Once in a Lifetime

What’s on your ultimate must-see list? Internationally acclaimed art? Thrilling athletic endeavors? Unique wildlife sightings? Pennsylvania abounds with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and we’ve picked some for every season. 

 

Great Allegheny Passage - Pittsburgh and its Countryside/ Laurel Highlands

Somerset, Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette and Allegheny counties
www.atatrail.org
Considered to be one of the nation’s most popular rail trails, the Great Allegheny Passage begins in Pittsburgh, Pa., and crosses the border into Maryland, eventually ending in the nation’s capital. This 320-mile trail offers a flat ride for a close look at steel mills, roller coasters and passing locomotives – all before you leave Allegheny County. Traverse amazing woodlands and stick close to campgrounds, restaurants and even a few pubs!

 

Appalachian Trail Midway Point - Dutch Country Roads

Cumberland Valley
www.atmuseum.org
The midpoint of this 2,180-mile trek sits in Cumberland Valley, where day hikers can pick from different routes near the Appalachian Trail Museum. Located in Pennsylvania’s Pine Grove Furnace State Park, the museum is housed in a historical artifact that was built more than 200 years ago. Current exhibits include a trail shelter that was built by hiker legend Earl Shaffer. Hikers that pass through this area love to pop off-trail for ice cream in the park.

 

Pine Creek Gorge - Pennsylvania Wilds

Wellsboro
www.pacanyon.com
Pine Creek Gorge, commonly referred to as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, is surrounded by approximately 165,000 acres of the Tioga State Forest. The Turkey Paths carves a challenging route from the east lip of the Pine Creek Gorge in Wellsboro, where a waterfall rewards hikers at the bottom. The multi-use Pine Creek Rail Trail provides a flat path to explore the bottom via covered wagon.

 

Wright Immersion - Laurel Highlands

Fayette and Westmoreland counties
www.polymathpark.com
Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, Fallingwater, is stunning framed by autumn foliage in the Laurel Highlands. This landmark was named on of “12 landmarks that will change the way you see the world” by Travel + Leisure magazine. Pop over to Kentuck Knob, known for being one of the last homes completed by the legendary architect. Then, book a stay in Duncan House to actually sleep in one of his Usonian homes and feel how his designs bring the outside in.

 

Stock Car Racing Experience - Pocono Mountains

Blakeslee
www.877stockcar.com
Are you ready for the experience of a lifetime? Take the checkered flag at NASCAR®’s famous 2.5 mile Pocono Raceway and turn that dream into reality. The Poconos Raceway facility in Blakeslee offer NASCAR® fans opportunities to learn to drive the cars they see their favorite stars maneuver each week – or race their own on the track!

 

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary - Philadelphia and the Countryside

Kempton
www.hawkmountain.org
Come watch the birds of prey migrate: a flock of raptors heads south along the Appalachian Mountains in Cumberland County. This 2,600-acre natural area in Southwestern Pennsylvania is famous as the world’s first refuge for birds of prey and provides visitors an eye-level view of the annual hawk migration. Staff are on hand to teach visitors about 16 species in this eco-tourism destination, under protection for the last 80 years.

 

Beaver Stadium - The Alleghenies

State College
www.gopsusports.com
Have you ever stood among a wall of 106,000 people, all cheering for the same thing? Particularly at a “whiteout” game, where all Penn State fans wear white shirts in State college? The experience is practically an American rite of passage.

 

Groundhog Day - PA Great Outdoors

Punxsutawney
www.groundhog.org
Bill Murray fans might find the Groundhog Day celebration wilder than the film of the same name – even the Groundhog Ball in Punxsutawney. Prepare to stand outside overnight to glimpse Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction atop Gobbler’s Knob.

 

Dog Sledding in the Poconos - Pocono Mountains

Skytop
www.skytop.com
Learn what it takes to raise and train sled dogs that enter Alaska’s Iditarod race. The 5,500-acre Skytop Lodge resort allows you to take these dogs out for a ride and feel what it’s like to drive the sled in the Pocono Mountains.

 

Bethlehem and Christkindlmarkt - Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem
www.christmascity.org
Experience holiday shopping like never before at a tradition that dates back to medieval Germany. Known as Christmas City, shoppers can nibble pastries, browse artisan wares or buy cocoa for a horse-drawn carriage ride through historic Bethlehem.