Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—also known as Amish Country or Pennsylvania Dutch Country—is located in the southernmost part of eastern Pennsylvania. With a population pushing 600,000 people, the popular tourist attractions in Lancaster County are known for their picturesque farms, covered bridges, various must-see destinations, and the promise of a glimpse at Amish life.
Although many Amish live outside the city of Lancaster, their way of life and culture can’t be missed. From the goods they sell at the local Central Market, to the horses and buggies that can be spotted on the long stretches of Lancaster County road, a sense of the rural and plain life celebrated by the Amish is apparent.
Aside from its many historic attractions, Lancaster County is only a day’s trip from many other popular locations, such as New York City, Hershey, and Washington DC.
Just don’t be fooled when you hear Lancaster County and think Amish. There are still a lot of great activities and attractions for any age and interest.
1. Lancaster Balloon Rides (operated by U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team)
Offering the most memorable Adventure Experience in Lancaster County. Choose a romantic hot air balloon flight for you and that special person in your life, and float away in a gondola designed just for 2. Or, join others for a shared ride in a hot air balloon designed to accommodate additional guest flyers. Flight in a hot air balloon is a joyous occasion for anyone age 6 to 96 years.
Total-experience time, 2 ½ to 3 hours with approximately 1 hour in flight over beautiful Lancaster county. Flights take place at Sunrise and late afternoon just before sunset. All flights conclude with a Champagne toast, light snack, and presentation of a keepsake flight certificate.
You can book your tour or private flight here.
2. Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center
Refreshing Mountain is a premier, non-denominational Christian retreat center and outdoor activity host in Lancaster, PA. With countless retreat options—for youths, men, women, families, and more—and outdoor activities that include zip lining, pool parties, and corporate team building, they’re a one-stop shop for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for an action-packed day or a weeklong getaway, they have something for nearly any occasion and group size.
They also offer cabin and cottage rentals for overnight stays that put you inside one of their beautiful and rustic home-away-from-homes. They’re an excellent way to explore the wild side of Lancaster County—and have fun doing it!
Refreshing Mountain is located in Stevens, PA, just a short distance from many other wonderful attractions in Lancaster!
3. Bird in Hand Bakery & Café
Located in Bird-in-Hand, this bakery and café takes the extraordinary and makes it from scratch. By-hand and made-from-scratch are the only ways the Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café does it. This Pennsylvania Dutch baker has made a name for itself as a go-to destination for homemade wet-bottom shoofly pies, fresh artisan ice cream, whoopie pies, and delicious pumpkin pie made with their very own homegrown pumpkins! Their selection of sweets and treats doesn’t stop there, not to mention they boast a full café menu including breakfast and lunch foods and beverages.
They also specialize in special occasion cakes (including weddings) so you can share a little homemade goodness on your special day with friends and family.
TIP: We also have a special “Stay & Soar” package at the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn & Suites (bed & breakfast). Learn more here.
4. Strasburg Scooters
Strasburg Scooters takes visitors and residents of Lancaster County, PA on guided scooter tours! That’s right, guests will be taking their tour on 50cc scooters and guided around the back roads of beautiful Amish Country. You can choose from single- and double-seat scooters, as well as the cool Scoot Coupe—a three-wheeled scooter with room for two.
Sights include covered bridge tours, “Date Night in Amish Country,” Bridges & Beer tour, and more. Depending on the time of year or season, other tours may be available, such as “Scootin’ with Santa.”
Strasburg Scooters is located in Strasburg, PA, just a short drive from Lancaster.
5. Green Dragon Farmers Market
Locals love the Green Dragon Market & Auction. This wonderful marketplace opens every Friday morning to showcase more than 400 resident growers, merchants, or craftspeople. The Green Dragon is in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country and is one of the largest Farmers Markets around.
You can find just about anything at the Green Dragon, and if you can’t, the locals say it simply isn’t for sale then! Visitors can find everything from fresh food and produce, candy, meats, and cheeses, to quilts, handmade crafts, housewares, clothing, and more. There are also regular auctions if that’s more your shopping speed.
Located in Ephrata within Lancaster County, the Green Dragon is situated on 30 acres of classic Pennsylvania Dutch Country land.
6. Strasburg Rail Road
Head over to Strasburg if you want to take a trip through history—and across the historic Strasburg Rail Road. Steam-powered trains are alive and well and passengers can enjoy 45-minute round trips through Amish Country, all the way to Paradise, PA and back again. Train rides aren’t all the Strasburg Rail Road has to offer. Their rides travel along convenient recreational spots to let guests disembark to enjoy the scenery and lunch.
They offer a wide variety of themed cars and events, including a “Day Out With Thomas” that lets children and parents alike ride alongside Thomas and his pal Percy. Besides riding the different trains and taking in the sights, the Strasburg Rail Road also provides access to dining, tours, and museums.
7. Turkey Hill Experience
Lancaster County is home to Turkey Hill Dairy—a producer of iced tea and ice cream known around the country for their assortment of delicious flavors. The Turkey Hill Experiences gives visitors the chance to participate in different interactive exhibits that will teach them about Turkey Hill Dairy’s story, dairy culture, and how the dairy’s tasty flavors are picked and made! You’ll step into the shoes of an ice cream maker for the day, get to create your own “virtual ice cream flavor,” and enjoy plenty of free samples.
Once there, you can visit the taste lab, see how everything’s made, star in your own commercial, or taste test your favorite teas and ice cream.
8. Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides
For a tour through Amish Country guided by the Amish, Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides has just what you need. They offer tours and rides every day of the week without reservation and combine a comfortable ride with knowledgeable tour guides to give visitors a true, authentic taste of the Amish Country in Lancaster County, PA.
If you’re visiting Lancaster County or you’re a local, you can easily get a glimpse into the life of the Amish by taking one of these buggy rides. They’re a great family experience, kid-friendly, and even couples love the relaxing rides through the countryside.
9. American Music Theatre
If you’re on the hunt for wonderful music then look no further than the American Music Theatre. The AMT is a one-of-a-kind venue as it features both touring performances as well as their own original shows. Since their debut in 1997, they’ve hosted acclaimed performers, including Grammy, CMA, Oscar, and Tony winners, not to mention Opry legends.
AMT’s location places it a convenient distance to numerous eateries and restaurants in the area so you can enjoy a meal before or after your show. The American Music Theatre has been Central PA’s hotspot for live entertainment and strives to make every performance amazing. Visit the AMT for your next musical outing.
10. Sight & Sound Theatre
Known as the largest faith-based live theatre in the United States, the Sight & Sound Theatre has been bringing Broadway-quality productions to attendees since it opened its doors in 1976.
The Lancaster County, PA location is only one of two theatres Sight & Sound owns. Their shows are about bringing the Bible to life, entertaining, educating, and inspiring guests with stories from the Bible.