Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Lawrence County, PA

  • Published 2023/03/11

Between Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Erie in western Pennsylvania, a county founded in 1849 features unique attractions everyone should try.

Lawrence County, with a total area of 363 square miles, is a destination that will transport you back in time, allow you to appreciate the beauty of nature, and bring you close to the arts.

Exploring the various museums here allows you to learn about its rich history.

It also has many excellent family-friendly places where you can discover arts and go biking, rafting, hiking, fishing, and observing wildlife.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania:

Indulge in Outdoor Activities at McConnells Mill State Park

The house at McConnells Mill State Park

Country Lane Studios /

McConnells Mill State Park is located at the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge, a famous Nature Landmark in Lawrence County.

The park’s deep gorge, watermill, and waterfalls draw many tourists.

This park is a haven for outdoor adventurers!

A gorgeous waterfall at McConnells Mill State Park

Wirestock Creators /

Here you can hunt, fish, spread out your picnic blanket in the meadows, or go whitewater rafting.

It also has different trails, such as the Alpha Pass Trail, Hells Hollow Trail, Kildoo trails, and the most difficult Slippery Rock Gorge Trail.

McConnells Mill State Park is listed in the “25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks” by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Bureau of Parks, so a visit here is definitely worth the effort.

Trail lined with trees at McConnells Mill State Park

Jenna Hidinger /

Learn about the History of New Castle at Lawrence County Historical Society Museum

The Lawrence County Historical Society Museum in New Castle is dedicated to preserving the past of the region.

Through engaging activities, visitors can explore and connect with different aspects of the county’s culture from years gone by.

This museum houses several processed and preserved collections of artifacts, including the Shenango China, The Black Hand, Sports Hall of Fame, Ira D. Sankey, Community Goes to War, and Military Leaders.

Apart from those, there are three different types of permanent exhibits.

One focuses on life in Lawrence County throughout the past 150 years; the second one covers New Castle’s 200-year-old history as a city of Lawrence County, while the last exhibit is all about sports and pays tribute to legendary athletes in baseball, boxing, and others.

The society has also added an oral histories section in Lawrence County Historical Society Museum where visitors can listen to and watch stories from veterans who served and sacrificed for their country.

Expand Your Knowledge at the New Castle Public Library

Lawrence County is a place of knowledge and exploration.

One of its learning facilities is the New Castle Public Library, located on the second floor of the Haney Building, formerly known as the Heilman Building.

This public library has served the area as an independent educational center that offers services to meet the community’s recreational and educational needs for more than 100 years.

This library contains a wide range of books, including fiction, nonfiction, biography, reference books, ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers, and online databases.

The New Castle Public Library also provides a variety of programs for people of all ages, including children, teenagers, adults, community groups, and researchers.

Immerse Yourself in Slovenian Culture at the SNPJ Heritage Center

The SNPJ Heritage Center is a heritage museum founded in the early 1970s in the Enon Valley borough.

The Slovene National Benefit Society (SNPJ) saw the chance to build this museum, which later developed into a tourist attraction, with the intention of showcasing Slovenian culture in the U.S.

This museum, housed in the Joseph L. Culkar Building, has an extensive library with over 2,000 volumes about the Slovene National Benefit Society and a collection of Slovenian almanacs, magazines, a dictionary, and a complete list of Slovenian cell phone numbers.

They also have a space for displays that feature Slovenia’s culture, such as the Miss SNPJ photo gallery, Slovenian coat of arms, and Slovenian polka music.

If you see something you like inside, you can buy it in the shop, which sells Slovenian products such as CDs and cassettes of Slovenian polka music, Slovenian-English dictionaries, and clothing and merchandise.

The SNPJ Heritage Center is a must-see for everyone, particularly those interested in Slovenian culture.

Be Inspired by the Warner Brothers’ Story at the Historic Warner Cascade Theatre Museum

The Historic Warner Cascade Theatre Museum is dedicated to the founding Warner Brothers and is situated in the heart of New Castle.

