The last time I went to Lancaster County, this place offered a new meaning to the words "history" and "heritage".
Located within South Central Pennsylvania, this county is most notable for its Amish community.
This is why it got its nicknames Garden Spot of America and Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
Some of its highlighted attractions include covered bridges, railroad heritage sites, and luscious farmlands.
Established in 1792, this county is home to 60 municipalities, each with its own cultural offering for curious visitors.
I feel honored to have traveled through these communities and seen everything that this county has to offer in terms of history, art, and recreation.
I'd like to share my travel tips and recommendations with you.
So, without further delay, here are the best things to do in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania:
Discover More about Railroad History at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
This museum puts a spotlight on the significance of railroads and their role in the success of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Its exhibits offer more than 100 locomotive displays and train models.
What amazed me was how this museum took me from era to era with excruciating detail through the subtle changes of the train models on display.
From old engines to wooden cars, I enjoyed everything that this museum had to offer in terms of railroad heritage.
Its miniature model set was also a mesmerizing sight for me.
You can head over to Gap Road on Pennsylvania Route 741 to reach the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
Check Out the Collection of Clocks at the National Watch and Clock Museum
The National Watch and Clock Museum is one of those stops that left me feeling satisfied and hungry for more at the same time.
This historical facility in Columbia has been around since 1977 and has been preserving the art of timekeeping over the years.
The museum's galleries amount to about 20, each of them dedicated to a specific theme or period in time.
The highlight of my visit was the Asian Horology Gallery, which was a distinctive change from the usual American-made clocks and watches.
I even brought home a clock-themed ornament with me from its gift shop to commemorate the visit.
But if that's not your cup of tea, the shop has other memorabilia, including books, jewelry, and stationery.
The National Watch and Clock Museum is right along Poplar Street.
Savor Wine and Other Beverages at Grandview Vineyard
Nestled along Grandview Road, this winery has been a community tradition since 2009.
Part of what brings many visitors, including me, to its charming facility is its rolling hills scenery and friendly ambiance.
It takes pride in its hand-picked grapes and top-notch winemaking process from start to finish.
I can say it's right to be proud of its procedures, too.
Its wine selection is heavenly; it offers wine slushies and other alcoholic beverages alongside its roster of locally-produced flights.
I got to taste its best-sellers paired with some chocolate and a charcuterie board.
Grandview Vineyard is a spot I'll be visiting again if I ever come by Lancaster County.
Enjoy the Rides and Attractions at Dutch Wonderland
Complete with over 30 land and water-based attractions, this has become a magical escape for many tourists and residents within Lancaster County.
From fun carousel seats and magical train rides to more intense coasters, the fun is a better fit for everyone of all ages.
I especially liked the water slides and castle grounds.
Though the park is more geared towards younger children, I still had a fun time munching on some snacks while flitting from one attraction to the next.
And so can you, too!
Nestled along East Lincoln Highway, Dutch Wonderland is a must-visit for traveling groups and families.
Explore the Toy Exhibits at the National Toy Train Museum
Whether you're a toy collector or not, the National Toy Train Museum is a worthy visit in Paradise nonetheless.
This special museum is home to a multitude of toy trains collected from as far back as the early 1800s.
To fully provide that historic ambiance, the museum resides within a Victorian-era-inspired train station imitation.
I enjoyed browsing through glass displays of model trains, as well as the interactive elements of featured train exhibits.
You should come by this place too!
Though small in size, its interior as well as its gift shop is worth checking out for the experience and adventure.
National Toy Train Museum sits along Paradise Lane.
Practice Your Aim at Water’s Edge Mini Golf
Water's Edge Mini Golf adds beauty in a usual mini-golf setting within the community of Bird in Hand.
Open seasonally, this family-owned outdoor mini golf course offers stunning views with its majestic streams and waterfalls.
Colorful blossoms and native plants also add vibrancy to the whole place.
There were two courses to choose from too, so I had more options for my recreational golfing adventure.
I liked that the course remains a challenging feat for me as I practiced my golfing skills and relaxed in the outdoors.
After a grueling game by myself, I came by the facility's petting zoo and even went for a sweet treat at its accompanying snack bar.
Water's Edge Mini Golf sits along North Ronks Road.
Go Back in Time with a Visit to the 1719 Museum
The 1719 Museum, housing the Hans Herr House, boasts its label of having the oldest Mennonite structure within the whole county.
This Willow Street landmark has been around since the early 1700s.
The whole property features three farmhouses, a replica longhouse, and a blacksmith shop.
What I liked most about this spot is its array of objects and artifacts on display at the museum.
I discovered a lot about Native American life in a more interactive setting, which made my visit memorable and unique.
I feel lucky to have been with a friendly and warm tour guide, too.
You can head over to Hans Herr Drive to reach the 1719 Museum.
Immerse Yourself in Nature at Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve
At 92 acres, Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve in Conestoga is a dream come true.
This preserve, as its name suggests, passes through a forest of wildflowers, all of varying colors and sizes.
Among the flowers I had seen included geraniums and waterleaves.
