12 Most Beautiful Places in Pennsylvania to Visit

by Saad Backup
Most Beautiful Places in Pennsylvania
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Are you considering a trip to PA this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Pennsylvania. These beautiful sights and destinations will leave you in awe.

Pack your bags: your journey into the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania awaits. Teeming with picturesque landscapes, Pennsylvania offers an enchanting fusion of rich history and natural beauty. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a nature lover, the best places to visit in Pennsylvania will captivate your spirit and instill wanderlust.

There’s something mesmerizing about the Keystone State with its verdant forests, rugged mountains, and charming small towns. If you’re wondering where to go in Pennsylvania, the diversity of Pennsylvania’s beautiful places might leave you spoilt for choice. From the shimmering waters of Lake Erie to the tranquil beauty of the Poconos, every corner of Pennsylvania is an open invitation for adventure.

Beyond its natural allure, Pennsylvania houses some of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. Whether you’re meandering through the historic city of Philadelphia or soaking in the artistic vibes of Pittsburgh, you’ll be blown away by the history, culture, and art scenes of these cities.

With a seemingly endless list of places to visit in Pennsylvania, planning your trip can be a daunting task. But fear not, we’ve done the legwork and curated a list of the most scenic places in Pennsylvania. From the must-see gems to the unique hidden nooks, this list is your ultimate guide to experiencing the prettiest places in Pennsylvania. So get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey, because visiting Pennsylvania is about to redefine your travel goals.

The most beautiful places in Pennsylvania right now
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The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Pennsylvania

Ready to explore all the most attractive locations in Pennsylvania? As highlighted above, there’s something for everyone in this slice of the Northeast. So continue reading to uncover the must see in Pennsylvania.

Are you in search of picturesque city attractions and cultural experiences? Or perhaps you’re interested in a tranquil retreat surrounded by nature? Whatever your plans may be, Pennsylvania can meet your needs. Here are all the top spots in PA you should know about:

1. Pine Creek Gorge

Known as the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” Pine Creek Gorge is a natural marvel that epitomizes Pennsylvania’s untamed beauty. This majestic expanse stretches over an astounding 300,000 acres in the Tioga State Forest’s heart, inviting visitors from all corners to bask in its stunning glory. The panoramic views offered from Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks on either side of the Gorge are no less than a visual symphony of nature’s finest artwork.

When you step into this wonderland, you’ll encounter an intoxicating blend of tumbling waterfalls, picturesque hiking trails, and a vibrant array of wildlife. The ecosystem here is truly remarkable, serving as a testament to Pennsylvania’s abundant natural riches.

Every season adds a different charm to Pine Creek Gorge. The fall season witnesses the foliage erupt into a vibrant palette of reds, oranges, and yellows. This creates an ethereal autumnal landscape for the visitor. Winter cloaks the Gorge in a pristine blanket of snow, transforming it into a surreal winter wonderland.

Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast, a wildlife photographer, or simply someone seeking tranquility in nature’s lap, Pine Creek Gorge has something for you. Its picturesque splendor and tranquil ambiance mark it as one of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania at any time of the year.

So, when planning your trip, be sure to include Pine Creek Gorge in your itinerary. It’s a place where you can capture fantastic photos, create unforgettable memories, and truly feel the magic of Pennsylvania’s unrivaled natural beauty.

A stunning view of Pine Creek Gorge, showcasing the majestic landscape and flowing waters
A stunning view of Pine Creek Gorge, showcasing the majestic landscape and flowing waters

2. Presque Isle State Park

Take a trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, and discover the natural wonder of Presque Isle State Park. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, this park is Pennsylvania’s only “seashore.” It boasts 11 beautiful miles of sandy beaches perfect for a summer swim or a casual stroll.

Presque Isle’s unique peninsula location makes it a hotspot for a variety of recreational activities. Kayaking through the tranquil lagoons, bird watching – with over 300 different species recorded, or exploring the 11 miles of hiking and biking trails, there’s never a dull moment here.

One of the park’s standout attractions is the historic Presque Isle Lighthouse. Dating back to 1872, this lighthouse adds a nostalgic charm to the scenic landscapes of the park. A climb to the top rewards visitors with panoramic views of Lake Erie and the park.

