We asked Happy Travelers what hot spots and must-visit places they’re looking to check off their #PABucketList before the end of the year. With only six more months left of 2023, get inspiration from your fellow travelers and be sure to add these summer destinations in PA and iconic stops your #PABucketList.
1. See Phil’s Prognostication at Gobbler’s Knob
Visit the site where, every year in early February, the country’s most beloved rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, makes his annual prognostication. Watch and dance along to performances on center stage, keep warm with hot beverages, and witness as the legendary Phil declares six more weeks of winter or the start of an early spring. Stop by the Gobbler’s Knob Visitor Center and Gift Shop to purchase your own Groundhog Club memorabilia.
2. Join the Clouds at Kinzua State Park, Sky Walk
Experience some of the most breathtaking panoramic views of PA when you walk along the Kinzua Sky Walk. Named “One of the World’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Skywalks and Viewpoints in the World” by the Culture Trip, U.K., this 624-foot walkway has a railroad track that leads to the end of an overlook and features a partial glass floor. Visitors can gaze below into the park before they head down and hike, bike, and explore the park for themselves.
3. Reach the peak of 1,000 Steps
Located along the 85-mile long Standing Stone Trail, 1,000 Steps is one of the most well-known of the trail’s milestones and are located in Huntingdon County. The steps were built in the 1950s by quarry workers who cut away a large slice of Jacks Mountain to quarry the ganister stone used to make silica bricks. Happy Travelers are rewarded after climbing the jagged and steep steps with an incredible view from the top.
4. Shop ‘til you drop in the quaint Peddler’s Village
An Iconic place to experience summer in PA, visitors can stay, shop, and soak in the enchanting scenery at Peddler’s Village. The village has 65 unique shops and six delectable restaurants all located on 42 acres of landscaped gardens and brick pathways. Guests can experience seasonal special events and festivities, so make sure to check the calendar ahead of your trip. If you’re having too much fun, make it a weekend trip and stay at the Golden Plough Inn.
5. Discover the heart of Easton at Centre Square
When you wander around downtown Easton in the Lehigh Valley, you’ll stumble upon the heart of the downtown at Centre Square. If you visit on a Saturday, make a point to walk through the Easton Farmer’s Market – the country’s oldest open-air farmer’s market where vendors sell fresh, local produce and goods.
6. Visit the “Sweetest Place on Earth” – Hershey’s Chocolate World
Unwrap adventure and eat your way through history as you learn about the Hershey company’s legacy at Hershey’s Chocolate World. Smell the chocolate in the air, create your very own Hershey’s chocolate bar, or hear all about the candy empire during the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour. In 2023, help them celebrate 50 years with exciting events, festivities, and—of course—sweet treats!
7. Enjoy the wild rides at Knoebels Amusement Park
Did you know America’s largest free-admission amusement park is right here in PA? With 60 rides including three wooden roller coasters, three steel roller coasters, a carousel from 1913, and a Haunted Mansion, it’s no wonder Knoebels Amusement Park is a must-visit summer vacation spot in PA and has won an array of awards and been named a “Top 10 Family Friendly Amusement Park” by Travel Channel.
8. Visit the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater
Any reputable #PABucketList must include a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. This UNESCO World Heritage Site and PA treasure has been named one of the 12 landmarks that will change the way you see the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. Take a guided tour of the house and grounds to learn about this iconic piece of architecture, the incredible architect who designed it and the family who lived in it.
9. Gaze at the stars at Cherry Springs State Park
Originally named for the large stand of black cherry trees found in the area, today the 82-acre Cherry Springs State Park is best known by night sky enthusiasts who take advantage of the impeccable dark skies to gaze up at thousands of stars. Bring a blanket, lay your head back, and keep your eyes peeled for the Milky Way, planets, and other out-of-this-world views when you visit this summer destination in PA.
10. Begin where it Began – Independence National Historic Park
Journey back to where it all began and learn about the nation’s founding with a visit to Independence National Historical Park. Here you can tour the country’s most notable and historical locations including the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and the Betsy Ross House, all within walking distance.
11. Hike and explore Worlds End State Park
The 780-acre Worlds End State Park is surrounded by the scenic Loyalsock State Forest and offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Named one of the “20 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks” by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, visitors can hike, camp, whitewater raft, cross-country ski, hunt, and fish, providing plenty of year-round activities for you to enjoy at any time in 2023!
12. Tour the nation’s oldest brewery - Yuengling
Brew up some fun and book a tour at Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery. Learn about their nearly two-century history, get a behind-the-scenes look of how their beverages are made, and try a pint—or two—of freshly brewed lager.
13. Embrace the wilderness at Wissahickon Valley Park
This year, uncover the wilderness of Wissahickon Valley Park! With dozens of miles of trails, a lush 1,800-acre gorge, crossing forest, meadow, and Wissahickon Creek, you can get a glimpse into nature’s beauty right in Philadelphia. Walk, bike, or even ride a horse to explore and discover the wildlife within this summer destination in PA.
