Historic row homes with shops on Race St. in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

9 Cutest Small Towns in Pennsylvania

Popularly known as the “Keystone State,” Pennsylvania boasts a rich historical heritage dating back to the founding of the United States. It lies in the heart of the Northeast, spanning an area of over 46,000 square miles, and is the 33rd largest state in the United States. With a population surpassing 12.8 million civilians, Pennsylvania’s vibrant communities range from bustling metropolises to quaint, picturesque towns brimming with charm.

Amidst the diverse landscape lie small towns that capture the essence of Pennsylvania’s allure. From the enchanting cobblestone streets of Jim Thorpe to the rich war-ridden history of Gettysburg. Here are the cutest small towns in Pennsylvania, offering tourists an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and presenting an opportunity to embrace charm, tranquility, and a genuine sense of community.


View of the High Water Mark at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
View of the High Water Mark at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

This quaint community is home to a modest population of around 8,500 civilians and is a premier hub for history enthusiasts. Kick off the historical escapade by taking a trip to Gettysburg National Military Park. This historical landmark served as the battleground of the Union and Confederate forces during America’s Civil War of 1863. For a further trip down the sands of time, the Gettysburg Museum of History is jam-packed with exhibits of precious memorabilia from the American Civil War, World War I, and II.

Appearing at the top of many tourists' wish lists, Devil’s Den is a ridge strewn with large boulders and was the host location for day two of the American Civil War. Tourists explore the strategic hiding spots while learning about the war tactics deployed. Finally, visitors can grab a photo opportunity at the Iconic Sachs Covered Bridge, which was designated Pennsylvania’s “most historic bridge” by the Department of Highways.


Rafters on Lower Youghiogheny River at Cucumber Rapid in Ohiopyle.
Rafters on Lower Youghiogheny River at Cucumber Rapid in Ohiopyle. 

This Charming town in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, whose name translates to “white frothy water,” delights with beautiful shots of nature intertwined with a calm and serene environment. Ohiopyle is an excellent location for outdoor enthusiasts, with Ohiopyle State Park offering biking and hiking on the iconic Great Allegheny Passage. Furthermore, the nearby Ferncliff Peninsula is an underrated point of interest that features a hiking trail that rewards tourists with gorgeous views of the Youghiogheny River.

Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours presents an unforgettable experience of white water rafting suitable for the whole family. The trips comprise several packages, ranging from fully-guided to self-guided. Finally, enjoy the sunset while marveling at the scenic beauty of the nearly 20-foot-long Ohiopyle Falls.


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

This seat of Elk County, Pennsylvania, is a modest locale and is a popular retreat for the outdoorsy adventurer. Three miles west of Ridgway is Sandy Beach Park, which provides a picturesque location for sharing stories by the campfire and ideal picnic spots.

Lily of the Valley National Historic District is a tiny community chronicling the town's illustrious past. It hosts the Elk County courthouse and Jail that served as the seat of the County government in the 19th and 20th centuries. Lastly, pick up a souvenir of precious artifacts from Elk County Council of the Arts, which displays beautiful handmade ornaments and items from local artists.


Incline Plane in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Incline Plane in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

There is no shortage of historical attractions and scenic natural beauty in Johnstown which happens to be about 66 miles from Pittsburgh. Johnstown Flood Museum is the perfect place to learn about the tragedy of the bursting of the dam in 1889. The halls of the Museum feature exhibits, a diorama, and documentaries that shed more light on the events of that fateful day. Additionally, there is the Inclined Plane of Johnstown, used to evacuate residents during floods, something Johnstown is notorious for. It is currently being restored, so check their website for more details.

Johnstown’s Heritage Discovery Center is sure to leave a lasting impression on history enthusiasts. At the forefront of its lovely exhibitions is “America: Through the Immigrant's Eyes,” which captures the life of early immigrants through sights, sounds, and even smells. For more outdoor fun, tourists can test their angling skills by trying to catch smallmouth bass, walleye, and trout at Stoney Creek River.


The Elk Country Visitor's Center in Benezette
The Elk Country Visitor's Center in Benezette. Image credit Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons.

Benezette or “Benezett”, is a tiny locale situated in Elk County Pennsylvania. The town is most famous for its stunning views of Pennsylvania’s Elk herd, and Winslow Hill Elk Viewing Area serves as the perfect vantage point. Visitors also enjoy glorious glimpses of white-tailed deer, foxes, and black bears. Meanwhile, The Elk Life Store presents guests the chance to shop for elk-inspired clothing and items. 

