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Pennsylvania is located in the northeastern region of the United States. It’s characterized by wide stretches of rural farmland, big cities, national forests, and towering mountains.
History lovers will delight in the long list of Pennsylvania attractions that date back to the American Revolution. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the abundant offering of recreational activities. Museum-lovers and gallery-goers will find quite a range of interesting institutions.
Whatever vacation activities you prefer, Pennsylvania provides an attractive blend of history, culture, and nature.
To help you decide what area of the state to visit, we’ve put together a helpful guide to the best places to visit in Pennsylvania!
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Pennsylvania is generally considered a safe state to visit. The violent crime rate is the 21st lowest in the nation. However, there are a few precautions you’ll want to take during your stay.
Be more cautious in the larger Pennsylvania cities, especially late at night. A good rule is to stick to the tourist areas. Most areas of the city that experience higher crime rates are places that tourists would have no reason to travel to.
If you plan to visit Pennsylvania during winter, make sure you’re prepared for the cold. Snowfall and blizzards are common in certain areas of the state. Check the weather forecast before your trip so you know what to expect.
Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania. It’s filled with many important American Revolutionary sites as well as contemporary landmarks. Today, the city has a very modern and arty vibe. Besides visiting museums and art galleries, you should also check out the lively local markets and indulge in a Philly cheesesteak!
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Pittsburg has a long list of attractions geared towards every type of traveler. You’ll find plenty of museums, art galleries, and historic sites. The downtown area is a great place to explore the local, modern culture. It’s a hive of activity, buzzing with markets, restaurants, local breweries, and cafes.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg is one of the top Pennsylvania historical sites. The Battle of Gettysburg was fought from July 1- 3, 1863. The Union and Confederate armies suffered around 50,000 casualties. Explore the area where this event occurred and receive a detailed look at the history. Visit museums, Civil War-era homes, and the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
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Harrisburg is a historic Pennsylvania city with ties to the American Civil War. The city was used as a training center for the Union Army. It was also a major rail center, serving as a vital link between the Atlantic coast and the Midwest. When you visit, tour the Pennsylvania State Capitol and learn more about the city’s rich history.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Lancaster is located in the heart of rural Pennsylvania. This quaint and scenic area of the state is characterized by rolling hills, farmlands, and a large Amish population. Although Lancaster has a small-town vibe, it offers a long list of attractions. Wander museums, visit art galleries, and discover the quaint Amish shops and restaurants.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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Hershey, Pennsylvania is home to The Hershey Company, which makes the famous Hershey Bar and Hershey’s Kisses. You’ll find several fun attractions in this community. Visit the Hershey Museum for all things related to chocolate, including exhibits about the man who created the chocolate brand, Milton S. Hershey.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Erie is one of the best places to go in Pennsylvania for some aquatic fun! This city is especially popular with both tourists and locals during the summer. Off the beach, you’ll find museums that both children and adults will enjoy. Erie also has several parks and family-friendly attractions, like a zoo and an indoor water park.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Erie, Pennsylvania
The Laurel Highlands is one of the most scenic Pennsylvania destinations. If you’re looking to explore nature, you’ll find ample options in the area. Enjoy the hiking and biking trails. Admire the local wildlife. Or go on a white water rafting adventure! During winter, this is also a popular spot for skiing.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania
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Bethlehem is a quaint, historic city in eastern Pennsylvania. There are a number of interesting historical attractions and annual events that take place here. It’s also one of the best places to see in Pennsylvania during Christmas. A German-style Christmas market takes place yearly and the city comes alive with holiday cheer!
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
If you’re looking for an outdoor Pennsylvania vacation spot to enjoy the wonders of nature, head to the Pocono Mountains. This area is beautiful in every season, and outdoor adventures abound. The forested peaks, lakes, and valleys provide plenty of year-round, open-air fun. This is the perfect destination for families, friends, couples, and nature enthusiasts!
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Pocono Mountains , Pennsylvania
Lititz is a historic city that perfectly embodies small-town America. Charm can be found around every corner, from the log, brick, and stone homes to the local stores downtown. Visit the Julius Sturgis Pretzels Bakery and Wilbur Chocolate, both founded in the 19th century. Pursue art galleries, shop chic boutiques, and visit a cozy cafe.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Lititz, Pennsylvania
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Valley Forge is one of the most historic tourist attractions in Pennsylvania. This is the site where American soldiers encamped during the winter of 1777 – 1778. They endured unbelievably harsh conditions and suffered nearly 2,000 casualties to starvation, disease, and poor living conditions. Today, visitors can explore the site of this infamous Revolutionary War encampment.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Jim Thorpe is located in eastern Pennsylvania. The town is named after James Francis Thorpe, who was an American athlete and the first Native American to win a gold medal for the United States. Known as the “Gateway to the Poconos”, the town is filled with local museums, shops, restaurants, and plenty of outdoor adventure.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
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Allentown is the third-largest city in Pennsylvania. It offers visitors plenty of unique cultural and historic attractions. There are museums that cover an eclectic range of topics and plenty of kid-friend attractions, like urban parks and theme parks. The buzzing downtown area is filled with local breweries, restaurants, and a wide spectrum of stores.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Strasburg is a great vacation spot in Pennsylvania to experience the Amish culture. Step back in time and experience the simple lifestyle of this self-sufficient community. Visit an authentic Amish farm, enjoy a family outing at the Dutch Wonderland amusement park, and enjoy the best of Amish home-cooking.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Strasburg, Pennsylvania
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Scranton is a small city in northeast Pennsylvania that’s big on history. Many of Scranton’s attractions showcase its industrial role in iron and coal production. Explore the culture of the city at the many museums and historic sites. Tour a coal mine, visit the Electric City Trolley Museum and take a ride on the Erie Lackawanna Railroad.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Nockamixon State Park offers 5,283 acres of outdoor fun. Popular activities include hiking, biking, disc golfing, fishing, and boating. There are campgrounds, picnic spots, and a large pool to swim in. The park is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Nockamixon State Park, Pennsylvania
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania. Whether you gravitate toward urban action, outdoor adventure, or history and culture, you’ll easily find what you’re looking for during your visit.
Explore the founding of the nation, visit infamous battlegrounds, and historical landmarks. Travel to majestic state parks and peaceful Amish settlements. Discover quaint towns and bustling cities.
With so many exciting things to see in Pennsylvania, this is a state you’ll want to visit over and over again!
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Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!