Pennsylvania, in the Northeast of America, is best known for the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Although this industrial state is sometimes overlooked by Dutch tourists, the state has a lot to offer in terms of history and nature. Philadelphia is where American history began. Discover the city during a Philadelphia city break . In the west of the state are the Appalachian Mountains and the Pocono Mountains. So whether you like to be outdoors or prefer the bustling city life: you can do both in Pennsylvania!
The first Europeans to settle in this area were the Dutch and Swedes who, together with the later New Jersey, founded the colony of New Sweden in 1638. In 1655, the Dutch conquered the area east of the Delaware that later became the state of New Jersey. On March 4, 1681, the British King Charles II gave the area of the former Swedish colony west of the Delaware to William Penn, who founded a colony for Quakers. The Quakers made treaties with the original population, the Indians. In 1685 slavery was abolished. Pennsylvania became a haven for runaway slaves from the South in the 19th century. During the American Civil War, Pennsylvania sided with the Union. The Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania was a defining moment in that conflict.
According to growtheology, Pennsylvania is bordered to the north by New York State and Lake Erie across which Canada is located. It borders the state of Ohio to the west. It borders West Virginia to the southwest, Maryland to the south, and Delaware and New Jersey to the southeast. Central Pennsylvania is dominated by the Appalachians, the west and east being flatter. The highest point is Mount Davis (979m).
The main cities are: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton and Allentown.
8 Pennsylvania destinations
America lovers should definitely not miss Philadelphia. In this city lies the beginning of American history. The famous ‘Declaration of Independence’ was signed in ‘Philly’. In Independence National Historic Park you can admire Independence Hall, the place where it happened. Then stop right at Liberty Bell Center: here hangs the Liberty Bell, an important symbol for freedom and democracy. Not that interested in history? It is precisely the contrast between history and modernity that makes Philadelphia special. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has an extensive collection of American, European and Asian art. In the east of the city you will find the trendy Queen Village district, which is best known for its (clothing) shops and restaurants.
2. Lake Harmony
Lake Harmony is located south of Scranton, in the middle of the Pocono Mountains. At this lake you can enjoy a wonderful holiday with the whole family. It’s all about the outdoors here. You can walk, swim or bouldering here. Children will have a great time in the water park, during a game of paintball or during a pony ride. Adults can tee off on the golf course or grab a bite to eat at one of the lakeside restaurants. In winter you can ski down the mountains or ice skate on the lake. Make your stay as luxurious as you want. Sleep in one of the many resorts or hotels or pitch your tent at one of the campsites in the area.
West of the Appalachian Mountains is the city of Pittsburgh. The industrial city used to be known as the ‘steel city’, but Pittsburgh has now outgrown this image. It has grown into a hip and relaxed city, where there is something to do for everyone. For a beautiful view of the city, take a train car ride up Mt. Washington up. Sports enthusiasts should definitely attend a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. Do you like art and culture? Pittsburgh is also home to the Andy Warhol Museum. Warhol was originally from Pittsburgh; this museum has the largest collection of his artwork. For relaxation, visit Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a beautiful botanical garden in the middle of the city. Fancy a night out? On The Strip you will find nightclubs, restaurants and museums.
The Pocono Mountains are full of beautiful towns, and Tannersville is one of them. If you like being outdoors, this is the place to be! There is plenty to experience here. Ziplining, rafting, cycling or hiking: it’s all possible here. Children can have fun in the climbing forest or in the water park. Prefer to take it easy? Tannersville is also good for shopping. Whether you like outlets or boutiques; you will surely succeed here. In winter the mountain tops are covered with snow and you can ski or snowboard to your heart’s content.
5. Pocono Lake
In the town of Pocono Lake, in the middle of the Pocono Mountains, there is something to do at any time of the year. In the winter the mountains are perfect for activities such as skiing and snowboarding, but in the summer you can also enjoy hiking, cycling and swimming. Nearby is Pocono Raceway; several NASCAR races are held here during the summer months, including the Pocono 400. You can watch a movie in the Casino Theater as well as a game of miniature golf or a game in the arcade. At Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, learn about the region’s colonial history.
6. Bushkill, The Niagara of Pennsylvania
Near the border with New Jersey is the town of Bushkill. This mountain town is best known for its waterfalls: it is not called “the Niagara of Pennsylvania” by the locals for nothing. By following various hiking and cycling trails you can view the eight (!) waterfalls up close. A beautiful and unique way to enjoy this area is through a horseback ride. Such rides are possible at Sugar Mountain Stable. Learn about the area’s original inhabitants at the Pocono Indian Museum.
Looking for a place for winter sports? The town of Champion, east of Pittsburgh, is highly recommended. Here are several slopes of different levels, where you can ski and snowboard to your heart’s content. Don’t you like the snow? In the summer months, the snow has given way to beautiful forests with several hiking and biking trails. Children also do not have to be bored here with a swimming pool, bowling alley and mini golf course. Do you want to try something different? Then join a fly fishing workshop or take a ride on the zipline.
The town of Tobyhanna is located in eastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna owes its popularity mainly to the nearby state park: Tobyhanna State Park. In this park, which mainly consists of ‘evergreen forest’, you can enjoy a nice walk. Who knows, you might spot a black bear during your walk! There are three hiking trails in the park, each of a different level. Would you rather go out on the water? That is also possible: you can sail, fish or swim on the lake and in the river. Are you still not bored at the end of the day? There are also a number of camping fields where you can pitch your tent.
Pennsylvania Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do in Pennsylvania?
There’s plenty to do in Pennsylvania! It is best to decide in advance what you want to see: the nature in the mountains, or the history in the cities. It’s also fun to combine the two!
How many days do you need in Pennsylvania?
This of course completely depends on your time and your budget. The distances in Pennsylvania are reasonable to drive, so you’ll probably have seen all the highlights after about two weeks.
What are the top rated hotels in Pennsylvania?
We can reserve almost any hotel in Pennsylvania for you. To make it easy, we have already selected hotels for you on this page. If your favorite hotel is not listed, please let us know.