This museum, which opened in 1907, will give you a glimpse into the hard work of the Warner brothers, Harry, Sam, Albert, and Jack, before the Warner Bros. film empire began.

Inside the museum are the replicas and historical artifacts, including the antique projectors and chairs from the Offutt Funeral Home that the brothers used when they were starting their movie business.

The documented life story of the Warner Brothers, their family, and the history they created, as well as the well-known “Looney Tunes” and the movie “Night of the Living Dead,” are all commemorated on the walls.

The Historic Warner Cascade Theatre Museum will also immerse visitors in the past, giving them a glimpse into what it was like to watch a movie 110 years ago while sitting on a plush seat and watching “The Great Train Robbery,” the first short film shown at the theater.

Families and movie fans should check out this attraction!

Taste Crisp and Refreshing Apples at Apple Castle

Apple Castle is among the countless farmers’ markets in New Wilmington.

This farmers’ market was established in 1861 and is considered a must-visit attraction, especially if you love apples.

It is a family-owned farm market that offers visitors 50 varieties of apples, as well as blueberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, sweet corn, and many other fresh fruits and vegetables.

Aside from these, the market also sells apple-flavored donuts, rolls, baked pies, cookies, dumplings, muffins, tart cherries, and full-service lunch meats and cheese.

Make your visit to Apple Castle remarkable by taking part in their multiple events, activities, and tours!

They provide educational experiences for individuals or groups as well as a memorable family tradition of walking through an apple orchard where you can pick apples.

Check Out Donald Barnes’ Collections at the Harlansburg Station Museum

The Harlansburg Station Museum in New Castle houses over 30 years of collections of the retired pilot Donald Barnes.

This museum was established by Barnes himself after leaving his home in Pittsburgh and moving to Lawrence County in order to have a space for his expanding collections of transportation items.

This museum has been located for the past 16 years along Route 19 through the eastern part of the county and is housed in a replica train station.

Inside this museum are two large rooms intended to showcase various toys of cars and airplanes, antique vehicles, the huge rotating beacon, and handmade wooden ships.

The museum walls are filled with transportation displays, artifacts from the military, and movie props.

Aside from that, many other exhibits in this museum will teach you about various modes of transportation, notable people in the field of aviation, and rare artifacts, making your visit enjoyable.

See Squirrels and Deer While Hiking at Ewing Park

A gazebo at Ewing Park

Tim Engleman, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ewing Park, known as the second largest park in Ellwood City, offers fun outdoor activities.

There’s a playground full of slides and swings and an open swimming pool during summertime.

The picnic pavilion, with enough room for large groups and a skate area and bocce court, makes it perfect for families or any group size.

Ewing Park is home to beautiful walking and biking trails, giving you the opportunity to witness nature’s charming inhabitants, like deer and squirrels, along your journey.

As a bonus, these pathways lead directly toward a picturesque creek that should not be missed!

Step Back in Time at Ellwood City Area Historical

Ellwood City Area Historical is a museum in Ellwood located at Fifth Street, in a building built in 1908.

This museum, established by the Ellwood City Area Historical Society, houses artifact collections to preserve the city’s history and promote its heritage.

Since 1988, the society has been actively collecting historical artifacts and documents, making this a prime location for those who want to learn more about the city’s history.

The museum has a variety of items about the economic, educational, sporting, industrial, and social aspects of Ellwood, as well as artifacts with computer records that any visitor can access.

Along with the historical collections, visitors will appreciate the Society’s efforts to promote local history by participating in events like the Food Festival, Ellwood City Arts and Crafts, Light Up Night, and Fall Fest.

Create and Exhibit Your Masterpieces at Arts & Education at the Hoyt

Arts & Education at the Hoyt is part of the Hoyt Center for the Arts, a regional arts center and museum situated in the North Hill Historic District in New Castle.

