Family Vacations: Pennsylvania Dutch Country

A common sight in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, an Amish farmer plows his field with his team of horses.

As you drive through this peaceful realm, you'll pass classic barns and silos, horse-drawn buggies, wooden covered bridges, and a pretty patchwork of farm fields and villages. You might even see girls in bonnets and boys in hats, but you won't see them riding bicycles to get to their one-room schoolhouses. Some children aren't allowed to have bicycles because their elders fear they might venture too far from home. That's just one of the many things that sets apart the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, which hearkens back in time to a simpler era.

Plan to stop at one of the region's pretzel bakeries, such as the Sturgis Pretzel House in Lititz, which has been baking the snack since 1861. Here you can roll, twist, and fold your own pretzels, and eat them right out of the stone oven. At Central Market in Lancaster City, you can sample or purchase regional produce, flowers, meats, candies, jams, baked goods, and Amish crafts at the oldest publicly owned, continuously operating farmer's market, dating back to the 1730s.


Strasburg is a train lover's paradise. Ride the Strasburg Rail Road pulled by an old-fashioned locomotive, or visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania with its vintage locomotives and cabooses. Nearby, The Choo Choo Barn, Traintown USA, showcases 22 operating model trains that chug along through elaborate miniature worlds and landscapes.

Pennsylvania Dutch Country Information

Address: Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau

501 Greenfield Rd., Lancaster, PA


Telephone: 800/PA-DUTCH 800/723-8824

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Philadelphia City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the City of Brotherly Love.



Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.