Fun things to do in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania! We list family activities, date night ideas, and even where to eat and drink.
**A big thank you to Discover Lancaster for providing us with admission to some attractions and some of our meals. As always, all opinions are our own.**
Fun Things To Do In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania might be better known for its big cities like Harrisburg, Hershey, and Pittsburgh. However, we’ve enjoyed getting to know more about the state’s countryside. Don’t be fooled, though! It may be slower-paced, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to do in the area. We’ve visited multiple times now and have found plenty of fun things to do in Lancaster County! It’s the perfect destination for a weekend away with the family or with your sweetheart.
246 N Decatur St, Strasburg, PA 17579
One of the most fun things to do Lancaster County is to go on a scooter tour with Strasburg Scooters. They offer multiple tours that are done on either a two-wheel scooter or a three-wheel “scoot coupe” that fits two people! We went on an awesome Covered Bridge tour. It was a great way to see the beautiful Pennsylvania landscape. During the tour we stopped at a few covered bridges and learned about their history. We also stopped at a small Amish farm and learned a little about the Amish way of life.
We love history and learning, but we’ll be honest here and say that riding in the three-wheel scooter was actually the best part of this tour. Mark drove while Vicky took pictures and video. Driving the scooters does take some getting used to because the balancing is a little different with one wheel in the back. Mark also said it was similar to driving a golf cart as far as driving goes. Before we started the tour, though, we were given time and space to practice.
We really enjoyed our tour. Our guide Brian was awesome; he knew his stuff and was really funny. He was also very attentive and made sure to keep checking on us to make sure we were comfortable with the drive.
Railroad Museum Of Pennsylvania
300 Gap Rd, Strasburg, PA 17579
You can learn all about Pennsylvania’s rich railroad history at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. This incredible museum has over locomotives and railroad cars! It also has thousands of artifacts, images, and documents. They even have what is considered the World’s Fastest Locomotive in their collection.
You can walk into some of the trains and others have platforms that make it easy to peek into the railroad cars. There is also an area on the second floor that has model trains.
We enjoyed walking around and learning about the various trains, their history, and the impact they had on the country. For example, did you know that we have time zones thanks to the railroad? It’s true!
Before standardized time, communities set their own local times. Railroad companies operated on their hometown’s local time or the local time of the area’s largest city. To coordinate schedules, the railroads developed a system of time zones which was later started nationwide on November 18. 1883.
We learned this interesting fact as well as many others during our visit to the museum. In fact, we got so caught up inside that we didn’t even get a chance to go outside, where they have more trains and railroad equipment. We’ll have to check that out during our next visit.
Strasburg Rail Road
301 Gap Rd, Ronks, PA 17572
If you’re looking for a fun date night in Lancaster County, this is it! Strasburg Rail Road has several train ride experiences, including a Murder Mystery ride and Le Train Cabaret which features live performances by regional artists. We had the pleasure of going on their Wine and Cheese Train Ride.
For just under an hour we traveled through the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside. We sampled three different wines from Waltz Vineyards (a local winery) that were paired with Havarti Dill, Gouda, and Super Sharp Cheddar cheeses. We were also given crackers, fruit, and chocolate.
As we sipped and snacked, we were told about buildings, farms, and attractions that we passed. The staff was very attentive and checked on us frequently, asking if we had any questions. They even offered to take our photo. We were also given a full glass of our favorite of the three wines that we sampled. The Apple Crisp (semi-dry white) was our favorite.
We had a great time on the train and only wish it could have been a longer ride. Everything was delicious and it was fun seeing Lancaster County from a different perspective.
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
150 Cherry Hill Rd, Ronks, PA 17572
If you’re looking for things to do in Lancaster with kids, definitely head over to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. This place is awesome! It’s a perfect place to take the kiddos, but you certainly don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it. It could even be a fun place to go on a date!
There are games, farm animals, a giant corn maze, and lots of yummy snacks. Buddy even rode a tractor! Our favorite attractions on the farm were the giant slide and the baby chick hatchery. The farm is bigger than we thought when we first drove up too, so you could easily spend a whole day there.
One thing to note about the farm is that it is completely cashless; they accept credit, debit, and mobile payments only. If you do arrive with cash, you can go to Guest Services and transfer cash onto a Cherry Crest gift card. The gift card can then be used throughout the farm for purchases. After your visit, if you still have money on the gift card, simply go back to Guest Services and receive cash back for any money left over.
Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides
3121 Old Philadelphia Pike, Ronks, PA 17572
Another fun thing to do in Lancaster County is to go on an Amish buggy ride. We recommend Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides. They’ve been giving buggy rides since 1969!
There are about 30,000 Amish people in Lancaster County, so they are a big part of the community. Going on a buggy ride is a fun way to learn more about them and their culture. Aaron and Jessica offer different tours and routes, so you can pick one based on your interests. We went on the Amish Farm Tour.
The tour took us through some beautiful backroads where we saw orchards and fields growing all kinds of vegetables. We also stopped at an Amish farm where we saw miniature horses, mules, puppies, and learned more about the Amish life. At the farm we were also given the chance to buy home-made cookies and drinks. We got some tea that was very refreshing.
2249 E Lincoln Hwy, Lancaster, PA 17602
Families have been visiting Dutch Wonderland, an iconic attraction in Lancaster, since 1963. Over the years it has grown and now has over 30 rides and attractions, live shows, and play areas. And although it is primarily for kids and families, adults will have a great time too. We sure did!
We got on roller coasters, the Marry-Go-Round, the flying chairs, the Gondola ride, and more. There’s a lot to do! To get oriented when you arrive, we suggest either going on the Sky Ride or the Monorail for a bird’s eye view of the park. There’s also plenty of food around the park. The adults will appreciate Penley’s Pub, which has locally brewed beers, ciders, and wine.
Another thing we enjoyed about Dutch Wonderland is that it changes with the seasons, offering different events and shows. We visited during “Happy Hauntings,” a family-friendly Halloween-themed event. It was pretty cool to see the spooky decorations all around the park.
Historic Rock Ford
881 Rockford Rd, Lancaster, PA 17602
Historic Rock Ford was once the home of Revolutionary War General Edward Hand. The mansion has guided tours and tickets include admission to the nearby John J. Snyder, Jr. Gallery, which is housed in a re-constructed 18th century bank barn.
During our guided tour, we learned more about the Hand family and saw many original and period pieces. One of our favorite pieces was one of Mrs. Hand’s original silk dresses. The kitchen was also fascinating because we learned that it is still used! Every third Sunday of the month, food is prepared using traditional methods of the time.
Outside of the home, you’ll find a small garden growing fruits and vegetables that would have been grown when the Hands lived there. If you continue on up the hill, you’ll find the gallery which is home to beautiful antique clocks and furniture.
120 E King St, Lancaster, PA 17602
If you’re looking for free things to do in Lancaster County, we recommend visiting the Demuth Museum in downtown Lancaster. The museum was once the home of Charles Demuth, an artist and writer. Demuth was friends with Picasso, Hemingway, and many other famous artists. Georgia O’Keeffe would even come by the house and they would sit outside and paint in his mother’s garden.
Today visitors can see some of Demuth’s most famous paintings. The collection does rotate, so you may see something different if you visit more than once. Additionally, there are other artists’ works on rotation as well. It’s interesting to see the various art pieces, but also interesting to walk through the house itself. Although Demuth traveled extensively, he created most of his artwork in that home.
Note: Although the museum is free to enter, a donation of $5 is appreciated.
Lancaster Central Market
23 N Market St, Lancaster, PA 17603
Lancaster’s Central Market is the country’s oldest continuously operated public farmer’s market. Established in 1730, it is now home to over 60 local vendors. You can find all kinds of things at the market; from cheeses to essential oils.
There is even a good amount of ethnic food. We stopped at the Isabelle Cuisine stall, which specializes in West African dishes and drinks. We had Bissap which is a drink made with hibiscus flowers. It was delicious!
Central Market is open Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Kitchen Kettle Village
3529 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, PA 17534
Another top thing to do in Lancaster County is to visit Kitchen Kettle Village. This unique “village” has over 40 shops, restaurants, and specialty shops. It’s a fun place to spend an afternoon walking, snacking, and shopping.
Aged & Cured was one of our favorite shops. They have an amazing selection of meats and cheeses, as well as, locally made sourdough pretzels, beef jerky, and hot sauces. Let’s just say we had a lot of samples and wanted to buy everything in the store! We were also told we absolutely had to try the ice cream from Lapp Valley Farm. We found their stall and tried their cookie dough ice cream. It was so creamy and smooth!
National Watch And Clock Museum
514 Poplar St, Columbia, PA 17512
When you think of fun things to do in Lancaster County, the National Watch and Clock Museum might not be the first thing you think of. But this hidden gem is totally worth a visit! The museum has so many interesting and fun pieces and there are even interactive areas for the kiddos.
