Pennsylvania winter vacation ideas

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).

Pennsylvania winter vacation ideas

1. Strasburg Rail Road
All aboard for a beautiful ride through the countryside. Strasburg Rail Road takes families and train-lovers alike on a 45-minute ride on their steam locomotive, and it’s just as beautiful in the winter. If you’re in town for the holidays, their holiday-themed trains add an extra dose of holiday cheer to your visit.

2. Holiday Shopping
Whether you’re shopping for the perfect holiday gift or treating yourself post-holiday, small businesses and boutiques are plentiful in towns like Lititz, Strasburg, Intercourse, Adamstown and Downtown Lancaster. Make your list, check it twice, and enjoy a day of supporting small businesses.

3. Hands-On Learning
If cabin-fever starts to set in, get ready for hands-on fun and learning at Hands-on House and Tiny Town. Both offer children a plethora of ways to learn through playing, and are perfect of children 10 and under.

4. Visit the Outlets
Update your wardrobe for the season at Lancaster’s outlets, the Shops @ Rockvale and Tanger Outlets, where you’ll find brands you like for prices you’ll LOVE.

5. Mayor’s Tree Lighting
Head into the heart of Downtown Lancaster to see Santa make his arrival to the city, countdown to the Christmas Tree being lit, enjoy live music, and more festivities!

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6. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
Nothing beats a chilly day like a warm cup of coffee and a cozy café. Lancaster is home to over 70 coffee shops to choose from, including one that’s serving up the best coffee in Pennsylvania (according to Food & Wine Magazine), Passenger Coffee. Many are also serving up tasty café bites to pair with your latte of choice. Order for take-out or get a gift card!

7. Get Crafty
Get in touch with your artistic side with pottery painting or a canvas painting class. The PotteryWorks offers pottery pieces that can be painted any way you please. Order your pottery and paint online to create a masterpiece from the comfort of your home. If you prefer more of a class setting, Painting with a Twist holds in-person and virtual canvas painting classes that guide aspiring artists step-by-step through a painting that they can proudly hang in their home afterwards.

8. Science Fun
For kids that are into science, hop on over to Lancaster Science Factory and North Museum of Nature & Science. Lancaster Science Factory focuses on physical science and chemistry, while North Museum is all about nature, space, and animals. Spend some time outdoors at the Lancaster County Park for one of their nature activities!

9. Craft Beer & Breweries
Winter ales are on tap at local breweries, so stop by to try a few of our favorites. Order take-out or get a gift card for future use!

10. Catch a Show
Enjoy Cinderella on the mainstage at the Fulton Theatre, November 9th through January 2nd. Starting on January 18th, you can also see the 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee at the Fulton. At the American Music Theatre, you can see Winter Wonderland, November 9th through December 30th. You can find more shows, like the Sound of Music, coming to Lancaster here.

Photo by user strasburgscooters, caption reads Don't miss our Scootin' with Santa tour, running on Saturdays and Sundays from November 30th until Dec. 22! Check out our website for more details. 🛵 🎄 🎅

11. Mud Sale
Mud Sale season begins at the end of February – perfect for your end-of-winter getaway to Lancaster. Grab your boots and head to one of these annual auctions, where you’ll find everything from quilts and antiques, to shrubbery and lawn equipment. If you’re just there to spectate, there’s plenty of tasty PA Dutch cuisine to enjoy as well.

12. Cozy Dining
Warm up by the fire as you indulge in a tasty dinner. For those chilly nights, make a reservation at one of Lancaster’s restaurants with fireplaces for a memorable, cozy dinner.

13. Museums
Make your way to a museum when it’s too cold to be outside. Lancaster is home to museums for every interest – from trains and cars to art, clocks & watches and industry. You can enjoy winter events at museums this season such as Lantern Tours and Christmas at the Ephrata Cloister, and Yuletide at Wheatland.

