Pennsylvania is a big state, with a lot to explore. Here is a sampling of some of our favorite spots in the eastern part of the state, from south to north.
Start in Philadelphia – if it’s a nice day, visit Love park and the fountains at Logan Square Park, for some very Instagrammable photo opportunities. I love the Philadelphia Art Museum, but my own children prefer the Philadelphia Zoo (it’s BIG!), the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, mainly for the bugs. The Franklin Museum currently has a Harry Potter exhibit, which is a huge hit with my school age children. But even without that, it is an awesome (and also quite large) museum with a giant model heart/play area, a huge climbable spider web, and even an area where you can a nice little electric shock (also a huge hit with my children. Kids are weird.) You can easily spend a whole day there, going from exhibit to exhibit.
Going a bit further north, you will come to Allentown, and the surrounding area, which is mountainous and lovely. We enjoyed the resort at Bear Creek Mountain, where there is skiing of course, and also snowtubing. It’s important to have that magic carpet for the tubing, unless you want to spend a lot of time climbing giant hills with heavy tubes in tow. My kids were scared but did end up enjoying it. You have to be 5, I believe. In the summer time, the Allentown Rose Garden is a really pretty little park (again, very photo-friendly), and about 40 minutes east of Allentown you can visit a lesser known, but really cool attraction called Ringing Rocks Park. Bring a hammer (no, it’s not for anything nefarious), and try hitting the various boulders in the park with it. You will find they produce various musical tones that your kids and you will enjoy hearing.
A little farther north you will come to the Poconos, and the picturesque little town of Jim Thorp, which is considered the gateway to the Poconos. We love stopping here. Great Wolf Lodge is another favorite resort with my kids, if you’re looking for a waterpark experience. Finally, Bushkill Falls is a really beautiful attraction, with a fun network of wooden walkways, stairs and bridges that gives you a variety of views to enjoy.
Finally, the Wilks Barr area has a lot to offer, and is a fun place to find some quintessential Pennsylvania experiences. While Bushkill Falls is pretty well known, we enjoyed the lesser known Seven Tubs recreation area just as much, and it’s free. It is appealing because of the unusual formations or “tubs” created by continuous glacial melt, creating tiny waterfools, pools, and miniature gorges in different shapes throughout the park. I do recall there being some steep and rocky terrain which was not particularly difficult, but made me slightly nervous for the younger kids (though they probably managed it more easily than I did.) We also enjoyed taking a tour of the Lackawanna Coal Mine, and visiting the Steamtown Train Museum and enjoying a short train ride through this picturesque area.