Category Archives: Kids & Family

Top Family Attractions in Lancaster, PA

Memories are just waiting to be made at Lancaster, PA’s many family-friendly attractions. You’ll find amusement park thrills, hands-on learning, fun on the farm, and activities for the active families to fill your next trip to Lancaster.

Once the date has been set for your next family vacation, begin your brainstorming with these ideas, sure to please the entire family:

Lancaster County Classics

Dutch Wonderland
For the perfect first amusement park experience for your little one, head over the Dutch Wonderland – a safe, clean park featuring rides and attractions that are both kid and family-friendly, including two roller coasters for that extra special “first coaster ride.”

Tip for your Trip: Purchase tickets online before your visit. Their website offers discounts on select days and discounts for buying tickets online, rather than at the gate.

Turkey Hill Experience
Get the scoop on the art of ice cream making at Turkey Hill Experience where your family can learn more about Lancaster’s tasty Turkey Hill ice cream and iced tea. Bring your ice cream dreams to life in their Taste Lab where you can make (and eat) your own ice cream flavor.

Tip for your Trip: Be sure to bring your sweet tooth! Ice cream and tea are available for your sampling pleasure.

Choo Choo Barn
Locomotives galore can be found at Choo Choo Barn, where the sights and sounds of Lancaster are combined into a huge model train display. Follow the trains as they chug past a miniature barn raising, local attractions, and hand-built animated figures.

Tip for your Trip: Make a day of the Strasburg train attractions. All are just a short drive from each other and your little train lovers will dig the locomotive filled day.

Strasburg Rail Road
All aboard the Strasburg Rail Road – America’s oldest operating railroad. Train lovers will enjoy the ride on the steam locomotives as it chugs through the Amish countryside. Back at the station, kids can hop aboard the Cranky Cars, Pint-sized Pufferbelly and the Pump Car for extra train-themed fun.

Tip for your Trip: Keep an eye out for their special events like Day Out with Thomastm or their Christmas Train events. These special train rides add even more excitement to your visit.

Farmland Fun

Amish Farm and House
Heritage and history are brought to life at the Amish Farm and House, where your family can learn more about the Old Order Amish community here in Lancaster, PA. Kids can try out a real Amish scooter during the farm tour or take in the sights during the Amish Countryside bus tour.

Tip for your Trip: People typically spend about an hour and a half touring the farm, so plan naps and lunch accordingly to make the most of the experience.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
Find 50 farm fun activities, including adorable baby animals and a “can’t-miss” corn maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Admission includes a plethora of activities that provide a family-friendly farm experience.

Tip for your Trip: How about a picnic on the farm? Guests are welcome to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy during their visit.

A is for Amish Buggy Rides
Try a new form of transportation with an Amish buggy ride with A is for Amish Buggy Rides for an unforgettable experience. Memories are waiting to be made as you trot down the backroads.

Tips for your Trip: Check out the petting zoo, playground and silo tower while you wait for your ride or for more to do afterwards.

Amish Village
An Amish adventure awaits at Amish Village, where your family can experience an authentic farmhouse tour and learn about Amish life today. After the tour, wander the 12-acre village grounds for more discovery.

Tip for your Trip: Ask plenty of questions! There’s a lot to learn and stories to be told on this tour.

Hands-on Discovery

Lancaster Science Factory
How do you make science fun? That’s just what they’re doing at Lancaster Science Factory, where kids can experience how science works with hands-on exhibits, experiments, and mini-labs.

Tip for your Trip: Participation is key to learning here! All exhibits are meant to be touched and tried to encourage discovery.

Hands-on House, Children’s Museum
Playing and learning go hand-in-hand at Hands-on House, an interactive museum created with children ages 2-10 in mind. Perfect for the rainy day, your kids can explore the grocery store, discover life on the farm, and even build a “whatcha-ma-giggle” in the machine shop. If the sun is shining, enjoy their outdoor playground.

Tip for your Trip: Museum admission is valid for the day, so if fatigue or hunger sets in, you can leave and come back as you please.

North Museum of Nature & Science
Where can you tour the night sky after learning about dinosaurs and fossils? North Museum of Nature & Science! This awesome, kid-friendly science museum features a live animal room, dinosaur exhibit, STEAM art gallery, collections of preserved animals, flowers and rocks, and a planetarium.

Tip for your Trip: For those looking to check out the stars, the Planetarium shows run 7 days a week during the summer, but are only open Saturdays and Sundays during the fall, winter and spring.

Tiny Town
Discover this indoor, interactive play center made up of tiny houses where children can let their imaginations soar. This town is built for children 7 and under to play as firefighters, doctors, hairstylist and more.

Tip for your Trip: Tiny Town was also created with parents in mind, complete with a coffee bar and free wifi.

Active Attractions

Sky Zone Trampoline Park
When your family is full of energy, jump on over to Sky Zone for some high-flying, flipping fun. Beyond their free jump trampolines, their dodgeball court, foam zone, basketball hoops for dunking, and Sky Climb will keep you kids active for hours.

Tip for your Trip: If you have toddlers in tow, consider stopping by for Toddler Time (Tuesday – Saturday mornings) where kids five and under can bounce and jump – no big kids allowed!