Its marked trails took me to views of meadows and forests the closer I got to the center of this preserve.
But, most importantly, this preserve thrives with a variety of wildlife that I was most excited to see.
Owls and woodpeckers made my visit more exciting and interesting.
Get ready to step into a land of flowers and magic at Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve on Green Hill Road South.
Feel Inspired by the Art Displayed at the Demuth Museum
The Demuth Museum offers more than your usual art exploration within its walls, and I enjoyed it more than ever.
As its name implies, this museum centers on the greatest painting masterpieces of Charles Demuth.
The place is where the former artist resided and considered his studio at the same time.
One of its notable facilities is the tobacco shop, which is still the oldest one of its kind throughout America.
I had the time of my life roaming across the restored gardens outside the gallery where Augusta—the mother of Charles—tended to and cared for her flowers.
The collection of roses, tulips, and zinnias was an absolute delight during my visit.
The Demuth Museum in Lancaster is on East King Street.
Learn to Make Iced Tea and Ice Cream at Turkey Hill Experience
Along Linden Street, Turkey Hill Experience was a pleasant surprise I wish I could relive again like the first time.
This educational center centers on Lancaster County's food legacy of ice cream and iced tea.
It presents interactive exhibits on the origins of these two products.
I liked that the ice cream flavor sample variety was larger than I expected.
I even got to try making my own virtual ice cream flavor.
As a self-proclaimed tea connoisseur, my favorite part about this center is its immersive tea lesson, where I got to learn about different tea leaves and their benefits.
Turkey Hill Experience is within the town of Columbia, ready to take you on a food and drink experience unlike any other.
Cool Down by the Water Features at Lititz Springs Park
The privately-owned Lititz Springs Park's serenity and tranquility were some of the reasons I think this park stood out to me.
This Lititz attraction spans about seven acres of glorious green landscapes and water features.
This park features a playground and a band shell where many outdoor community events take place.
I had a fun time interacting with the ducks waddling across the pond-like amenity of this park.
I also got to sit back and even go for short walks along the paved pathways circling the spot.
This park is open to the public too, so there's no reason for you to avoid coming by this site for a bit of de-stressing.
Lititz Springs Park is a nature excursion you shouldn't miss out on along North Broad Street.
Admire the Scenery on a Hike along Landis Woods Park
If hiking is an activity that speaks to you, I recommend coming by Landis Woods Park for a nature getaway.
This park sits within an underdeveloped tract of land that extends to over 60 acres.
Mostly composed of woodlands, this park comes with intersecting trails that are fairly easy to navigate even for first-time hikers.
Within the park is the Boettcher House Environmental Education Center.
I had fun exploring the trails by myself and learning more about the animals and plants residing within this habitat.
The slice of nature that I got to experience remains unparalleled.
Landis Woods Park is in Manheim Township, more specifically along Lititz Pike.
Ride the Authentic Strasburg Rail Road Trains
Strasburg Rail Road is a living museum centered on still-functional standard-gauge train cars.
This railroad passes through more than 2,000 acres of countryside, thus, offering a taste of Lancaster County's rich farmlands and breathtaking natural spaces.
The rustic promise of an authentic vintage train ride caught my attention.
But I would say the informative sessions while on that ride made me love the experience.
There's also a murder mystery show and dining car.
Though I never got to try those out, I certainly will on my next visit.
I signed up for the Mechanical Shop Tour though, which was an enjoyable discovery for me on the inner workings of train engines.
Strasburg Rail Road is on Gap Road in the community of Ronks.
Breathe in the Sea Breeze atop the Pinnacle Scenic Overlook Nature Preserve
Need a place to just enjoy nature and its wondrous scenery?
The Pinnacle Scenic Overlook Nature Preserve is a passive spot that might just be the place you're looking for.
With about 3 miles of nature trails ideal for every hiker, this scenic point overlooks the Susquehanna River.
One of the highlights of this stop is its rock outcroppings.
I got the opportunity to stay within this site during sunset and let me tell you, that was the best decision of my life.
The dramatic skyline is as beautiful as I had imagined.
The Pinnacle Scenic Overlook Nature Preserve is accessible along Kelly's Run Trail and Old Pinnacle Road in the township of Holtwood.
Start a Spiritual Journey at the Biblical Tabernacle Experience
Looking for a spiritual-centered getaway while in Lancaster County?
This Biblical tabernacle replica dons full-sized furnishings and artifacts, as depicted in Moses' account in the Holy Scripture.
I loved the informational presentation as it tried to keep things as simplistic as they go.
As a reader of the Bible, it was a refreshing experience to see this Old Testament symbol brought to life.
The Biblical Tabernacle Experience opens its doors for you within the Mennonite Life Visitors Center on Millstream Road.
Lancaster County was one big pleasant surprise one after another during my visit.
This is why there was never any dull moment throughout my entire trip.
From renowned museums and landmarks to nature preserves, this county and its municipalities never disappoint.
To be sure you make the most of your trip, keep a copy of the list above of the best things to do in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania!