Nicknamed the Key-Stone State, Pennsylvania is known as the birthplace of democracy. Home to iconic sites like the Hershey’s factory and the Liberty Bell, there’s a myriad of things to do all across the state. But many of Pennsylvania’s best qualities come from the charming small towns that are scattered throughout the state. If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip where you can chill out with your best pals, then Pennsylvania has exactly what you’re looking for. Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer who loves to chase waterfalls or a history buff who’s happy strolling through a museum, these Pennsylvania small towns have you covered.
Located near the Delaware River, New Hope is a charming small town filled with historic landmarks, gorgeous green spaces, and eclectic boutique shops. Spend your day exploring beautiful walking trails like the ones at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve where you’ll find a wide array of plants and wildlife. Or stroll down the town’s famous Main Street where you can spend an entire afternoon browsing handcrafted items and gifts. After all of that wandering around, refuel with a farm-fresh meal from one of the town's many local eateries including The Ferry Market. New Hope also features a handful of museums for you to explore such as the Parry Mansion Museum where you can admire home decor dating back to 1784.
Home to America’s first-ever pretzel bakery, Lititz is a food-lovers ideal destination. Indulge in freshly baked pretzels from Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery or satisfy your sweet tooth with a little ice cream from Fox Meadows Creamery & Country Market. If you consider yourself a chocolate connoisseur, then a visit to the historic Wilbur Chocolate is also a must. Looking for something a little more worldly? Then pay a visit to The Savory Gourmet where you can taste a mouth-watering selection of exotic meats and cheeses from around the world. Once you’ve had your fill of treats, remember to make time for attractions like the Wolf Sanctuary of PA or the Lititz Shirt Factory where you can frequently enjoy live music.
Nestled along the Susquehanna River shore, Bloomsburg has everything you could want from a small-town day trip. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy scenic water views then take a stroll along the Bloomsburg Rail Trail or visit the Wanich Covered Bridge. Be sure to stop by the Bloomsburg Fountain as well for an excellent photo opportunity. Fill your afternoon with interesting activities such as a visit to Bill's Old Bike Barn or the Bloomsburg Children's Museum. If you time your trip correctly, you can take in a show at the historic Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble as well.
Honesdale is a laid-back borough filled with old-time charm, outdoor adventures, and plenty of unique shopping and dining opportunities. Fans of The Office will want to pay a visit to Schrute Farms where you can enjoy a range of farm-friendly activities including table-making and beet wine-making classes. For an outdoor adventure, take a hike up to Irving Cliff where you can enjoy a birds-eye view of the downtown core. Or visit the Northeast Wilderness Experience and enjoy activities such as biking, kayaking, and more. When you’re ready to kick back and relax, be sure to stop at one of many local restaurants including Native, where you can savor local artisan dishes and hand-crafted cocktails.
Lovingly nicknamed “The Grand Canyon” of Pennsylvania, Wellsboro is a natural beauty. Spend your time here exploring various state parks including Hills Creek and Colton Point where you’ll find everything from hiking trails to waterfalls and more. Of course, a trip here isn’t complete without visiting the famous Pine Creek Gorge that gave Wellsboro its nickname. For guided outdoor adventures such as rafting and biking, Pine Creek Outfitters is the place to go. If tasty American dishes and a relaxing atmosphere are what you’re looking for, then be sure to stop for dinner at Wellsboro House–the renovated 1862 building is filled with history and good times.
Stroudsburg is the perfect spot to eat, drink, and be merry. Located roughly five miles from the Delaware Water Gap, this vibrant small town is easily walkable and features unique 18th-century buildings. Visit Downriver Brewing for an afternoon of drinks and axe throwing or spend the day shopping downtown at places such as the Monroe Farmers Market or The Potting Shed where you’ll find a wide array of locally grown produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts. Looking for a delightful snack? Then head over to The Charcuterie, where you can graze a variety of cheeses, meats, appetizers, and entrees.
Historic buildings and natural adventures aren’t hard to find in Milford. Spend an afternoon touring iconic sites like the Grey Towers National Historic Site, and the Columns Museum, which is home to the Lincoln Flag. Or get outside and admire breathtaking views of rivers, waterfalls, and cliffs at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Here, you’ll discover Silver Thread Falls, Raymondskill Falls, and Dingmans Falls which are all accessible by trail. Gear up for a day of hiking at the beautifully maintained Cornelia and Florence Bridge Preserve or visit one of the state's oldest buildings–the Historic Dimmick Inn. Here you can get your fill of pub food, drinks, and occasional live performances.
A historic coal mining town, Jim Thorpe is now home to several interesting museums and fun outdoor activities. Get your toes in the sand at Mauch Chunk Lake Park where you’ll find sandy beaches, swimming, campsites, and comfortable picnic areas. Bring your own lunch or visit the concession stand for a quick treat. History Buffs will enjoy exploring various museums including the Old Jail Museum and the No. 9 Coal Musume where you’ll learn all about the town's rich history.
From theaters to horse buggy rides, miniature trains, and antique markets, there’s a little something for everyone in Strasburg. For a truly unique outing, take a trip to the Choo Choo Barn where you can admire a wildly detailed 1,700-square-foot miniature train display. The display features tiny towns, people, fire displays, and more. After that, make your way to Village Greens' miniature golf course for an afternoon of lighthearted competition on beautiful grounds. If that’s not your speed, slow things down with a shopping trip at the Strasburg Antique Market or take in a show at the Servant Stage Company.
A town that’s as fun to say as it is to visit--Punxsutawney is known around the world for its quirky Groundhog Day celebrations. Spend a fun-filled day searching for Punxsutawney Phil statues or visit the real Phil at the local library. A walk through Gobbler’s Knob Park will provide you with scenic views, groundhog facts, and cozy picnic areas. And if you’re looking to wind down, stop and sip wine at the Groundhog Winery. If you’re traveling with kids, the Weather Discovery Center is a great stop with tons of interactive learning and games available.
When you’re in the mood for a chill small-town day trip, Pennsylvania won’t disappoint. Filled with natural beauty and rich history, you’re sure to have a blast exploring the state’s various towns and attractions. So gather up your friends and family and get ready to explore the keystone state.