The Best of Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster is best known for its Amish community and vast farmlands. In The Best of Lancaster, Pennsylvania I will tell you a little about the Amish, fun things to do in Lancaster, cool places to stay, great places to eat, and some awesome day trips you can take

The Best of Lancaster Pennsylvania

The post “The Best of Lancaster, Pennsylvania” may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you). All opinions are my own and no products were received in exchange for my opinions. Click here to see details of my full disclosure policy.

Fun fact: I was born and raised in the Pocono Mountains, PA. Every year we would take a day trip to Lancaster. My grandmother was German and she LOVED visiting the Amish farmers’ market and getting shoofly pie.

I thought the shoofly pie was terrible, but we got to skip school and tag along so that was great! When I was grown, I took my children to see it so we could make more great memories.

I’m excited to tell you about some of my favorite things to do in the small town of Lancaster, which is also known as the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

I'm so excited, let's skip right to it!

How to Get to Lancaster, Pennsylvania


If you’re flying directly to Lancaster then you will fly into (LNS) the Lancaster Airport. The best part is it’s only 6 miles away from the city center! 


You can take the Keystone or Pennsylvanian Amtrack Train to get to Lancaster City. The stop you need is called (LNC) Lancaster Station and you will be able to walk to the city center from there.

Car Rental:

Are you planning to rent a car for your trip? Unless you’re only planning on staying in downtown Lancaster, you will need a car to get around and see ALL the great things to do. 

PRO TIP: Check your credit card perks when you rent a car because some of them automatically include insurance.

About the Amish

I’ll bet you’re very excited to find out about all the fun things to do in Lancaster, Pennsylvania BUT it’s cool to know a little bit about the Amish people who make up a decent percentage of the population in the area!

Lancaster County has the biggest Amish city in the United States!

Amish in Lancaster PA

You will definitely see Amish families and they are pretty easy to spot because they will be dressed differently from what you are used to. If this is your first time in an Amish Village then you will be surprised by how many horses and buggies you see

Amish life in Lancaster Pennsylvania

PRO TIP: The Amish are NOT actors for your entertainment so it's not polite to stare, point, or take pictures of them.

Fun Facts About the Amish

  • The Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch.
  • They are a Christian group. 
  • The Amish have a very modest and simple lifestyle. 
  • They use traditional farming methods like plowing the fields with a horse and buggy and milking cows by hand.
  • You will typically see the Amish getting around on foot, bicycle, or horse and buggy. 
Amish in Lancaster Pennsylvania

PRO TIP: Don't pet or feed horses that you see tied up. Remember, this is similar to touching someone's parked car.

Best Things to Do in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Amusement Park

Location: 2249 Lincoln Hwy E, Lancaster, PA 17602

Dutch Wonderland is a fun amusement park that ranks #10 out of 79 things to do in Lancaster. It also won the Travelers’ Choice award! 

I remember going to Dutch Wonderland and it’s fun for kids of all ages. Although it is a smaller park with 35 rides, in addition to roller coasters, there are other fun attractions and shows.

Dutch Wonderland is a great place to go on a hot day because they have water slides to cool off. If you’re looking for some family fun then THIS is the place to visit!

Horse and Buggy Rides

Location: 2596 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird in Hand, PA 17505

One of my FAVORITE things to do in Lancaster is to take a horse and buggy ride to see the beautiful countryside. We have gone to Abe’s Buggy Rides countless times and it’s still fun every time we do it! 

You HAVE to take the whole family on a buggy ride to see the Amish countryside when you are in Lancaster. It is one of the most fun things you can do with your family to create core memories of your trip

Things to do in Lancaster Horse and Buggy Ride
Share the Road Horse and Buggy Sign

PRO TIP: When you're driving you can pass a horse and buggy, but go slow and don't honk because it can spook the horse.

Sight and Sound Theater

Location: 300 Hartman Bridge Road, Ronks, PA 17572

Sight and Sound Theater is the #1 tourist attraction in Lancaster. It’s an amazing experience that brings stories from the Bible to life on stage. If you love live entertainment, amazing theatrical experiences, and learning more about biblical stories then this is one of the best things you will do in Lancaster. Check out the trailer below for their Christmas Show.  

