If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle on your next getaway, consider planning a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The historic locale is home to one of the largest Amish communities in the United States. Lancaster is a great place to discover the rich history of America’s early settlers. There’s plenty of farmland, rolling hills and beautiful areas to explore.
As it turns out, the Amish might have the upper hand when it comes to avoiding heart disease. A recent study shows a rare gene variant, which appears much more often among members of the Amish community, may hold the key to preventing heart disease. Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine say having this gene appears to lower a person’s levels of heart-damaging LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol and a blood-clotting protein called fibrinogen. Overall, fewer than one person in 10,000 has this particular gene — B4GALT1. However, about 12 percent of those living in the Lancaster county, Pennsylvania Amish community carry the variant.
Fun facts aside, Lancaster’s wide-open spaces could benefit your health. A recent study reveals being closer to nature can improve brain health. So, get out in the sprawling countryside of Pennsylvania for a bit of R & R, your brain will thank you.
Lancaster has so much more to offer than just pretty scenery. There’s lots of fun things to do. In fact, we’ve narrowed down the choices to find some of the activities to consider while visiting. StudyFinds compiled a list of the five best things to do in Lancaster, PA as recommended from 10 expert sites. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!
The List: Best Things to Do in Lancaster, PA, Per Travel Experts
1. Lancaster Central Market
This historic market, located in Penn Square in Downtown Lancaster is a must-see. “The Lancaster Central Market is the oldest continuously operating public farmer’s market in the country. Established in 1730, the market hosts over 60 local vendors selling fresh produce and other products,” according to Travel Lens.
“You’ll find local cheeses, Pennsylvania Dutch Sausage and authentic scrapple, which is breakfast meat comprised of pork scraps and cornmeal. Chowchow is another local favorite, offering a mix of pickled vegetables marinated in mustard, while you can’t leave without sample one or more of the popular whoopie pie offerings,” notes Trips To Discover.
“Its Romanesque style of architecture adds to its vintage and well-lived vibe,” adds Family Destinations Guide.
2. Dutch Wonderland
Like amusement parks? Then put a day trip to Dutch Wonderland on your to-do list. The family-friendly theme park is celebrating its 60th birthday season. Reviewers agree there is really something for everyone to enjoy.
“Toddlers can enjoy the carousels and teacup rides. Teenagers can ram into each other with bumper cars. Mom and dad can enjoy the cafes, game booths, fun houses, dinosaur exhibits and virtual reality simulations,” according to Busy Tourist.
“Favorite attractions include Merlin’s Mayhem, a family-friendly roller coaster; the Flying Trapeze swing ride; and Exploration Island, with lifelike dinosaurs,” adds U.S. News & World Report.
If you are visiting in the summertime, check out Dutch Wonderland’s splash areas. “Another highlight is Dukes Lagoon which is a tropically themed water park that is open during the summer and includes tipping buckets and bubblers,” notes Vacation Idea.
3. The Amish Farm and House
Take a trip into the history of the thriving Amish community in Lancaster, at The Amish Farm and House. Travel2Next points out it’s, “an authentic working farm in Lancaster that offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the Amish community. The farm has horses, cows, pigs and chickens. You will have the opportunity to watch the farmers at work, milking cows and tending to the animals.”
“Tour the house and schoolhouse and delve into how an Amish household is run, from the simplest of tasks like hand washing clothes to their educational curriculum. Of course, you can’t leave without riding an Amish buggy and meeting the farm animals,” notes Touropia.
Be sure to plan your visit in the warmer months. The farm is only open to visitors during this time, weather permitting. “The house is over 200 years old and has been open for tours for the last 60, making it the first Amish Tourist Attraction in the country,” writes Vacation Idea.
4. Turkey Hill Experience
Ice cream lovers, rejoice! If you’ve ever wanted to make your very own ice cream flavor, you can at the Turkey Hill Experience. “Run by Turkey Hill, a dairy company in Pennsylvania, the Turkey Hill Experience is basically a self-guided tour through their headquarters. You can sample ice creams, bag your own tea leaves, milk a mechanical cow, play with interactive exhibits or sit inside of a dairy truck,” according to Busy Tourist.
It costs a little more for Ice Cream Lab access, but it’s well worth it. “For a premium ticket, you add one hour in the Ice Cream Lab to make your own ice cream flavor with endless add-ins! Getting Lab tickets does require you to plan much more in advance as you have to buy them beforehand for a certain time slot and people purchase these weeks in advance,” adds Planner at Heart.
Travel2Next points out, “You’ll learn about the history of the company and the science behind ice cream making. It’s a great activity for families, groups of friends, or even a fun date idea, after all ice cream isn’t only for kids.”
5. Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you want a bird’s eye view of Lancaster, consider taking a hot air balloon ride. “Hot air balloon rides last between 2.5 and 3 hours from start to finish, with approximately one hour spent floating along with the breeze. This is a great way to see the stunning countryside at a leisurely pace, giving you plenty of time to take in the sights,” according to 365 Traveler.
“Feel the excitement and peacefulness you can only seek in the serene open air of Lancaster County,” adds Travel Lens.
You can still enjoy the hot air balloons from the ground too. Plan your visit during Lancaster’s annual Hot Air Balloon Festival, which takes place in September.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Zoos In America
- Best Places To Live On The East Coast
- Best Things to Do in Glendale, Arizona
- Best Places to Visit in Ireland
- Travel Lens
- Trips To Discover
- Family Destinations Guide
- Busy Tourist
- U.S. News & World Report
- Vacation Idea
- Planner at Heart
- 365 Traveler
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.