Though I grew up moving all around the country, I was born and spent a good portion of my life in Pennsylvania. It is the only place that has ever felt like home to me, and I love it dearly. You’ll never convince me there is anywhere more beautiful. Pennsylvania is rich in history and beauty. There’s so much to explore! Here are a few of my favorite Pennsylvania Bucket List destinations.
The Great Outdoors
Gettysburg – Living History programs take place every weekend from April til October at Gettysburg. Your trip to Pennsylvania isn’t complete without learning about Gettysburg’s history. Great for the whole family.
Pine Creek Gorge – Known as Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon, the Pine Creek Gorge is located in Tioga County and is full of breathtaking views you won’t see anywhere else. Surrounded by more than 165,000 acres of the Tioga State Forest, the Canyon begins on US Route 6 and continues approximately 47 miles. You can go hiking, camping, and snowmobiling here.
Penn’s Cave – Getting lost in Prospector Pete’s Miner’s Maze doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to me, but people visit Penn’s Cave every year to do so! Enjoy the boat tour through this amazing limestone cavern, take a ride on the wildlife park tour, or picnic in the Cave Cafe if you’re looking for something a little more relaxing.
Bushkill Falls – The “Niagara of Pennsylvania”, Bushkill Falls is among our great state’s most famous scenic attractions. Nestled deep in the Pocono Mountains, you’ll find either waterfalls, many hiking trails, and bridges that offer the best views around.
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve – “Where mind, heart, and spirit bloom.” This preserve is home to nearly 800 plant species native to Pennsylvania. A deer exclosure fence surrounds and protects 100 acres of this preserve. You can enjoy some of the best hiking in all of Bucks County, according to their website. Can’t make the visit? Take a virtual tour.
Bonus: They offer summer camps for locals!
Presque Isle – Lake Erie is the only one of the Great Lakes that borders Pennsylvania. Presque Isle formed more than 11,000 years ago. Over time, the coastline “floated” as the forces of wind and water carried sand from the neck of the peninsula, eastward, depositing it at Gull Point, causing that area to grow (Source: Presque Isle website).
One of the best places to view our amazing Pennsylvania sunsets, you can tour the Isle by foot, bike, segway, or boat. You’ll want to visit more than once, because there are dozens of different routes you can take on your walks. Don’t miss the Presque Isle Lighthouse, a 74-foot red brick tower, built in 1872.
Oddities and History
Eastern State Penitentiary – Take a tour and learn with hands-on history. You’ll learn how to open a cell, and you can take a tour of the punishment cells, dining hall, and even the operating room. Creepy!
Mutter Museum – Tens of thousands of wounded and sick soldiers arrived in the city to be cared for in local hospitals during the Civil War. What was it like to fight, to become sick or injured, to take care of the wounded? Get answers to this question and more at the Mutter Museum. You’ll also see exhibits of skulls, and even parts of a brain in a specimen jar.
What would you add to this “must see” Pennsylvania list? Let me know in the comments!
Katie Reed is a passionate writer and mother of four vivacious boys from Salt Lake City, Utah. Drawing from her own journey through TTC, pregnancy, and the joys of raising children, she offers a wealth of insight into the world of motherhood. Beyond her heartfelt tales, Katie delights her readers with family-friendly recipes, engaging crafts, and a curated library of printables for both kids and adults. When she’s not penning her experiences, you’ll find her crafting memories with her husband and sons—Dexter, Daniel, Chester, and Wilder.