During the winter months, Presque Isle transforms into a snowy playground with activities such as cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice skating, proving that it’s one of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania, regardless of the season. If you’re looking for picturesque scenery and plenty of outdoor activities, then Presque Isle State Park is a destination you can’t afford to miss.

A stunning sunset over the horizon at Presque Isle State Park
A stunning sunset over the horizon at Presque Isle State Park

3. Ricketts Glen State Park

Embark on a journey into the heart of Pennsylvania’s wilderness with a visit to the remarkable Ricketts Glen State Park. Nestled between the towns of Benton and Red Rock, this majestic park is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. It is one of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania, providing an immersive escape into nature’s enchanting realms.

Spread across sprawling 13,000 acres, Ricketts Glen boasts 22 stunning waterfalls along the Falls Trail, with the highest – Ganoga Falls – cascading down a remarkable 94 feet. As you navigate through this trail, you’ll be enchanted by the hypnotic symphony of crashing waters and the serene ambiance that permeates the air.

The park isn’t just a summertime retreat; its allure extends to all seasons. In the fall, the lush greenery gives way to a kaleidoscope of colors, making it a fantastic spot for photography. Come winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, ideal for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

Rich in biodiversity, Ricketts Glen is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for the diverse bird species and wildlife as you traverse the park’s trails. With its combination of cascading waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and stunning seasonal displays, it’s no wonder Ricketts Glen State Park is on every nature lover’s list of places to visit in Pennsylvania.

A serene waterfall surrounded by greenery at Ricketts Glen State Park
A serene waterfall surrounded by greenery at Ricketts Glen State Park

4. Philadelphia’s Historic District

Venture into the past with a trip to Philadelphia’s Historic District, often dubbed as “America’s most historic square mile.” This area is not just one of the most beautiful cities in Pennsylvania. It’s also the birthplace of the nation, steeped in history and heritage.

At the heart of the district is the iconic Liberty Bell, an enduring symbol of American freedom. Across the street, you’ll find the Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed. Visiting these sites feels like a walk through the pages of a living history book. This makes Philadelphia a must-visit destination for history buffs.

Beyond these historic landmarks, the district is brimming with art galleries, trendy boutiques, and delicious eateries. This offers everything from traditional Philly cheesesteaks to international cuisines. Sprinkled among these urban offerings are beautiful green spaces like the Independence National Historical Park. These kinds of spots are perfect for a relaxing break amidst your exploration.

When night falls, the district takes on a new aura. The historic buildings are beautifully lit, and the nightlife scene buzzes with energy, from cozy pubs to stylish rooftop bars.

Whether it’s the historic charm, the vibrant cultural scene, or the beautiful cityscape, Philadelphia’s Historic District is undeniably one of the best places in Pennsylvania to soak in the essence of the Keystone State.

Independence Hall, a prominent landmark in Philadelphia's Historic District, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted
Independence Hall, a prominent landmark in Philadelphia’s Historic District, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted

5. The Pocono Mountains

A visit to the Pocono Mountains, often simply referred to as the Poconos, is like stepping into a natural wonderland. Spread across four counties, this mountainous region in northeastern Pennsylvania is one of the most scenic places in the state.

Boasting a variety of landscapes including lush forests, rolling mountain ranges, and tranquil rivers, the Poconos serve as a perfect retreat for those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The area’s countless trails are a hiker’s and biker’s paradise, while the Delaware River offers numerous options for water-based activities like rafting, canoeing, and fishing.

Among the many beautiful sights here, Bushkill Falls, known as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” is a must-visit. With eight waterfalls hidden within the forested landscapes, it’s a spectacular sight to behold.

The Poconos also house a myriad of resorts that offer a range of amenities including golfing, spa services, and winter sports. Speaking of winter, the region transforms into a snowy playground with skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing facilities that make it a beautiful place in Pennsylvania year-round.

Whether it’s for an adventurous excursion, a romantic getaway, or a family vacation, the Pocono Mountains, with their breathtaking beauty and myriad of recreational activities, indeed are a prime location that lives up to the phrase “there’s something for everyone”.

