Pennsylvania is a state unlike any other. Tucked among the serene, rolling farmland and sweeping woodlands are some incredibly special hidden gems. Old-school amusement parks, beautiful state parks, and fascinating tours and experiences make a trip through this state extra fun. This adventure highlights some of the most unique activities across the state, and ends at Pennsylvania's coolest (and the world's only candy-themed) amusement park: Hersheypark! Let's hit the road!
Start your fun at Kennywood, the country's oldest amusement park. With classic rides like merry-go-rounds, paddleboats and bumper cars, along with a bevy of adrenaline-pumping roller coasters. The Phantom Express reaches an incredible top speed of 85 MPH, the Skyrocket features an epic 90-degree drop, and, of course, the park's signature Jack Rabbit coaster, which has been thrilling park visitors since 1921!
For a quiet bit of natural relaxation, make a trip to Shawnee State Park. This peaceful gem hidden in the valley features a lake with a swimming beach and some great hiking trails. If you're looking for more than just a place to stretch your legs during a long ride, you can also camp out here, or stay the night in a yurt, cabin, or room in the lodge. Camping will be no sweat, even for a beginner, if you're riding in an RV from Thor Industries since they offer something for every style of camper. And even if you don't stay the night at the park, it also offers boat rentals... the 450-acre lake is a great place for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.
Another great option for setting up camp is Ye Olde Mill Campground. This kitschy, historic spot draws inspiration from the onsite historic grist mill and the rural setting in the Allegheny Mountains. They have plenty of sites with modern facilities (hot water in the showers is always appreciated) and tons of space for any RV. If you forgot to pack something, Ye Olde Mill also has an adorable little general store where you can stock up on supplies. Make sure to pick up one of their self-rising pancake mixes (ground at the grist mill) at the store so you can cook yourself a hearty breakfast before hitting the road again. They come in unique varieties like buckwheat, johnny corn, and flannelcake, and they're all quite delicious!
Funny enough, Ye Olde Mill Campground isn't the only historic grist mill you'll visit on this trip: the Appalachian Trail Museum is also located in an old mill built 200 years ago. The building is now dedicated to preserving the history of America's most famous hike. The Appalachian Trail was formally created in the 1920s, and since then countless hikers have tackled the 2,000-mile route. The museum tells the story of the trail's inception and preservation and is located pretty close to the half-way point. It's also right near the Pine Grove General Store, which is famous among hikers for its eating challenge: you have to finish half a gallon of ice cream in one sitting to win!
After that, you'll be close to your final destination: Hersheypark! Whether you're here for the candy or the rides, everyone will have a sweet time here. Family rides like the Ferris wheel, teacups, monorail, tilt-a-whirl, and more make for a fun time for families, while more adventurous kids can take on the park's super impressive collection of roller coasters. Favorites include the inverted steel looper called the Great Bear, the vertical lift looping coaster (which features a 97 degree drop) known as the Fahrenheit, and the park's tallest ride, the Skyrush, which is made up of high-speed turns, five zero-G airtime hills, and a 200 foot drop that will reach speeds of 75 miles per hour! The Hersheypark also has a huge waterpark called The Boardwalk, so bring your bathing suit and plan to spend another day splashing and sliding in the water!
Since Hersheypark has enough to see and do to fill two days, you can stay the night at their Hersheypark Camping Resort. In addition to the cabins and campsites, they have two regular swimming pools, a kiddie pool, a game room, playgrounds, a store (stocked with candy, of course), movie nights, live entertainment, and more. It also gets you access to some pretty awesome benefits at the park, like 1-hour-early access to certain rides, discounts on park tickets (and tickets to other Hershey attractions like The Hershey Story Museum), premium cabana rentals at the waterpark, and lower prices on events like Breakfast at the Park with Hershey Characters.
The mountains, valleys, and fields of Pennsylvania are perfect for road tripping. The ever-changing and lush, green scenery combined with the state's plethora of quirky roadside attractions combine to make a setting that's begging for every nook and cranny to be explored. What better way to see it all than on a camping trip that will definitely go down as one of the most interesting in your memory?