For those visiting Pennsylvania, the state is filled with interesting places and attractions. Whether you're looking to enjoy outdoor adventure, spa retreats, cultural experiences or just scenic beauty you can find it all in the Keystone State. As it can be difficult to choose where to go with so many options, we've highlighted three easy getaways in Pennsylvania that make for great weekend getaways or combined for a longer visit.
Located in northeastern Pennsylvania, the Pocono Mountains offer a range of experiences. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventure, a ski outing, a family vacation, an arts-themed trip, romance, a solo retreat or a luxury vacation, you''ll find it. Encompassing 2,400 square miles (1,441 square meters) of mountains, valleys, woodland and lakes, the Poconos immerses you in natural beauty no matter what you choose to do. Spend some time exploring the outdoors, beginning with a trip to Bushkill Falls -- home to eight waterfalls -- touted as the Niagara of Pennsylvania. Here visitors can hike, paddleboat, fish, take in Native American and Wildlife exhibits and play miniature golf. If you want a guide for your Poconos outdoor adventure, the Jim Thorpe eXperience offers biking, hiking and kayaking excursions as well as historical experiences and multi-day tours.
For those looking for some indoor attractions, the Poconos is home to interesting museums and historical sites like the Pocono Indian Museum, Bethel School (circa 1872), Dorflinger Glass Museum, Harry Packer Mansion, Mauch Chunk Museum & Cultural Center, and the Hickory Run State Park & Boulder Field, which has amazingly remained flat and barren for over 20,000 years.
A unique accommodation option when visiting the Poconos is Split Rock Resort & Golf Club, home to a huge indoor water park for both children and adults. You can also visit the CamelBeach Water Park, one of the East's largest water parks.
Those with a sweet tooth -- as well as a passion for adventure, indulgence and fun -- will love Hershey Park. Home to the world's chocolatey-ist theme park, visitors can ride 11 roller coasters and 15 water rides, take in comedy shows and high energy dance numbers, dine with their favorite candy bars come to life, tour a working chocolate factory and gorge yourself on some of the most decadent desserts you've ever tasted. Make sure to visit the Spa at the Hotel Hershey, home to numerous cocoa-infused treatments like a Whipped Cocoa Bath, Cocoa Facial, Cocoa Massage, Chocolate Bean Polish and Chocolate Fondue Wrap, to name a few.
Hershey Park isn't all about chocolate, however. Golf is also a popular activity, especially at Hershey Golf where there are three different courses. At the Hershey Gardens, you can stroll through 23 acres of bright roses, colorful flowers, rare trees and over 300 butterflies. And at the ZooAmerica Wildlife Park, over 200 animals and 75 species from around North America are represented.
Visiting Lancaster Amish Country is like stepping back in history to a time when life was simpler and tradition was strong. Astonishingly, Lancaster Amish Country has remained unaffected by technological advances and modern life, with horse-drawn buggies still the main mode of transportation, energy coming from windmill power, homemade food and garments sewn by hand in simple colors and fabrics. Here, you're surrounded by beautiful countryside dotted with farms that, when combined with the slow pace of life, make it easy to relax. Make sure to take a horse-and-buggy ride -- there are a number of companies offering the experience -- as well as tour an Amish farm and house for a better understanding of how these people live. The Landis Valley Museum is another worthwhile stop, featuring a working farm and garden as well as a general store with old-fashioned tools, hand-carved housewares, leather goods, woven linens and more. Other top attractions include Wheatland, home of former President James Buchanan, filled with period furnishings and open to the public; Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant where one can sample local culture through the palate; the historic Wright's Ferry Mansion built in 1738 and filled with period artwork and furnishings; and the Intercourse Canning Company, a great place to sample local food products.
What are some of your favorite places to visit in Pennsylvania?
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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