Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Tamaqua, PA

  • Published 2023/04/20

Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, is a borough in Schuylkill County’s eastern side.

Tamaqua comes from the Lenape Indian word for “Beaver.”

However, there are specific claims that Tamaqua is a word derived from honoring the Tuscarora King called “Tam-a-kwah.”

This small community, part of the Pottsville micropolitan statistical area, is home to over 7,000 residents.

Tamaqua is known for its significant deposit of anthracite coal in the region in the 19th century.

Today, Tamaqua is a friendly community known for its quaint appeal and vast natural area.

Visiting Tamaqua takes you to unspoiled natural attractions.

Your itinerary includes outdoor activities on a lake, waterfalls, trails, and historical sites.

At the same time, Tamaqua is home to an eclectic collection of local restaurants keeping locals and even visitors spoiled with delicious food.

So, here are the best things to do in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania.

Catch Fish at Owl Creek Reservoir

Owl Creek Reservoir was once Tamaqua’s water source back in the day.

Today, this reservoir along Owl Creek Road is one of the borough’s top outdoor attractions.

It’s one of the reservoirs and dams around the area, now outdoor recreational destinations.

It’s a popular place for boating, picnicking, hiking, biking, and fishing.

It’s where most of Tamaqua’s sports events, such as the five-kilometer bike races and Halloween hayrides, happen.

Many locals love to spend their weekends at this place to have fun and unwind.

At the same time, it’s a favorite fishing spot for local anglers.

The most abundant fish you can catch at Owl Creek Reservoir are chain pickerel, largemouth bass, brown bullhead, bluegill, and pumpkin seed.

Satisfy Your Cravings at Sisters Cantina Inc.

Sisters Cantina Inc. is a locally-owned restaurant that serves delicious Mexican food and cocktail drinks.

You can dine at this restaurant along E. Broad Street.

This restaurant is one of the staples in Tamaqua for authentic Mexican dishes.

It has served everyone in the community since 1992.

It’s known for delicious burritos, salads, enchiladas, tacos, and some American fusion dishes for dine-in or take-out.

At the same time, it’s known for its onion soup, bacon cheese fries, chicken popcorn, and other mouthwatering American fusion dishes.

Many locals love to dine at this restaurant for its delicious menu items, welcoming atmosphere, and friendly staff.

Drop by Sisters Cantina Inc. whenever you’re craving delicious food while exploring Tamaqua.

Learn Fascinating Stuff at the World’s First Fish Hatchery

Tamaqua may lack size and popularity as a mainstream tourist destination.

Still, fascinatingly, it’s home to the World’s First Fish Hatchery.

You can visit this place along Owl Creek Road.

The hatchery supplies various reservoirs throughout Tamaqua, including Owl Creek.

These reservoirs were converted into fish hatcheries after they weren’t longer used as water supply in the area.

Fish hatcheries are vital in some natural and artificial bodies of water nationwide.

Hatcheries like this one in Tamaqua propagate various fish species to thrive in these habitats.

Visiting a hatchery is a fascinating experience where you can learn how various fish reproduce correctly.

Also, you’ll see different hatchery facilities where juvenile and fully grown fish are cared for before they’re released into lakes or rivers.

So, remember to visit the World’s First Fish Hatchery for a one-of-a-kind activity.

Bring Your Child to the North and Middle Ward Playground

North and Middle Ward Playground is one of the neighborhood playgrounds in Tamaqua.

You can check out this playground along Washington Street.

Compared to others, this playground has existed for more than 70 years.

Generations of Tamaqua locals have grown up playing at this playground, making it one of the local gems for outdoor recreation.

Today, it remains popular among locals to have fun with their kids while basking in the nostalgic feeling of their childhood.

With all that in mind, North and Middle Ward Playground is a fun place to bring your child.

It’s the best place in Tamaqua to let them enjoy what the locals love to do in their childhood years.

Check Out Kellner’s Dam

Kellner’s Dam is one of the several water reservoirs throughout Tamaqua.

This one is situated just northeast of Tamaqua.

Like most reservoirs, this one is also a popular outdoor recreational destination.

Many locals love to have fun at this dam, such as boating, picnicking, and, most significantly, fishing.

Tamaqua’s annual “Children’s Fishing Derby” happens every April, where kids can test their angling skills.

It offers free registration, allowing everyone to enjoy and catch some of this dam’s most popular fish species.

Besides this yearly event, Kellner’s Dam is a worthwhile place to visit, whether for relaxation or outdoor activities.

Get Active at Dutch Hill Park

Dutch Hill Park is one of Tamaqua’s neighborhood parks where you can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities.

You can visit this park along Clarke Street and Reilly Avenue.

This park is popularly known as the venue of Tamaqua’s Dutch Hill Little League.

It’s Tamaqua’s official local baseball tournament featuring aspiring toddlers in a fun-filled competition.

Many locals love playing baseball, football, and frisbee in this park’s green open space.

At the same time, this park has a basketball court and a playground for other outdoor activities.

When itching to get active and sweat out, drive to Dutch Hill Park and enjoy outdoor sports with your friends or locals.

Grab a Pizza at Dolce Casa-DiMaggio

La Dolce Casa – DiMaggio’s is a locally-owned Italian restaurant known for its delicious pizza.

You can visit this restaurant along W. Broad Street.

Locals love to visit this restaurant to satisfy their Italian food cravings, especially pizza.

It’s famous for its 15 specialty pizzas you can order from scratch.

Start ordering its regular pizza options, which include gluten-free and cheese-free options.

If you want to go all-in, check out its full pizza menu.

Enjoy pepperoni, cheese, and other popular pizza toppings to satisfy your cravings.

Besides pizza, you can also pair it with its traditional pasta dishes and seafood entrees.