14. Farmers Markets
Wander the aisles of our great farmers markets for fresh produce and delicious handmade delicacies. Even in the winter, there are vegetables and fruits being harvested, especially hearty root vegetables.

15. Local Distilleries
Get in the holiday “spirit” with locally made whiskey. Stoll & Wolfe in Lititz and Thistle Finch Distillery in Downtown Lancaster are concocting craft cocktails made with their locally made whiskey, gin and vodka. Swing by for taste after a day of holiday shopping or while catching up with friends post-holiday.

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16. Lititz Fire & Ice
The 2022 Lititz Fire & Ice will take place February 18th – 27th. Instead of one weekend, the event will be spread out over a week and a half, with rotating sculptures placed throughout the town! Stop by the event and order at one of the local restaurants, peruse the quaint shops and boutiques and enjoy the masterfully crafted ice sculptures!

17. Spa Day
The cold, dry air can do a number on your skin, so it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to a spa day. Your skin and nails with thank you as you pamper yourself this season.

18. Bowling
Roll away the winter blues with a round of bowling. Whether with friends or family, bowling at Leisure Lanes and Rocky Springs Entertainment Center makes for a great winter afternoon out.

19. Take a Tour
Try Christmas cookies, explore Amish holiday traditions, and more with the Christmas Cookie Tour at Amish Farm and House. Enjoy shopping and, festivities, and samples of delicious food at Kitchen Kettle Village’s Holiday Flavors Tasting Tour. Or, take a tour of the Lancaster countryside with Santa when you go Scootin’ with Santa! You can also explore more tours offered by LoKal Experiences.

20. Christmas Fun
Head to Hersheypark for Christmas Candylane and the Sweet Lights display. You can also enjoy the holiday season at Dutch Winter Wonderland!

Photo by user ashley.destephano.photography, caption reads "I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." -Robert Frost.
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21. Ice Cream in Winter
Fun can be tasty, especially in Lancaster. Get the scoop on ice cream making at Turkey Hill Experience, and even get the chance to create your own ice cream flavor. If salty snacks are more your style, head to Julius Sturgis for a pretzel twisting tutorial and to learn more about the oldest commercial pretzel bakery in America.

22. Arcades & Laser Tag
Ready for a round of laser tag or to tear around a go-kart track? Gather the family and head to Carlisle Sports Emporium (great for older kids) or Go ‘N Bananas (perfect for the little ones). Both spots features arcade games galore, along with activities like laser tag, bumper cars, ropes courses, and go-karts.

23. Quilts
Prepare for colder days ahead with a handmade Lancaster County quilt. They’re both warm and beautiful, making for a great gift as well.

24. Live Music
Catch some live music with friends while toasting to another great holiday season. You’ll find fantastic craft cocktails, live bands, jazz music, and good vibes at the bars in Lancaster.

25. PA Farm Show
Take just a short drive to Harrisburg for the 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show! Delicious foods, agricultural events, contests, and vendors await!

Photo by user everaftereisenhour, caption reads the most wonderful time of the year
••• Christmas vibes are in full effect over here, especially after an incredible  Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. We are beyond lucky to have a support system close by 365, but the holidays reaffirm how very happy we are to be building a life around our loved ones. She’s a few weeks shy of making her way back home and we are excited to feel whole again but we are also slightly nervous. For blended families, this next month can be a little crazy, stressful and even painful at times. It’s important to remain flexible and get creative. Time together will be different for blended families. So will traditions. At the end of the day, as long as the kids are put first, you’re doing it right. Stay positive and enjoy the magic of the Holidays! DM us if you have questions or would like more helpful tips and hints for getting through the holidays as blended families.
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26. Outdoor Dining
Try outdoor dining on a heated patio or in an igloo this winter.

27. Small Town Events
Head into Downtown Lancaster on the first Friday of every month for First Friday. Peruse art galleries, see live music, and enjoy the culinary scene of the city! You can also head to Manheim for First Thursdays, and to Lititz for Second Fridays.

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