A man stands atop a lush green hill in The Pocono Mountains, gazing into the distance
A man stands atop a lush green hill in The Pocono Mountains, gazing into the distance

6. Fallingwater

Nestled amidst the verdant landscapes of the Laurel Highlands is a piece of architectural brilliance – Fallingwater. A masterpiece of the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater isn’t just a building. It’s a harmonious union of man-made design and natural beauty, making it one of the most unique places to visit in Pennsylvania.

What makes Fallingwater special is its unique design. The house is built over a waterfall, merging seamlessly with the surrounding nature. Wright’s organic architectural principles are evident in every corner of the house, from the cantilevered terraces made from local sandstone to the expansive windows that offer intimate views of the surrounding wilderness.

Inside, the home is a time capsule of the 1930s, complete with original furnishings and artwork. As you tour the house, you’ll get a glimpse into the lifestyle of its former residents, the Kaufmann family, while appreciating the innovative architecture that was far ahead of its time.

Visiting Fallingwater is not just about viewing an architectural marvel. It’s about experiencing a place where nature and architecture exist in perfect harmony. While here, don’t miss the chance to explore the beautiful trails surrounding the property. This offers additional vantage points of this iconic home.

Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply someone who appreciates unique experiences, Fallingwater is a must-add to your list of pretty places in Pennsylvania to visit.

A picturesque view of Fallingwater, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Pennsylvania
A picturesque view of Fallingwater, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Pennsylvania

7. Gettysburg National Military Park

Steeped in history and monumental in the American Civil War narrative, Gettysburg National Military Park is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and anyone intrigued by the country’s past. It is among the most beautiful places of Pennsylvania, marrying its rich history with scenic beauty.

The park preserves the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the Civil War and the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s famous “Gettysburg Address.” Walking through the fields, forests, and hills that witnessed the bloodiest battle of the Civil War is an impactful experience.

The park features more than 1,300 monuments, markers, and memorials that tell the story of the three-day battle that occurred here in 1863. Be sure to stop by the visitor center, where you can learn about the battle’s historical context through films, exhibits, and the cyclorama painting depicting Pickett’s Charge.

For a comprehensive understanding of the battlefield, opt for a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides provide insightful narratives that help visitors appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of the men who fought here.

Aside from its historical significance, the park’s landscapes are breathtaking. Rolling hills provide panoramic views of the area, particularly beautiful at sunrise or sunset.

Remember, a visit to Gettysburg National Military Park isn’t just about seeing one of the beautiful places in Pennsylvania. It’s about paying respect to a pivotal moment in American history.

A view of the historic battlefield at Gettysburg National Military Park
A view of the historic battlefield at Gettysburg National Military Park

8. Lancaster County

Known for its rolling farmlands, charming small towns, and rich cultural heritage, Lancaster County is one of the prettiest places in Pennsylvania. It’s the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country and offers a glimpse into a unique way of life.

Amish communities have thrived in Lancaster County for generations, maintaining their traditional lifestyle amidst the rapidly modernizing world. Visit an Amish farm and house for an authentic experience, learning about their culture, customs, and cuisine.

Beyond the Amish, Lancaster County is an agritourism haven. Numerous farms offer tours, pick-your-own produce, and farm-to-table dining experiences. Don’t miss out on trying some Shoofly Pie, a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dessert.

Historic downtown Lancaster is another highlight. Brimming with art galleries, museums, theaters, and restaurants, it’s a cultural hub with a small-town charm. The city’s Central Market, America’s oldest farmers market, is a food lover’s delight.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Lancaster County does not disappoint. The county’s many parks and preserves, including the picturesque Susquehanna River, offer ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and bird-watching.

With its combination of cultural richness, scenic beauty, and welcoming locals, Lancaster County truly embodies the saying, “There’s no place like home.” Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, this corner of Pennsylvania promises an unforgettable experience.

Scenic countryside landscape in Lancaster County, showcasing simplicity and charm
Scenic countryside landscape in Lancaster County, showcasing simplicity and charm

9. Valley Forge National Historical Park

As the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington, Valley Forge National Historical Park holds an important place in American history. The combination of its significant past and beautiful landscapes make it one of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania to visit.