Spooky Nook Sports
For the sports-loving family, head over to America’s largest sports complex for the ultimate active experience. Your kids will love the challenge of the Clip ‘N Climb, arcade, and rock climbing area, while mom and dad will love the fitness center.

Tip for your Trip: When hunger takes hold, stop by food court, smoothie bar, or in-house restaurant, Forklift & Palate. No need to leave for a great meal.

Go ‘N Bananas
Your kids will go bananas for this indoor, family entertainment center filled with fun for the family. Go ‘N Bananas features laser tag, mini bowling, ropes course, spinning bumper cars and so much more.

Tip for your Trip: For families with little ones and older kids, Go ‘N Bananas has activities for all ages.

Village Greens Mini Golf
Craving a round of mini-golf? Take the course at Village Greens Mini Golf with two spacious beautifully landscaped courses. After your game, stop by for a tasty treat at the snack shop.

Tip for your Trip: Extend your stay in Strasburg with the Strasburg Passport. Village Greens and other popular attractions on this list (Strasburg Rail Road, Amish Village and Choo Choo Barn) all participate in this money saving option.

In Nearby Hershey/Harrisburg

Hersheypark
Sweet chocolate and amusement park thrills make for an exciting day at Hersheypark, about 40 minutes away from Lancaster County. Teens will love the 13 thrilling roller coaster while little ones can take a ride on the many kid-friendly attractions. The whole family will love the tasty candy-themed treats.

Tip for your Trip: Don’t forget your swimsuits. Hersheypark’s Boardwalk area features waterslides, a wave pool, water playground and lazy river for the sunny summer days.

Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue
Dive into the chocolaty history of Hershey, PA at the Hershey Story Museum. With exhibits and activities just for kids, plus their tasty Chocolate Lab, your family will love learning about this sweet treat.

Tip for your Trip: This attraction is great for history buffs, and is close by to other great Hershey attractions if you want to experience a few in one day.

Adventure Sports in Hershey
Go-karts, mini-golf, bumper boats and more! Adventure Sports in Hershey offers active family-fun in nearby Hershey, PA. Be prepared for a little friendly competition and LOTS of happy memories.

Tip for your Trip: You only pay for the activities you would like to do, as they don’t have an admission fee. So your family can play as many or as few rounds at you would like!

Whitaker Center in Harrisburg
Learning is made fun at Whitaker Center in nearby Harrisburg. Hands-on exhibits on the human body, weather, and more plus a Digital Cinema makes for a day of fun, especially for your little scientists.

Tip for your Trip: The Whitaker Center offers a variety of 3D science movies to enjoy. Before you visit, check out the showtimes to ensure you catch the one that matches your interests.

 

Looking for even more activities for the family? Our list of Outdoor Adventures with Kids is your go-to-guide to ways to experience the great outdoors in Lancaster, PA.

Top Outdoor Things to Do with Kids in Lancaster, PA

The best spots for kids and families to play, learn, and discover

Lancaster, PA is full of great opportunities to head outside with your kids. So slather on the sunscreen and scoot outside for some good old-fashioned family fun. The destinations below are designed to offer great experiences and new discoveries for the entire family.

Top things to do with kids in Lancaster County, PA

[1] Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
With more than 50 farm fun activities for the whole family included in your admission, and lunch and dinner options on site, Cherry Crest is the perfect destination for a day out with the family. From the famous Amazing Maize Maze and wagon rides to pedal karts and baby chicks, there is something for every age in your family.

[2] Eastland Alpacas
Take some time to tour the 30 acre farm at Eastland Alpacas, and enjoy petting and feeding these gentle, adorable alpacas. The farm is typically open from 10 AM to 4 PM, but feel free to call ahead to ensure that you will get the full experience. In addition to visiting with the alpacas, check out the on-site store stocked with various items that are all made from alpaca fiber.

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[3] Indian Echo Caverns
No matter the season, did you know that caves stay an average temperature year round? Indian Echo Cavern is 52 degrees inside, rain or shine. Year round, 7 days a week, you can explore the cavern, and enjoy a petting zoo and playground. Plan about 45 minutes for the full tour, and pack your lunch as not to interrupt the little explorers!

[4] Wolf Sanctuary of PA
In a natural woodland in northern Lancaster County, you will find the home of the Speedwell Wolves. Your kids will love the guided tour where they’ll get to view wolves in their natural habitat and learn about their behavior.

[5] Amish Attractions
Experience Lancaster’s heritage at one of our three indoor/outdoor Amish attractions! From exploring the farm and interacting with the animals at the Amish Farm & House, to having the unique experience of “learning a lesson” in an Amish one-room school house at the Amish Experience, or climbing aboard a buggy and running through a covered bridge at the Amish Village, you’re sure to enjoy learning and fun at one of these great attractions.

[6] Nookside Stables / Ironstone Ranch
What better way to experience Lancaster County’s farmland than horseback riding! At Nookside Stables, you’ll learn about the horse and enjoy navigating an obstacle course on your house as you enjoy the picturesque views of surrounding Amish farms. Beginners are welcome, ages 10+ for the horseback adventure; Children 10 and under can enjoy pony rides, playground and wagon rides. For a trail ride experience, head to Ironstone Ranch, where you’ll find gentle, well-mannered horses and experienced guides who will navigate you through 275 acres of trails. Please make advance reservations.

