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Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for Families

by Holly Riddle

Sep 17, 2019

Meredith Heil | Dreamstime.com

North America

While many know Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as simply Amish country, the city just a short drive from Philadelphia offers so much more than farmland and Amish markets (though those are both worth checking out).



On the outskirts of downtown Lancaster, stay at the Lancaster Arts Hotel. This boutique property offers a fun and modern vibe you’re sure to love. The free parking and free daily breakfast make it a good fit for budget-conscious families, too. The guestrooms, with exposed brick and wooden beams, reflect the property’s industrial past. The hotel’s modern focus on the arts, though, can be seen through little details, like the guest sketches hung in the elevator, the sketchbooks available in each guestroom and the piano awaiting your fingertips by the front door.



If your child has a thing for trains, you can’t miss a stop by the Strasburg Rail Road. Just a 10-minute drive out of town, this historic rail road station offers train rides of varying themes. You can book a day out with Thomas the Tank Engine, a simple scenic ride, a trip out to the perfect rural picnic spot or even a dinner date. Across the street from the station is a historical museum covering all things rail.


Kids will also love the Turkey Hill Experience at Turkey Hill Dairy. Learn all about how ice cream is created and, of course, enjoy lots of samples. The Taste Lab allows you to make your own ice cream flavor.

Dairy farm in Lancaster County. Photo: Georgesheldon | Dreamstime.com

For a fun-filled day sure to burn off some of your kids’ endless energy, visit Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. The outdoor attraction includes wagon rides, farm tours, corn mazes, pedal karts, an animal center and more.



Of course, you can’t visit Lancaster without enjoying some Amish-approved dining. Try the Amish farm feast at Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant, or dine family style at Good ’N Plenty Restaurant.


If you’re staying in downtown Lancaster and don’t want to make a drive out to the countryside for breakfast or dinner, you’re certainly not out of luck. There are plenty of options in the walkable downtown. Try Anita’s on Walnut, for fresh Italian baking and coffee, or Beiler’s Donuts for Amish donuts without leaving town. For dinner, Cork & Cap Restaurant gives Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine a modern update. For pizza, try LUCA, with its Neapolitan-style pies and handmade pastas. For dessert, stop by Rolled Cold Creamery for homemade, fresh, rolled ice cream.


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