Pennsylvania is a large state with many incredible small towns, each with its own unique character and plenty of beautiful scenery.
Get ready to explore 23 of the best loved small towns in Pennsylvania with this expert guide!
Don’t rule it out just because it’s a tiny town in Pennsylvania, especially if you’re an outdoor lover, as the 19,000-acre Ohiopyle State Park surrounds the town!
Feed your adventurous side while white water rafting with one of the four water rafting guide companies up the beautifully scenic Youghiogheny River!
View one of the gorgeous waterfalls in the park, including Ohiopyle Falls right in the town!
Bike or hike the Great Alleghany Passage on the banks of the river as you look over the waterfalls rushing down the hillsides!
Visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous home Fallingwater built right on top of a waterfall and only four miles from there, and Kentuck Knob, built into a hillside!
Educate yourself on what became the beginning of the French and Indian War at Fort Necessity built in 1754.
Explore Laurel Cavern with a traditional tour which includes a spectacular light show, or a spelunking tour into the dark abyss!
View the Pittsburgh skyline in the distance from the visitor’s center!
2. Benezette: cute towns in Pennsylvania
Another small town for animal lovers and outdoor adventurers!
View PA’s famous elk herd, the largest east of the Rockies, located in the eponymous Elk County!
Learn about the elk at the Elk County visitors Center, including a museum and maybe some real live elk wandering around the facility!
Hike the 900-acre Marion Brooks Natural Area’s 3-mile trail with its diverse landscape and easy enough for families with young kids.
Explore Quehanna Wild Area, one of the most isolated regions of Pennsylvania, and see Table Falls or Wykoff Run Falls.
Continuing along the outdoor adventure theme, St. Peters Village makes an excellent day trip from Philadelphia.
Hike the French Creek Trail or visit French Creek State Park which houses the first of its kind Important Mammals Area Project to promote the conservation of mammals.
For history buffs, explore the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, which supplied weapons for both the Revolutionary War and Civil War.
Way ahead of its time, the Furnace had a policy of equal pay for equal work among all its workers including blacks and women, and all worked, shopped and worshipped together in the same buildings.
4. Eagles Mere: Pennsylvania small towns
Hike the 59-mile Loyalsock Trail and view the Cottonwood Falls inside the park or Dry Run Falls, located next to a dirt road and can be seen from your car.
View the many other waterfalls in the area such as Rusty Falls, Dutchman Falls, Alpine Falls and the tallest Angel Falls.
Admire the Loyalsock Canyon Vista, a beautiful panorama of the valley below or the High Knob Overlook with a view of the mountains and a great place for star gazing!
Walk across Forksville Covered Bridge that crosses 150 feet across Loyalsock Creek.
Do not miss shopping at the Forksville General Store, adjacent to the covered bridge, renowned for its authentic Philly cheesesteak!
5. Jim Thorpe
Yes, you read that right!
Olympian Jim Thorpe has no connection to the area except being buried right outside of town.
Jim Thorpe is known as Switzerland of America due to its beautiful mountain vistas!
View the charming town from the Flagstaff Park Mountain overlook.
Ride the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway and listen to the narration of the area’s rich history while viewing the stunning scenery!
This quaint small town features restaurants, a historic movie theater, gas- powered lamps along the streets and is known as the jumping-off spot for the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.
Visit Pine Creek Gorge, aka Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon, and take in its sparkling waterfalls and panoramic views while kayaking, fishing or hiking.
For a more sedate viewing of the gorge, visit the Leonard Harrison State Park’s viewing platform on the eastern rim, looking 800 feet down to Pine Creek.
Huff and puff your way along the difficult hiking trail, the Turkey Path!
Reward your efforts with a view of a 75- foot waterfall, the upper portion seen from the path, but the bottom portion (main drop) only can be viewed after the second turn on the switchback.
Eat lunch of shepherd’s meatloaf, one of the choices aboard the Tioga Central Railroad train, or ride in the open-air car to get a better view of the wetlands, forests and lake.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with some homemade fudge, pretzel bark or a choice of hundreds of hand-crafted molded chocolates at Highland Chocolates, a non-profit factory and retail store that provides vocational training and employment for adults with disabilities.