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[7] ZooAmerica & Hershey Gardens
Hershey’s ZooAmerica is home to more than 200 animals, all native to North America. You’ll find everything from reptiles to porcupines to otters and mountain lions. Admission is free with your ticket to Hersheypark, or there is also a separate, year-round entrance specific to the zoo. You’ll also want to stop at beautiful Hershey Gardens, featuring 23-acres of breathtaking flowers, shurbs, and trees in addition to a butterfly atrium and hands-on children’s garden.

[8] Gretna Lake & Beach
Looking to spend the whole day outdoors while vacationing in Lancaster? Look no further than Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach, where you’ll find eight-acres including a beach, recreation lawn and picnic grove, in addition to the Jigger Shop, serving delicious ice-cream and treats and an open-air theatre.

[9] Intercourse Bike Works / Strasburg Scooters
For older children, you may want to tour Lancaster County on two wheels rather than four! Stop by one of Intercourse Bike Works locations to pick up your bike, and find the tour that’s right for you – from and Amish Dinner Tour to Covered Bridges on Electric Bikes, (or if you’re taking an excursion sans kiddos, the Bikes, Barns and Beers tour), there’s sure to be something for you. If you’re brave, and would rather try a scooter ride, or scoot coupe, head over to Strasburg Scooters, where you’ll enjoy a guided scooter tour on the back roads of Amish Country. You’ll pass exceptional views of the countryside, including Amish farms and schoolhouses, in addition to covered bridges and incredible backroads. You’ll truly be enjoy the fresh air with either of these options! NOTE: Please see websites for age guidelines.

[10] Chiques Rock Outfitters / Shanks Mare
If you’re looking to just take a hike, or kayak along the river, you’ll want to check out this list of Lancaster County Parks & Preserves. Didn’t pack your kayak? That’s okay, we’ve got you covered. Chiques Rock Outfitters and Shanks Mare have kayaks, paddleboards or canoes for rent, and will help you enjoy your time on the river.

[11] Zip Line at Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center
You won’t want to miss the chance to zip line through the canopy at Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center – you’ll have your options from the Flying V Ziplines (2 ziplines, great test run for those who aren’t sure they want to do the whole course), the Challenge Adventure Tour (5 zip lines, 9 challenge elements) or the Aerial Excursion Tour (7 zip lines, 3 sky bridges, 40’ rappel ending). You’ll also find horse rides, farm animal experience, and NEW for 2018, a Challenge of 22 obstacles, suspended 6-25 feet in the air.

[12] AvalancheXpress Snow Tubing
Traveling in the winter? You won’t want to miss a trip to AvalanchXpress at Heritage Hills Resort. There’s plenty to do, including 10 lanes of snow tubing, fire pits that are perfect for warming up and roasting marshmallows, an ice skating rink that’s open through the evening, and great food to warm your belly after a day of outdoor adventuring!

For even more fun, check out the Top Family Attractions in Lancaster, PA.

Lancaster County, PA- Visitors Scavenger Hunt

Lancaster County is full of hidden gems and quite peaceful spots which are fun to stumble upon on your own. We have created a scavenger hunt for you while you explore. If you are ready to take on the challenge we invite you to follow along.

Our list is broken down into three sections: one for Downtown Lancaster, another for Lititz, and a third for Strasburg. Complete all three, or mark where you left off and come back another day! We suggest you try taking a photo with each item and sharing them with us by tagging #DiscoverLancaster. Or splitting your group into teams and seeing who can check everything off first, the fastest group gets whoopie pies (count us in!). Learn interesting facts and take in the sites as you discover what is hidden around Lancaster County. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask a local for a hint or directions some of these items can be tricky to find.

10 Things to Find in Lititz:

  • A giant pretzel
  • The oldest house on Main Street
  • A British flag
  • A chocolate mold shaped like a rabbit
  • Three mallard ducks
  • A Rolex clock
  • A Moravian star
  • A train station and caboose
  • An authentic heritage garden
  • The start of the Lititz spring
  • Bonus: A giant egg

10 Things to Find in Downtown Lancaster

  • A mural or piece of public art
  • An ice cream shop
  • A historic theater
  • The oldest continuously operating farmers market in the U.S.
  • Live music or street musician
  • A historic landmark
  • A roof top bar
  • A place to play a sport
  • A fountain
  • A man reading a newspaper
  • Bonus: Three outdoor pianos (May-September)

10 Things to Find in Strasburg

  • A train with a caboose
  • A theater up on a hill
  • Farm animals
  • A horse and buggy
  • A place to stop for a sundae
  • A giant statue of an Amish man (hint: it’s close to a restaurant)
  • A historic place to stay
  • Corn fields – Bonus point if you find a corn maze
  • Antiques and items from the past
  • A pink flamingo

Five Farmers Markets in Lancaster, PA

As the sun rises, market stand holders are hard at work, preparing their offerings for an exciting day at the farmers market in Lancaster, PA. From local produce picked just days before to baked goods and ready-to-eat foods cooked with passion and care, you’re sure to be pleased by the Lancaster County offerings. Wander the aisles, ask questions and enjoy the community vibes that fill the atmosphere.

Grab a basket or a reusable tote bag to carry your market finds in, and head off to one of Lancaster, PA’s fantastic farmers markets. Be sure to keep the day of the week and time in mind, as markets are open select hours on select days.

