The beautiful town of Jim Thorpe in Pennsylvania. Editorial credit: EQRoy /

12 Best Towns in Pennsylvania to Visit in 2024

The new year has begun, offering an excellent opportunity for ardent travelers to visit their bucket-list destinations. Pennsylvania is an enticing option for those planning a tour of the Northeastern United States. The Keystone State offers a little bit of everything to delight all types of tourists. From picturesque natural landscapes and captivating history to exciting outdoor opportunities, it has all the hallmarks of a remarkable holiday spot.

While most tourists are accustomed to the glitz and glamor of big cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the small towns in Pennsylvania embody the true charm of the state. Offering a unique small-town vibe and hosting down-to-earth communities, they are the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of urban living. Whether you're a history enthusiast, culture buff, or culinary connoisseur, these picturesque towns in Pennsylvania should be on your to-do list in 2024.


Downtown Waynesboro in Pennsylvania
Downtown Waynesboro in Pennsylvania

This historic town in Franklin County traces its beginnings to 1749 when it was established. As a frontier town during the French & Indian War, it hosts a fair share of state history, which you can explore at the Renfrew Museum & Park. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this old American home preserves the town’s cultural heritage. Waynesboro is also home to the Pine Hill Recreation Area, where locals and visitors enjoy the outdoors. Spanning 174 acres, the venue offers endless opportunities with amenities like a skate park, baseball fields, a soccer field, and pavilions.

Several antique shops in the town allow you to leave with a charming reminder of your time in Waynesboro. James and Jess’ House of Goods sells a collection of antiques, memorabilia, and vintage items that will make the ideal present. But if you are not a souvenir collector, the Waynesboro Theater stages captivating live performances throughout the year that you can enjoy in a family-friendly atmosphere.

Oil City

Oil City, Pennsylvania Grace United Methodist Church on Central Avenue
Oil City, Pennsylvania: Grace United Methodist Church on Central Avenue, via woodsnorthphoto /

Oil City was a prominent center during the initial petroleum exploration in the state. You can learn more about the town’s past pursuits at the Oil Region National Heritage Area, which preserves the contribution of the 1859 Edwin Drake oil well to the rise of the modern petroleum industry. There is more to uncover, and for those inclined towards outdoor activities, Oil Creek State Park offers 6,250 acres of open space for communing with nature. The park also features a 9.7-mile trail, the Oil Creek State Park Trail, which accommodates adventurers of all levels, including novice, intermediate, and experienced.

Those with a soft spot for the arts will enjoy a tour of the National Transit ART Studios, a hub for local artists and creatives, where you can browse interesting creations exhibited in two galleries. After checking out all the main attractions, don't forget to stop by Casey’s Restaurant & Lounge for some delicious sandwiches and pizza.


Walnut Street in Milford, Pennsylvania
Walnut Street in Milford, Pennsylvania

Milford delights visitors with its beautiful natural surroundings and captivating historical landmarks. This small Pike County town, home to just over 1,000 residents, is situated on the upper Delaware River and boasts natural wonders like Raymondskill Falls. This tiered cascade, the state’s tallest waterfall, offers a spectacular backdrop for photos in Milford’s backcountry. While exploring the beautiful outdoors, don't forget to visit Milford Beach, which offers a family-friendly atmosphere and provides opportunities for picnicking, swimming, and sunbathing.

Meanwhile, history enthusiasts will be drawn to the Grey Towers National Historic Site, a magnificent 19th-century house museum showcasing the lifestyle of the Gilded Age upper class. Alternatively, they can visit the Columns Museum of the Pike County Historical Society for a glimpse into local history.

Mount Joy

Twisted Bine Beer Co. is a small-scale microbrewery of craft beer with an onsite tasting room and farm to table restaurant that is located in Mount Joy, Pa.
Twisted Bine Beer Co. is a small-scale microbrewery of craft beer with an onsite tasting room and farm to table restaurant that is located in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, via Raymond C. Eichelberger /

Mount Joy promises travelers a joyful experience with its lovely outdoor opportunities and family-friendly pursuits. It is home to several open spaces, such as Cove Outlook Park, where peaceful walking trails, soccer fields, and volleyball courts spread over 33 acres provide the perfect setting for a family day out. Alternatively, you can visit Little Chiques Park, which features 9 pavilions, perfect for relaxing and people-watching. For golf enthusiasts, there is also a 9-hole golf course to perfect your swing.

If you love the taste of wine, Grandview Vineyard offers an opportunity to sample some of the town’s best selections while admiring the hilly surroundings of Northern Lancaster County. Finally, you cannot miss Spooky Nook Sports, the country’s largest indoor sports complex. Whether you're a sports fan or not, the facility is too impressive not to experience.


Eastbound High Street past the intersection with Hanover Street in Pottstown, Pennsylvaniaa
Eastbound High Street past the intersection with Hanover Street in Pottstown, Pennsylvania

There is so much to do in this small borough in Montgomery County, with something for everyone, regardless of your interests. For outdoor enthusiasts, nature spaces like Memorial Park provide the perfect playground with amenities like walking trails, sports fields, playgrounds, and pavilions. Meanwhile, history buffs can explore local treasures like Pottsgrove Manor, an 18th-century Georgian mansion in the town’s historic district that once belonged to the town’s founder, John Potts. This site is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Another historical attraction worth visiting, with a touch of child-like fun, is the Carousel at Pottstown, one of America's oldest wooden carousels. After touring all the top sites, you can enjoy some retail therapy at the Philadelphia Premium Outlets. This expansive open-air mall features over 100 stores, including big-name brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors.

