Known as the “Keystone State,” Pennsylvania is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. This diverse state, steeped in American history, is home to the shores of Lake Erie, the Pocono Mountains, Hershey Park and the City of Brotherly Love. In Pennsylvania, you can find rural charm, urban flair or colorful history; it’s deciding where to go first that tends to be the problem.
As a popular tourist destination, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (and surrounding areas), is home to a large population of Pennsylvania Dutch, or Amish people. These picturesque communities are filled with covered bridges, farms, horse and buggies, and quaint downtown shops and restaurants serving food that’s homemade and home grown. Not far from Lancaster is Hershey, home to the world-famous chocolate company and candy-themed amusement park. The 110-acre park has over 60 rides and attractions, including 11 roller coasters. An expanded boardwalk, water rides and several restaurants makes Hershey Park a must see for Pennsylvania travelers of all ages.
Geared toward the nature-loving tourist, the Pocono Mountains area is the perfect destination for winter and summer vacations. Skiing, snow boarding and snowmobiling are just a few of the winter sports that attract people in the colder months. During the summer, hike the Appalachian trails and spend time at the many lakes in the region. The many resorts, inns and hotels in the Poconos will cater to guests’ every whim, ensuring each mountain getaway is unique and relaxing.
The largest city in Pennsylvania, affectionately known as the “City of Brotherly Love,” is Philadelphia. As the fifth-largest city in the United States, Philadelphia offers everything from fascinating American history, to world-famous restaurants and a boisterous nightlife. Home to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as four professional sports teams and the original cheesesteak, Philly is an eclectic center for arts, culture and Americana.
Each region of Pennsylvania has its own specialties that make the cuisine unique from the rest of the country. In the Lancaster area, Pennsylvania Dutch food is hearty, German-inspired fare like scrapple, chicken corn soup and shoo-fly pie. Pittsburgh is known for its famous Primanti Brothers sandwich shops, which feature giant sandwiches consisting of grilled meats, vinegar-based coleslaw and French fries. Philadelphia is known the world over by their renown cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. The flavor war between Pat’s and Gino’s steaks is a Philly tradition and still going strong today. First-time visitors would be remiss to forgo an authentic cheesesteak at one of these local institutions.
The two major airports in Pennsylvania are Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Pittsburgh International (PIT). Both are served by most major carriers that have both domestic and international flights. Regional airports include Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Most major cities have a variety of public transportation (buses, subway and trolleys) as well as taxi service running 24 hours.
While the entire state of Pennsylvania is considered as having a continental climate, the state straddles two climate zones. All areas have four distinct seasons, yet the northern and western sections of the state tend to get colder and have a larger percentage of snowfall in the winter. Summers can get hot and humid, the spring months warm and sometimes rainy, and the autumn crisp and cool. Pennsylvania is a year-round travel destination that offers countless vacation options in any season.