Visiting Amish Country PA

June 29, 2018

We get a lot of questions from our guests, such as: “What is the best Amish town to visit? or Which is the most interesting attraction?” The question we get most, though, is, “When is the best time to visit Amish Country, PA?” The answer is, right now! There is so much to enjoy year-round. From festivals to family-friendly activities, Amish Country has something for everyone! If you want to get the most out of your stay at Historic Smithton Inn in Lancaster, check out a few of our favorite things to do that guests can enjoy year-round. 

covered bridge
Source: Strasburg Scooters

Before you start planning your trip, check out our full Lancaster Things to Do page. Save some time and find the best local attractions ahead of your trip. Our guide has information on local restaurants, outdoor activities, and the best time to visit the Amish Country, PA!

This Blog is all about Things to Do in Amish Country PA

Amish Country Activities to Enjoy Year-Round

Source: Sight and Sound

1 - Experience Live Theater

  • Sight and Sound:  Sight and Sound is an easy drive from Historic Smithton Inn! Their current performance, David, is getting rave reviews (no surprise!).
  • Fulton Theater:  The Fulton Theater presents top-quality performances in a historic downtown Lancaster PA theater.  Parking is a breeze in multiple nearby lots.
  • Ephrata Performing Arts Center:  Located just over a mile from the Historic Smithton Inn, the Ephrata Performing Arts Center is community theater at its very best!  Prepare to be entertained.
Related:  10 Live Theaters Lancaster PA

Scooters and Covered Bridge
Source: Dave Gallagher

2 - Enjoy Scenic Tours

  • Abe’s Buggy Rides:  Come ride with Abe! Abe’s Buggy Rides is one of the best tours around. We suggest taking the one-hour tour, where you’ll pass an Amish schoolhouse and visit an Amish/Mennonite craft and bake store. The tour is $45 for adults and $12 for children. The tour guides are happy to answer whatever questions you may have about Amish culture!
  • Strasburg Rail Road:  The Strasburg Rail Road is a privately-owned rail road that is a combination of historic tour and immersive experience.  Learn about their fabulous trains while taking in the scenic Amish farm along the way.
  • Strasburg Scooters: These guided scooter tours take place NEARLY year-round and are one of the most enjoyable ways to see Lancaster's rolling hills, covered bridges, and Amish neighbors!

white barn
Source: Rebecca Gallagher

3 - Learn About Amish Culture

  • The Amish Farm and House:  Get a closer look at Amish culture with The Amish Farm and House. Take the Countryside Tour for an up-close look at the Amish community and their lifestyle. Or, tour the titular farmhouse and farm. The farm was originally built in 1805 and operated as a traditional Pennsylvania German farm for many years. 
  • Amish Village:  Similar to the Amish Farm and House, the Amish Village is a collection of Amish Buildings that visitors are able to tour while they learn about Amish culture and traditions.
  • Mennonite Life Visitor's Center:  The Mennonite Life Visitors Center is a museum where you can learn about both Amish & Mennonite heritage.  In addition to a short film, the center offers guided tours where a Mennonite Guild will ride in your car with you and take you to Amish sites and businesses you'd be unlikely to find on your own.
RELATED:  15 Best Amish-Owned Shops in Lancaster PA

Source: Prussian Street Arcade Facebook Page

4 - Buy Unique Gifts From Local Artists & Artisans

  • Gallery Row:  Lancaster PA is home to some wonderful local artists and there's a wonderful collection of downtown galleries.
  • Prussian Street Arcade:  If Etsy had a store front, Prussian Street Arcade would be it!  Everything is locally made including soaps & lotions, candles, jewelry, home décor, clothing and more!
  • 300 Block of North Queen:  Check out this particular block of downtown Lancaster.  The 300 Block of North Queen has a unique concentration of privately owned shops and boutiques, plus some terrific restaurants as well.

historic buildings
Source: Ephrata Cloister Facebook Page

5 - Visit a Museum

  • Ephrata Cloister:  If you love colonial history, we recommend a visit to the Ephrata Cloister.  The Ephrata Cloister is located a less than a mile from the Historic Smithton Inn.  Guests enjoy learning about their unique religious beliefs and their contribution to early-American art, music, and so much more.
  • Landis Valley Museum:  This museum is located just a few miles from the Ephrata Cloister.  The Landis Valley Museum is a collection of buildings that educate visitors on the farming life of Lancaster County's early settlers.
  • National Clock & Watch Museum:  The National Clock and Watch Museum may sound like a "snooze", but it absolutely is NOT!  It's a fascinating look at the history of timekeeping from the earliest sun dials and water clocks all the way to current day atomic clocks and clocks as works of art.  This unique museum is worth the trip!


restaurant patio
Source: Luca

6 - Dine at Fantastic Lancaster Restaurants

No matter what you're in the mood for, Lancaster has terrific family-owned restaurants to enjoy:

