Family vacations in Pennsylvania are sure to be memorable, with attractions to appeal to kids of all ages. There’s year-round family fun in Pennsylvania, from exploring historic sites in Philadelphia in springtime to summer fun in Jim Thorpe with whitewater rafting. Autumn brings fun seasonal attractions like farm events in Lancaster, and wintertime holiday celebrations in Hershey are always a hit. Family-friendly alpine sports across Pennsylvania’s mountains range from sliding down the slopes on a snow tube to skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Learn about some of the unique places to visit with kids on a Pennsylvania family vacation.
1. See the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
Philadelphia offers a diverse collection of things to do with kids in Pennsylvania, as it's full of rich history, culture, and family attractions. You can check out art collections within the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the steps of which are immortalized in the film “Rocky.” Philadelphia’s important locations from American history are great to visit with kids, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Betsy Ross House. Museums like The Franklin Institute and the aptly named Please Touch Museum are packed with interactive and family-friendly exhibits. For animal attractions, you can head over to Adventure Aquarium and the Philadelphia Zoo.
2. Visit historic Civil War sites in Gettysburg
With historic locations from American history, including the Civil War, Gettysburg is an interesting place to visit with kids on a Pennsylvania family vacation. Historic sites you can explore include Gettysburg National Military Park and Museum, Gettysburg National Cemetery, and the Gettysburg Diorama. You can tour a former president’s home at the Eisenhower National Historic Site or see model railroad exhibits at the Lincoln Train Museum. Family-friendly tours range from history tours on the area’s most popular locations to food and drink tours and evening ghost tours around the city.
3. Explore a 19th-century villa in Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe, located in scenic Lehigh Gorge, is a town known for its beautiful location and romantic Victorian architecture. For outdoor adventures, you can head out to Lehigh Gorge State Park to enjoy scenic hiking and biking trails or get out on the river for white-water rafting. The Asa Packer Mansion Museum, a 19th-century Italianate villa with incredible architecture and original Victorian furnishings, is considered a must-see in Jim Thorpe. You can tour a historic jailhouse at the Old Jail Museum or hop aboard a vintage train for a ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.
4. Go snow tubing in The Poconos
In the Pocono Mountains, you can find year-round opportunities for family fun in Pennsylvania among the area's lush forests and mountain peaks, valleys, rivers, and beaches. In warmer months, kid-friendly activities range from hiking to waterfalls and swimming in lakes to speeding down waterslides at theme parks and exploring historic sites. Alpine sports draw families from around the country to the Poconos for skiing and snowboarding, snow-tubing, and snowshoeing treks. Family-friendly attractions in the area range from cultural sites and art museums to animal attractions, heritage railroads, and kids’ entertainment sites.
5. Pennsylvania family resort: Camelback Mountain Resort, Tannersville
Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, is a family resort with a ton of year-round amenities. Accommodations within the resort range from cozy condos to townhomes and single-family homes with up to 5 bedrooms. In warmer months, Camelback Mountain Resort offers resort guests a full water park with activities, rides, slides, and pools for all ages. Snowy weather brings alpine sports to the mountain, where you can snowboard, ski, snow tube, or go snowshoeing. Family-friendly attractions in Tannersville include a year-round indoor water park, outlet shopping and boutiques, local dining spots, and a quaint downtown area.
6. Explore playful exhibits in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
There are lots of one-of-a-kind experiences in Pittsburgh to enjoy on a family vacation to Pennsylvania. You can explore the Andy Warhol Museum, Phipps Conservancy, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Kid-centric attractions include the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, the National Aviary, and the Carnegie Science Center. Family-friendly outdoor spaces range from Point State Park to the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens and the Carrie Blast Furnaces National Historic Landmark. If you’re interested in quirky attractions, check out a vibrant folk-art house at Randyland and cool exhibits in the Center for PostNatural History.
7. See historic ships at the Erie Maritime Museum
Erie's scenic location off the shores of Lake Erie make it a beautiful place to visit year-round. Kids particularly love the Erie Zoo, known for its animal exhibits and expansive play spaces as well as an ice-skating rink. You can learn about the region’s seafaring history at the Erie Maritime Museum and even take sailing trips on historic ships with the Flagship Niagara League. Younger children can explore immersive learning through play exhibits at the expERIEnce Children’s Museum. For outdoor adventures, you can head to Presque Isle State Park for scenic hiking trails, sandy beaches, and a historic lighthouse.