Intending to become a place where creative people can go to create and exhibit their masterpieces, Hoyt began this facility in 1965.

Inside the facility, visitors of all ages can participate in various exhibits, workshops, events, programs, and classes.

There are three classes in this facility that everyone will enjoy, such as the teen classes, where they will learn about Digital Media, Art’s Club for Youth, and Artist Skills for Adults.

The facility also houses several exhibits, including the Main Gallery, Confluence Gallery, The Period House, and The Collection, all of which feature the work of various artists.

Knock Pins Down at Colonial Lanes

Want to play Bowling?

Colonial Lanes is among the top bowling alleys you can try in New Castle.

This bowling alley has 24 well-maintained and functional bowling lanes and an auto-scoring system to complete your bowling experience.

Aside from bowling, visitors can participate in bowling leagues such as Men’s League, Women’s League, Mixed, Senior, and Junior, as well as tournaments throughout the year.

If you want to acquire items that you can use in your games, Colonial Lanes also offers a Pro Shop where you can purchase uniforms and types of equipment.

This Bowling Alley is available for special events like birthday parties and pool table rentals.

Take in the Breathtaking Sights while Playing Golf at Green Meadows Golf Course

Green Meadows Golf Course, established in 1960 in the Volant borough, is an 18-hole golf course with 6,504 yards of golf and a par of 72.

Mike Kirkwood, the general manager of the Green Meadows, ensures that this public golf course has the same quality as the private clubs in the county.

This golf course not only offers excellent facilities but also scenic views.

Green Meadows was regarded as a top golf course in Western Pennsylvania due to its well-maintained wide green land with various trees and flowers.

They also have picnic areas and places to eat, shop, and stay.

Channel Your Inner Figure Skater at Hess Ice Rink

Hess Ice Rink is an ice skating rink and winter sports complex that has been standing in New Castle for a long time.

Hess Ice Rink was built with the mission of creating a place where all can learn, exercise, and compete in various sports.

With its years-long tradition of hosting public events, providing skating classes for all ages, and promoting an active lifestyle through sporting activities, it has been an invaluable asset to the community.

The Hess Ice Rink offers a variety of programs, such as the Military Veterans Discount Program, which allows veterans to skate for free, and the Hess Skating School, which enables skaters of all ages to learn the sport.

With the help of this ice skating facility, visitors of any age can have a blast while learning and honing their ice skating skills.

Relax at Quaker Falls

Quaker Falls is located in an unincorporated town in Lawrence County.

Also known as Quaker Falls of Edinburg, it is 50 feet tall, making it among the state’s tallest waterfalls.

Visitors may become exhausted after a long trip through a gravel walking trail, but their efforts will be worth it when they reach the magnificent waterfall.

This destination is among the greatest, most peaceful, and most scenic spots to visit with family and friends, so be sure to include it on your itinerary.

Appreciate the Beauty of Nature at Cascade Park

Picnic shelter at Cascade Park

Pianotech, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cascade Park, also known as Big Run Falls, is a park in New Castle with a stunning waterfall, landscapes, and various amenities.

This park first opened to the public in 1897

Ten-year-old Edwina Norris participated and submitted the name “Cascade Park” in a contest held by the Pennsylvania Power Company.

Dance pavilion at Cascade Park

Pianotech, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cascade Park is also a former amusement park where visitors can try various rides, as well as the theater, baseball park, and dance pavilion.

Despite removing some park amenities, Cascade Park continues to have lovely trees, plants, and a clean lake, making it a place where visitors can get close to nature.

Cascade Park offers entertainment options for visitors, from pavilions and hiking trails to gyms and dance halls.

Final Thoughts

Lawrence County has only one city but 10 boroughs and 16 townships, offering fun activities.

This county will not disappoint as it offers a variety of attractions that you will enjoy while on vacation.

As you visit this place, explore various museums, take advantage of the sports facilities, and learn something new.

Add these best things to do in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania to your itinerary to make your next visit unforgettable!

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