Hershey Factory Tour Entrance
Source: Rebecca Gallagher

7 - Take a Day Trip

  • Hershey PA:  If you think the only thing to do in Hershey PA is visit Chocolate World, you couldn't be more wrong.  Take a look at all the wonderful Things to Do in Hershey PA!
  • Gettysburg PA:  Gettysburg PA is a must-see for history lovers.  Experience a quaint downtown with wonderful shops, museums and restaurants (plus ghost tours!).  Enjoy multiple ways of seeing the battlefield and battlefield monuments.  A day spent in Gettysburg PA is a day well spent.
  • Longwood Gardens:  From manicured gardens, dancing fountain shows, and wildflower fields to bird tours, rotating indoor exhibits and summer concerts, there is ALWAYS a good reason to visit Longwood Gardens.
RELATED:  15 Best Day Trips from Lancaster PA

pouring wine
Source: Weathered Vineyards Ephrata

8 - Sample Fantastic Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits

  • Weathered Vineyards EphrataWeathered Vineyards Ephrata is a wine bar & restaurant open weekends (Friday - Sunday).  They host live music EVERY Friday and Saturday night from 5 - 8 pm.  Guests enjoy fantastic Bordeaux-Burgundy style wines, Mediterranean Bistro foods, cozy atmosphere and wonderful entertainment.
  • St. Boniface Craft Brewery:  Lancaster PA is known for craft breweries and one of the best is St. Boniface Craft Brewery in Lancaster PA.  If you like "Hoppy Beers", you'll love Boniface.  If you don't, not to worry, they have lots of other options as well.  And come hungry, the pizza is delicious!
  • Stoll & Wolfe Distillery:   Stoll & Wolfe distillery located in Lititz PA has historic roots and fantastic distilled spirits to taste and enjoy!
RELATED: Wineries in Lancaster PA, Craft Brewery Tour and Best Distilleries

Visiting Amish Country PA, Historic Smithton Inn
Photo by Shane Clark

9 - Check out Wildlife, Lancaster-Style!

  • Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania:  Take a tour of the Wolf Sanctuary or attend a special event to experience these fascinating animals up close.
  • Eastland Alpaca Farm:  Eastland Alpacas are as cute as they are friendly!  That's why guests enjoy taking pictures, petting the animals and buying some sweet Alpaca gifts.
  • Misty Creek Goat Farm:  At Misty Creek you can enjoy momma, daddy and baby goats up close and then taste an assortment of goat cheeses made right there on site!
  • Kreider Farm:  Tour Kreider Farm, a working dairy farm!  Learn about what it takes to put milk, cheese, ice cream and more onto your family's table.

Lancaster rooftop view
Photo: The Exchange Lancaster

10 - See Lancaster From Above

  • Lancaster Helicopter Tours:  Looking for a fun, exciting and unique thing to do in Lancaster, PA? Go on a Lancaster PA helicopter sightseeing tour!
  • The Exchange:  Enjoy a cocktail and small plate entrée at The Exchange, a downtown Lancaster rooftop bar.  Find a metered parking spot on the street, or opt for a nearby parking garage.

11 - Attend Some Seasonal Events & Festivals 

One of the wonderful things about visiting Lancaster PA is that no matter what time of year you come, there's always SOMETHING special going on.  

Winter: (December - February)

  • Christmas Shows:  Nearly all the Lancaster Theaters have special Christmas Shows.  An annual favorite is the American Music Theater Christmas Show!
  • Lititz Fire & Ice Festival:  Lititz Fire & Ice is a 10-day festival with ice sculptures, concerts, pub crawls, art exhibits and more.
  • Annual Middle Creek Snow Geese Migration:  This EPIC annual migration of Snow Geese and Tundra Swans is a must-see for nature lovers, photographers or anyone who enjoys a good show.

Spring: (March - May)

  • Lancaster Mud Sales:  Mud Sales are annual Lancaster PA fire company fundraising events.  They're a great opportunity for people watching, shopping, eating and more.
  • Berks Jazz Fest:  The Berks Jazz Fest is one of the most acclaimed jazz festivals in the country.  
  • BrewFest:  Early May means BrewFest at Mount Hope.  Good beer, good food, good times people!

Summer: (June - August)

  • Celtic Fling:  The Annual Celtic Fling Festival at Mount Hope is one of the best in the northeast and draws top performers.  Irish story tellers, musicians, artisans and more can be found at this super-fun event.
  • Lititz Craft Show:  The entire town of Lititz practically shuts down for the Lititz Craft Show, it's THAT big.  There are literally thousands of artists and artisans who exhibit and sell there wares.  Bring a bottle of water and some comfortable shoes!
  • Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show:  Set among tall trees and quaint cottages, the Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show is a juried event where top artists from across the country come to show off their talent.  There's a food tent with plenty of options.  If the prices for this original art is on the steep side for you, visit the Craft Show just a short walk away.

Fall: (September - November)

  • Long’s Park Art Festival:  For almost 40 years, Long’s Park Art Festival has been transforming the city park of Lancaster into an outdoor gallery. Over 200 top artists and craftspeople participate in the show. There’s live music, fine food, wine, and craft beer! This yearly event happens at the beginning of September.
  • Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire:  Enter the castle gates! In early August, visitors can enjoy the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and its costumed characters, shows, and vendors! The PA Ren Faire runs from Late-August thru October, with each weekend showcasing a unique theme.


The Best Time to Visit Amish Country, PA, Is Right Now!

Colorful breakfast dish Now that we’ve helped you decide the best time to visit Amish Country, PA, you need to find the best place to stay! Historic Smithton Inn is a charming bed and breakfast located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Our modern amenities complement the historic decor of the inn.

Browse our accommodations and pick your favorite! After a delightful night in one of our rooms, join us downstairs where a delicious homemade breakfast awaits. You’ll have your choice of drink, a fruit dish, baked goods, homemade granola, and a delicious hot entrée. We have incredible recipes that can accommodate all dietary preferences. Plus, we use fresh, high-quality products from Lancaster County farms. You can taste the difference!


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This Blog is all about Things to Do in Amish Country PA