Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Mercersburg, PA

  • Published 2022/09/12

There’s something about historic small towns that makes them so charming and attractive in their own right.

Maybe it’s the quaint shops and buildings or the sense that you’re stepping back in time.

Whatever the reason, there’s nothing like exploring the best a small town has to offer.

Mercersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, is the perfect example of a charming small town with a rich heritage.

This little town is not only picturesque, but it’s also full of fascinating colonial and Civil War history.

As the hometown of the fifteenth president of the United States, James Buchanan, Mercersburg holds a special place in American history.

This town might now have the wow factor of a big city, but it more than makes up for it with its abundance of character.

It perfectly depicts the beauty of simple rural living without feeling too isolated.

An escape to this quaint little town might be the trip you’ve longed for.

So, if you’re interested in what it has to offer, here are the 15 best things to do in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania:

Go on the Ultimate Winter Adventure at Whitetail Mountain Resort

Beautiful sunset at Whitetail Mountain Resort

Nicole Glass Photography /

The Whitetail Mountain Resort is the ideal destination during the winter months.

This winter wonderland offers various activities and attractions perfect for kids and adults.

Snow tubing is one of the most popular attractions at the Whitetail Mountain Resort.

This ride takes you down a hill on an inflatable tube—providing an adrenaline-pumping experience perfect for thrill seekers.

Ski lift chairs at Whitetail Mountain Resort

Nicole Glass Photography /

This activity is perfect for those who want to enjoy the snow without dealing with the cold weather.

Other attractions at the Whitetail Mountain Resort include skiing and snowboarding.

You can also enjoy the cold weather by going on a hiking adventure.

There’s also a variety of shops and restaurants available, so you can spend the whole day here without getting bored.

Scenic view of Whitetail Mountain Resort

Nicole Glass Photography /

Stay at the Steiger House

The Steiger House in downtown Mercersburg is both a bed and breakfast and a historic building.

According to accounts during the Civil War, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart planned to use the house as his headquarters during the Chambersburg raid.

The Steiger House was originally owned by Mr. and Mrs. George Steiger, a local couple who rose to prominence after successfully evading capture from Stuart and his men.

The house has been carefully restored to its original 19th-century glory, and it’s now a popular destination for tourists and a place for visitors to stay while in town.

While the interior has been remodeled into a modern-style bed and breakfast, the exterior still features the original historical architecture.

Watch a Movie or Live Performance at the Star Theatre

Star Theatre is one of the oldest running movie theatres in Pennsylvania.

First opened in 1911, it’s now a historic landmark.

The Star Theatre was the home of various events such as live performances, matinees, and silent films.

Academy Award Winner, Jimmy Stewart, was a frequent patron of the theatre during his childhood.

Despite the challenges it underwent over the years—like the fire during the 1930s—the Star Theatre has undergone several renovations to retain its classic beauty.

It now serves as a venue for various live performances and a place to watch first-run movies.

Walking inside this historic theatre will take you back in time with its ornate architecture and design.

The Star Theatre is—and will remain—the go-to place for entertainment in Mercersburg.

So if you’re looking to witness a breathtaking stage performance or catch up on the latest films, this is the place to be while in town!

Take Care of Alpacas at the Long Acres Alpaca Farm

Looking for a place where you can relax and de-stress?

The Long Acres Alpaca Farm is the perfect destination for you.

This alpaca farm showcases its program for taking care of its huacaya alpaca, which are currently around a hundred in number.

When you visit the Long Acres Alpaca Farm, you’ll be able to learn more about their behavior, diet, and health.

You can even participate in their farm chores, such as feeding and cleaning up after them.

The Long Acres Alpaca Farm also offers other activities such as farm tours, alpaca walks, and even the process of shearing the alpacas.

This is a great activity for animal lovers who are looking for a more hands-on experience with these gentle creatures.

So if you’re looking for a fun and unique activity while in Mercersburg, a day at the Long Acres Alpaca Farm should be on your list!

Shop for Local Goods at the Foothill Flea Market

Another great thing about small towns is that there’s always something unique to buy and bring home.

The best place to find local goods in Mercersburg is at the Foothill Flea Market.

