Category Archives: Spring

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.

 

Six Reasons to Stop by the Discover Lancaster Visitors Center

If you are traveling to Lancaster, PA be sure to plan a stop at our Visitors Center located right off of Route 30’s Greenfield Road exit. Inside you will find local information, clean restrooms and friendly faces there to welcome you. If these reasons alone aren’t enticing enough, here are a few more reasons why you should stop by our Visitor Center…

  1. A clean, safe stop

We know stopping with kids can be a process, so we try to always provide a family friendly environment. Our Visitors Center offers clean, spacious restrooms, plenty of parking, and outdoor picnic tables for a nice snacking area. So whether you are traveling with your crew, your dog, or just yourself you are sure to feel comfortable stopping. Plus, we are right off the exit so you don’t need to worry about traveling too far off the main route.

  1. Real people who give real directions and information

Our Visitor Centers’ staff are the best local guides to Lancaster that you could meet. They know all of the backroads where the best farm stands are, and can give you clear, concise directions to anywhere in the county. Whatever your question, they are sure to know the answer. They are experts on where to stay, what to eat, which show to see and even “how to become Amish” (they surprisingly get asked this a lot!).

  1. Maps, brochures, Special offers- oh my!

Sometimes when you are on the backroads of Lancaster, Siri just won’t cut it. It’s nice to have a map handy to get around, and we have them. We also have specific trails and programs you can follow catered towards your own individual interests. Try one of our Wine, Ale, Arts, or Outdoor Adventure Trails, or try to see every Covered Bridge in the County.

  1. Free locally roasted coffee

Driving can be a drag, so why not stop in for a free caffeine boost? Our Visitor Center supplies free coffee from Lancaster County Coffee Roasters with all the fixings. The beans are roasted right here in Lancaster to create signature blends such as “Starbarn” Red Rose Espresso” and “Old Amish.”

  1. Mr. Sticky’s Famous Sticky Buns

Located in the same parking lot as the Visitor’s Center, Mr. Sticky’s is a notorious local favorite. Fair warning, as all locals know these sticky buns are “extremely addictive” and also amazingly delicious. Grab one as a sweet treat to go with your coffee to revive you from your drive.

  1. Our Art Gallery & Gift Shop

Our Visitors Center includes a beautiful, naturally lit gallery which features local artists from around Lancaster County. From paintings, to pottery, to hand stitched quilts and quillows, the work in the Visitors Center gallery is superb. Our gift shop also features locally made goods ranging from sea-salted caramels all the way to handcrafted furniture. You are sure to find the something to take back home with you.

So next time you come this way, stop in and say “hello,” we can’t wait to see you and share everything we can with you about our beautiful Lancaster County. We may have humble roots, but we love to brag about all that there is to do around here. If you can’t wait to come explore check out our Getaway Guide (order here) or sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the know.

Top Things to do in April in Lancaster, PA

Spring fever has officially arrived, and Lancaster begins to bloom into April with plenty of activities for everyone. With the warmer weather, the farmland is turning from rich browns of turning the soil to green and gold of crops beginning to poke through the ground.

The spring also brings great things to do in Lancaster, from getting outside and active, to performances, beer and food. Keep reading for our guide to the biggest events in Lancaster this April.

Get Outside + Active!

Get outside – whether you’re taking a hike through one of Lancaster’s amazing parks or exploring a tectonic cave, it’s the perfect season to come out of your winter hibernation and stretch those muscles. It’s also the perfect time to enjoy our covered bridges or rail trails on your bike.

Want to stretch out, but hiking and spelunking isn’t quite your idea of an adventure? Maybe yoga and wine in a barn is more your thing. Don’t forget to pack your yoga mat!

Have little ones traveling with you who need to get some energy out, but it’s raining? Check out Sky Zone – a Trampoline Park. If you happen to be traveling over Earth Day, you can celebrate with crafts, snacks, and jumping at their Dr. Seuss Lorax event.

Explore History in Lancaster

Lancaster’s unique heritage and rich history is tucked into a variety of attractions – and this month, there are three special events you won’t want to miss.

Hop on board for this craft beer tasting event in a unique venue – the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Enjoy viewing tons of historic trains – yes, the real things, not just models, while you taste 20+ local and other craft brews.

