Home of Hershey's chocolate, rolling hills, and picturesque farms, Keystone State is the birthplace of American democracy. Together with its dense forests, full-flowing rivers, and soaring mountains, Pennsylvania is like all your favorite things about America on one postcard. Seeping quaintness from every pore, these towns will suit every taste on a getaway from the city with a selection of quaint pursuits in some of the state's most beautiful natural areas.
The Poconos are unlike any other mountain range, as if tamed by the surrounding Dutch and Amish vibes to delight with scenery and lush hillsides for strolls from the book cover. Plan your get-way in time for the annual Oktoberfest, the annual Christkindl Market in Mifflinburg, or the annual Summer Music Series in Doylestown.
Bethlehem, the "Christmas City USA," is your go-to town to achieve the quaintest feeling of them all—the holiday spirit—any time of the year! Only 1.5 hours from Philadelphia, the magical town unravels in a charming 1700s scene along cobblestoned sidewalks with horsedrawn carriages tumbling past architecture that transports you right back to the era. During the season, the quaintness under the twinkling lights is revved to the max with ringing bells on horses and fancy storefront doors, as well as decked-out décor in restaurants.
From mid-November through Christmas, the legendary Christkindlmarkt takes over with family-fun festivities and local vendors in outdoor shopping huts for unique gifts. From collectible nutcrackers by Germany's Käthe Wohlfahrt to delicious fares like strudels, eggnog, and mulled wine, it is a cultural and historic experience in itself. Visit anytime for a guided tour through the historic sites, or navigate underneath the festive lamp posts on a holiday shopping spree through the boutiques. The National Museum of Industrial History reveals Christmas Town as the state's steel magnate.
Home to under 8,300, Doylestown is a perfectly quaint getaway with a dash of lively just a hop from Philadelphia. Once home to Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian James A. Michener, the author of “Tales of the South Pacific,” you can stroll in his footsteps through the same views along the historic downtown. The Mercer Mile, named after the famous resident, is a mile of galleries peeking through vintages and historic sites. Under an air of magic, the iconic Fonthill Museum embodies a concrete, European-inspired castle with an imposing old-time charm that is fun for kids and historians alike to tour these once-dwellings of Henry Chapman Mercer.
Another hard-to-miss attraction, the County Theatre features classics and arthouse flicks for an atmospheric evening. Modern-day Doylestown boasts one of America’s “best small-town cultures,” with a dynamic arts scene and a foodie paradise of locally sourced ingredients from the nearby Bucks County farms. The annual Summer Music Series accompanies you along the sunny streets with live music while shopping for unique finds like Good Stuff Thrift and Mercer Square. All this and more bucolic Bucks County charm sprawls steps away from nature at the trail-spliced Peace Valley Park just to the west and Hansell Park to the north.
Nestled quaintly amid the Lehigh Valley, this main street town delights with historic, art-laden streets and family-friendly attractions. The heart of downtown is a real history buff's dream come true to relive three public readings of the Declaration of Independence at Center Square in 1776. Today, you can stock up on unique gifts and home goods here at the charming Easton Farmers' Market in the winter, the country's longest continuously running open-air market. Perhaps the most renowned family attraction is the hard-to-miss colorful building of the Crayola Experience, with a giant crayon at the door! You can help the little ones create a personalized crayon from melted wax, spin art, and let them go wild at the crayon-themed playground.
Klein Farms Dairy and Creamery is another kid-friendly stop for a scoop of fresh-turned ice cream and meet-and-greet with animals like mischievous goats. For a real memorable experience, the state's only mule-drawn canal boat tugs you along town sites, while the National Canal Museum offers in-depth heritage about the golden age of canals. The 1.6-mile-long wooded Karl Stirner Arts Trail blends nature and culture over a leisurely stroll along a growing artwork collection. You can end the night at the infamous State Theatre Center for the Arts with an array of regular entertainment like stand-up comedy, live music, and even touring Broadway shows. See what you catch aside from the rumors that the venue is haunted by its former manager, "Fred the Ghost."
This quaint gem, the “Birthplace of the American Railroad" within the Poconos, shines through the peaks with a rich sense of heritage, bustling arts, and modern culture. Spoiled in natural beauty, with nearby lakes and rivers for hiking and fishing, the mountain region has a particular quietness that induces a vibe of nostalgia. The welcoming downtown, soaked in old-time charm, is a real family scene with a ton of gorgeous buildings and new amenities.
A getaway for every taste, like fine art and architecture, the best way to discover Honesdale for every type of visitor is to relive the origin of the American railroad amid the stunning hillsides! Home to the first commercial steam locomotive in the US in 1829, the strollable town is wonderful to explore on a bike or take to the tracks through the Poconos, particularly lovely in the fall foliage aboard the Stourbridge Route train. You can seek thrills outdoors at your fingertips on the Lackawaxen Rivers, a beautiful place to go canoeing and kayaking in the light of the warmer months.
This quaint town in Lancaster County, with a historical legacy established in 1756 by the Moravian Church, is home to just over 9,300 locals living in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. You can dive right into the colonial era around the marvelously preserved buildings from the 1700s and resurface for a shopping spree, an art show, or a memorable meal.
From specialty stores to local restaurants, the Sturgis Pretzel House is world-famous for a quick bite between sites. Grab the original to go for a picnic at the quiet community park Lititz Springs in the heart, with tranquil nature trails through lovely gardens and a gushing spring.