Lancaster Central Market
Open Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays

In the heart of Downtown Lancaster, Lancaster Central Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the United States, and was honored by CNN on their “10 of the world’s best fresh markets” list. With a spectacular array of fresh local produce, specialty foods, beautiful flowers, and responsibly sourced meats and seafood, Lancaster Central Market is a “must-visit” while in the area. Experience the culture and community vibes while you grab lunch and coffee – a great way to enjoy the market.

Don’t forget to look up! The market building, built in 1889, features beautiful wooden beams that are a reminder of architecture of the past.

Root’s Country Market & Auction
Open Tuesdays

If you find yourself in Lancaster on a Tuesday, make Root’s Country Market & Auction your first spot. Root’s (pronounced with an “o” sound like “look”) has over 200 stand holders with goods ranging from antiques, collectables and sports memorabilia, to local produce, meats and cheeses, and ready-to-eat foods. Be sure to give yourself enough time to explore – Root’s is made up of nine buildings, plus some outdoor stands, when weather permits.

Craving pizza? Believe it or not – Root’s is home to the 2016 USA Caputo Cup New York Style Pizza Champion, Norma Knepp, who is serving up tasty pizza pies in building number four.

Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market
Open Wednesdays (April-November), Thursdays (July-October), Fridays & Saturdays

A popular stop in Bird-in-Hand, PA is the farmers market, which has been family owned and operated for more than 30 years. Wander the aisles in this indoor, air-conditioned market to find local produce, fresh meats, cheeses, tasty baked goods, plenty of locally made items, and ready-to-eat delights. If you’re browsing for something to remember your trip by, handmade crafts and quilts, quality leather goods and Lancaster-centric souvenirs are plentiful.

Green Dragon
Open Fridays

On Fridays, find your way to Green Dragon – a robust farmers market in Ephrata. Browse the offerings of over 400 local growers, merchants, and craftsmen while enjoying tasty food offerings, including some classic PA Dutch cuisine. Located on 30 acres, Green Dragon is one of the largest farmers markets in the area, so much like Root’s, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore. Locals know this market to sell everything – from “soup to nuts.”

Roadside Stands
Various operating schedules, many are not open on Sundays

As you drive around the county, you’re bound to stumble upon some fantastic roadside stands, offering a bounty of local produce, canned goods, bouquets of fresh-picked flowers, and baked treats. As the weather gets warmer, stands begin to open with offerings that change with the harvest. Be sure to keep cash handy if you plan to stop. Many stands only accept cash, or even work on the honor system, where exact change should be placed in a box on the stand.

Ten Must-Take Tours in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

While visiting Lancaster, whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth time, tours are an excellent way to experience the culture, history, sights and food while learning from passionate local experts. Some involve walking around Downtown Lancaster or a small town like Lititz, while others take you around the county by bus, bike, scooter, or even helicopter.

We’ve gathered ten must-take tours that will leave you with a wealth of Lancaster knowledge, and in some cases, a full stomach. Pick a tour (or two) to add to your trip, and get some insider information with tips from the tour guides to make the most of your experience.

Intercourse Bikeworks Tours
Experience Lancaster’s countryside by bike with the many tours offered by Intercourse Bikeworks. Fresh air will fill your lungs as you peddle along, listening to the wealth of knowledge the guides are waiting to share. For an extra taste of Lancaster culture, book one of their tours that include an Amish dinner, dairy farm tour, or even a beer tasting.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Leave your worries at home! No need to worry about the hills and speed of the ride. The tour is designed to be an experience, not exercise. The pace is slow to allow people to look around and take pictures. They also offer electric-assist bikes if the hills are intimidating.

Photo (above) credit: Intercourse Bikeworks

Photo credit: Amish Farm & House

Amish Farm and House Countryside Tours
Take the backroads to get a glimpse into Lancaster County life with the Amish Farm and House Countryside Bus Tours. This 90-minute bus tour weaves through the farmland, takes riders to a tucked-away covered bridge, and passes Amish schoolhouses, buggies, barns, homes, and farmland vistas, all while sharing stories and facts about the Amish way of life.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Have your camera at the ready, but keep in mind that it’s considered impolite to take photos of the Amish where their faces are recognizable. Refraining from taking up close photos is more than just a courtesy; it’s a respect for our Amish neighbors and their beliefs.

Historic Lancaster Walking Tours
This tour takes you for a stroll back in time around Downtown Lancaster. As you walk, the knowledgeable tour guides tell stories about Lancaster’s rich history as one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. You’ll get a taste of the diverse architecture and cultures that helped build Lancaster to what it is today.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Be sure to stop, listen to the stories, and look up at the examples of American architecture from the 1700s to today that Lancaster, PA has to offer.

 

Lancaster County Food Tours
Foodies visiting Lancaster will love the tours offered by Lancaster County Food Tours. Eat your way around Downtown Lancaster or the small town of Lititz with a variety of tours featuring the Lancaster County classic (i.e. pretzels, whoopie pies, and Wilbur chocolate) and some unexpected treats (locally made wine & beer and fine dining delights). Great food is just the tip of the iceberg – the guides also share stories and history as the tour moves from stop to stop.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Be prepared to chat, make friends, and ask questions. Tours are more fun when the entire group gets involved. And of course – arrive hungry!

