destination for travelers. Home of some of the most beautiful and exciting countryside views the country has to offer, few states have such a rich collection of charming small towns as Pennsylvania, featuring everything from chocolate factories doubling as amusement parks to beautiful, secluded forest trails.
Doylestown is Pennsylvania's small-town artsy hub. Once the home to artist Henry Mercer, Doylestown is dotted and shaped by his creations. Architecture buffs must visit Mercer Mile, where Henry Mercer’s unique, castle-like buildings are located: the eclectic Fonthill Castle, and the Mercer Museum among them. For Impressionist lovers, the Michener Museum has a fabulous collection, and the scenic views of the town are its own piece of art as well.
Yes, that is Hershey as in Hershey’s Chocolates! Home of the world-famous chocolate brand, Hershey, Pennsylvania is as sweet a destination as can be. Visitors can check out Hershey’s Chocolate World specialty museum, counting with tastings and historical walkthroughs, and then have fun at Hersheypark, a theme park with dozens of roller coasters and water slides. The history and amusement of Hershey's make it a fun destination for the whole family.
The Victorian town of Wellsboro is a perfect combination of small-town vintage charm and stunning natural beauty. The jewel of Wellsboro’s attractions, among the numerous State Parks that surround it, is the Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania’s own Grand Canyon. 50 miles long and 1,000 feet deep, the Gorge takes up more than 30,000 acres of forest land - the perfect place for adventurer nature lovers.
There is hardly a small town in the state, maybe even the country, that is as famous as Gettysburg. Well known as the stage of the Battle of Gettysburg and of President Abraham Lincoln’s iconic Gettysburg Address, this town is a place where history comes to life - sometimes literally in recurring reenactments of historical moments. Museums and guided tours make this charming town a perfect getaway for history buffs.
Most well-known for their yearly Groundhog Day celebration, Punxsutawney is a great destination - year-round as well! Its world-famous weather-predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, is a fixture in the town, and visitors can have fun trying to find the dozens of Phil statues spread around; the real Phil and his wife can be seen through the glass at Phil’s burrow; learn meteorological science, myth, and folklore at the Weather Discovery Center; explore the trails at the famous Gobblers Knob and Mahoning Shadow to enjoy the outdoors; or, of course, visit during the Groundhog Festival, which counts with furry weather predictions, great food and tons of fun performances!
Bellefonte is an elegant borough, a “Victorian jewel” right at the heart of Pennsylvania. It has acquired this moniker due to the stunning Victorian architecture that still lines the downtown. A charming place, Bellefonte has many delicious eateries and restaurants. Close by is the lovely Talleyrand Park, a wonderful to stroll and relax, or make the way to the local Big Spirits Distillery, with rights to guided tours, an onsite bar, and of course, tasting! For art lovers, the Bellefonte Art Museum is definitely worth checking out as well!
4 Eagles Mere
The charming town of Eagles Mere offers endless attractions for both history and outdoor enthusiasts. Beautiful historical churches and buildings, war museums, and historical society conservations wait to be explored and discovered by curious visitors; for a nature-filled promenade, Eagles Mere is quite literally surrounded by luscious forests. It is a popular entry point to the famous Worlds End State Park, and at the town center, music festivals, get-togethers, fairs, and amusement events are in a constant rotation, keeping tourists and locals amused year-round.
Ligonier is a small town that can rival the excitement of many big cities out there! The preserved Fort Ligonier, from the Indian and French War, and the Rail Museum are must-sees for any history lovers. The Ligonier Country Market is a popular destination for locals, neighbors, and, of course, visitors! Fresh local produce, regional cuisine, decor, antiques…everything’s at the market. Beyond all of that, Ligonier is also home to the oldest amusement park in the country - Idlewild and SoakZone have been in business since 1878 - but it's still just as much fun today.
Ohiopyle is the smallest small town on this list, rounding up less than 50 residents in total. While not exactly a bustling city, Ohiopyle has a steady rotation of tourists week to week, who come to bask in the breathtaking natural beauty of the town. The Ohiopyle State Park offers stunning hikes and trails in over 19,000 acres of forest land, where outdoor enthusiasts can explore the waterways and waterfalls. To wind down for the day, the town also features a stellar collection of eateries and interesting architecture downtown!
Lititz is a place where historical tradition and forward-facing pioneering come together. The coolest small town on this side of the country, Lititz visitors can see the historical covered bridges that surround the town, take a stroll and do some duck sightings at the Lititz Spring Park, or be amazed by the majestic creatures of the Wolf Sanctuary. For the foodies, Lititz is a veritable paradise: the birthplace of the hard pretzel, visitors can learn the mechanics of pretzel twisting, get some taste testing at the historic Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, and still leave room for a food tour in downtown Lititz.