8. Pennsylvania family resorts: Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony
Family vacations around Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony offer year-round kids' activities, outdoor adventures, and beautiful views over the mountains. Accommodations in the Lake Harmony area near Split Rock Resort can range from condos and townhomes to cabins and single-family homes, with some offering up to 5 bedrooms. In the summer, you can enjoy local golf courses, hiking trails, a water park, and lakeside dining and water activities. Wintertime alpine sports can be found at Split Rock Resort, Jack Frost Mountain, and Big Boulder Mountain with skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing.
9. Go on rides and coasters in Allentown
Allentown, Pennsylvania, has attractions for kids of all ages, sure to please everyone from toddlers to teenagers. Toddlers and young children can run around the playground at Cedar Beach Park or cool off on the seasonal splash pad at Bucky Boyle Park. Car- and train-loving kiddos will go wild over spots like the America on Wheels Museum, Mack Trucks Historical Museum, and the Merchant’s Square Model Train Exhibit. Kids of all ages can enjoy the Davinci Science Center, the Museum of Indian Culture, and rides at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom.
10. Have a sweet adventure in Hershey
You don’t have to be a chocolate fanatic to enjoy spending time in Hershey, PA, with the city’s diverse collection of outdoor adventures, family attractions, and historic sites. Hershey is best known for Hersheypark, a sweets-themed amusement park with rides, attractions, and games for all ages. For outdoor activities, you can explore Hershey Gardens or the Butterfly Atrium, as well as public parks and greenspaces. Collections of vintage vehicles can be found at the AACA Museum and the Museum of Bus Transportation. Adult-friendly attractions include independent breweries and wineries offering tastings, tours, and events.
11. Delve into the state's history in Harrisburg
Pennsylvania’s state capital, Harrisburg, is a great place to visit on family vacations with kids. You can check out historic locations like the State Capitol Complex, the Pennsylvania State Museum, and the Governor’s Residence. You’ll find dog-friendly nature trails through Wildwood Park, and you can stroll along the water at Riverfront Park. At historic Fort Hunter, you can learn about the area’s history and see archaeological excavation sites and artifacts. Kid-friendly museums include the Doll House Museum, Pennsylvania National Fire Museum, and the Fort Hunter Mansion and Park.
12. Tour an Amish village in Lancaster
Lancaster offers a good mix of old-world charm and country farmlands with urban attractions and family entertainment. If you’re visiting with younger kids, you can head over to Dutch Wonderland for a “kingdom for kids,” with amusement park rides, games, and attractions suited to young children. You can see antique trains and exhibits at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, then climb aboard the Strasburg Railroad for a scenic ride on the rails. You can learn about local culture with tours of the Amish Village and the Amish Farm and House with quaint farms and historic homesteads.
13. Pennsylvania family resort: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington
If you’re looking for a Pennsylvania family resort-style experience, you can check out Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington. Family vacations in this area can take advantage of some of the amenities offered by Nemacolin Woodlands, including swimming pools, a casino, and skiing, tubing, and other alpine sports on Mystic Mountain. Family-friendly attractions in the area include Ohiopyle State Park, Laurel Caverns, a historic Frank Lloyd Wright home, and the Fort Necessity Battlefield.
14. Go ice skating in York
York is a good place for a weekend getaway with the kids in Pennsylvania with a mix of unique cultural and historical sites, outdoor spaces, and quirky local spots. You can see locally crafted vehicles and planes at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum and explore 18th-century historic sites at the Colonial Complex. Go ice skating at the York Ice Arena or shop in a historic farmers market at Central Market House. Older kids may enjoy the local escape room games or wintertime snow tubing at AvalancheXpress. Be sure to check out the quirky shoe-shaped Haines Shoe House while you’re in York.
15. Hang out in a treehouse in Scranton
Scranton offers some super unique things to do with kids in Pennsylvania, with fun local hot spots, entertainment, and year-round attractions. At Nay Aug Park, a public park on the site of a former amusement park, you can enjoy scenic hiking trails, an accessible treehouse, a museum, swimming pools, and a waterslide. Vehicle-loving kids have lots of entertainment options, from trains at Steamtown National Historic Site to vintage trolleys at the Electric Trolley Museum. You can tour the historic Lackawanna Coal Mine and ride down an old mine shaft and see mining exhibits in the Anthracite Heritage Museum.