Ghost Tours of Lancaster
If you’re looking for a tour of a spookier sort, discover mysteries and tales from the past on a candlelight walking tour of the city with Ghost Tours of Lancaster. You won’t have to wait until Halloween to discover the city’s haunted history – tours are held year-round.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Don’t forget your camera – you never know when the spirits will be restless!

Photo credit: Smoketown Helicopters

Smoketown Helicopters Tour
See Lancaster from new heights by helicopter! Smoketown Helicopters offers tours from an 8-minute tour flying over the Strasburg Rail Road to a 50-minute tour that flies to neighboring Hershey and Harrisburg, with a variety of times and sights in between. These high-flying flights showcase the beautiful farmland and popular attractions you’ll want to visit after you land.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Consider taking this tour at the beginning of your trip. Flying over the local area can give you ideas of other things to do while in Lancaster County. Also, make sure to have your camera or phone charged and ready to go. Taking photos is highly encouraged.

Kreider Farm Tour
What would a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania be without a farm tour? Kreider Farms offer tours of the working dairy farm on their classic trolley bus. After getting a look into their “Cow Palace” and “Milking Merry-Go-Round,” tour takers can climb the silo observation tower for priceless, birds-eye views of the countryside.

Tip from the Tour Guide: This tour is extremely kid-friendly, with a new playground area and cow milking simulator – so bring the family!

Strasburg Scooter Tours
Scoot along the backroads for a one-of-a-kind experience in Lancaster’s countryside. Strasburg Scooters takes riders over the creeks and through the woods and fields to discover covered bridges and farms. Not only will you learn to drive a scooter or scoot coupe (no special license required), but you’ll also learn lots about Amish life, farming and the history behind the covered bridges you’ll visit.

Tip from a Tour Guide: Dress for the weather at 25+ mph! While driving, there will be a constant breeze, in addition to the weather conditions. Hot summer days have a nice breeze to them, and cool fall days will feel a bit crisper. Dress in layers on cool days. Under Armour makes a great base layer to protect against the cold.

Origins of the Underground Railroad
Discover the sites and stories of Lancaster County’s role in the Underground Railroad and African-American Heritage as you journey back to the Civil War. In addition to their Downtown walking tour, guides are available to venture outside Lancaster City on board a motorcoach or person vehicle.

Tips from the Tour Guide: Be ready to learn! Past tour-takers have been surprised by the events and people they knew nothing about prior to taking this tour.

Photo credit: Himalayan Curry & Grill

Taste the World
International cuisine is plentiful in Lancaster City, and what better way to experience it than with a food tour. Taste the World is held on the second Friday of each month, May through October, with a new theme each month. During this self-guided dining experience, restaurants provide a bite for participating foodies to try, from signature dishes (May tour) to dishes that highlight meat (September tour).

Tip from a Tour Guide: Since this is a self-guided tour, it’s best to map out your route before you start. Some suggest going to the furthest restaurant first, then working your way back. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the experience and sights around the city.

 

Top Five Things to do in Lancaster, PA for First Time Visitors

If this is your first visit to Lancaster, PA – we welcome you with open arms and warm Pennsylvania-Dutch hospitality. If you are eager to learn what all the fuss is about, we have compiled a list of five great things to do while you are in town. These activities are “classic” Lancaster at their core. They help to make up what Lancaster is all about and have led to the development of so many of the wonderful experiences and traditions around the County.

  1. Visit Amish Country

When we say “Lancaster” you say “Amish.” These two often go hand in hand, being that Lancaster, PA is home to one of the largest Amish populations in the United States. Our county is known for its rolling hills, beautiful farmland, and relaxing way of life. Try taking a buggy ride with Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides or Ed’s Buggy Rides to have a truly authentic experience on the back roads. If you prefer to move at a faster pace, opt for a scooter ride through the countryside with Strasburg Scooters. Attractions like the Amish Farm & House, the Amish Village, and The Amish Experience are also great places to learn about the plain lifestyle. You can see first-hand what an Amish home or one-room schoolhouse looks like plus learn traditions and customs of this unique culture.

  1. Stop by Lancaster’s Central Market

Located in our beautiful and bustling downtown, Lancaster Central Market is the country’s oldest continually operating farmers’ market. Open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, this market is the perfect place to see the combination of diverse cultures and cuisines that make up Lancaster County. Be sure to pick up some locally-grown produce, freshly-baked goods, meats, or cheeses to take home with you. If visit doesn’t coincide with Market days, don’t worry, there are plenty of other farmers’ markets around the County which you can visit.

  1. Try some traditional PA Dutch food

Traditional PA Dutch food is truly a treat. Prepared from scratch with simple, hearty, ingredients, you can taste the love in every bite. From chicken pot pie, to pork and sauerkraut, or shoofly pie to whoopie pies you are sure to find something to indulge in while you are here. Our many PA Dutch restaurants like Miller’s, Good ‘N Plenty, or Shady Maple, offer all the traditional dishes for you to sample and enjoy. Not sure what you will like? Check out some of our recommendations and explanations here.

  1. Shop for antiques and hand-crafted goods

Here in Lancaster we like to make things by hand, the old fashioned way. We value quality, crafted goods that are passed on to generations and hidden gems scoured from our many antique stores. Each item has a story, and more than likely someone around to tell you about it. If you are looking for the perfect piece to add to your home be sure to head out to Adamstown to check out the many antique malls, markets, and auctions.  Downtown Lancaster also offers a number of artisans and galleries for you to explore on Gallery Row.