14. Camp or hike at Parker Dam State Park
Visitors can explore and appreciate the old-fashioned charm of the 968-acre Parker Dam State Park. Open year-round, this park is made for leisurely strollers and adventure enthusiasts alike. Relaxers will love sitting by the scenic lake, cozying up in a rustic cabin, or making memories around the campground. Meanwhile, adventurers can geocache, walk through tornado-ravaged woods, backpack the 50,000-acre Quehanna Wilderness, mountain bike, or search for Pennsylvania Elk.
15. Step into the past in Gettysburg
Home to one of the most famous and historical American battlefields, the town of Gettysburg is known to house some of the most historical attractions in the country. While in town, see where the Civil War took place at Gettysburg National Military Park, climb one of the three observation towers in the park, learn about the war at the Gettysburg Museum of History, get a glimpse into what civilian life was like at the Shriver House, and tour President Eisenhower’s home and farm that served as a meeting place for world leaders.
16. Sleep in a shoe at The Haines Shoe House
You know the old nursery rhyme, “There was an old lady that lived in a shoe?” Well, now you can, too! What was once an ice cream shop and museum is now the historical and unique Haines Shoe House, a converted, vacation-ready rental. The house features three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a living room, kitchen/dinette, and recreation room. Get ready to step into your next summer vacation in PA!
17. Enjoy Stunning Sunsets at Presque Isle State Park
Feel the sand between your toes and take in the impeccable views of Lake Erie at Presque Isle State Park. The 3,200-acre peninsula is home to 11 beaches with some of the state’s most picturesque sunsets. Beyond the beach, you can visit the Great Lake year-round with plenty of hiking, picnicking, boating, and fishing. Voted one of the top birding spots in the country by BirdWatching magazine, be sure to bring your best binoculars to spot the park’s unique wildlife.
18. Tour industrial treasures at W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop
Take a step back in time with a visit to W.A. Young & Sons! Nestled in Rices Landing Historic District, the Machine Shop is an astonishing industrial treasure. Built in 1900, the shop produced parts for steamboats, coal mines, railroads, and supported local small businesses. Visitors can tour the blacksmith shop, pattern shop, hardware store, and foundry, and marvel as the machines are switched on during a live demonstration of this turn-of-the-last-century technology.
19. Ring in a New Year at Ringing Rocks
Upper Black Eddy
Happy Travelers, be sure to pack a hammer when you visit Ringing Rocks Park. Admire and listen to the beauty of this unique 123-acre park as you strike the boulders and hear them ring. While you’re there, explore and venture to see Bucks County’s largest waterfall, High Falls.
20. Celebrate History and Art on the Mercer Mile
Comprised of three historical destinations, the Mercer Mile will have you celebrating and learning about the amazing life, work, and collections of archeologist, ceramicist, and industrialist, Henry Chapman Mercer. Tour his former home and National Historic Landmark at Fonthill Castle, stroll through six floors of history at the Mercer Museum, home to 50,000 artifacts representing 60 early American trades, and watch tiles and mosaics be created before your eyes at Tileworks. If you’re looking for a venue to hold a special event, Aldie Mansion where Henry’s younger brother, William Mercer, once lived with his wife, Martha, is a stunning choice.
21. Pick your own produce at Linvilla Orchards
For more than 100 years, Linvilla Orchards has been a mainstay of greater Philadelphia. The 300-acre family farm provides an entertaining outdoor play space for kids and a chance for all ages to appreciate our state’s agricultural bounty, making it a must-visit summer destination in PA. Peruse the pick-your-own sections filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, reel in the fun while fishing at Orchard Lake, or, for those age 21 and over, grab one of their handcrafted lagers at their seasonal Ship Bottom Beer Garden.
22. Admire the artwork at Brandywine Museum of Art
Located along the banks of the Brandywine River, the Brandywine Museum of Art is known around the world for its outstanding collection of Wyeth family illustrations, portraits, and oil paintings. Don’t miss their current exhibition, Abstract Flash: Unseen Andrew Wyeth, exhibited for the first time ever and on display until Feb. 18, 2024, that features several of the artist’s abstract watercolors centered on Wyeth’s “Pennsylvania abstractions” and, alongside archival materials documenting his encounters with abstract expressionism and geometric abstraction.
23. Relax in the wildflowers at Chanticleer Gardens
Tucked in the quaint suburb of Wayne just 30 minutes outside Center City Philadelphia lies Chanticleer Garden. Celebrating its 30th year as a public garden, visitors can explore the orchards, wildflower meadows, and woodlands that make up this must-see gem that surround the historic Rosengarten family estate. On a warm summer or fall afternoon, bring the whole family for a picnic and a stroll through terraced gardens, stone ruins, and the elevated walkway above a blooming meadow.
24. Bike the Pine Creek Rail Trail
Named one of the greatest places to take a bike tour in the world by USA Today, spend a PA summer day on the Pine Creek Rail Trail. Located near State College, the 62-mile converted railroad bed traverses Pine Creek Gorge at the floor of the canyon with a barely detectable, gradual grade that makes the rail trail an enjoyable bike ride and perfect for all skill levels. Bring your own wheels or check out the nearby local outfitters who are available for equipment rentals and excursion information.
