Any time of year is the perfect time to experience Central Pennsylvania, but for many, the beautiful fall season is the best time of year for a getaway – the leaves change colors, autumn crops bear their fruit, and the evenings begin to cool off. The whole family will find plenty to explore, from forests and lakes to our thriving Amish communities.
Here are 7 of the best places for a fall getaway in Central PA. Come prepared to stay for a few days, allowing plenty of time to take in the rich local heritage.
Central PA is brimming with history, and there are a variety of tour options available, including Segway, scooter and Vespa tours. Take in the home and farm of Dwight D. Eisenhauer and nearby Sachs Covered Bridge.
The National Apple Harvest Festival takes place the first 2 weekends of October, with fun, music, and activities appropriate for the whole family. Gettysburg National Military Park and Gettysburg National Cemetery give visitors a first-hand account of a critical turning point in the Civil War, complete with a museum, visitor center, and historic reenactments.
There is plenty to see and do in the Harrisburg area. Our state’s capital is a cultural bonanza, with an interesting assortment of historic buildings, museums, and other places to explore, including:
- National Civil War Museum
- Camp Curtin Historical Society
- Pennsylvania State Capitol
- Pennsylvania National Fire Museum
While your visiting, be sure to take a ride on the Pride of the Susquehanna, a paddleboat ride on the beautifully tranquil river. Take in the brilliant fall colors from the boat and then stroll through Riverside Park.
Chocolate is probably the first thing which comes to mind when you hear the word “Hershey.” Hershey Chocolate World is certainly a destination worth savoring on your fall getaway – learn about, taste, and experience all things chocolate-related.
While you’re in the area, you’ll also want to take in the beautiful living flower arrangements at Hershey Gardens, and stop by the Gardens’ Butterfly Atrium. Hershey is also home to the AACA Museum, an automotive museum detail motorcar history from the 1890s to the 1980s.
Hershey is also known for its vineyards and craft beers. Be sure to look into our local brews while you are in town, and schedule a tour and tasting at Cullari Vineyards, Hershey’s oldest vineyard.
4. PA Grand Canyon
Wellsboro PA is the home of Pine Creek Gorge, more commonly known as Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon. At 45 miles long and reaching depths of as much as 1500 feet, planning your fall getaway to include this natural treasure is imperative. The cooler fall air means fewer biting insects and the breathtaking colors of the foliage is amazing.
Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls along the Pine Creek Rail Trail, or veer off onto unpaved paths for a more strenuous hike. Seeing the foliage in all its blazing glory is all the reason you will need to make this state treasure part of your vacation.
5. Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Lancaster County is world famous for the Amish communities which live there. Whether taking the Amish Experience tour or riding through the county on a personal exploration, our visitors become immersed in the simpler, quieter way of life.
Centrally located between Hershey and Philadelphia, Refreshing Mountain Camp is the perfect place to stay while exploring PA Dutch Country. You’ll find cabins for rent, ziplining, and a wide range of other outdoor activities designed to please family groups and corporate teams alike.
From there, it is a short trip to see the Amish Farm and House during the harvest season. Visitors can enjoy Amish bus tours throughout the area, or soak up more detail about Amish living on the working 15-acre farmstead. Better yet, leave the buses parked and hop on board a guided horse and buggy tour through the area.
Children will learn firsthand about living closer to the land, including experiences as growing crops and raising livestock, making clothing, canning foods, and wealth of other information that has been largely forgotten in the modern world.
6. Raystown Lake
If you want to see the full glory of autumn colors, your fall getaway needs to include a day at Raystown Lake. This long and winding lake is perfect for boating, kayaking, or enjoying an afternoon hike through the countryside.
You will have ample opportunity to view the colorful foliage or take some pictures of the native wildlife. The lake covers over 8,000 acres, and the park encompasses a full 29,000 acres with 12 public access areas to allow visitors easier access to this popular recreational getaway.
7. Pennsylvania’s State Forests
Pennsylvania’s extensive assortment of public forestry reserves beckons to visitors during the fall foliage season. North of Harrisburg, visitors will discover some of the fall getaway areas that residents and visitors alike hold dear.
From Sproul State Forest to Bald Eagle and Rothrock, the autumn colors come alive with a backdrop of crystal clear streams and roaming wildlife. There are more than half a dozen state forests and parks in the central Pennsylvania area, perfect for avid photographers and those who just want to be dazzled by the season.