Things to do in Lancaster Sight and Sound Theater

I’ve gone to several shows at Sight and Sound and have taken my children to see the shows. We LOVE them. My favorite was Noah’s Ark when they transformed the theater to make you feel like you were inside the ark with all the animals. Sight and Sound is comparable to seeing a Show on Broadway. The quality is THAT good!  

PRO TIP: It's a small stage and the sides of the theater are used in the show, so you want to sit towards the BACK to see everything.

Farm Animal Fun Tour

Location: 2395 Covered Bridge Dr, Lancaster, PA 17602, USA

If your family likes a petting zoo then they will love taking this 40-minute tour of a 15-acre Amish farm filled with different farm animals. They will see donkeys, goats, alpacas, cows, and horses and have an opportunity to pick eggs laid by the chickens

Kitchen Kettle Village

Location: 3529 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, PA 17534

Kitchen Kettle Village is so much fun! It is the perfect place to do some shopping and snacking at the 40+ stores.

You will find also find homemade baked goods, unique pottery, art, and quilts. They also have traditional stores like PANDORA Jewelry and an UGG store. 

Things to do in Lancaster Kettle Village
Things to do in Lancaster Kettle Village Map

Watch how fudge is made, grab an assortment of fresh jams, and find your favorite jerky flavor.

Plan to spend about 2-3 hours wandering around this cute area. Kitchen Kettle Village is a MUST-SEE when you visit! 

Things to do in Lancaster Kettle Village Fudge
Things to do in Lancaster Kettle Village Jam
Things to do in Lancaster Kettle Village Jerky

Lancaster Central Market

Location: 23 N Market St, Lancaster, PA 17603

Lancaster Central Market is one of the country’s oldest continually operated farmers’ markets. There are 60+ stands of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, quilt shops, and more.

THIS was the place my grandmother wanted to visit every year to get her shoefly pie and other treats. It’s also the place where we saw an ENTIRE pig in a meat case. Then my sister and I refused to eat meat for a while after that. Make sure the kids know before you go so they can avoid some childhood trauma. (*wink*)


Location: 311 Stanley K Tanger Dr, Lancaster, PA 17602

The Tanger Outlets were a favorite place for my mother and me when I was older. They have 70+ outlet stores with great deals! At the outlets, you can expect to find popular stores like Express, H&M, Kate Spade, Pottery Barn, and more. 

PRO TIP: Stop at Shopper Services to get your coupon book for additional savings!

Amish Tour Experience

By now you should know that I take some sort of tour everywhere I travel. You might be surprised to find quite a few Amish Tour Experiences available. These tours give you the opportunity to see farm activities up close and peek inside the Amish lifestyle.

Day Trip to Lancaster Pennsylvania

PRO TIP: You can book your tours now and pay later, or cancel with no fee up to 24 hours prior to the experience.

Premium Amish Country Tour:

The Premium Amish Country Tour is 2-3 hours long and is broken up into 3 parts.

You will take a 90-minute narrated bus tour through the Amish countryside, with stops at 2 different Amish farms. You get to take a self-guided tour of the 15-acre farm and Amish one-room schoolhouse

Either before or after your bus ride you will be able to take the guided house tour of the 1805 farmhouse. This tour gives you a look into how the Amish live. 

Unique Amish Experience Tour:

The Amish Experience SuperSaver Package is 3-4 hours long and is limited to just 14 people so make sure you reserve your spot ahead of time.

This fun and unique tour definitely gives you the most for your money! Here’s what’s included:

  • 90-minute farmland tour in an air-conditioned bus with 1 stop for Amish goods
  • 35-minute theater film performance to learn about Amish life
  • 45-minute guided walking tour of an Amish house and school

That’s a LOT of Amish fun and learning for $45.00! 

Best Places to Stay in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

There are lots of choices for places to stay in Lancaster, but I’m going to share 3 exceptional options with you


If you’re looking to splurge on your Lancaster trip then I’d recommend staying at The Wilbur Lititz, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. I simply LOVE the design details Hilton puts into their spaces. Here you will see stunning modern Amercian decor with exposed brick.