  1. See a show

Lancaster is home to a number of theatres with performances ranging from musical, to dramatic, to comedy, or even spiritual. While in town you can visit the largest faith-based theatre in the United States, Sight & Sound Theatres®or catch a broadway caliber musical at the oldest working theatre in the United States, The Fulton Theatre.

If this isn’t enough to keep you busy while you are in town, there is plenty more to do! Stop by our Visitors Center for more ideas and recommendations. We are positive that you will want to come back again to do some more exploring, when you do we will be ready with more suggestions. If you want to learn more of what all there is to do in Lancaster, check out our Getaway Guide (order here) or sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the know.

Guide to Hotel Pools in Lancaster

Where to splash and swim indoors and out, and then spend the night.

Many of our hotels in Lancaster, PA offer visitors (and staycationers!) a chance to hang out poolside, and the opportunity for your little ones to play in a zero depth a splash zone. After a long day exploring Lancaster, hotel guests can lounge outside (or indoors), or take a lap or two in the pool.

Below is a look at some of Lancaster’s best hotel pools for beating the summer heat or to get your energy out during the winter blues.

Note: The below list is in alphabetical order.

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[1]  AmishView Inn & Suites
Enjoy your stay in an upscale hotel where you can draw back your curtains and see the lush Amish farmland, and to top it off, you’ll love their indoor pool, fitness center and whirlpools

[2]  Best Western Plus Intercourse Village Inn
With some much to do in Lancaster, save some time to take a dip in the indoor pool and hot tub. Located in the heart of Intercourse, you can conveniently stay within walking distance of many of the local attractions and shops.

[3]  Bird-in-Hand Family Inn
With both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the Family Inn is the perfect place for an active family, no matter the season of travel. In addition, your family will love the tennis and basketball courts, and more.

[4]  Circle M RV and Camping Resort
If you’re truly up for an adventure, enjoy 104 acres of land surrounded by the Conestoga River, mini-golf, pitch and putt golf, and an indoor water park.

[5]  Clarion Inn at Historic Strasburg
Take a dip in the outdoor heated pool at the Clarion Inn, right in the heart of Lancaster County. If you are looking to visit Sight & Sound Theatres, the Strasburg Rail Road, or Lancaster’s Outlets, this is an ideal location.

[6]  Comfort Suites Manheim/Lancaster
Centrally located between Hershey & Lancaster’s attractions, and right up the road from the largest indoor sports complex in the U.S., the indoor salt-water pool will be the perfect addition to your stay.

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[7]  DoubleTree Resort by Hilton – Lancaster
Your kids will love the indoor water playground – complete with slides, dump buckets, and water sprayers – also featuring a shallow wading area with a frog slide and rainbow sprinkler. And don’t forget to grab a warm and gooey DoubleTree Cookie when you check in!


[8]  Eden Resort & Suites
If you’re looking for a little luxury with your family fun, the Eden Resort is the hotel for you. Enjoy both a heated indoor and outdoor pool and Kidz Water Zone spray park. In addition, the lighted outdoor ping pong, billiard, and shuffle board tables, basketball court, Boccee, and putting green will add even more chances for fun.

[9]  Fulton Steamboat Inn
Savor the full service accommodations in addition to a heated indoor pool & whirlpool. And if it’s nice outside, head out to feed the ducks and koi in the pond, or spend the evening by the fire-pit on the patio, overlooking beautiful Lancaster County farmland.

[10]  Greystone Manor Victorian Inn
Enjoy a stay in a beautiful Victorian Mansion, built in 1883 on 2 park-like acres including beautiful gardens and a pool and hot tub. Greystone Manor truly offers a unique stay in a serene setting in Lancaster County.

[11]  Hampton Inn Lancaster
You’re sure to enjoy the seasonal heated outdoor pool and patio area, and less than a block away, you can relax on a paved walking trail with ponds, water fixtures, a playground, unique sculptures, and more.


[12]  The Hotel Hershey
For year-round fun, relax by the indoor pool, and don’t miss the spa, located in the hotel. Whether you want a couples retreat or a family fun vacation with Hersheypark as part of your trip, this is the hotel for you.

[13]  Lake-in-Wood Camping Resort
From an indoor heated pool and spa to a larger outdoor pool complex, your family is sure to remember your stay at Lake-in-Wood – featuring two fun playgrounds, a total fitness hiking trail, rec room, and paddle boats.

[14]  Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square
Located in the center of Downtown Lancaster, the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square is perfectly situated for a night on the town. After exploring the city that was recently named one of Forbes Top Ten Cities to Visit in 2018, relax in their indoor pool.

[15]  Tru by Hilton Lancaster East
Featuring an indoor heated pool, the new Tru by Hilton Lancaster East is perfect for the traveler who’s looking for affordable travel with upscale amenities. This hotel features a lobby with areas to let you work, play, lounge and eat, and a fully equipped fitness center.

Fun Family Weekend in Lancaster

A Fun Family Weekend in Lancaster, PA

Do you feel the need to escape the cabin fever of late winter and create memories with the ones you love? Looking for something close by? Easy to plan? We have just the thing for you! Conveniently located within a couple of hours from most cities in the Mid-Atlantic region, Lancaster, PA offers a combination of small-town charm, historical appeal, and vibrant city amenities that your whole family will enjoy.