So, head to La Dolce Casa – DiMaggio’s to try this local gem.

Take a Break at East End Park

East End Park is one of Tamaqua’s neighborhood parks known for its peaceful ambiance.

You can visit this park along Mountain Avenue.

The park spanning an acre is an excellent place to enjoy a little break from exploring Tamaqua’s attractions.

You can spread your picnic blanket, lie under the canopy of trees, and listen to the birds chirping.

Besides relaxation, this park is also a fun place to do outdoor activities such as sports, jogging, and other fun things, especially with your loved ones.

Head to East End Park for some much-deserved break whenever you feel tired.

Hike through the Schuylkill River Trail

Schuylkill River Trail is a popular outdoor destination in Pennsylvania.

The trail runs through Tamaqua, spanning over 120 miles.

It passes through Schuylkill County to Berk and Chester Counties in Philadelphia through Montgomery.

The trail runs through a historically rich region in Pennsylvania’s southeast area, making it an exciting destination for hikers and historical enthusiasts.

In Tamaqua, the portion of the trail meanders through the Schuylkill River that crosses through the entire borough.

You’re guaranteed to have fun and learn fascinating history while hiking.

So, remember to pack your hiking gear when visiting Tamaqua because you’ll likely find yourself exploring Schuylkill River Trail.

Bring Out Your Hidden Talents at the Tamaqua Arts Center

Tamaqua Arts Center is a beautiful place to celebrate arts with locals.

You can visit this place along Pine Street.

Whether you’re there out of curiosity or you want to enhance your artistic skills, this place has something fascinating waiting for you.

Its in-house instructors offer arts workshops in various fields where you can tap into your hidden art skills with various creative opportunities.

Also, you can learn plenty of new painting, sculpture, pottery, and performing arts techniques through its talented instructors.

You can learn and have fun at the Tamaqua Arts Center.

Revisit the Past at the Tamaqua Historical Society Museum

Tamaqua Historical Society Museum offers visitors a one-of-a-kind trip down memory lane.

This museum, situated along W. Broad Street, is a great place to explore Tamaqua’s past.

You’re guaranteed to enjoy guided tours detailing fascinating stories and history lessons from the Tamaqua Historical Society members.

Some of the best features of this local museum are the documents, artifacts, and heirlooms collected from locals.

The museum offers group tours and lectures for those wanting in-depth information about Tamaqua’s history.

Besides the Tamaqua Historical Society Museum, you can also tour the 1800s-era Hegarty Blacksmith Shop and the Moser Log Home.

Browse Tink’s Antiques

Tink’s Antiques is a local gem for beautiful antique collections and other retro items you won’t find anywhere else.

You can visit this famous antique shop along S. Railroad Street in a century-old brick building.

Visiting this antique shop is a unique experience.

It’s the perfect spot in Tamaqua to travel back in time by seeing up close its well-curated antique collection of furniture, retro pop items, collectibles, artworks, and plenty more.

Once you’re finished browsing or shopping its antique collections, go and head to its bakery and treat yourself to some delicious pastries.

Tink’s Antiques has something for everyone.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Just outside Tamaqua are neighboring townships and boroughs that have their own unique set of attractions worthy of visiting.

You’ll have fun visiting historical sites and natural attractions with unique features.

So, read below for a few other things to do nearby Tamaqua.

Explore the No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum

Exterior of No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum

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The No.9 Coal Mine & Museum is a one-of-a-kind historical attraction that details Schuylkill County’s rich coal mining history.

You can visit this place for eight minutes or roughly five miles east of Tamaqua in Lansford, Pennsylvania.

The coal mine dated back to 1855 and was once an anthracite coal mine.

Today, it’s a famous historical attraction you can visit through guided tours.

The grounds of No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum

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You can explore the depths of the mine by hopping on a mine car that tours visitors over 1,600 feet into the mountain.

During the tour, you can see the original mine shaft, mining equipment, and some mine sections up close.

Meanwhile, check out the mine’s wash shanty outside the mining area that houses the most extensive collection of mining artifacts.

To complete your visit to the No.9 Coal Mine & Museum, head to its gift shop to buy souvenirs, such as carved coal pieces and apparel.

Train tracks at No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum

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Explore the Tuscarora State Park

Tuscarora State Park is a massive natural attraction nine minutes or four miles northwest of Tamaqua in Barnesville, Pennsylvania.

The state park covers over 1,618 acres spanning Ryan and Rush townships in Schuylkill County.

The state park is known for Tuscarora Lake and Locust Mountain, both popular outdoor destinations.

It has a picnic area on Tuscarora Lake where visitors can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities, such as boating, fishing, and hiking, to name a few.

Meanwhile, visitors can also climb Locust Mountain for a more exciting experience.

So, head to Tuscarora State Park to connect and experience nature.

Ride the Famous Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway

Station of Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway

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The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway lets visitors experience a one-of-a-kind trip on an early-1900s diesel-powered train through Schuylkill County.

This wholesome experience is best enjoyed with your loved ones onboard a 1917 train.

The train takes you to some of the most scenic locations of the Leigh Gorge Scenic Railway.

Locomotive at Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway

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Along the way, the train staff gamely provides the passengers with a detailed narration of the history of the scenic railway.

The entire train ride spans 16 miles round trip.

Book your tickets to experience the ride of the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway: Trademark of the Reading & Northern Railroad.

Ticket station at Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway

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Final Thoughts

Tamaqua may not be as popular as other tourist destinations in Pennsylvania.

Still, it offers much to those who want to explore this quaint borough.

There are dozens of exciting outdoor activities in Tamaqua that you won’t expect to be there.

Start planning your trip with this list of the best things to do in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania.

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