Spread over 3,500 acres, the park offers an immersive journey into the past. Monuments, reconstructed encampments, and historical buildings dot the park, each with a tale to tell. The Muhlenberg Brigade huts and Washington’s Headquarters at the Isaac Potts House are particularly noteworthy.

Begin your visit at the park’s Visitor Center, where exhibits and films provide insight into the hardships and triumphs of the encampment. A driving tour will guide you through the major historical points of interest. This offers some of the fantastic views of the rolling landscapes.

Aside from its historical features, Valley Forge is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Miles of trails wind through the park, providing opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. These paths meander through forests, fields, and along the Schuylkill River, making for a scenic journey.

Whether you’re a history buff or a nature lover, a visit to Valley Forge National Historical Park promises a unique and enriching experience.

Valley Forge National Historical Park - A historic site amidst lush landscapes
Valley Forge National Historical Park – A historic site amidst lush landscapes

10. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Spread across both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area offers an assortment of natural wonders and outdoor activities. With beautiful waterfalls, dense forests, and the Delaware River cutting through a dramatic mountain pass, it is unquestionably one of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania.

The park’s namesake, the Water Gap, is a stunning geographical feature where the Delaware River cuts through the Kittatinny Ridge, creating a picturesque valley. You can take in this remarkable view from numerous overlooks along Route 611 or while hiking the area’s many trails.

Speaking of trails, the park boasts over 100 miles of hiking paths, varying in length and difficulty. These trails traverse mountains, follow babbling brooks, and lead to enchanting waterfalls. Among them is the portion of the famous Appalachian Trail, offering spectacular panoramic views.

The Delaware River itself provides ample recreational opportunities. On warm summer days, visitors can be seen canoeing, kayaking, tubing, or simply swimming in the clear waters. Fishing is also a popular pastime, with the river hosting a variety of fish species.

Whether you’re a hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or someone seeking tranquility by the water, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area offers an ideal escape into nature.

A breathtaking view of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, showcasing its untamed beauty and nature's glory
A breathtaking view of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, showcasing its untamed beauty and nature’s glory

11. Ohiopyle State Park

Ohiopyle State Park is a premier adventure destination in Pennsylvania, offering everything from white-water rafting to serene nature walks. This 20,500-acre wilderness in the Laurel Highlands is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania.

The park’s most distinct feature is the Youghiogheny [yaw-ki-GAY-nee] River Gorge, a white-water enthusiast’s dream come true. The river’s turbulent rapids offer one of the best rafting experiences in the Eastern United States. But it’s not just for adrenaline seekers; the river also has calmer sections for leisurely paddling.

Equally impressive are the park’s waterfalls. The most famous, Ohiopyle Falls, is a 20-foot drop on the Youghiogheny River right in the heart of the park. Nearby, Cucumber Falls is a beautiful 30-foot bridal veil waterfall that’s a must-visit for any park guest.

For those who prefer land-based activities, Ohiopyle offers over 79 miles of trails. Hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders will find trails that cater to all skill levels. In the winter, these trails are great for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

With its wild rivers, stunning waterfalls, and verdant forests, Ohiopyle State Park is an outdoor paradise that leaves visitors in awe of Pennsylvania’s natural beauty.

Discover the natural wonders of Ohiopyle State Park - where adventure meets tranquility
Discover the natural wonders of Ohiopyle State Park – where adventure meets tranquility

12. Cherry Springs State Park

If stargazing is your idea of a magical night, then Cherry Springs State Park is the place for you. This remote park is renowned for its incredibly dark skies. This makes it one of the best places in Pennsylvania for astronomy. In fact, it’s one of the best locations for stargazing in the entire eastern United States!

Cherry Springs has been designated a Gold Level International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association, a rare honor. On a clear night, the Milky Way is so bright that it casts a shadow! Visitors can expect to see a breathtaking panorama of stars, as well as various celestial bodies like planets, meteors, and the Northern Lights on rare occasions.

By day, the park is equally inviting. Located in the Susquehannock State Forest, it offers plentiful opportunities for hiking, wildlife watching, and camping. Surrounded by dense forests, it’s a perfect spot for those seeking peace and tranquility.

The park offers astronomy programs and stargazing events throughout the year, guided by park staff and astronomers. So whether you’re an experienced stargazer with your own telescope or a novice to the cosmos, Cherry Springs State Park offers an unparalleled window into the universe’s wonders.