We rounded up a list of recommendations for a 3-day weekend trip, removing the stress of planning from the equation. With a focus on quality family time together, hands-on learning, and partaking in the unique foods Lancaster offers, we hope that you find this weekend one to remember. If you’re more of a planner, and want to add your own twist on what’s recommended below, we’ve got the perfect Lancaster County Destination Guide for you – and it’s free!

Day 1: Friday Night in Lancaster

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We know you’ll appreciate staying in Marriott in Downtown Lancaster, as its location provides the perfect backdrop for the start of your weekend. There are over 60 delicious dining options and 80 shops all within walking distance. If you don’t want to spend too much time on your phone, scrolling through the whole list of restaurant options, we recommend Isaac’s Downtown Bar and Grill. It’s an award-winning, bird-themed restaurant featuring grilled sandwiches, homemade soups, fresh salads, and a fun, interactive Kid’s Menu. After dinner, take some time to unwind. There’s nothing quite like sinking into a comfy hotel bed at the end of a long week. Plus, you’re going to want to be well rested for your Saturday adventures.

Day 2: Saturday in Lancaster

Morning: For a great start to your day, grab a hearty breakfast at the Baker’s Table, which offers coffee, tea, pastries, and their spin on old-fashioned treats like whoopie pies. They also offer a crowd-pleasing breakfast buffet featuring homemade waffles, made-to-order omelets, and all-you-can-eat bacon. After breakfast, head to the Lancaster Science Factory, which is located in the same historic complex as the Baker’s Table cafe. The Science Factory features 65 interactive exhibits, workstations, and mini-labs, offering engaging, open-ended learning experiences for kids ages Pre-K through 8th grade.

Afternoon: The best part about the Science Factory is that your pass is good all day, so you can come and go as needed. When everyone is tired and hungry, you can fuel up at Cork and Cap, also located in the same complex as the Science Factory. They’re known for their Pennsylvania Dutch fare, which they offer up with a contemporary, cosmopolitan twist. There’s no need to pack up the car and drive to multiple locations!

Night: After a long day of discovery, you can always head back to your hotel for a break and take a dip in the pool. If you ended up craving a late night snack, the Lancaster Sweet Shop has a selection of Stroopies and a large variety of ice cream flavors. Take our word for it: mixing ice cream with a local favorite like Stroopies, is a perfectly delicious way to cap off your busy day.

Day 3: Sunday in Lancaster

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Morning: Why not start off your morning at the Prince Street Cafe? Just a block and a half walk from your hotel, they serve a satisfying selection of egg sandwiches, breakfast wraps, smoothie bowls, coffees, and teas. After breakfast, we recommend taking a trip back in time to experience the historic Strasburg Rail Road. Only a 20-minute car ride away from Downtown Lancaster, you won’t regret climbing aboard an antique train car from the 1800’s as you witness the beautiful countryside pass outside your window. Be sure to get your tickets in advance to guarantee you get the seats that work best for you!

Afternoon: If you’re hungry before you hit the road toward home, The Fireside Tavern is a cozy spot located in Strasburg just minutes away from the railroad. The restaurant offers a great selection of casual dining fare for both kids and adults, and in the winter, you can enjoy the warmth of three working fireplaces.

We hope our ideas provide you with some inspiration for creating new memories with the ones you love, all while helping you beat those winter blues.

Things to do for Easter in Lancaster, PA

Easter Bunny Train
Strasburg Rail Road™ | March 30, 31 and April 1
Hop aboard the Easter Bunny Train at the Strasburg Rail Road. Welcome spring with a ride through beautiful farmland with Peter Cottontail as your Conductor. Peter will delight boys and girls with an Easter surprise as he greets them on board this special train. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Easter Dinner Train
Strasburg Rail Road™ | Easter Sunday, April 1
This event, only offered on Easter Sunday, is a one-of-a-kind way to dine with your family. Traditional Lancaster County fare is served in the fully restored Victorian dining car on Strasburg Rail Road’s Easter Dinner Train. Guests should purchase tickets in advance.

Easter Bunny Breakfast
Kitchen Kettle Village | March 24, 30, 31
Visit Kitchen Kettle Village with your family and enjoy breakfast with the Easter Bunny and the Kitchen Kettle mascot, Yummie! The breakfast offers a delicious buffet featuring Lancaster County favorites. This special event fills up quickly so be sure to reserve your spot. Children who attend can partake in a VIP egg hunt.

Easter Bunny Toddler Time HOP
SkyZone – Lancaster | March 23
Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the trampoline trail at SkyZone. This event is great for little ones to expend some Easter excitement. They can jump, hop, wiggle and flop while wearing bunny ears. Storytime, snack, an Easter craft, and a meet-and-greet with the Easter Bunny are also included.

Bunny Village at Country Barn
Country Barn Market & Barnyard Kingdom | March 24, 25, 30, 31
There are so many different activities to do at the Barnyard Kingdom to celebrate Easter. From riding through Bunny Village to see the Easter Bunny’s home, to egg hunts, or even breakfast with the Easter Bunny himself. Little ones will be bouncing with joy once the day is through. Be sure to visit the baby animals, bunnies, and chicks while you are there.