7. New Hope
Indulge your cultural side in New Hope, a small town but big on culture!
See a play or concert at the self-dubbed “America’s Most Famous Playhouse”.
Support local businesses by buying a piece of unique artwork at one of the many art galleries before eating at a local restaurant!
Learn about Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River at the Washington Crossing State Park by stopping by the small museum and looking across the river to Trenton N.J. from Bowman’s Hill Tower.
Stay overnight at the Aaron Burr House where Burr hid out after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
8. Bedford: quaint town in Pennsylvania
Another charming small town in Pennsylvania that’s full of Revolutionary War history!
Visit the Epsy House where George Washington used as his headquarters when he led his troops during the Whiskey Rebellion!
Learn about the French and Indian War at the Fort Bedford Museum built on the site of the old fort.
Take pictures at one of Pennsylvania’s many roadside oddities, the 18-foot tall Koontz Coffee Pot built in 1927 as a restaurant along the historic Lincoln Highway and is now a small giftshop.
Celebrate Christmas at the authentic German Christkindl Market held for only three days every December!
Hike or bike the 18-mile roundtrip Buffalo Valley Rail Trail and take in the beautiful views of surrounding farmlands!
Spend an hour or so at the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum, centered around its once buzzing buggy manufacturing and more specifically the almost perfectly preserved William A. Heiss’ Buggy Factory.
Walk across the Hassenplug covered bridge, the oldest in the state, before slaking your thirst at the Rusty Rail Brewing Co.
10. Bryn Athyn
Much of this charming Philadelphia suburb is centered around Bryn Athyn College and The New Church buildings.
Tour Bryn Athyn Cathedral that looks straight out of a European city!
Walk up the hill from the cathedral and explore the Glencairn Museum located inside a castle and houses millennia- old religious art from around the world!
This town located on the Allegheny River has a beautiful riverbank park, popular for kayaking, and historic downtown area.
Learn about the history of the area at the Armstrong County Historical Society Museum including the Nelly Blye display, who was a county native.
Delve into the fascinating history of Yellow Dog Village, now a ghost town built by the Pittsburgh Limestone Co. in the early 20th century, to provide housing for its workers.
The Village still contains 9 houses, and even though the limestone mines closed in 1950 the last family didn’t move out until 2010!
If you love art and history, this suburb of Philadelphia is for you!
Get your steps in on Doylestown’s Mercer Mile where you’ll find three castle-like buildings built by Henry Chapman Mercer in the early 20th century.
Tour Mercer’s home Fonthill Castle which he dubbed “a castle for the New World”, built between 1908-1910 by ten unskilled workers and one horse!
Learn the history of the art of tile making at the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, Mercer’s most strange building, designed after a mixture of several Spanish Monestaries, the factory produced tiles until the 1960’s!
Head over to the Mercer Museum which houses 30,000 quirky and whimsical artifacts in a 6-story castle!
Walk into the 5-story atrium and you can’t miss the items, mostly tools and farm implements hanging from the walls and ceiling!
Journey up to the top two floors (with no elevator access) to find an originally designed Franklin Stove, Native American artefacts, and a collection of Mercer’s Moravian tiles.
One of the most famous towns in Pennsylvania, there is plenty of history here!
Visit the Gettysburg National Military Park for solemn and introspective lessons on the most important battle!
Begin your walk in the soldiers’ footsteps in the Visitor’s Center, an excellent museum that explains the history of the battle.
Tour the Gettysburg battlefield with a professional tour guide whose stories and anecdotes bring the battle to life!
Believe it or not, there are other things to do in Gettysburg besides touring the battlefield!
Start or end your trip with a Savor Gettysburg Food Tour which takes you to seven different downtown restaurants!
Check out the Dime Museum which features items that are real and some not real that were used in Dime Shows, popular decades ago, including a shrunken head!
Join the party in the early morning hours of February 2nd to see if the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, sees his shadow, but his famous small town offers other reasons to visit as well!
Learn about the science and folklore of weather at the Weather Discovery Center and Weather Hall of Fame
Tour the BWP baseball bat factory, the makers of Major League Baseball’s bats!
