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Places to Visit Near Lancaster

Explore Central PA with

These Day Trips

Explore Central PA with These Day Trips

Lancaster is chock full of amazing attractions, so you could easily pack your dream getaway with unique and memorable experiences without ever leaving this iconic tourist town. Still, you will do yourself a disservice if you limit your adventure to Lancaster alone. There are many other wonderful towns in the area, and each offers its own special flavor and atmosphere.

As you begin to plan your ultimate itinerary, plan a mix of activities in nearby towns but don't forget to include plenty of downtime. This is easily accomplished when you book accommodations at the Eden Resort, where you'll have easy access to pools, restaurants, and more — plus proximity to several of the region's most desirable destinations. To help with the planning process, we've identified the best places to visit near Lancaster PA, plus activities to keep you entertained once you arrive.

Places to Visit Near Lancaster

Several top attractions associated with Lancaster are actually located in the nearby town of Ronks. This small farming community certainly holds a lot of tourist appeal, although there are some truly grand and iconic spots worth checking out.

Owing to its large Amish population (and visitors' never-ending interest in the Amish lifestyle), many top attractions have a great deal of old-world charm. The Amish Village, for example, is easily accessible but feels like its own special world, complete with a blacksmith shop, a one-room schoolhouse, and a guided farmhouse tour. Historic architecture takes front and center at the Old Windmill Farm, where a variety of hands-on activities introduce visitors to the Amish lifestyle.

Ronks is home to the acclaimed Sight & Sound Theater, where the most iconic Bible stories are brought to life through the power of live performances. Ideal for anyone who seeks a faith-based, and larger-than-life, experience, Sight & Sound is family-friendly but also perfect for an adult-only getaway. Get ready for live music, evocative storytelling, animal appearances, and the best costuming and set design in the entire state.

In addition to Sight & Sound, Ronks boasts plenty of appealing attractions that encourage vacationers to get outside and explore. Many of these experiences are wholesome and charming, although shopping opportunities also abound. As you plan a fun day in Ronks, be sure to check out these favorites:

  • Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
  • Li'l Country Store & Miniature Horse Farm
  • Dienner's Country Restaurant
  • Country Loft Antiques
  • Locally Made Food Shop
  • Mascot Roller Mills (Ressler's Mill)

Strasburg

The adorable village of Strasburg is a must for history buffs. Its most iconic attraction is easily the Strasburg Railroad, which plays a crucial role in maintaining the "Rockwell-esque small town" atmosphere of Strasburg. This is the oldest operating railroad in the nation, so an authentic experience can be expected. Book a themed excursion if you visit around Christmas or Easter. Otherwise, the railroad also hosts special rides that incorporate wine tastings, spooky stories, or even cabaret performances.

After a delightful ride in the caboose or passenger car, take the opportunity to learn more about the local railroads as you hit up the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. This treasure boasts many beautifully preserved engines, plus a variety of railroad artifacts that history buffs and transportation enthusiasts will find compelling. Many interactive features are provided to keep kids happy and, often, parents find that this is the most reliable solution for staying busy on a rainy day.

In keeping with the railroad theme, Strasburg's other major attraction is the Choo Choo Barn. This vast display incorporates hundreds of animated figures that are guaranteed to delight both kids and kids at heart. The model train scenes are always changing, as expert modeler Tom Groff continually finds new sources of inspiration and new opportunities to up the ante. Local landmarks are often prominently featured, so this is a great option to check out after you've explored the area and familiarize yourself with the best places to visit near Lancaster PA.

Lititz


Lititz may be a small town, but it's big on charm. Its tree-lined streets beckon you to stroll as you take in the lovely Victorian architecture. Many structures have been perfectly preserved, in part because this was the first Pennsylvania community to establish a historic district. Many top attractions date back hundreds of years, including the lovely Lititz Spring Park.

If you have the chance to visit during the 4th of July, don't miss this incredible opportunity. Lititz boasts an impressive record: the longest continuously running Independent Day celebration in the entire nation!

Throughout the year, must-visit destinations include:

  • Julius Sturgis Pretzels Bakery
  • Appalachian Brewing Company of Lititz
  • Stoll and Wolfe Distillery
  • Wilbur Chocolate
  • Wolf Sanctuary of PA

Bird-in-Hand


Long a haven for travelers, Bird-in-Hand is known not just for its memorable name, but also for its quaint, Pennsylvania Dutch vibes. It is thought to have earned its distinct moniker when an early surveyor commented, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" prior to spending the night at a local Conestoga wagon stop.

While the surrounding area has changed considerably since the 1700s, Bird-in-Hand retains the same understated vibes that sparked its name in the first place. Bird-in-Hand provides an abundance of opportunities for leisurely shopping and can keep you plenty busy as you search for the perfect gifts or souvenirs.