25. Get a PA Dutch experience in Lancaster County
Home to the nation’s oldest and largest Amish settlement, a visit to Lancaster County makes for one of the best summer vacation spots in PA. Witness the “Amish way of life,” stepping back in time and enjoying a slower, more peaceful pace of daily activities. Between personalized tours with Amish families, buggy rides through picturesque farmland, shopping hand-made products at local roadside stores, and chowing down on authentic PA Dutch cooking, you’ll be sure to get the full Amish experience in Lancaster.
26. Stand on “Top of the World” at Bucktail Overlook
Better known as “Top of the World,” Bucktail Overlook at Elk State Forest offers a drivable vista offering epic 360-degree panoramic views of Sinnemahoning and dark skies perfect for summer stargazing. The nearby Fred Woods Trail is a great hike to tack on to your trip to the outlook. Spanning just over 4.5 miles, you will find incredible rock formations and two stunning vistas along the trail.
27. Take a nature cruise in Moraine State Park
Each year, more than a million outdoor enthusiasts visit Moraine State Park located within the gently rolling hills and lush forests of northwestern PA. The 16,725-acre park is the ultimate spot for adrenaline-inducing activities including hiking, biking, horseback riding, and boating. The 3,225-acre Lake Arthur is the park’s central feature, with 42 miles of beautiful shoreline. Spend a relaxing afternoon enjoying a nature cruise on Preston’s Pearl, an enclosed pontoon boat with a second-floor open-air deck.
28. Pay your respects at the Flight 93 National Memorial
The Flight 93 National Memorial marks the final resting place of United Airlines Flight 93, one of the four aircraft hijacked during the 2001 September 11 attacks. The extraordinary bravery of the plane’s 40 passengers and crew is commemorated in a powerful tribute along the Memorial Plaza culminating at the Wall of Names with its 40 polished and inscribed white marble stones. The Visitor’s Center provides an equally powerful rendition of the events on that fateful day. Listen for the sounds from the 40 wind chimes echoing from the 93-foot Tower of Voices, representing the voices of those whose lives were lost.
29. Catch a glimpse of the raptor migration at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Famously known as the world’s first refuge for birds of prey, Hawk Mountain is a 2,600-acre wildlife sanctuary in southeastern Pennsylvania. Each year, visitors from throughout the country flock to the mountain to take in the spectacular views from the scenic overlooks. However, the sanctuary’s main draw is up-close bald eagle sightings as they soar above, starting in mid-August and signaling the beginning of the fall raptor migration.
30. Dig into history at Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine
Ride 1,800 feet straight into Mahanoy Mountain for a firsthand look at PA’s coal mining history at the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine. You’ll board one of the original mining cars rebuilt to carry passengers to be transported deep into the heart of PA’s anthracite coal region. Once deep inside the mine, disembark to tour the mine where coal seams and retimbered passages remain, and learn about the deep-mining methods of the 1900s from experienced guides. Afterwards, climb aboard the 1920’s narrow gauge steam locomotive, the Henry Clay, for a scenic three-quarter-mile ride around the side of Mahanoy Mountain for a view of strip mining.
31. Afternoon at historic Union Canal Tunnel Park
Home to the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the United States, spend a day at Union Canal Tunnel Park for one of the best summer activities in Pennsylvania. With more than 100 acres of recreational and historic lands, enjoy a warm summer day exploring the outdoors, strolling along the park’s nature paths, and even taking a narrated boat ride through the canal tunnel, a designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, on Sunday afternoons through September (weather permitting). Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy al fresco dining at one of the picnic tables and benches found throughout the park.
32. Tour a PA hot spot at Cornwall Iron Furnace
Designated as a National Historic Landmark District, Cornwall Iron Furnace is one of America’s most complete charcoal-fueled ironmaking complexes. The five-acre site was originally built by Peter Grubb in 1742. Today, visit on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to tour the complex and explore the rambling Gothic Revival buildings where cannons, stoves, and pig iron were once cast.
33. See where a legend was made at Fighter's Heaven
Nestled on a wooded hillside along the Kittatinny Ridge of the Blue Mountains, Fighter’s Heaven is a refuge dedicated to the world-class athlete, Muhammad Ali. The rural property, which covers six acres of land, used to be the training camp where the three-time heavyweight champion prepared for his biggest fights. Today, through the preservation and restoration of the facility, the old gym has been converted into a museum celebrating the remarkable and inspirational life of Muhammad Ali.
34. Appreciate the Reading Pagoda’s iconic views
The city of Reading's iconic and curious landmark, the Pagoda, should be on your list of places to visit this summer in PA. Built over a century ago in 1908, the Pagoda was originally intended to be a luxury hotel constructed by William Whitman to resemble the Pagoda of Nagoya Castle in Japan. Built on the south end of Mount Penn and anchored to the mountainside with 16 tons of bolts, you can’t miss the Pagoda’s breathtaking 30-mile panoramic views of Reading.
For more inspiration on where to travel in 2023, check out visitPA.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state.