Get ready for high tea at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum – you’ll enjoy a tour and then a Victorian Tea and a light lunch served in the historic 1856 Landis Home. If you have a little one with you (who might enjoy cookies and tea) head to the children’s event, Tea with Kitty Hand at the historic Rock Ford Plantation. This fun and informative event is open to boys and girls, recommended for ages 5-12.  Reservations are required for both of these events, so plan accordingly!

Enjoy the Arts

There are plenty of shows in Lancaster that you won’t want to miss in April, including Blackbird playing at the Fulton Theatre, JESUS playing at the Sight & Sound Theatre, Whose Wife is it, Anyway? playing at the Rainbow Comedy Playhouse, Showboat at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, The Home Game and Magic & Wonder: Dream playing at the Bird-in-Hand Stage.

You also won’t want to miss Straight No Chaser – the Speakeasy Tour playing at American Music Theatre on April 10 – where the captivating sound of ten voices come together to make extraordinary music.

Also, if you love the symphony, but are on a budget, check out the free Lancaster Symphony Orchestra Open Rehearsal at the Fulton Opera House on April 5. Seating is limited, and on a first come first served basis, so register today!

Shop ‘til you Drop

Enjoy some local culture at one of our Amish Mud Sales where you’ll find bargains on things like furniture, livestock, produce, baked goods, antiques, housewares, and more. In addition, you’ll get a sense for Lancaster’s community and tradition.

Looking for more unique shopping? Head to Adamstown for the Spring Antiques Extravaganza where you’ll find more than 3,000 antique dealers. You’re sure to find something special, even if you go without a specific need in mind!

Whatever you choose, Lancaster has so many things to do in April. For even more events throughout the year, let our Events Calendar be your guide!

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.

Best Beer Spots in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

We’ve rounded up five great bars and bottle shops in Lancaster, PA who carry a variety of local brews, rare finds, and classic ales for beer lovers to enjoy.

Seeking stouts? Looking for lagers? In search of IPAs? Hunting for hefeweizens? Look no farther!

Bulls Head Public House | Lititz

Stop by for a pint and authentic British pub vibes at the Bulls Head, located along Main Street in Lititz. Named the “best beer bar in Pennsylvania” by Craftbeer.com AND the “best beer bar in America” by USA Today’s 10Best.com, their beer selection is plentiful and impressive, with 14 rotating beers on tap, two cask condition ales, and 80 bottled varieties to choose from.

When you arrive, seat yourself and order provisions at the bar. The warm atmosphere invites superb conversation and an all-around good time. To pair with your ale, Bulls Head Public House serves up small plates and pub fare to match, including a Full English Breakfast option on Saturdays. Swing by to find out why this beer spot is a favorite of locals, visitors and even craft beer experts!

Photo above, credit Venture Lititz                                

                              

Federal Taphouse | Downtown Lancaster

How does 100 beers on tap sound? If it sounds like a dream come true, we’ve got the place for you. The Federal Taphouse, located on Queen Street in Downtown Lancaster, has tons of ales, sours, IPAs, seasonal brews, and more to choose from. Pair your old stand-by or a new favorite with their wood-oven pizza, and enjoy the atmosphere of this urban eatery.

The Fridge | Downtown Lancaster

If you’re looking to curate a six-pack that will impress your friends, stop by The Fridge, a cozy bottle shop in Downtown Lancaster. Their fridge (hence the name) is stocked with over 400 varieties of hard-to-find craft, micro, imported and local beer, just chilling and ready to be consumed. If you’re not on the go, grab a bottled beer or one of their ten on tap plus delicious hand-crafted pizza and settle in by the fire or at their outside bar if the weather is nice and sunny.

Funck’s Restaurant & Bar| Leola

Head over to Funck’s Restaurant & Bar in Leola for 100+ beers on tap and tasty all-American eats. During the warmer months, they have their outdoor bar open, complete with fire pits and live music to accompany your craft beer of choice. They have lots of brews to choose from and even host brewery takeover and sampling events.