Jesus – Live on Stage
Sight & Sound Theatres® | Check website for performance schedule
Jesus is the musical stage adventure about the most famous person to ever walk the earth, and the everyday people whose lives changed forever. This new performance, opening in March, is the perfect show to see with your family to celebrate Easter.

AACA Easter Egg Hunt
AACA Museum | March 24, 31
Children can partake in a special Easter egg hunt through the AACA Museum. All kids 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Guests can hunt in a variety of “egg spots” and visit the Easter Bunny. All egg treats are provided by the Hershey Company. Be sure to bring your own basket.

Easter Brunch
If your family is past the age of eating with the Bunny, there are plenty of restaurants around the county to visit for brunch. Review our list of the Best Weekend Brunch spots and be sure to look for special schedules, menus and deals on each restaurant’s website. The Revere Tavern and The Cameron Estate Inn both offer special Easter Sunday meals.

Egg Hunts:

There are dozens of egg hunts around Lancaster County. Here is a list of a few which you can participate in:

Community Egg Hunt at Zion Lutheran Church, Leola – Saturday March 24, 2018
Registration Required *

Grace Church Egg Hunt & Party – Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ephrata Lion’s Club Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, March 31, 2018

Lititz Lions Club 72 Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, March 31, 2018

18th Annual Columbia Community Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, March 31, 2018

Adamstown Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, March 31, 2018

Elizabethtown Lion’s Club Eggstravaganza – Saturday, April 8, 2018

Lancaster Easter Traditions:

Did you know that the symbols of the egg and the rabbit at Easter can be traced back to Germany and that the Pennsylvania Dutch are responsible for bringing the traditions to America?

Easter traditions in Germany date back to the 1500s and the Pennsylvania Dutch who immigrated to the United States continued the tradition of the Oschter Haws, or Easter Hare. If the children were good, the Easter Hare would lay colored eggs in the grass for them to discover. However, instead of baskets, the children would prepare special nests using their own bonnets or hats.

The custom did not catch on nationally until the early 1900s, for the idea of an egg laying rabbit was a rather hard sell to non-Germanics.

Source: Lancaster Newspaper, “Easter Bunny, like the Belsnickle, owes American roots to the Pa. Dutch”

Things to Do in March in Lancaster, PA

March is in like a lion, out like a lamb, and filled with great events in Lancaster, PA! With indoor events and shows for those blustery days and outdoor Easter events for when the sun comes out, this month has things to do for all weather conditions and occasions.

Start the month with a tasty meal. Lancaster City Restaurant Week kicks off the month, running through March 4, with delicious meals at various restaurants throughout Downtown Lancaster. For every time of day and budget, you’re in for a memorable meal.

In the mood for tons of great live music? Mosey down to Lancaster for the weekend (March 9-11) for Lancaster Roots & Blues. This festival is back for its fifth year, returning with a line-up packed with stellar soul, blues, funk, roots, and folk performances at nine different venues in Downtown Lancaster. While you’re venue-hopping, pick your poison – caffeine or cocktails – at one of our coffee shops or fine dining restaurants to keep you going through the late night hours.

For the history and museum buffs, March 11 marks Charter Day – the day that William Penn received the royal charter for what we now call Pennsylvania. To commemorate the occasion, three of Lancaster County’s museums and historical attractions are open, free of charge.

– Dive into the past at Ephrata Cloister, for a look at life in a religious community from the 1700s.

– Landis Valley Village Farm & Museum brings the 1800s PA German world to life.

– The Railroad Museum of PA offers locomotive fanatics the chance to explore the history of the railroad, trains and more.

Break out your boots – its Mud Sale season! These annual auctions are one of the best ways to experience Lancaster County life, as many auction-goers and auctioneers are Amish. Wander the aisles of goods up for grabs, including lawn equipment, shrubbery, housewares, hand-stitched quilts, crafts, and even the kitchen sink. Whether you’re looking for a bargain or maybe just good PA Dutch eats and to experience a slice of Amish culture, you’ll find it on Saturday at a Mud Sale.

March is the perfect time for quilters and quilt admirers to visit Lancaster, PA. This month brings AQS QuiltWeek to Downtown Lancaster for four days (March 21-24) of workshops, exhibits, vendors and contests, all focused around the art of quilting. In need of sewing supplies, inspiration or instruction? This event has everything a quilter could ask for! Plus, many of the fabric stores around the area have sales and extended hours for even more shopping.

Speaking of shopping, Tanger Outlet’s Mommy and Me event, to be held on March 28 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, offers up an afternoon of kid-friendly fun. Kids will love the games, craft activity, and guest appearances from Cylo from the Lancaster Barnstormers, Duke from Dutch Wonderland and Nano from Go ‘N Bananas. Moms will love the tasty bites from Saladworks and Chick-fil-a, and the chance to win a $100 Tanger Gift Card (especially if she wins!).

Hop on over to Lancaster for family-friendly Easter events. The Easter Bunny is in town for breakfast at Kitchen Kettle Village and a train ride on the Strasburg Rail Road – two wonderful ways to celebrate Easter as a family. Kick off the weekend with a local egg hunt, then relax with the family over brunch or Easter dinner.

For even more events throughout the year, let our Events Calendars be your guide!

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