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Your guide to Pennsylvania
All About Pennsylvania
Traveling to Pennsylvania is often synonymous with taking in a piece of American history. It was one of the first 13 colonies, it’s where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and it’s where the Gettysburg Address was written. People from all over the U.S. make pilgrimages to the state to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the battlefields of Gettysburg, among other historical attractions.
But there is so much more to this state besides its history. Pennsylvania Dutch country is steeped in Amish traditions. Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, is known for its cheesecake and cheesesteak, and Pittsburg, the second largest, is home to iconic Gilded Age architectural sites. Go beyond the metropolitan hubs to explore the dramatic waterfalls and deep gorges of the Poconos, watch the stars explode across the jet-black sky at Cherry Springs State Park, or paddle along the waters of Lake Erie. Or for a completely different pace of things, you can ride a stomach-churning rollercoaster at a famous amusement park in Hershey.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Pennsylvania?
Like its northeastern neighbor states, Pennsylvania benefits from a full four seasons: hot summers, autumns erupting with colorful foliage, and springs that bring the state back to life after cold, snowy winters. The best time to visit depends entirely on the kind of experience you’re looking to have: fans of skiing and snowmobiling will find plenty of mountains to explore in the Poconos, while Lake Erie is a popular destination for those looking for cabins to rent for the summer. There is plenty to see in the cities year-round, though to avoid crowds and get the best weather, early autumn or late spring are ideal times to plan a holiday here. October is generally the best month to see the beautiful fall foliage in Pennsylvania’s national and state parks.
What are the top things to do in Pennsylvania?
Museum-hop in Philadelphia
Philadelphia may not be the state’s official capital, but it is a cultural capital. A trip here is a great way to dig into the art and history with trips to the Museum of the American Revolution, the Philadelphia Museum of Art — which houses one of the country’s most impressive collections of Impressionist and Modernist art — and the Mütter Museum, which collects medical curiosities. Just don’t forget to grab a cheesesteak between stops.
Big Pocono State Park
Big Pocono State Park is an impressive place for a hike any time of year, but there’s something especially magical about being here to see the trees turn stunning shades of red, orange, gold, purple, and brown in the fall. On a clear day, trek to the top of Camelback Mountain to see the entire tri-state area sprawled out before you, in a blanket of fiery hues.
Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Pennsylvania Dutch country is a unique cultural enclave within the state, where large communities of Amish and Mennonite people have made their homes. While here, make sure to stop at the town of Intercourse, where you can purchase beautiful artisanal items, handicrafts, and foodstuffs made by locals (tip: pick up a homemade pie for the road.)