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Things to do in Pennsylvania

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Many spots in PA are an easy drive from NYC and Washington DC. For families, top things to do in Pennsylvania include a major theme park with thrill coasters (plus little-kid attractions too, and summertime water zone); a theme park for little kids; classic lodges and huge recreational properties; a family camp with loads of activities; and a resort with indoor water park.

1. Hershey PA: Hersheypark and More

Photo courtesy of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company.

Three hours from NYC, 90 mins from Phillie, "Chocolate Town USA" offers Hersheypark (voted top amusement park by FamilyFun Magazine); Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park; the Hotel Hershey, a grand old hotel with kid's club; Hershey Lodge; Hershey's Chocolate World Visitors Center; and more. In summer, Hersheypark's Boardwalk area is open, with seaside boardwalk theme, and water slides, wave pool, surfing, lazy river float. Hersheypark is also open for Halloween-themed Hersheypark in the Dark, and for Christmas Candylane.

2. Sesame Place

Photo courtesy of Sesame Place.
Photo courtesy of Sesame Place.
Generations of kids love Sesame Street, and here's a whole theme park with just that theme: with rides, play zones, Breakfast with Big Bird... Sesame Place is 30 minutes from Philadelphia PA and 90 minutes from New York City, and is open mid-May through mid-October. Ideal age for kids is two to seven years old.

3. Family Resorts in PA

Photo courtesy of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.
Photo courtesy of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.
Several year-round resorts with giant properties offer great outdoor recreation: hiking, rock-climbing, archery, paintball, horseriding, nearby downhill skiing in wintertime, lots more.

4. Family Getaways in the Poconos

Photo courtesy of Woodloch Resort.
Photo courtesy of Woodloch Resort.
Known for NASCAR and heart-shaped bathtubs, the popular Poconos area -- an easy drive from NYC, Phillie, DC-- also draws thousands of families who enjoy family-friendly resorts and the Great Outdoors (including skiing in wintertime.)

5. Great Wolf Lodge Poconos

Things to do in PA - Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge.
Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge.
This resort deserves special mention as it highlights the trend in water park resorts as driveable family getaways. Great Wolf Lodge has opened rustic-styled resorts with lavish indoor water parks in many locations; signature features include Howl-O-Ween, and "Snowland", with indoor falling snow, animated storytime in the Grand Lobby, and more. Great Wolf Lodge Poconos has a giant indoor water park, exclusively for guests.

6. Deer Valley Family Camp

Photos courtesy of Deer Valley Family Camp.
Photo courtesy of Deer Valley Family Camp.
Family Camps are an excellent -- and affordable-- type of getaway that includes lodging, meals, and many activities for kids in different age groups and for the whole family. Deer Valley YMCA Family Camp is open year-round and has 742 acres with woods, hills, fields, and a lake for watersports and fishing in summer (ice-fishing and skating in the winter time.) Guests can stay in in a Lodge in dorm-style bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in cottages and (heated) cabins. Horseriding is available, for beginners to experienced riders. Location is a two- hour drive from Pittsburgh, three from DC.

7. Pittsburgh Family Fun

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Children's Museum.
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Children's Museum.
"Kidsburgh" -- named America's fifth Best Place to Raise A Family --is affordable and has kid-friendly attractions that educate and entertain including children's museum, zoo and aquarium, and amusement parks.

8. Pennsylvania Family Farms

Photo, Mountain Dale Farm, courtesy of PA Farm Vacations.
Photo, Mountain Dale Farm, courtesy of PA Farm Vacations.
What an appealing idea for a getaway, and often budget-friendly, too: stay at a farm and experience country life, home-made breakfasts, and the chance for kids to get up close and personal with farm animals. enjoy some fresh air and country life and probably some giant home-made breakfasts; and of course kids love to be around the animals. Head to the PA Farm Vacations site to find a farm; search by area or by types of activities (such as horse-riding).

9. Lots Morere Things to Do in Pennsylvania

Check out Dorney Park amusement/water park, Crayola Factory, Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation historical "working farm", and more.

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