This charming historic town is the geographic center of the state!
Enjoy Talleyrand Park, adjacent to the business district, on the banks of Spring Creek with its beautiful butterfly garden, sculpture garden and seasonal events!
Walk a short distance upstream to Big Spring Spirits, a “community-centric craft distillery” to sip locally sourced whiskey or gin!
Visit Penn’s cave, located a short distance out of town, to tour the state’s only all-water cavern!
Once one of the state’s richest towns in the early 20th century when it was the center of the worldwide oil industry.
Educate yourself on the area’s early history at the Penn-Brad Oil Museum to learn about the area’s oil drilling or the Zippo/Case Museum with the iconic lighter sitting atop the entrance!
Soak up some vitamin D while walking the one-mile Marilla Bridge Trail that loops around the reservoir and crosses over three bridges including the Eric Benjamin covered bridge.
Hike one of the more challenging trails on one of the trails that branches off the Marilla Bridge Trail.
17. Lititz: Pennsylvania small town with charm
Located in Amish country, considered by some to be the best small town in PA.!
The charming downtown not only has great local restaurants, but also the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the world’s first seller of the hard pretzel!
Cozy up to wolves at the Wolf Sanctuary of PA! (Ok maybe not too cozy!)
Join a tour with one of the knowledgeable guides and watch wolf packs interact with each other as they would in the wild!
Visit Doolittle Station with its Model Railroad, Animatronic Dinosaurs, or for a quick bite at the Roadside Café!
Enter the 1880’s replicated rail depot for a more fine- dining experience in either the Parlor Car, featuring a farm-to-table menu served in a 1913 parlor car, or The Diner Car based on a 1950’s diner inside a beautifully restored diner car!
Spend the night in one of the Sleeper Car B&Bs!
Snowshoe through Parker Dam State Park if you arrive in the wintertime!
The park is also great for ice skating, snow mobiling or cross-country skiing!
19. Titusville: best Pennsylvania small towns for visitors
Another small Pennsylvania town that was once prosperous because of the oil industry.
Visit the Drake Well Museum to see the world’s first oil well!
Walk over to Oil Creek State Park as it’s adjacent to the museum.
Ride the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad through beautiful forest scenery while learning about the local history!
Stroll through the downtown to local shops and restaurants and past the beautifully maintained historic homes!
This town is located in the beautiful Poconos Mountains!
Learn about life in the town in the 19th century by visiting the Stroud House, built in 1795 by Jacob Stroud, and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Educate yourself in the “Old Way” of the Lenape at the Pocono Indian Museum with a life-sized bark house!
Adventure the great outdoors in the Delaware Water Gap, where you’ll find many waterfalls including Bushkill Falls, the tallest in PA.
Warren is surrounded by both the Allegheny National Forest and Allegheny State Park in New York!
Squeeze through the narrow staircase for access to stunning scenery viewed from Rimrock Overlook!
Fish, boat or camp on the beautiful Alleghany Reservoir!
Mountain bike on one of the ten trails at Jake’s Rocks that are categorized from easy to difficult!
Every amenity but in the heart of Amish Country!
Take in the sites of Amish buggies rolling through town as well as horse-pulled plows farming the fields!
Shop at Amish stores for handmade Amish goods and delicious homemade foods, especially baked goods!
Check out local art at City Hall Gallery!
Head over to the Lancaster Central Market 3 days a week, to shop for crafts, food, and famous Amish made furniture!
Last but certainly not least, the historic town of Johnstown!
Visit Johnstown Flood Museum that commemorates the 1889 flood in which over 2,000 lives were lost when the South Fork Dam failed!
Sadly, the horrific flood is what the town is most famous for.
Ascend the side of a mountain on the Johnstown Incline Plane, the steepest vehicular incline in the world, and can hold up to 60 people or a vehicle!
Watch top athletes compete in the Ironman competition on the town’s bike trails!
Of course, these are only a few of the terrific small towns you can find in Pennsylvania that are historically atmospheric or have beautiful state parks ripe for outdoor adventures!
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