By Sarah Zlotnick for Brides Magazine
When you think “honeymoon,” you might think of a tropical island dotted with palm trees, or a European city steeped in history and filled with lively cafes. You probably don’t think of Pennsylvania, but perhaps you should—especially if you live on the East Coast and are looking for a nearby destination!
“With its diversity of offerings, Pennsylvania is a great place for a honeymoon,” says Michael Chapaloney. “We have options for those looking for museums, but we also offer fantastic—and very accessible—outdoor destinations that are paired with luxury.”
That variety is precisely what makes the state such a delightful, albeit unexpected, option for a post-wedding vacay. From the world-class cultural centers and restaurants of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to the shoreline of Lake Erie to the serene woodland settings of the Laurel Highlands and the Pocono Mountains, there’s an option for every kind of traveler.
Read on for what to know when planning your honeymoon in Pennsylvania, including average cost, unique and seasonal attractions, and the best hotels and resorts in the state.
Pennsylvania Honeymoon Cost
The cost of a Pennsylvania honeymoon will vary greatly based on duration, accommodations, activity choices, travel methods, and more. Accommodations can range from around $50 to over $1,500 per night. In Pennsylvania, you’ll pay a state tax of 7% on your hotel room, plus an additional tax depending on the city or county you’re in.
Unique Pennsylvania Attractions
Per Chapaloney, Pennsylvania is home to 22 ski resorts and 21 national parks. Additional bucket list-worthy sites in the state include:
- Fallingwater: Architecture buffs know this is the only remaining Frank Lloyd Wright house with its original furnishing and artwork fully intact. For a fully immersive experience, book an overnight excursion in nearby Polymath Park.
- Cherry Springs State Park: Does it get any more romantic than stargazing? At the first International Dark Sky Park in the eastern United States, over 30,000 celestial bodies are on display each night.
- Pine Creek Gorge: Often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Pine Creek Gorge is a 47-mile gorge carved into the Tioga State Forest. At its deepest point, it measures 1,450 feet from river to hilltop.
Pennsylvania Honeymoon Ideas by Season
Now’s the time to hit up one of those 22 ski resorts, which are predominantly located in the Pocono mountain region of Northeastern Pennsylvania and in the Laurel Highland region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. “Our mountains are great to learn on,” says Chapaloney, who notes that dog-sledding and snowshoeing are also popular winter activities in the state. “If you’re going to try something new like skiing together, Pennsylvania is definitely the place for that experience.”
With gardens such as Longwood Gardens and Chanticleer, the countryside of Philadelphia is the place to be come spring. Hershey, Pennsylvania—home of, you guessed it, the headquarters of Hershey Chocolate and Hersheypark—is also an excellent springtime destination. “They call it ‘the sweetest place on earth’ for a reason,” says Chapaloney, who suggests visiting for golf, the manicured gardens, and the decadent spa at Hotel Hershey (more on that later.)
Come summer, you really can’t go wrong in any region of the state. If it’s a waterfront destination you’re after, head northwest to Lake Erie and visit Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania’s only “seashore.”
“Vermont gets a lot of credit for their fall foliage, but Pennsylvania actually has a longer season, and more diversity of trees,” says Chapaloney. For the best leaf-peeping opportunities, visit the Pennsylvania Wilds in the north-central part of the state for long, scenic drives and the chance to see wildlife in its natural element. You can also head to the Laurel Highlands or the Pocono Mountains.