The Foothill Flea Market opens every weekend and features up to 130 vendors selling various items.

All sorts of items are sold here, such as fresh produce, baked goods, handcrafted furniture, and even vintage finds.

If you feel hungry during your shopping spree, the Foothill Flea Market also has a full-service snack bar that services breakfast and lunch.

The Foothill Flea Market is the perfect place to find unique gifts and souvenirs.

So make sure to stop by and check it out during your visit!

Go on a Camping Trip at the SunValley Campground

There’s nothing more relaxing than spending some time surrounded by nature.

And what better way to do that than going on a camping trip?

SunValley Campground is perfect for a camping trip while in Mercersburg.

This quiet and peaceful campground is located in a valley surrounded by mountains—providing the perfect setting for a cozy camping trip.

The SunValley Campground offers amenities such as full hookups, a swimming pool, and even a playground for the kids.

There are also Wi-Fi connections so you can still stay connected while enjoying some time away from city life.

Overall, SunValley Campground offers a relaxing and enjoyable camping experience that’s perfect for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

So if you’re planning a camping trip while in Mercersburg, check out SunValley Campground!

Visit Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park

Stone pyramid at Buchanan's Birthplace State Park

Clint, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan not only made his mark in American history, but he also put Mercersburg on the map.

Despite the years, he remains an absolute icon in the Mercersburg community.

As the name suggests, Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park is the site of President James Buchanan’s actual birthplace.

The park was established way back in 1911 and is one of the most popular destinations for tourists to visit while in town.

Located on West Stony Batter Road—4.2 miles north of downtown Mercersburg—this 18-acre park nestles in a gap of the Tuscarora Mountain.

The park offers miles of abundant forests and natural landscapes for hiking, picnicking, and simply taking in the sights.

In terms of amenities, Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park has two picnic pavilions with picnic tables, well-maintained restrooms, and a drinking fountain.

There’s also a river flowing through the park, perfect for fishing for some trout.

Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park is open every day, so check it out during your visit!

Play Golf at the Whitetail Golf Resort

During the warmer seasons, when snow tubing and other snow activities aren’t available, the Whitetail Mountain Resort transitions into a golf resort.

Whitetail Golf Resort is perfect for those looking for a challenging and fun game of golf.

The resort offers two courses—the Short Course and the Championship Course— and you’ll need a golf pass to play.

If you want to practice your game before playing on either of the courses, the Whitetail Golf Resort also has a driving range where you can test your skills.

From a snow-covered winter wonderland to a lush green golf course, the Whitetail Mountain Resort is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors all year round.

Tournaments are also held here regularly.

So if you’re looking for a competitive game of golf, check out the Whitetail Golf Resort.

Learn How to Ride a Horse at the Lemaliza Farm

One of the best things to do while on a trip to a rural area like Mercersburg is to learn how to ride a horse.

It may seem simple, but learning how to ride a horse is a skill that takes time and practice.

Learning to horseback or perfecting your riding skills is a great activity while on vacation.

If you want to learn how to ride a horse or enjoy a leisurely horseback ride, Lemaliza Farm is the perfect place for you.

Located just a mile east of downtown Mercersburg, this equestrian farm offers a variety of horse-related activities.

From horse riding lessons to hayrides, the Lemaliza Farm is a great place to enjoy the countryside while on vacation in Mercersburg.

They also feature horse shows where you can watch the horses in action.

If you’re looking for a fun and unique activity to do while on vacation, be sure to drop by the Lemaliza Farm and appreciate these majestic creatures.

Go on a Nature Trip at Saunderosa Park, Inc.

Saunderosa Park, Inc. is a well-kept secret in the hills of southern Pennsylvania’s south-central region.

The campground has big, open sites that cover 320 acres of beautiful countryside.

Saunders is the perfect place to get away and enjoy nature.

This campground isn’t your typical camping trip—it’s a nature lover’s paradise.

The campground offers a variety of activities for all seasons, including an in-ground swimming pool with a kiddie pool, fishing lake, playground, horseshoes, mini-golf course, and more.

There are various campground sites to choose from—some located next to a stream, while others are under large shade trees.

The campground is ideal for those who love nature, as it is surrounded by state game lands, including the Tuscarora Trail.

If you want to experience the natural beauty of Pennsylvania, check out Saunderosa Park, Inc.

It’s the perfect place to enjoy nature and the great outdoors!

Walk Back in Time at the Conococheague Institute

Get a glimpse of what life was like in the 18th century at the Conococheague Institute.

This living history museum is on 30 acres of land, including a reconstructed log cabin, farmhouse, and blacksmith shop.

Located within Rock Hill Farm, the Conococheague Institute serves as a learning center that preserves the historic 18th-century farmstead near the village of Welsh Run.

Its dedication to preserving this historic farm earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Conococheague Institute includes two historic house museums with outbuildings, a research library, two historic log cabins, several historic gardens, and walking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

The Conococheague Institute is a living history museum that offers a bird’s eye view of life during the 18th century.

If you want to appreciate the heritage and culture of Mercersburg, be sure to check out the Conococheague Institute!

Go on a Fishing Trip at Blairs Valley Lake

If you’re an avid angler or love being outdoors, then a trip to Blairs Valley Lake is a must.

This peaceful lake is located just 7 miles south of downtown Mercersburg and sits right below the Whitetail Mountain resort.

Blairs Valley Lake offers a variety of fishing opportunities, including fly fishing, ice fishing, and bait casting.

The lake is also stocked with a variety of fish, including bass, trout, and catfish.

In addition to fishing, there are also hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forest.

So, whether you’re looking to relax and fish or want to explore the great outdoors, Blairs Valley Lake is the perfect place for you.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Historic Fort Loudoun

Patton house at Fort Loudoun

lcm1863, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fort Loudoun is a historic site near Fort Loudoun, Pennsylvania, that served as an active military fort during the French and Indian War.

The fort was constructed in 1756 and was one of the first British fortifications west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Wooden barricades of Fort Loudoun

lcm1863, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was also the site of the famous “Bloody Run” massacre, where a group of British soldiers and colonial militia were ambushed by a group of French and Native American warriors.

Information board at Fort Loudoun

lcm1863, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The fort underwent a complete restoration and is currently open to the public for tours.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of this fort and its surrounding area, be sure to check out the Fort Loudoun Historic Site.

A marker at Fort Loudoun

lcm1863, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Buy Unique Gifts and Items at Tickle Your Fancy Gifts & Tea

Tickle Your Fancy Gifts & Tea in nearby Mcconnellsburg, Pennsylvania—roughly 10.4 miles north of downtown Mercersburg—is a gift shop specializing in various unique gifts and items, including gourmet food, candles, jewelry, and more.

If shopping at the Foothill Flea Market didn’t satisfy your gift-buying needs, then be sure to stop by Tickle Your Fancy Gifts & Tea.

You’re sure to find the perfect and unique gift that you won’t find anywhere else.

From jewelry to gourmet food, Tickle Your Fancy Gifts & Tea has a variety of unique gifts for everyone on your list.

The shop also offers a variety of tea blends available in the shop’s tea room.

So, if you want to relax and unwind before, during or after shopping, a cup of tea at Tickle Your Fancy Gifts & Tea is the best way to do it.

Take Your Family to Fun Castle in Greencastle

The Fun Castle is an amusement park near Greencastle, Pennsylvania, that’s perfect for a day trip with the family.

Located 14.6 miles from downtown Mercersburg, it would take around 23 minutes to reach Fun Castle.

But the short trip is well worth it, as your family will surely have a blast at this amusement park.

The park features a variety of rides and attractions, including go-karts, mini golf, an arcade, and more.

There are also outdoor bounds, batting cages, an indoor play zone, and indoor batting tunnels.

You’ll also find a snack bar that lets your kids refuel after a day of playing.

Indeed, Fun Castle is the perfect place to take your family for a day of fun and excitement with its amenities and attractions!

Final Thoughts

Mercersburg is a mixture of historic charm and modern amenities.

Despite being a small town, there’s plenty to see and do.

Whether you’re interested in history, the outdoors, shopping, or want to have some fun, Mercersburg is the perfect place to experience all that Pennsylvania has to offer.

So, what are you waiting for?

Start planning your trip to Mercersburg today!

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