Those who fancy a historical expedition can head down to Mt. Zion Historical Park, about twelve minutes away, which served as the site of the first Protestant Church in Elk County. It was built in 1858 and unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1976. A trip to Benezette would not be complete without going for 16 miles and grabbing a photo of one of the most photogenic attractions in Pennsylvania, Table Falls.

Jim Thorpe

Historic downtown streets of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Image credit EQRoy via Shutterstock.com
Historic downtown streets of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Image credit EQRoy via Shutterstock.com

This tiny town is popularly known for being the burial site for the great Native American sporting hero Jim Thorpe and impresses with gorgeous vistas of the Pocono Mountains. Take a ride in vintage coaches through Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, which entices with gorgeous views of mountain scenery, wildlife, and high-rising cliffs. The Mauch Chunk Opera House allows visitors to enjoy live-action plays and comedy skits after a long day of sightseeing. If you are someone who fancies jazz, then Vic's Jazz Loft at The Stabin Museum is your spot for some excellent jazz performances that are held regularly. 


Milford, Pennsylvania, and the Delaware River from scenic overlook on a sunny fall day
Milford, Pennsylvania, and the Delaware River from scenic overlook on a sunny fall day.

Located in Pike County, Pennsylvania, this small community charms visitors with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Milford Beach is ideal for tourists looking for an afternoon of peace and tranquility. It also lures anglers, boaters, and kayakers to take advantage of diverse recreational opportunities. The beach also provides access to the Joseph M. McDade Recreational Trail, which features hiking and biking trails that navigate forests and open farm fields.

The Columns Museum of the Pike County Historical Society is where the town’s rich history is preserved. It houses precious artifacts and memorabilia, such as The Lincoln Flag and photos of the Lenape Indians. The town also boasts a thriving art scene, with the Golden Fish Art Gallery hosting an impressive collection of prints and artifacts of medieval fantasy. 


Signs on the Main Street of Wellsboro in Tioga County, Pennsylvania
Signs on the Main Street of Wellsboro in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Image credit George Sheldon via Shutterstock.

Home to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, among the cutest towns in Pennsylvania, Wellsboro dazzles with unrivaled views of one of nature's greatest creations. The Grand Canyon, also known as Pine Creek Gorge, is famous for attracting repeat visitors, with its scenic beauty of steep canyon walls and waterfalls stretching over 45 miles and descending nearly 1500 feet. Embark on an afternoon of golf on the 18-hole Tyoga Course while admiring the lush green landscape.

Do not miss a chance to take a photo by the Wynken, Blynken, and Nod Statue, a depiction of Eugene Field’s poem “Dutch Lullaby” on the main street. Deane Center for the Performing Arts is where tourists and locals with a passion for live performance gather to spend the evening. At the same time, Karen’s Country Store ensures visitors can grab a little souvenir in Wellsboro before they depart. 


Street view in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, Mifflinburg Innovation Works, via Facebook
Street view in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, Mifflinburg Innovation Works, via Facebook.

This small locality in Susquehanna River Valley was interestingly named after Pennsylvania’s first governor, Thomas Mifflin. Sand Bridge State Park has the distinction of being the state's smallest state park. Spanning only three acres, the park hosts Rapid Run, an incredibly beautiful stream presenting the chance to fish for brook and brown trout. The outdoor adventure does not end there, as Mccalls Dam State Park has a hiking trail that navigates through majestic pines and oaks alongside ideal picnic spots.

Mifflinburg Buggy Museum is where the town's rich buggy-making heritage is preserved through exhibits like pictures of the town’s iconic Heiss Family. Finally, visitors can admire the rustic beauty of Hassenplug Covered Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in the area whose wooden planks have withstood the state of time. 

As we conclude our journey through the cutest small towns in Pennsylvania, it becomes evident that their mysticism extends far beyond aesthetics. From historic landmarks to beautiful landscapes, these towns offer a glimpse into the Keystone State’s storied legacy while embracing the present day’s scenic beauty. They serve as a reminder that amidst the towering skyscrapers and bustling city streets, a simpler life is brimming with warmth, charm, and serenity. Whether you are a historical buff, nature lover, art enthusiast, or a peaceful retreat seeker, small-town Pennsylvania provides a truly unforgettable experience. Come on down and delve into the timeless attractions of the cutest little-known locations to visit in Pennsylvania. 

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