Stargazing enthusiasts enjoying the celestial wonders at Cherry Springs State Park
Stargazing enthusiasts enjoying the celestial wonders at Cherry Springs State Park

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in Pennsylvania

Want to learn more about the most scenic spots in Pennsylvania? Here are some frequently asked questions about the best attractions and activities in Pennsylvania.

What is the best time to visit Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is beautiful year-round, but the best time to visit depends on what you want to do. Spring and fall are ideal for enjoying outdoor activities and sightseeing, as the weather is pleasant and the scenery is stunning with blooming flowers or changing leaves. Summer is perfect for beach trips, while winter offers excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities.

What is the prettiest mountain town in Pennsylvania?

One of the most charming and picturesque mountain towns in Pennsylvania is Jim Thorpe. Often referred to as the “Switzerland of America,” Jim Thorpe is nestled in the Lehigh Gorge and surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Pocono Mountains.

With its well-preserved Victorian architecture, winding streets, and quaint shops and restaurants, the town exudes an old-world charm that attracts visitors year-round. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do, with hiking, biking, rafting, and skiing opportunities all readily available in the surrounding mountains and trails. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway offers scenic train rides, providing a unique way to take in the breathtaking landscapes.

In the fall, the town’s natural beauty is accentuated by the changing leaves, making it a popular destination for leaf-peeping. Various festivals, concerts, and cultural events throughout the year add to the town’s appeal, making Jim Thorpe a must-visit mountain destination in Pennsylvania.

What are the most beautiful cities in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has many beautiful cities worth exploring. Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, is steeped in history and culture. Pittsburgh is known for its vibrant arts scene and beautiful bridges. Smaller cities like Lancaster and Bethlehem offer charming downtown areas and a rich cultural heritage.

Are there any unique places to visit in Pennsylvania?

Yes, Pennsylvania is home to many unique attractions. For example, Centralia is an almost entirely abandoned town due to a mine fire that’s been burning since 1962. Meanwhile, the Magic Gardens in Philadelphia is an immersive mixed art environment that’s entirely covered in mosaics.

A breathtaking view of Corry's serene landscapes
A breathtaking view of Corry’s serene landscapes

What are some must-see sites in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has many must-see sites. These include historic locations like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, natural wonders such as the Pine Creek Gorge and Presque Isle State Park, and unique attractions like the Hershey’s Chocolate World.

What’s the prettiest part of Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is full of beautiful regions, so the “prettiest” part can depend on personal preference. However, many consider the Pocono Mountains region to be particularly stunning with its mountainous landscapes, waterfalls, and charming small towns. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Wilds region, home to Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” is celebrated for its rugged natural beauty.

What is the prettiest town in Pennsylvania?

Many towns in Pennsylvania could vie for the title of “prettiest,” but Jim Thorpe often tops the list. Nestled in the Lehigh Gorge, this town offers picturesque Victorian architecture, beautiful mountain views, and a charming downtown area filled with unique shops and eateries. Lititz, known for its well-preserved buildings and vibrant Main Street, is another beautiful town often mentioned.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a state that bursts with stunning natural beauty, from its sweeping mountain ranges to its serene lakes, its verdant forests to its charming small towns. This northeastern gem holds a multitude of scenic destinations that cater to every kind of traveler, making it a perfect getaway for all.

Whether you’re seeking the thrill of white-water rafting in Ohiopyle State Park, the tranquility of a starry night at Cherry Springs State Park, or the awe-inspiring views of the Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania ensures a memorable encounter with nature’s grandeur. And let’s not forget about the picturesque towns like Jim Thorpe, and historical cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. These cities are filled with culture, history, and beautiful architecture.

So, whether you’re a Pennsylvanian looking to explore more of your home state or a visitor wondering where to go in Pennsylvania, remember this: Pennsylvania’s beautiful places are waiting to steal your breath away. Each visit will offer new sights to behold, experiences to savor, and memories to cherish.

As this guide shows, Pennsylvania is more than just a destination—it’s an invitation to explore and appreciate the sublime beauty that Mother Nature and vibrant city life can offer. Happy travels!

The top things to do in the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania for all types of travelers
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