Hunger & Thirst | Lancaster

When your tummy starts rumbling and you’re longing for a cold brew, Hunger & Thirst is here in Lancaster to satisfy your cravings. Their beer menu features 24 unique and rare craft beers, and is curated by their team of brew enthusiast. Their food selection is created to match their on-trend beer selection, and is as beautiful as it is delicious. For a great grab-and-go selection, their bottle shop is stocked with 400 varieties from across the globe.

 

Unique Lodging in Lancaster, PA

After a day of exploring Lancaster’s many offerings, it’s time to refresh and relax. When you’re looking for a place to stay, whether for a weekend getaway or a week-long family vacation, do you seek out a run-of-the-mill hotel or some place with a unique twist?

If you answered, “a unique twist” then this is the list for you! We’ve rounded up some of Lancaster’s coolest lodging options to help with your trip planning.

All aboard for our first pick – the motel that Booking.com named as the Pennsylvania representative on their list of “coolest places to stay in all 50 states.” Red Caboose Motel, located in Ronks, features 38 cabooses refurbished to sleep two to six guests. Train fans, along with fans of unique places to stay, will love the chance to climb aboard and cozy up in a train car, outfitted with great amenities. During your stay, stop by their on-site restaurant, Casey Jones’ Restaurant (also in a train car) for a bite to eat and grab ice cream at Janie Jones’.

There’s plenty to do while staying here – from their petting zoo and viewing silo to buggy rides through the countryside and free movies in the barn.

For an urban vibe, check out Lancaster Arts Hotel, a boutique hotel in Downtown Lancaster. The lobby, guestrooms and suites are filled with fabulous art and décor that sets it apart from typical hotels. Venture down to the connecting restaurant, John J. Jefferies, for superb seasonal, farm fresh offerings and artfully crafted cocktails. Lancaster Arts Hotel is located within walking distance of even more delicious dining options, exciting things to do, and great places to grab beer, coffee, and even mead.

Get a glimpse at life on the farm with a stay at Verdant View Bed & Breakfast in Paradise, where you’ll be staying on a real working farm with loveable animals and neighboring Amish homesteads. To dive deeper into the Lancaster County experience, participation in morning farm duties is encouraged… and is actually fun! Rise and shine for a family-style farm breakfast in the morning, complete with homemade goodies, fresh eggs, and more before your day of exploring nearby attractions.

Want to stay in a refurbished double-decker bus? How about a tree house? Or maybe a yurt on the lake? All of these uniquely charming rentals can be found at Lake-in-Wood Campground in Narvon, where guests can glamp (camping in style with touches of modern luxury) in the countryside of Lancaster, PA. These options are great for families, especially since the campground also has a mini-golf course, basketball courts, trading post, two playgrounds, indoor and outdoor pool, and scheduled events during the spring, summer, and fall.

A post shared by Tiny Estates (@tiny_estates) on

New to the unique lodging scene is Tiny Estates in Elizabethtown, featuring a variety of tiny homes available to stay in, starting April 2018. Get a taste of minimalistic living in one of these cozy abodes, complete with kitchens, full bathrooms, and flat screen TVs. You can even travel lightly, as linens, pots, pans, soap and shampoo will be waiting for you upon arrival. Pet-friendly houses are available so even your dog can experience tiny house living.

A place to stay is just the beginning! Find plenty to do, see and eat in our FREE 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.

A post shared by Laurie Olsen (@laurie_olsen) on

 

[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.

A post shared by Papen (@playfulpapens) on

[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

A post shared by Fig Lancaster (@figlancaster) on


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

A post shared by Brenda Range (@brendamoonbeam) on

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”

Lancaster Locals’ Favorite Coffee Spots & Cafes

Coffee, café, java, cup-of-joe – Lancaster is no stranger to coffee shops, in fact we have over 70 coffee shops and cafes around the county- including 9 that roast their own beans! We talked with some Lancaster locals to ask them for their tips on the best places. Read the list below for a new suggestion on where to grab your next cup, it may become your new favorite!

Passenger Coffee is a favorite among locals with its fresh, modern cafe and locally roasted coffee. But don’t just take our word for it! Food & Wine named them as the Pennsylvania rep in their “Best Coffee in Every State” round-up, noting their gracious service and charming location in Downtown Lancaster, in addition to their fascinating and carefully sourced coffee.

