The historic town of Jim Thorpe in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Editorial credit: EQRoy /

10 of the Most Overlooked Towns in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is not often brought up when discussing family vacations. While it might not have the warm weather and world recognition of being a desirable tourist destination, there are dozens of criminally overlooked and underrated parts of Pennsylvania that are too often ignored.


Street in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Street in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The small town of Gettysburg is best known for being the site of arguably the most important battle of the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg was a significant turning point in the conflict and led to the eventual defeat of the Confederacy.

There are endless historical sites to visit including the battlefield itself. The Gettysburg National Military Park attracts thousands of visitors each year. The town is outfitted with other historical buildings as well as quality restaurants and bars.


The Heritage United Methodist Church located in the town diamond of Ligonier, Pennsylvania
The Heritage United Methodist Church located in the town diamond of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, via woodsnorthphoto /

Similar to Gettysburg, Ligonier also has a rich history that is not only significant to Pennsylvania but to the United States as well. The nearby Fort Ligonier played a key role in the French and Indian War during the late 18th century.

You can still tour the old fort along with a museum that has been built alongside it. If history is not to your liking you can visit the nearby Idlewild & SoakZone waterpark. The perfect place to take the family during a hot summer day.


The historic architecture of downtown Ridgway, Pennsylvania
The historic architecture of downtown Ridgway, Pennsylvania. Image credit Doug Kerr via Wikimedia Commons.

Ridgway is a small isolated town in the thick of the Pennsylvania wilderness. This makes it the perfect destination for those looking to escape the noise of the big city and get in touch with the great outdoors.

Only 10 minutes away from Allegheny National Forest, it serves as a great place to hike, fish, camp, and go for long bike rides along its trails. Ridgway itself is a charming town filled with friendly locals who are always more than happy to help visitors.


Directional Route Signs on the Main Street of Wellsboro in Tioga County, Pennsylvania
Directional Route Signs on the Main Street of Wellsboro in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, via George Sheldon /

Wellsboro is another perfect little town to explore if you want to take a closer look at the stunning wilderness of Pennsylvania. Sometimes called the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania" the stunning river valley called Pine Creek Gorge is just a short drive from Wellsboro.

The downtown of Wellsboro is worth your attention as well. Its charming downtown is filled with great shops and boutiques. If venturing into the woods is a little too extreme, there are plenty of creeks to take a walk along that run through town.

Jim Thorpe

The charming town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.
The charming town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

The uniquely named town of Jim Thorpe is nested into the majestic Pocono Mountains. The town serves as a perfect base of operations for those who want to take day trips into the surrounding mountains and river valleys.

Originally called Old Mauch Chunk, the town was renamed to Jim Thrope after the famous Native American athlete. Thorpe was the first Native American to win gold for the United States in the 1912 Summer Olympics that were held in Stockholm, Sweden. You can still visit his grave in the middle of town.


Downtown DuBois in Pennsylvania
Downtown DuBois in Pennsylvania, By Doug Kerr - Flickr: DuBois, Pennsylvania, CC BY-SA 2.0, File:DuBois, Pennsylvania.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Another quiet town found in the Pennsylvania woodlands, DuBois is just a short drive from the State Game Lands. A perfect place to go if you hunt, you can expect to find all types of game in the park ranging from whitetail deer to black bear.

Treasure Lake is also nearby. The lake provides ample opportunity to swim and go boating as long as you are able to get your hands on your own boat. There are also campsites available on the lake for those who want to stay overnight.


Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. By Doug Kerr, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stroudsburg is a quaint town located along the Pocono Mountains. The surrounding area provides endless opportunities to go hiking and enjoy the outdoors but the town itself is certainly worth a visit. There are dozens of outstanding restaurants in town including El Merengue Restaurant Poconos and Trackside Grill & Bar.

The charming McMichael Creek runs through town and provides a lovely backdrop to the whole area. The nearby Delaware Water Gap is another attraction that is popular amongst the locals. Historic buildings such as the Stroud Mansion can also be interesting.


A Victorian mansion in Titusville, Pennsylvania
A Victorian mansion in Titusville, Pennsylvania, via Althom /

Formerly an oil town, the old remnants of what used to be the core identity and economy of Titusville can still be seen today. While it might come as a surprise to many, in the 1800s parts of Pennsylvania were famous for their oil production.

The Titusville downtown is probably one of the most well-preserved downtowns. There are entire parts of the town that still look as though they are in the 1800s. After exploring Titusville's history, make sure to take a long walk down the calm trails around Oil Creek.


Downtown shops in Lititz, Pennsylvania.
Downtown shops in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Located deep within Amish country, Lititz stands out as a well-preserved town that still has many of its characters from the early 20th century and late 1800s. There are plenty of great restaurants and shops to visit here. Make sure to stop by Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, one of the first pretzel bakeries in the United States.

There are a handful of small creeks that run through town which make for perfect places to go for long walks. The Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail-Trail Trailhead is the perfect place to go and see the stunning farmland that surrounds the outskirts of town.


The intersection of the center of Doylestown
The intersection of the center of Doylestown. Image credit Fernando Garcia Esteban via Shutterstock.

Doylestown is best known for the Fonthill Castle. Originally built as a home for the artist Henry Chapman Mercer, it has now become a tourist attraction and point of pride for the people of Doylestown. Its distinctly European architecture can be seen elsewhere throughout town.

One of the wackier attractions in town is the Vampire & Paranormal Museum. The museum is dedicated to the paranormal along with telling the stories of local folklore and myths. Many go and study the various sculptures and artwork that are on display.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of towns across Pennsylvania that are worth your time. If you ever find yourself traveling through this great state, make sure to stop by some of these locations and explore what they have to offer.

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