Off-Season Vacation Ideas in PA

Off-Season Vacation Ideas in PA

While PA’s got plenty to offer for summer fun – think amusement parks, baseball games, beautiful scenery – there’s still plenty to see and do during the rest of the year. Below, we outline five travel ideas for your next off-season vacay.

1. State Parks

Pennsylvania boasts more than 300,000 acres of state park land throughout the 121 state parks spanning all 67 counties. Entrance to all state parks is totally free, but the views and experiences are priceless.

PA state parks offer hiking, boating, camping, fishing, hunting, and more. Some of the more popular state parks include Presque Isle in Erie, Codorus in Hanover, Pymatuning in Jamestown, and Ridley Creek in Media. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, try Caledonia in Fayetteville, Raymond B. Winter in Mifflinburg, Laurel Hill in Somerset, or Trough Creek in James Creek.

Visit PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ website for information about park locations, amenities, lodging, and fees.

2. Jim Thorpe

Nestled in the Lehigh Gorge in Carbon County, you’ll find the town of Jim Thorpe, PA. Originally called Mauch Chunk when it was founded in 1818, the town has since been renamed to honor the person some call the greatest athlete of all time.

Fall foliage is on full display in Jim Thorpe, and the town is known for its Old-Time Christmas festival during the month of December. Additionally, there’s the Old Jail Museum and a train excursion to enjoy. The train leaves from a historic station, one with ties to Asa Packer. Asa was a pioneer in railroad construction in the mid-1800s and also founded Lehigh University. Two mansions that bear his name are available to tour, as well.

Jim Thorpe’s downtown is thriving with shops and eateries to satisfy any taste. And, you have your choice of boutique hotels, B&Bs, larger hotels, or camping for your stay.

3. Gettysburg

More than 1.2 million people visit Gettysburg each year, the vast majority of whom visit in the summer months. When not crowded with tourists, this town of just over 7,500 year-round residents still offers lots to do and see.

Some activities of note are: the self-guided auto tour which will wind you through the entire National Military Park, hitting all the notable locations and monuments related to the battle; a visit to the Jenny Wade House which commemorates the only civilian killed during the battle; a stroll through the vibrant downtown which offers lots of shops and restaurants; and an evening ghost tour through what is widely regarded as the most haunted town in America. You can also experience living history during one of the year-round reenactments that happen in the town and throughout the park.

Located in the heart of orchard country in PA, in the late summer and early fall, you’ll stumble on some of the best peaches and apples you’ll ever eat, along with the festivals celebrating these tree fruits. Like all things apple? Do NOT miss the National Apple Harvest Festival in nearby Biglerville.

With a variety of accommodation options and tons to see and do, Gettysburg makes for a great getaway.

4. Lehigh Valley

“Steeped in pre-Colonial, early American, and industrial history, the region’s storied past became its uplifting present,” reads the opening paragraph on Cities like Bethlehem, Allentown, and Easton are found in the Lehigh Valley, along with historic parks, trails, waterways, and other natural resources.

Home to iconic festivals (Musikfest & Christkindlmarkt) and peppered with attractions like breweries, museums, shopping, and spectator sports, there’s no shortage of entertainment in the Lehigh Valley.

During your off-season trip, you could go for a round of golf, stop by a local farmers market, take a covered bridge tour, relax at a spa, and dine on farm-to-table cuisine. Throw in a visit to an old steel mill turned event venue and your trip is complete!

With no shortage of options to satisfy any interest, the Lehigh Valley is a destination in PA worth visiting.

5. Pittsburgh

With a population of just over 300,000, Pittsburgh has been named one of America’s most livable cities six times. This former industrial town and heart of the steel industry is now a hub of education, healthcare, and technology. As such, it boasts an impressive roster of attractions, making it an ideal destination for any time of year.

Pittsburgh has long been a center for arts and culture, most notably for its orchestra, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Frick Pittsburgh, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Take a ride on the Monongahela Incline up Mt. Washington where you will get an iconic view of the city and its “golden triangle” where three rivers meet: the Monongahela, the Allegheny, and the Ohio.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the opportunity to enjoy professional sports in the ‘Burgh, too! The Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Pittsburgh Pirates all play in the city, offering you a chance to attend a football game, hockey match, or baseball game, respectively.

Beyond arts and culture, Pittsburgh is a food town. No matter what part of the city you find yourself in, you’re sure to have delicious food at your fingertips. Try the famous Primanti Bros. sandwich, Ohio Valley-style pizza, pepperoni rolls, a chipped, chopped ham sandwich, or a burnt-almond torte. And, don’t forget the Heinz ketchup!

No matter where your next off-season vacation takes you, PSECU is with you all the way. Our Founder’s Rewards Card makes travel easy and rewarding. You’ll earn cash rewards that never expire on every purchase* and enjoy $0 balance transfer fees as well as credit limits up to $30,000, if qualified. And, if you need cash, you can use your card at any one of our 70,000 in-network ATMs with no cash advance fee. Apply today!

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