As a Diamond Hilton member, I’ve been able to stay at luxury hotels for FREE!

Location: 50 North Broad Street, Lititz, PA 17543

You can expect to receive luxury 4-star accommodations at The Wilbur Lititz. If you’re not sure what the hotel star rating means, make sure you read about the Top 5 Things You Need to Know When Finding a Hotel before you make your decision. The onsite restaurant serves traditional American cuisine and the hotel is located just 2.5 miles from the airport. 


If you brought the kids and you’re looking to have really cool lodging experiences, then I’d recommend staying at The Cartoon Network Hotel. This hotel is only a 7-minute walk from the Dutch Wonderland amusement park. It’s especially great during the off-season for you and your family to enjoy the indoor pool.

Location: 2285 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, PA 17602

Hey! Maybe you’re thinking, “Dang Andrea, you know ALL THE GOOD TRAVEL TIPS!” GREAT NEWS… you can SUBSCRIBE with your email to get notified of new posts so you never miss a thing!


If you want a new experience that’s more authentic, then try staying at the historic Bird-in-Hand Village Inn. The 18th Century Inn is actually considered a historic site.

It’s decorated with period furnishings but still offers modern amenities. They have all different packages, special events, and amazing experiences like hot air balloons at the Inn to make your stay in Lancaster truly unique.

Location: 2695 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505

The location is perfect for getting to main attractions like Sight and Sound Theater and Kitchen Kettle Village. You also get a complimentary Amish Farmlands guided tour with your stay at Bird-in-Hand Village!  

PRO TIP: Bird-in-Hand family restaurant is a great choice if you're looking for a restaurant near Sight and Sound Theater. 

For help finding the perfect accommodations read Top 5 Things you Need to Know when Finding a Hotel! 

Best Places to Eat in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster is known for its Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine and it’s not hard to find good home cooking at local restaurants. Here are some of my favorite places and simply the best restaurants for you to eat!

Best Breakfast in Lancaster, PA

Location: 366 Hartman Bridge Rd, Ronks, PA 17572

You HAVE to check out Agape Café & Grille because it’s one of the best breakfast places in Lancaster!  

The vibes inside the café are the cutest. Aside from the welcoming atmosphere, my favorite part about Agape Café is that the fantastic menu is made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients

Best Breakfast in Lancaster Agape

Grab some house-made pastries and desserts to enjoy with the BEST coffee in Lancaster. One of the things I love about their coffee shop is the variety of flavors you can add to your cold brew!

After you’ve finished eating your delicious breakfast, you will love shopping at the Beautiful Home Interiors store inside the café.

Before you leave, don’t forget to visit the goats that are roaming around next door to the restaurant. 

Best Coffee in Lancaster
Things to do in Lancaster Agape

Best Buffet in Lancaster, PA

Location: 129 Toddy Drive, East Earl, PA 17519

Shady Maple Smorgasbord is an iconic all-you-can-eat buffet in Lancaster. Prepare to have your mind blown with 200 feet of a buffet filled with authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking! As the #2 tourist attraction in Lancaster, EVERYONE knows about Shady Maple.  

If you love breakfast foods then you’re in luck because this is the best breakfast buffet in Lancaster. They have a variety of breakfast foods like fresh fruit, French toast, dessert crepes, corned beef hash, Swedish pancakes, and more! I did it and it was amazing!!

Of course, lunch and dinner are excellent here as well so if you’re looking for casual dining and good comfort food, then you have to visit Lancaster County’s largest smorgasbord

In addition to being the largest buffet in the USA, you will also find a large gift shop inside Shady Maple. 

Best Lunch in Lancaster, PA

Location: 141 E Main St, Strasburg, PA 17579

My favorite spot for lunch in Lancaster is the Speckled Hen. Once again, you can expect fresh locally sourced ingredients at the Speckled Hen. The menu items change to provide seasonal options

The Speckled Hen has reasonable prices and is a great place to grab a burger, sandwich, soup, or salad. 