Jim Thorpe

View of the historic town of Jim Thorpe (formerly Mauch Chunk) in the Lehigh Valley in Carbon County, Pennsylvania
View of the historic town of Jim Thorpe (formerly Mauch Chunk) in the Lehigh Valley in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, via EQRoy /

Jim Thorpe stands out for its breathtaking landscapes, unique history, and enjoyable railroad rides. The small town is nestled within the imposing Pocono Mountains, and its forested surroundings become particularly vivid during fall with beautiful hues of red, orange, and yellow. The best way to experience this scenery is by taking a ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, which offers a picturesque journey past dense forests and sheer cliffs. For some historical insight into Jim Thorpe, the Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center is the place to learn about the famous Native American athlete who inspired the town’s name. After a long day of exploration, you can relax at Big Creek Vineyard with a fresh glass of wine.


Downtown streets of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Downtown streets of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Image credit Strattons.US via Shutterstock

Lewisburg’s rich history is evident in the numerous 18th and 19th-century structures throughout the town, which now house shops and restaurants. In addition to its rustic feel and small-town charm, the area boasts a vibrant cultural scene, thanks in part to the Bucknell University campus. Some historic sites worth visiting include the Campus Theater, dating back to 1941 and still entertaining guests with classic movie screenings. Families on vacation can take their children to the Lewisburg Children’s Museum, an excellent venue for engaging young, curious minds with interactive exhibits and hands-on activities.

Meanwhile, outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the Lewisburg Area Recreation Park, which offers ample open space in a tranquil setting. There is a 7-mile walking trail perfect for stretching your legs and taking advantage of the exercise stations along the way.

Kennett Square

State Street in Kennett Square
State Street in Kennett Square. By Coemgenus at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Christened the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” Kennett Square, located in the fertile Delaware Valley, boasts lush natural surroundings, making it one of the best towns in Pennsylvania for a relaxing retreat. You can experience its green appeal with a tour of Longwood Gardens, a 1,000-acre botanical garden showcasing a dazzling display of horticultural art. For those seeking more space to play, Anson B. Nixon Park provides a cozy setting. Spanning over 100 acres, this beautiful green space offers a playground, picnic areas, and ponds amidst old-growth trees.

Once you’ve had your fill of the outdoors, you can explore the town’s impressive art scene, and there's no better place to do this than at Square Pear Fine Art Gallery. Boasting a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, it exhibits various art forms, from paintings and pottery to glass art.


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 /

Situated near the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Wellsboro is an ideal destination for tourists eager to explore the state’s backcountry. This small borough in Tioga County offers a variety of open spaces with multiple outdoor opportunities. The highlight is the PA Grand Canyon, a breathtakingly steep canyon in the midst of the wilderness, featuring everything from beautiful waterfalls and picturesque viewpoints to scenic trails, including the Pine Creek Rail Trail. For a more family-friendly option, head to Packer Park, which offers amenities like basketball and tennis courts.

For those preferring indoor activities, the Arcadia Theater is available for catching the latest movies and hosts performance art shows. Alternatively, satisfy your sweet tooth at the Highlands Chocolates Factory.


Northbound State Street past the intersection with Centre Avenue in Newtown, Pennsylvania
Northbound State Street past the intersection with Centre Avenue in Newtown, Pennsylvania, By Dough4872 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Despite its small size, Newtown is rich in cultural attractions and recreational opportunities. The town has a rich historical heritage dating back to its founding in 1684, which you can explore at the Newtown Historic Association. However, the outdoors offers a more enticing proposition for tourists in the town, with numerous activities available at Tyler State Park. This 1,700-acre nature center provides a laid-back atmosphere for hikers, bikers, swimmers, and picnickers.

If you prefer indoor activities, you can join the local community in enjoying a captivating live show at the Newtown Theater. The 300-capacity venue hosts concerts, plays, comedy shows, and live theater performances in a family-friendly environment. Meanwhile, one of the best ways to interact with the community is at the Newtown Farmers’ Market.


A view of downtown Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA, from the Inclined Plane.
A view of downtown Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA, from the Inclined Plane. Editorial credit: GalPhotos /

Though it is the largest city in Cambria County, Johnstown is still a small locality with about 20,000 residents. It is known for its cultural celebrations, including a polka festival, a folk festival, and a symphony orchestra. Historically, the town suffered a devastating flood in the 1800s that claimed thousands of lives, and this tragic event in Johnstown’s past is well-preserved at the Johnstown Flood Museum.

The locals enjoy a vibrant sporting culture and enthusiastically support the various local teams. If you are a sports fan, you can join them at the 1st Summit Arena to enjoy an exciting hockey game.


Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania
Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania, via Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Nicknamed "Train Town USA," Strasburg is home to a wealth of railroad-centric attractions that will delight visitors of all ages. This quaint Lancaster County town revolves around the history of trains. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the flagship attraction, exhibits an immense collection of historic locomotives and educates guests on the region's railway legacy through compelling artifacts. Meanwhile, the picturesque Victorian-style train station serves as the vibrant heart of the village.

Beyond locomotives, Strasburg offers a variety of experiences for all interests. Culture seekers can immerse themselves in inspirational musical productions at the nearby Sight & Sound Theaters.

The Takeaway

The allure of the Keystone State is undeniable, considering its gorgeous natural landscapes and captivating historical heritage. While numerous destinations make excellent vacation spots, these small towns in Pennsylvania should be at the top of your travel priorities in 2024.

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