Lilitz, an enticing blend of old-world charm with contemporary appeal in quaint shops, distilleries, and breweries, is a popular destination for the oldest continuously operating chocolate company in the United States, The Wilbur Chocolate Factory. After a chocolate-filled journey with smells wafting through the Moravian influence of downtown, the surrounding countryside along the Susquehanna River is a ready-made summer recreation destination. You can really tune into the quiescent nature and follow your intuition on a drive, bike ride, or stroll along the rolling farmlands to the next beautiful sight in Dutch Country.
This Union County town with a quirky name and a population of just 3,600 has a quaint natural appeal amid the Susquehanna River Valley. Mifflinburg is a one-stop shop for family getaways throughout the year, with gorgeous brick and Victorian buildings downtown and fresh-air recreation at the doorstep. With places like the immense White Mountain Wild Area, Gray Squirrel Campground, and Walker Lake Recreation Area, you can also say hi to the wildest animals at T&D's Cats of the World, just minutes out of town. An all-American town from one side, once a buggy manufacturing center, is a quintessentially tree-lined fair with hints of German from the other.
From woodworking shops and tack rooms to the Union County Historical Society museum with local artifact displays, you can celebrate local history at the Buggy Days festival with horse and buggy rides right from the 1800s. The annual Oktoberfest and the annual Christkindl Market transform it into one big, authentic German village attraction. Susquehanna Valley, one of the state's most beautiful regions, offers endless explorations through the countryside with traditional Amish farm visits and covered bridges like the Hassenplug Covered Bridge. With its own community park and Mifflinburg Dog Park, the unreplicable Bald Eagle State Forest and Snyder Middleswarth Natural Area with camping and trailheads are just half an hour west.
This hallmark small town of 2,500 in Bucks County is just a hop away from Philadelphia, across the Delaware River from New Jersey! With an aspiring name for its resilience from the early days, New Hope instills the same feeling that something better is just around the corner, like this little crossroads town. The Main Street downtown is replete with independent shops and historic sites, surrounded by bucolic charms and outdoor recreation opportunities. From the vibrant culture and active art scene of antique stores and art galleries to the Bucks County Children's Museum, you can also spend a day boating on the Delaware.
After a scenic stroll through the blooming Bowman’s Wildflower Preserve with colorful species, the riverside trail is a fantastic place at sunset, or perhaps from a restaurant on the water? The highly rated, most popular Dubliner on the Delaware is just a 35-minute hike via the Delaware Canal Trail from the town's scenic toll bridge spanning the river. What could be better than an evening at “America’s Most Famous Playhouse" with a roster of award-winning actors and shows from the 1930s? No wonder it is a favorite East Coast destination for three states, including New York, with adventures for every taste and quaint b&bs to tuck you in after the soundest rest!
A countryside town that’s been bustling with an Amish culture for centuries and traces its heydey to the French? The two dozen log homes reminisce of the town's founding in 1693 by the French hunter and fur trader, Pierre Bezaillion, who chose this one of the state's most scenic spots for his family to establish trade with the local Delaware Indians. More French, the Huguenots followed from France’s Alsace region. Named in the mid-1700s in honor of the cathedral city back home, the crossroads town, with its prospering trade, began to grow as a stagecoach stop between Philadelphia and Lancaster in the 1800s and still feels like a step back into another century.
Strasburg Rail Road is a quintessential ride through thousands of farmland acres in an authentic locomotive, a real vintage from the early passenger rail and freight industries. From the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania to the National Toy Train Museum, there is also the exciting Cherry Crest Adventure Farm for an outing with a corn maze. The quiet culture in Amish Village is all too relaxing and calming for your city soul, featuring a fun three-mile ride in an Amish buggy at Ed's Buggy Rides. But back to modernity, the county is home to one of the state's largest outlet malls in Lancaster and its own charming streets with a vast array of boutique shops!
A downtown lit up by gas street lamps to stroll under in those frigid cold months around the corner? It sounds like pure quaintness! Wellsboro, a darling town in Tioga County, Northern Pennsylvania, nestled in the beautiful Pennsylvania Wilds, feels like a step back in time to the Victorian era. Catch the quaint vibes among 3,400 locals living mid-hills in the gem of the "Northern Tier," with no other town like it along this stretch of counties bordering New York. The star attraction here is nature, and taking the front stage is Pine Creekfart Gorge, a 1,000-deep ravine you can rim in hiking or snowshoes.
From the town's own Woodland Park with a playground to other trails and natural wonders through the surrounding million acres of forest and farmland, there is year-round recreation for every taste. Whether you are a family on a summertime camping retreat, a serene fishing escape, or a hunting spree with your friends, the hills are perfect for ATVing as well as skiing and snowmobiling. Wellsboro's historic brick downtown, replete with family-owned businesses, boasts a bustling shopping scene full of quaint charms like old-fashioned ice cream shops and a historic theater.
These nine quaintest small towns in the Keystone State offer a retreat from life as you know it. Whether you seek a Pennsylvanian Dutch escape to a full-on Amish retreat to the past, the French culture in Strasburg or the Germanic Harmony inspire a trip overseas.
The downtowns charm with historic districts and unique attractions like the Mercer Mile lineup of galleries or the Crayola Experience in Easton, together with its three public readings of the Declaration of Independence at Center Square in 1776.