They have a large selection of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. If you’re not into lunch foods then grab some breakfast since it’s served ALL day

Best Lunch in Lancaster Speckled Hen Restaurant
Best Lunch in Lancaster Speckled Hen

But wait, there’s more…

Upstairs you can find Bespoke Taproom & Brunch Bar. In addition to your brunch favorites, they also serve craft beer from, PA wine, cider, cocktails, and mocktails. Bloody Marys anyone?! Cheers to one of the best brunch spots in Lancaster, PA! 

Best Dinner in Lancaster, PA

Location: Magic & Wonder Dinner Theater, 3065 Lincoln Hwy E, Paradise, PA 17562-9651

The best dinner experience is the Dinner Theater Magic Variety Show! It’s a little break from all of the Amish culture and it offers a unique twist on dinner. This experience is 3.5 hours long. It’s full of magical illusions and circus acts. If you’ve never tried a dinner theater show then you should definitely try this fun and unique experience. 

Best Ice Cream in Lancaster, PA

Farm Location: 244 Mentzer Rd, New Holland, PA 17557

The best place for premium ice cream on a hot summer day in Lancaster is Lapp Valley Farm. If you’d like to try local farm-fresh ice cream then you’re at the right place. I got my scoop of ice cream in one of their homemade waffle cones and it was delicious!

While you are there you can get an idea of a typical Lancaster County dairy farm. You can see the Jersey cows being milked and pet the bottle-fed calves. It’s so much fun! 

Best Ice Cream in Lancaster Lapp Valley Farm
Best Ice Cream in Lancaster Lapp Valley Farms Cow

PRO TIP: If you don't have time to go to the farm, enjoy Lapp Valley Farm ice cream at Kettle Village.

Grab some creamy ice cream, fresh milk, and butter to go. Lapp Valley’s dairy products are higher in protein and calcium AND they have hormone-free milk products! After you’ve given it a try I’m sure this will be one of your favorite ice cream spots too. 

Food and Drink Tours in Lancaster, PA

Okay, you know I love taking tours to make fun core memories with my family and friends, but food tours are delicious AND fun! Here are two choices for some fun tours in Lancaster. 

Food Tour:

This 2-hour Sweet and Savory Tour of Lancaster City gives you some history, culture, and of course food! This small group walking tour is led by a former professional baker and he knows his stuff.

Get ready to meet local shop owners and learn about their skills and stores. The best part is you will have LOTS of samples of sweet and savory treats around Lancaster. 

Meeting Point Location: The walking tour starts and ends at Penn Square, Lancaster

Viator Ad

Beer Tour:

This 2.5-hour Downtown History and Craft Beer Afternoon Walking Tour takes you to a few historical sites for a little history about how the city’s past is tied to beer and of course, then there are a couple of beer tastings! You will be surprised at how much fun it is to learn about rich history, architecture, and beer in Historic Downtown Lancaster. 

Meeting Point Location: The walking tour starts and ends at Penn Square, Lancaster

Best Day Trips from Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Although there are tons of fun things to do in Lancaster, you might want to take a road trip to see something more. Here are the top day trips from Lancaster, PA. 

Turkey Hill Experience

Location: 301 Linden St, Columbia, PA 17512

Are you an ice cream lover? Grab the entire family, hop in a car, and take a short drive to check out the Turkey Hill Experience

With this interactive experience, it’s fun learning how your favorite ice cream flavors are made. You also get to try milking a mechanical cow and creating and promoting your very own ice cream flavor.

Day Trips from Lancaster Turkey Hill Experience

Of course, samples of different flavors of ice cream and Turkey Hill iced tea are included with your tour. By the time you are finished, you will be an ice cream connoisseur!

The Turkey Hill Experience is about 20 minutes away from Lancaster. You should set aside 1 – 1.5 hours to see and do everything here. 

Day Trips from Lancaster Turkey Hill Experience

PRO TIP: This is great in the summer months when it's hot and you need a break from outdoor activities.

Lancaster to Hershey

You can drive to Hershey, Pennsylvania in about 40 minutes. I’m sure you have heard of Hershey Chocolate?! Well, there are two GREAT attractions in Hershey, PA. 