At the museum, you will learn about the history of clock making and how clocks and watches evolved over the century. You will also see some pretty incredible pieces, from detailed cuckoo clocks to James Bond’s watch, and everything in between. The museum has the largest collection of timepieces in North America – more than 13,000 from around the world.
The museum is much larger than it looks from the outside. We spent two hours at the museum and easily could have stayed longer. Our favorite part of the museum was seeing the famous Engle Clock. It was completed in 1878 after 20 years of painstaking work. Standing at 11 feet and weighing over a ton, it’s an impressive clock. It is run daily at noon and 2 PM.
Turkey Hill Experience
301 Linden St, Columbia, PA 17512
This one is for ice cream lovers! The Turkey Hill Experience is not to be missed. With your General Admission ticket, you do a self-guided tour and learn about Turkey Hill Dairy and how ice cream is made. You can also get free samples of ice cream and tea.
Everything is very interactive and kids and adults will enjoy creating their own virtual ice cream flavor, packaging, and TV commercial. You can even milk mechanical cows!
We recommend adding the Turkey Hill Tasting Lab experience to your visit. There you can create your own pint of ice cream. Starting with a base of either chocolate or vanilla, you are then walked through the process of adding flavors, inclusions, and toppings. We started with vanilla ice cream, added drops of raspberry for flavor, added cranberries and white chocolate chips for inclusions, and then added raspberry and dark chocolate to top it off. It was a delicious experience!
Columbia Crossing River Trails Center
41 Walnut St, Columbia, PA 17512
In the town of Columbia, we suggest visiting the Columbia Crossings River Trails Center. It is located in Columbia River Park on the eastern shore of the Susquehanna River. The center has educational exhibits and various family activities. From the park, you can also bike, hike, or run along the 14-mile Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.
If you’re looking for romantic things to do in Lancaster County, head to the Susquehanna for a stroll at sunset. It’s beautiful and really peaceful.
Lancaster County Restaurants
Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn
240 Hartman Bridge Rd, Ronks, PA 17572
If you really want to enjoy a feast, head over to Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn. Holy cow! This is the mother of all smorgasbords. They have so much food!
There is a little bit of everything, including Pennsylvania Dutch specialties. There are plenty of salads, soups, and hot entrees. You will also find a fresh-to-order grill and a hot carving station. And their desserts! Everything is made fresh in their bakery and you’ll cookies, cakes, pies, and ice cream!
In fact, at Hershey Farm, Vicky had her first Whoopie Pie and first shoofly pie. She was not a fan of either, but she’s still glad she was able to try them.
Prince Street Cafe
15 N Prince St, Lancaster, PA 17603
We really enjoyed our breakfast at Prince Street Cafe. The atmosphere was nice and the staff was very friendly. It was also nice to see the cafe itself was in an older downtown building. We’re all about revitalization!
They offer coffees, teas, and smoothies, as well as some light breakfast dishes. We enjoyed their Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. Isn’t it beautiful?
Lancaster Brewing Company
302 N Plum St, Lancaster, PA 17602
Of course, we had to stop at Lancaster Brewing Company. Lancaster has a proud local brewing history. Beer has been made here since the first British settlers arrived in the 1700s. Over the centuries, many breweries thrived. Unfortunately, due to the economy and new breweries in the mid-west, Lancaster’s last commercially produced beer was brewed in 1956.
That is, until 1995 when Lancaster Brewing Company opened. It has since then produced over 22 different craft beers and won many awards, including medals at the 2013 World Beer Championship. The best way to try their beers is to get a flight, which Mark really enjoyed.
If you’re interested in a brewery tour, they are available Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. or during the week by appointment at 1 p.m.
Pasquale’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
1657 Old Philadelphia Pike, Lancaster, PA 17602
One of the most popular Lancaster restaurants is Pasquale’s. This family restaurant has been a favorite among locals and tourists alike since 1997. We went for dinner during our visit to Lancaster County and their food did not disappoint.
To start we had their Fried Calamari. It was a very large plate and the calamari was nice and crispy. For our main meal, we ordered an Upside Pizza which had provolone and mozzarella cheese with a swirl of homemade sauce on top. Everything was delicious and we liked the cozy tucked-away booth that we sat in. It was very romantic!
Final Thoughts On Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
There are many unique tourist attractions in Pennsylvania but Lancaster County is a true gem. The countryside is beautiful, there are great museums and attractions, and we loved trying different local food. It was also very interesting to learn more about Amish culture. We had a great time and can’t wait to visit again.