Making the Most Out of What Pennsylvania Has to Offer: A List of Must-See and Must-Do Attractions and Landmarks

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Pennsylvania is often referred to as the Keystone State because its geographic location along the arc of the 13 original states resembles a keystone. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “A keystone is a wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place; it is a stone on which the associated stones depend for support.” Like other stones rely on a keystone for support, you can rely on Pennsylvania for support. Through the many places to go, things to do, and sights to see, you can take care of your mind, body, and spirit while living in the Keystone State.

Consider a trip to a museum to clear your mind and find inspiration. The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg allows visitors to discover the famous American artist’s story and legacy through the largest collection of Warhol art and archives in the world. You can view his art, learn about his life, try out some of his signature art-making techniques, star in your own short film through one of his famous screen tests, and more. Other popular museums include the kid-friendly Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, the American Civil War Museum in Gettysburg, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

To get a bit of history in a fun and unique way, consider one of Pennsylvania’s famous factory tours. If snack food is something you enjoy, consider a trip to Herr’s Snack Factory in Nottingham or Snyder’s of Hanover in Hanover. Utz Potato Chip Factory is also in Hanover. Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz is America's oldest pretzel bakery. Chocolate lovers will enjoy a trip to Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey or Asher’s Chocolates in Souderton. Learn all about how money is made in the U.S. at the United States Mint in Philadelphia. Other popular tours include Martin Guitars in Nazareth, Harley Davidson in York, and BWP Bats in Brookville.

Pennsylvania is well known for its Amish population. Get the true Amish experience by touring the oldest Amish settlement in the world in Bird in Hand. With a guide, you can tour the scenic back roads and a nine-room house to learn about the Amish lifestyle. You can also speak with Amish at their workplace and homes and watch a movie about an Amish boy's decision to join the faith or live in the modern world.

Pennsylvania is also notorious for their railways, which offer an opportunity to combine history and relaxation. A train ride provides breathtaking views and is a great way to spend the afternoon enjoying the outdoors and beauty of the state. From Horseshoe Curve to Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway to Strasburg Railroad, there are plenty of options from which to choose. If you’re into adventure and thrills, spend a fun and exciting day at an amusement park. Across the state, you’ll find a variety of options, including Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, Conneaut Lake Park in Conneaut Lake, Kennywood in West Mifflin, and more. There are also waterparks, such as Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown and Kalahari in Pocono Manor.

Step outside the major cities of Pennsylvania for a breath of fresh air and some outdoor adventures in one of Pennsylvania’s many state, county, regional, and community parks. Reconnect with nature by taking a guided hiking tour, paddling a river, or going on a bird and wildlife viewing tour. You can also enjoy a day of fishing, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, geocaching, and more. For a more extended adventure, consider a camping or backpacking trip.

When you’re feeling stressed or suffering from anxiety or depression, it can be difficult to deal with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Having a bit of fun, finding healthy distractions, and creating art are all great ways to ease stress and anxiety. A trip to a museum, a scenic train ride, an afternoon at the amusement park, or a hike in a park may be just what the doctor ordered.

Guest Author: Jennifer Scott (SpiritFinder.org)

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