Ryan S. – Passenger
7 W. King St., Lancaster, PA 17602 | passengercoffee.com
“I mean, Passenger is definitely the best. I like it for its philosophy about roasting – nothing is too dark or burnt, they excel at bringing out unique flavor profiles in each roast. The options are on point, from cold brew to pour overs. The space itself is modern and beautiful, there’s really nothing like it in the city. It brings a little bit of the west coast vibe to our town.”

Jordan H. – Passenger
“I love Passenger, but those $1 refills from Mean Cup give them a run for their money.”

Ryan M. – Prince Street Café
15 N. Prince St., Lancaster, PA 17602 | princestreetcafe.com
“We have some great coffee and cafes in this little city, but I think for me my favorite is still Prince Street Café. It probably has a lot to do with the nostalgia of the place. It is where I use to have my first client meetings when I was starting up my business. The coffee is consistently great, the food is excellent, and the eclectic din of conversation provides for a great environment to meet with a friend, connect with a client or get some last-minute studying done before your next final. Prince Street Café feels authentic and well lived in… it feels like home.”

Amber S.Mean Cup or Buzz
398 Harrisburg Ave. #200, Lancaster, PA 17603 and at Lancaster Central Market| meancup.com
“I can’t decide between Buzz and Mean Cup. When it comes to coffee at Central Market, I am fiercely loyal to Mean Cup. But on non-Market days, my downtown go-to is Buzz.”

Annie W. Buzz
36 W. King St., Lancaster, PA 17603 | eatabuzz.com
“My vote is cast for Buzz. I’m always greeted with a cheery hello and there’s something fun about walking up to their window. The coffee is only one size but it just so happens it’s the right size for me – large. They’re there for me when I need them.”

Katie W. Café One Eight
18 W. Orange St., Lancaster, PA 17603 | cafe1eight.com
“I love the calming environment and all of the natural light in Café One Eight. I highly recommend trying their pesto breakfast egg-sandwich, or their avocado toast with your coffee  delicious!”

Dana D. Copper Cup
922 Columbia Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603 | coppercup.co
“I love Copper Cup Coffee in Lancaster.  It’s one of the few coffee shops that has the option of hanging out and enjoying their unique vibe inside or zipping through their drive through window if you’re in a hurry.”

Ally H. Courtyard Café on Main
349 Main St., Denver, PA 17517 | courtyardcafeonmain.com
“One of my new favorites is Courtyard Café on Main in Denver. It has a lot of charm – from their outside courtyard to the sense of community felt throughout the café. They put a lot of thought into their food menu, as they feature local, seasonal ingredients and house-made pastries.  Whether I’m in the mood for coffee or tea, they have a great selection of drinks to choose from.”

Sarah L. Speckled Hen
141 E. Main Street, Strasburg, PA 17579 | speckledhencoffee.com
“My vote is for Speckled Hen. I have always loved taking my kids to Strasburg, but mostly just for the train-themed attractions and the creamery. I feel like Strasburg is coming into its own with the new(er) businesses opening up. Speckled Hen is a place where you not only get served excellent food and fresh roasted coffee, you get to mingle with the locals – Amish included. If you’re not into coffee, don’t leave without having the London Fog – it’s one of the best.”

Luke W. Dosie Dough
45 S. Broad St., Lititz, PA 17543 | DosieDough.com
Dosie Dough is my favorite. I love the diversity in people that pass in and out – everybody from a mom running an errand on a Saturday morning, to a bike group stopping by, to the regulars, or just people passing through town. It has its own unique, quirky vibe and is always bustling with activity. I also love walking up the steps off of the beautiful section of Lititz Pike, through the outdoor seating. Everyone just seems so relaxed and content.”

Honorable Mentions:
Tomato Pie Café
Lancaster Coffee Roasters
Café Chocolate
Commonwealth on Queen
Chestnut Hill Café
Café di Vetro
Perkup & Co.
Folklore Coffee & Company
On Orange
Square One

Free Lancaster County Travel Planning Guide

Get our free Getaway Guide

View the Guide online or have it mailed to you

Get It

Receive our Email Newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, deals & more

Sign Up