7 Places in Pennsylvania You Don’t Want to Miss in 2017!

Over the four years that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve discovered unexpected castles, rocks that sing, places of incredible beauty or incredible historical significance — and sometimes both. I’ve ridden bikes along rivers, hiked to mountain tops, and explored underground — all in the great state of Pennsylvania.

Now that school is out, here are my recommendations for some out-of-the-ordinary day trip destinations in Pennsylvania. There’s a little bit of history, a little bit of science, a little bit of nature… See how many you can visit this summer!

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, 1851.

7. Washington’s Crossing State Park, in Buck’s County, PA, is a park in two parts — one where the crossing itself occurred, and another part — just as, if not even more interesting, just up the road. The park commemorates the famous Crossing as the turning point of the American Revolution. Start your visit in the lower park at the visitors center. It features a small exhibition with some Revolutionary war artifacts, and an original letter written by George Washington while in the Mckonkey’s Ferry Inn. Spring for the ticket for both tours — a bargain for $11. This is a great way to bring some history alive for kids who otherwise might only hear about it in history classes at school!

For more information, click here.

6. No. 9 Coal Mine offers it all. Dirt, going inside a mountain, a train ride… more dirt. Some history — but just enough. Opened in 1855, No. 9 Coal Mine, located in Lansford, PA, is the world’s oldest continuously operated anthracite coal mine. It closed in 1972 and the opening was concreted over, only to be re-opened as a heritage tourism attraction in 2002. Today visitors ride by train 1600 feet into the mountainside, to see and experience first hand what it was like for miners to work underground. On the hottest summer days, it offers a brief respite from the scorching heat as you escape underground!

For more information, click here.

5. Ohiopyle State Park and Cucumber Falls: The waters of the Youghiogheny River are the center of the Ohiopyle State Park, in the Laurel Highlands area of Pennsylvania. The Ohiopyle Falls are gorgeous, but Cucumber Falls are dramatic and breathtaking. It’s not a strenuous hike to Cucumber Falls, so small kids can easily make it — you go down some steps and there it is, a ribbon of water splashing over the side of a cliff. You can climb behind the waterfalls itself, as a semi-cave has been carved out. And wear clothes you don’t mind getting muddy or wet, because you can splash around in the water a bit too.

For more information, click here.

4. The National Aviary, located in Pittsburgh, is home to over 600 animals representing about 200 species — including the Victoria Crowned Pigeon, the National Aviary, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the only independent indoor nonprofit aviary in the United States. It is also the country’s largest aviary. Kids of all ages will giggle in delight at the many shapes and sizes of the birds they will see. Bonus — so much fun for adults too!

For more information, click here.

3. Ringing Rocks County Park (Bucks County) is an understated and underrated destination. I found it really cool. Forget history — this park is all about the science and wonder of our natural world. The thought of rocks that do more than just lie around on the forest floor doing nothing more than, well, looking like rocks lying on the ground is kind of intriguing. The point of this park is a fascinating “field” of 10-foot-high rock piles that make ringing sounds when struck. You’ll want to bring your own hammer…

For more information, click here.

2. Fonthill Castle, built between 1908 and 1912, has more than 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces, 32 staircases, and more than 200 windows of various sizes and shapes. It’s owner and creator, Henry Mercer, believed in recycling and reusing, so if he encountered at a sale an old window from an old house or church or other public building that he thought would fit his castle, he bought it and inserted it into his design. Thus, there didn’t seem to be many windows alike, and often within a room there would be windows that didn’t quite match the others. His castle seems organic, in that it seemed to have been designed from the inside out. The ceilings are sloped and rounded (all with tiles inserted), and few rooms are square or rectangular. You need to visit this wonderful American castle to learn about its other secrets!

For more information, click here.

1. Ricketts Glenn State Park is unbeatable for the astounding beauty of its falls and surrounding forest. This isn’t a hike for younger kids, however. There’s a 7-mile hike that leads to all 21 waterfalls, or a much shorter 3.2-mile loop, that leads you past 18. (You could add maybe another mile — half mile there and back — and tack on a side trip to see the remaining 3 falls.) Plan on just taking your time and enjoy the immense beauty of this park! The hike is all about the waterfalls. Even rainy and foggy, it was incredible. Once the trail meets up with Kitchen Creek, it hugs it for the rest of the way — a no time are you away from sight and sound of waterfalls or the creek itself. Plan on at least 3 1/2 to 4 hours for this hike.

If you enjoyed this post, go to this page to keep exploring all the other interesting places the Blog has visited! And share the Blog with others!

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Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I’d love to hear what you’re doing! Email [email protected] if you’re interested in being a guest-blogger!