As you plan your shopping itinerary, keep in mind that Bird-in-Hand is home to some of the area's finest quilting and other artisan offerings. The local farmer's market is also a must-visit; there, you will find dozens of stands that are well-stocked with mouthwatering treats. Other destinations to add to your Bird-in-Hand itinerary include:

  • Water's Edge Mini-Golf
  • Kauffman Orchards
  • Rumspringa Brewing Company
  • Bird-in-Hand Stage

Intercourse


Another local town with a memorable name, Intercourse was once known as Cross Keys and, although it was established in the mid 1700s, the town is believed to have received a unique name update in the early 1800s. This quaint village is another pillar of the local Amish community, which is thriving and active.

While buggy tours abound in and around Intercourse, the most exciting rides can be found at Barry's Car Barn. There, you'll discover a vast collection of muscle cars from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, plus plenty of motorcycles, gas pumps, and so much more. With so many artistic details included, this display offers a true visual feast for nostalgic types.

Within a short stroll of Barry's Car Barn, you will find several cute shopping destinations that may remind you of Lititz and Bird-in-Hand. Set aside room in your souvenir budget for these essentials:

  • The Treasure Place
  • Village Handmade
  • Ten Thousand Villages
  • Old Candle Barn
  • The Country Life

Hershey

While it's a 35-minute drive from Lancaster, Hershey is absolutely worth a visit if you have the time and especially if you have a sweet tooth. This remarkable town was founded by Milton Hershey, who also founded the iconic Hershey Company. What began as a town for Hershey Company workers quickly became a tourist hot spot and today, Hershey is known not only for its sweet treats, but also for its unique history as a model town.

As can be expected, the top attractions in Hershey are nearly all chocolate-themed. Hersheypark subtly builds this concept into roller coasters and other thrills, while Hershey Chocolate World offers a uniquely sweet tour and plenty of fun experiences like a DIY candy bar opportunity. Either experience will require several hours to truly enjoy, so be prepared to set aside a full day (or two) so you can truly see all that this seriously sweet town has to offer.

Showmanship has always been an important part of the Hershey experience, and these days, there are plenty of places to enjoy live performances. Hershey Stadium hosts the hottest concerts, while Hershey Theatre brings Broadway shows, dance performances, and classical music to a magnificent gilded venue.

With so much to see and do, you will need to prioritize if you want to also commit to other day trips from Lancaster PA. Still, it's worth your while to explore these essentials if you manage to find the time:

  • Hershey TrolleyWorks
  • Hershey Story Museum
  • Hershey Gardens
  • AACA Museum

Columbia


Enjoy the river town experience in Columbia, where you can take in the best views of the Susquehanna. This is where you'll find the region's best recreational activities, including hiking, biking, kayaking, and more. If you prefer something a bit more low-key, antique shopping is sure to please; top destinations such as Tollbooth and Bootleg Antiques offer plenty of treasures.

Another unique attraction: the National Watch and Clock Museum, which is one of the nation's only museums entirely dedicated to horology — the study of timekeeping. For a wonderfully interactive attraction, check out the Turkey Hill Experience, where you'll find a vintage milk truck and more ice cream samples than you can possibly eat in one visit.

Be sure to wander around town and take in the blend of industrial and historic residential architecture. If you want an even closer look at the town's remarkable history, explore Wright's Ferry Mansion, where you will find an incredible time capsule that transports you back to the ornate styles of the late 1700s.

The coffee scene is thriving in this small town. Begin your visit in the morning so you can grab a hot beverage and baked goods. Local favorites include:

  • Prince Street Cafe
  • HomeGoodies & Coffee
  • Garth
  • Coffee and Cream

Choosing a Home Base for Day Trips Near Lancaster PA

Now that you know which Central PA places to visit, it's time to choose accommodations that will place you near all the action. When in doubt, Lancaster is a great home base. Not only is Lancaster conveniently located a short drive to all the region's most charming villages and attractions, but there are also plenty of tourist favorites located right in town.

With the right accommodations, you will get the best of both worlds: a great place to relax and a jumping off point as you explore the area. Feel free to alternate day trips with leisurely days spent in the heart of Lancaster or even at your resort.

If you book a room or suite at the Eden Resort, you will discover Lancaster's most delightful accommodations, not to mention, a variety of onsite opportunities that encourage you to make memories and relax in style. Enjoy breakfast at Arthur's Terrace and lunch, dinner, and happy hour at Bistro 2two2. Poolside dining is a delight during the summer months and kids find the Splash Zone just as exciting as the region's top amusement parks.

Ready to plan a wonderful adventure in Central PA? Book your accommodations at the Eden Resort today.

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