Pennsylvania destinations, parks and attractions
Are you going on a road trip to Pennsylvania, looking for tips about the destinations so you and your party can enjoy it, be comfortable and not spend a fortune?
Here are some of the top destinations in Pennsylvania and tips about visiting them
National parks and monuments in Pennsylvania
- Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site,
The first railroad to circumvent the Allegheny Mountains, the Allegheny Portage Railroad was the finishing piece of the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal. "The Portage," opened in 1834, marking the first time that there was one, direct route between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. All things to all people, it served merchants, passengers, slaves in pursuit of freedom, and soldiers from the Mexican War.
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail,
Maine to Georgia, CT,GA,MA,MD,ME,NC,NH,NJ,NY,PA,TN,VA,VT,WV.
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.
- Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail,
Various States VA,MD,DE,DC,PA,NY.
People first arrived in the Chesapeake Bay during the last ice age. As glaciers melted, diverse societies learned to thrive in a world of water. When Englishman Captain John Smith explored the Bay in 1608, he documented hundreds of American Indian communities. Today, sites on his map are archeological treasures and sacred sites for tribal citizens. Come join us on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay!
- Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Bay Watershed, DC,DE,MD,NY,PA,VA,WV.
NPS helps you learn about and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America. Here, you can visit major league cities, colonial towns, American Indian landscapes, farms and fishing villages. You can learn to kayak, pick crabs, go fishing, tour a lighthouse, slurp oysters, and slow down to enjoy the natural beauty of the Chesapeake.
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, HQ in Bushkill PA; the park is along the Delaware River in the states of NJ,PA.
Need to get away from everything for a while? We know the place. This sacred land has been cherished by people for over 10,000 years. Its fields and forests a bounty for those that have come before us, and a national treasure for us to enjoy today. With waterfalls, over 100 miles of hiking trails and three swim beaches that allow grilling, there's lots of ways to #FindYourPark #EcuentraTuParque
- Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site,
Described as horrifying, mystifying, and brilliant, Poe’s writing has engaged readers all over the globe. The six years Edgar Allan Poe lived in Philadelphia were his happiest and most productive. Yet Poe also struggled with bad luck, personal demons and his wife’s illness. In Poe’s humble home, reflect on the human spirit surmounting crushing obstacles, and celebrate Poe’s astonishing creativity.
- Eisenhower National Historic Site,
Eisenhower National Historic Site preserves the farm of General and 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Adjacent to the Gettysburg battlefield, the farm served the president and first lady as a weekend retreat and as a meeting place for world leaders. With its peaceful setting and view of South Mountain, it was a respite from Washington, DC, and a backdrop for efforts to reduce Cold War tensions.
- First State National Historic Park,
Famous as the First State to ratify the Constitution, Delaware was born out of a conflict among three world powers for dominance of the Delaware Valley. From this beginning, the region developed a distinct character that tolerated diversity in religion and national origin and valued independence.
- Flight 93 National Memorial,
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, the U.S. came under attack when four commercial airliners were hijacked and used to strike targets on the ground. Nearly 3,000 people tragically lost their lives. Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard one of the planes, Flight 93, the attack on the U.S. Capitol was thwarted.
- Fort Necessity National Battlefield,
The battle at Fort Necessity in the summer of 1754 was the opening action of the French and Indian War. This war was a clash of British, French and American Indian cultures. It ended with the removal of French power from North America. The stage was set for the American Revolution.
- Friendship Hill National Historic Site,
Point Marion, PA.
Albert Gallatin is best remembered for his thirteen year tenure as Secretary of the Treasury during the Jefferson and Madison administrations. In that time he reduced the national debt, purchased the Louisiana Territory and funded the Lewis and Clark exploration. Gallatin's accomplishments and contributions are highlighted at Friendship Hill, his restored country estate.
- Gettysburg National Military Park,
The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion", Gettysburg was the Civil War's bloodiest battle and was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln's immortal "Gettysburg Address".
- Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site,
Before Pennsylvania there was New Sweden. Discover this last historic link to a forgotten past. Visit the church's pastoral surroundings and its burial ground of patriots and ordinary citizens alike.
- Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site,
Hopewell Furnace showcases an early American landscape of industrial operations from 1771-1883, Hopewell and other "iron plantations" laid the foundation for the transformation of the United States into an industrial giant for the time. The park's 848 acres and historic structures illustrate the business, technology and lifestyle of our growing nation.
- Independence National Historic Park,
The park represents the founding ideals of the nation, and preserves national and international symbols of freedom and democracy, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both debated and signed inside Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Johnstown Flood National Memorial,
South Fork, PA.