1) Hershey Park: This is the largest amusement park in Pennsylvania. It has 15 roller coasters and a huge water park. It’s so much fun to see the Hershey’s Chocolate World characters at the park! 

2) The Spa at Hotel Hershey: This luxury spa has a beautiful atmosphere, high-quality treatment options, and of course chocolate-themed services and snacks. I love dark chocolate, but I haven’t tried one of the chocolate body treatments yet. No matter which treatment you pick, you will love spending the day relaxing at the spa and dining at one of the on-site restaurants

Best Day Trip from Lancaster Hershey
Day Trip from Lancaster Hershey Pennsylvania
Day Trip from Lancaster Hershey Spa

Lancaster to Philadelphia

You can take an amazing day trip to the City of Brotherly Love… Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s only a little over a 1-hour drive. You can either check out some of the museums and most popular attractions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or continue learning about the history of Pennsylvania when you visit Independence Hall. Philly has a ton of options for tours of the city.

If you’ve had enough of historic buildings then spend the day at the stunning Longwood Gardens. There are TONS of things for the whole family in Philadelphia! 

Are you ready to start planning your fun day trip to Philadelphia? CLICK HERE to read about the Best Places to See in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

Lancaster to Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland is only 1.5 hours from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Baltimore is a fantastic drivable family getaway because they have SO much to do there. Take the kids to Inner Harbor to see the National Aquarium. It’s in the top 3 aquariums in the United States

There is something for everyone in your family here. Baltimore has cool historic ships, great restaurants, and the BEST nightlife. 

Baltimore Maryland Views

Since there are quite a few things to see and do in Baltimore it might be a good idea to book an overnight stay so you can see everything. Also, the nightlife there is AWESOME so you definitely want to stay over so you can really have a great time! 

Want to take a fun day trip to Baltimore, Maryland? CLICK HERE to read about How to Have an Epic Time in Baltimore, Maryland!

Lancaster to Pocono Mountains

Jim Thorpe Mountains

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania is a super cute tourist town in the Pocono Mountains. It’s 2 hours away from Lancaster. This heavily wooded area has lots of rolling mountains and is great for hiking, biking, or going on a train ride. I was born and raised in the Pocono Mountains. If you’ve never been there then you definitely should check it out on a day trip from Lancaster.

Want to see a local favorite destination in the Pocono Mountains? CLICK HERE to read about The Best of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania!

Lancaster to the Lehigh Valley

Not far from the Pocono Mountains is the Lehigh Valley area. This is where I worked for many years so I’m very familiar with the area and I promise you there are TONS of great things to do there! The Lehigh Valley is made up of Easton, Allentown, and Bethlehem.

The Lehigh Valley is about 1 1/2 hours away from Lancaster.

Easton: One of the most popular fun activities in Easton is the Crayola Experience. They have fun interactive exhibits centered around Crayola Crayons. My kids and I always loved creating and exploring at the Crayola Factory! 

Allentown: If you haven’t had your fill of amusement rides and water parks then check out Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown. You could spend a full day experiencing the 60+ rides, shows, waterpark, and attractions

Best Day Trip from Lancaster Dorney Park Lehigh Valley
Best Day Trip from Lancaster Dorney Park Wildwater Kingdom Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem: Take a stroll down the cobblestone Main Street in the charming historic town of Bethlehem where you will find excellent food and unique shopping. Then check out live performances at Steel Stacks and ArtsQuest! There is always some sort of concert or festival going on. 

PRO TIP: Bethlehem is a great town to visit during the Christmas season when it's beautifully decorated.

Top Things to Do in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Maybe you only have time for a day trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania?

Check out the video below for my top 5 best things to do in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

If you liked The Best of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then you might also want to read about the Best Places to See in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

SUBSCRIBE with your email to get notified of new posts.

Don’t forget to SHARE and PIN for later!

LET’S CONNECT: Which one of the suggestions from “The Best of Lancaster, Pennsylvania” do you think you’d definitely want to try? Comment below!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments