Pennsylvania is the Keystone State, the beautiful place where we all come together. And if you’re looking for a vacation spot that’s as diverse as it is awesome, you won’t be disappointed.
Pennsylvania is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country, and the best part is: you don’t have to drive far to get there. The mountains are beautiful in Pennsylvania, and there are plenty to explore. Whether you’re looking for a hike or a bike ride, a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, Pennsylvania has something for everyone.
Pennsylvania has so much to offer: from the bustling city of Philadelphia and its rich history, to the gorgeous mountains of the Pocono region, which are known for their skiing and hiking opportunities. And there’s plenty more in between—like Pittsburgh, which is home to some of the best sports teams around and has some great restaurants to boot.
If you’re looking for something quieter but still urban, check out Lancaster or Allentown—they’re both great spots for foodies or families (and they’re only about an hour apart).
1. Penn Wynne
Penn Wynne is a suburb in Montgomery County with roughly 6,000 residents and often shows up on many livability polls.
That is because everything seems to be going swimmingly in Penn Wynne.
It has an excellent school system ranked A+ by Niche.com, a website that crunches public data to provide ratings and rankings for schools and neighbourhoods.
Indeed, this system is responsible for a 13% higher high school graduation rate that the rest of the state.
Crime rate in this suburb, which mostly comprises residential streets, is virtually non-existent. The residents, with a large Orthodox Jewish population amongst them, is keen on promoting a green lifestyle, working together as a community to conserve the natural assets in the area.
The going rate for a three- to four-bedroomed property is $351,100, and rent averages $1,639. That can be termed reasonable considering Penn Wynne often shows up on the best places to live in America.
Hershey is a 15,000-person community in Dauphin County often dubbed the sweetest place on earth. And that’s because it is here that one of America’s most loved chocolate brands, Hershey’s, is based.
Chocolate Town is a tourist haven where visitors flock to the attraction that is Hershey’s Chocolate World. For anyone looking to settle down here, though, the community is more than just a tourist attraction.
It has a stellar school system that was once recognised by the U.S. Department of Education for its excellence, and it is a culture still pervasive in its public schools to date, what with a 10% higher high school graduation rate compared to the state average.
Crime rate is virtually non-existent in this peaceful community, although the employment rate could do with a little boost.
Surprisingly, cost of living is low, with houses renting at an average $886 and homes valued at $238,100.
3. Mount Lebanon
If a higher than average high school graduation rate, higher than average income, low crime rate and multiple local amenities sound like a nice combination for you when choosing a place to live in the Coal State, consider Mount Lebanon.
The cost of living in this town of 33,000 residents is slightly higher than what you would contend with in other places in Pennsylvania. Median home value is $225,100 and rent is a little over $100 more than national average ($835).
But with all the aforementioned positives promised by this Pittsburgh suburb, you can absolutely justify making a move here.
4. Jefferson Hills
Just 15 miles south of Pittsburgh sits Jefferson Hills, a suburb with a population of 11,000 residents. These are mostly middle-class folk who earn $77,854 on average.
A dollar in Jefferson Hills goes a long way as the cost of living is fairly low, with houses fetching at an average $189,700. The crime rate is not as low as you would expect, but other than that, the suburb fares pretty well.
Families have access to five municipal parks, not to mention a 150-mile system of biking and hiking trails known as the Great Allegheny Passage. As well, there are many youth sports opportunities available, including roller hockey, swimming, diving and more.
The high schools may not be the best in the state, but they perform fairly well, boasting a 96% graduation rate.
5. South Park
You will often find a neighbourhood named South Park in many places you go in America –Seattle, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and others. Pittsburgh has one too, and so happens it is one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania.
The suburb of 13,500 residents has some of the best schools in the state, and what is incredible about it is that the cost of living is even lower than the national average.
Houses are selling for $148,800 on average (against a national average of $178,600), which is lower than most other places on this list.
With an extremely low crime rate and a county park that comprises a concert pavilion, dog park, wave pool, ice rink, trail system, golf course and tennis courts, you will hardly find a better community to settle than South Park, PA.
6. Bethel Park
This Pittsburgh suburb of 32,300 residents gives you plenty of reasons to call it home.
The education system is one of the best in Pennsylvania, and there is little crime happening here. The cost of living is some way below the national average, and the area is steeped in so much natural beauty it is hard to believe an average three-bedroom home goes for $162,300.
You won’t venture a mile in Bethel Park without coming across green space that is not meticulously maintained.
This means there is plenty of space for your children to play and run around, and all these together make for compelling reasons to raise a family here.
7. Radnor Township
Radnor Township is located in Delaware County and is home to 31,500 people.
We admit this is not the most pocket-friendly of towns in the state, but if education is one of the influencing factors when choosing an ideal place to live, you can’t do better than Radnor Township.
The population here is well-educated, with good public schools ranked A+ on Niche.com, and great universities that include the likes of Eastern College and Villanova University.
It thus comes as no surprise to know the median income of $106,538 is double that the national average and one of the highest in the state. That is more than enough to cushion the residents from the high cost of living in a place where homes average $622,500.
The quaint suburb of Emmaus is nestled in the picturesque Lehigh County near Allentown.
It is a historic community with a population of 11,300 residents who love the area for more than just the peace and quiet. The education system is excellent and the cost of living is low, with homes going for $171,800 on average.
Emmaus is a close community noted for its friendly atmosphere, and its livability didn’t escape the attention of Money Magazine which has featured the suburb more than once in its 100 best places to live in the U.S. list.
Anyone who has watched the comedy drama Marley & Me (Owen Wilson/Jennifer Aniston) might be surprised to know Emmaus is the real-life home of the family that inspired the film
The Oil State has seen its fair share of towns and suburbs featured in dozens of best places to live lists, and this suburb of about 29,000 residents is just another of these highly regarded locations in the state.
McCandless has some of the best school districts in Pennsylvania, and its desirability for families is heightened by the myriad recreation opportunities available in the area.
The Strip District, Wood Street Galleries and The Benedum Theater will keep culture lovers immersed, while Schenley Park, The Riverwalk and Point State Park provide ambient space for every outdoor lover.
The North Park Lake promises good fishing, paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking, while the multiple sports teams in the area (Steelers, Pirates and Penguins) provide a much welcome distraction from the weekly schedule.
A two- to three-bedroom house in McCandless costs $214,600.
10. Lower Salford
Lower Salford is a township in Montgomery County which 15,300 residents call home.
The schools in Pennsylvania make the state a magnet for families from all across the country, and Lower Salford serves as more testament to this.
The area has some of the most highly rated schools, and the residents appreciate its friendly community feeling.
Crime would not be a concern of yours living here, and in the slim chance you find yourself on the wrong receiving end, the local police are famed for being highly responsive.
The only downside to living in Lower Salford is that as much as Pennsylvania is acknowledged as a destination for foodies, that is an area the town is not particularly known for.
But with parents earning a combined $92,574 a year, there is always plenty much left to spare for weekend getaways.