The South Fork dam failed on Friday, May 31, 1889 and unleashed 20,000,000 tons of water that devastated Johnstown, PA. The flood killed 2,209 people but it brought the nation and the world together to aid the "Johnstown sufferers." The story of the Johnstown Flood reminds us all, "...that we must leave nothing undone for the preservation and protection of our brother men."
- Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Sixteen States: IA,ID,IL,IN,KS,KY,MO,MT,NE,ND,OH,OR,PA,SD,WA,WV.
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is approximately 4,900 miles long, extending from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the mouth of the Columbia River, near present day Astoria, Oregon. It follows the historic outbound and inbound routes of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as the preparatory section from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Wood River, Illinois.
- Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River,
The largest free-flowing river in the eastern United States, the Delaware River runs past forests, farmlands, and villages, and it also links some of the most densely populated regions in America. In 2000, the National Wild and Scenic River System incorporated key segments of the lower Delaware River to form this unit of the National Park System.
- North Country National Scenic Trail, Seven States-New York to North Dakota MI,MN,ND,NY,OH,PA,VT,WI.
Come to the North Country. Trek the hills and valleys. Stand on the shores of lakes and streams from glaciers 10,000 years before. Clear-flowing water, red/gold of autumn, a fairyland of snow, open prairies, and distant horizons paint the land. Historic sites along the way tell how America settled and grew as a nation. From North Dakota to Vermont, adventure is never far away.
- Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail,
the corridor between the Chesapeake Bay and the Allegheny Highlands, DC,MD,PA,VA.
Over thousands of years, the Potomac River wound its way through layers of rock. Carving limestone cliffs, roaring falls, and serene winding bends, these waters created a landscape and shaped a nation. Today, the Potomac River corridor is rich in both history and recreation. Offering a chance to both explore your heritage and choose your adventure along the way. Start your journey below!
- Steamtown National Historic Site,
You'd feel heat from the firebox, smell hot steam and oil; you'd hear the whistle, feel the ground vibrate, and watch as one-ton drive rods turned steel wheels. Remember the sound of "chuff-chuff" from the smokestack? Today, you can learn the history of steam railroad transportation, and the people who built, repaired and rode, as we work to preserve a special era in America's industrial history!
- Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial,
Visit the house where wounded Polish freedom fighter Thaddeus Kosciuszko lived and hear how this brilliant military engineer designed successful fortifications during the American Revolution. See the room where he received notable visitors such as Chief Little Turtle and Thomas Jefferson.
- Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River,
Pike and Wayne (PA) and Delaware, Orange and Sullivan (NY) counties along the Delaware River, NY,PA.
Canoe through rapids and quiet pools as the Delaware River winds its way through a valley of swiftly changing scenery or fish amid rolling hills and riverfront villages in one of the finest fishing rivers in the northeastern United States. The clean water of the Delaware, the last major undammed river in the eastern United States, supports a healthy ecosystem and offers tranquility and excitement.
- Valley Forge National Historic Park,
Valley Forge, PA.
Valley Forge is the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army. The park features 3,500 acres of monuments, meadows, and woodlands commemorating the sacrifices and perseverance of the Revolutionary War generation and honoring the power of people to pull together and overcome adversity during extraordinary times.
- Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, MA,RI,CT,NY,NJ,PA,DE,MD,VA,DC.
In 1781, General Rochambeau’s French Army joined forces with General Washington’s Continental Army to fight the British Army in Yorktown, Virginia. With the French Navy in support, the allied armies moved hundreds of miles to become the largest troop movement of the American Revolution. The effort and cooperation between the two sides led to a victory at Yorktown and secured American independence.
Pennsylvania State parks and historic sites
Pennsylvania Seasons, bugs, topography and climate
Pennsylvania's climate is a typical mid-Atlantic, hot summers, cold winters with prevailing winds from the west. The average temperature in July is about 70 °F (21 °C) and in January about 28 °F (−2 °C).
Pennsylvania Camping tips
PA state parks have the most variety of ways to spend the night. When visiting state parks, you can stay overnight in:
Make PA campsite reservations here
- State park inns
- Modern and rustic cabins and unique houses
- Deluxe cottages and yurts
- Campsites for RVs, cottages, and tents
- Trail shelters for those who are backpacking through
- Organized group campsites and cabin camps
Stay Overnight in State Forests
If you want to stay in PA state forests, you’ll have to give up those modern conveniences. Our state forests offer primitive and motorized camping without any modern facilities, water, dump stations, or utility hook-ups.
This is where you want to stay to get a true wilderness camping experience!