The Most Beautiful Counties In Pennsylvania

| Photo by Jason Pischke on Unsplash
Helen Armitage

From the rolling hills of southeast Pennsylvania to its wild northwest, we round up the state’s most beautiful counties, which include everything from historic sites like Gettysburg National Military Park to the outstanding natural beauty of Pine Creek Gorge and the Pocono Mountains region. Pennsylvania’s landscape is varied and truly breathtaking.

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Lancaster County

Located in Pennsylvania’s southeastern corner, Lancaster County is known as Amish Country. A land of rolling hills and fertile farmland where thousands of the USA’s Amish population follow a ‘plain’ lifestyle. Visitors can take a tour on traditional horse and buggy or shop for handcrafted Amish quilts at farmers’ markets. Visitors will also find plenty of charming covered bridges, the highest concentration in the state, dotted around Lancaster County alongside historic sites like Ephrata Cloister, a national historic landmark dating back to 1732. For a more urban experience, the county seat Lancaster is home to art galleries and museums, upscale restaurants and boutiques.

Tioga County

Up in the less populated north central Pennsylvania region, Tioga County is a haven for lovers of the great outdoors. Home to acres upon acres of natural scenic beauty, one of Tioga County’s must see sights is Pine Creek Gorge. Also known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, the gorge travels some 47 miles into neighboring Lycoming County and walking the Leonard Harrison State Park’s Overlook Trail proffers a particularly scenic vista for hikers. To the north of the county, a series of lakes, including the beautiful Tioga Lake and Cowanesque Lake, offer watersports and trails, while annual events like the Blossburg Coal Festival celebrate the region’s history and culture.

Columbia County

Home to no less than 23 covered bridges in Pennsylvania, including the East and West Paden Twin Covered Bridges, one of just two twin bridges of its type that remain in the USA today, Columbia County is an ideal destination to see this quintessentially American architectural icon. Picturesque small towns, like the county seat Bloomsburg with its charming historic downtown, dot the landscape, and a host of wineries await visiting oenophiles. For nature lovers, the scenic Susquehanna River, which meanders its way across the county, offers excellent fishing and an alternative way to see the region by boat, kayak or canoe.

Bucks County

Sandwiched between Philadelphia and New Jersey’s state capital Trenton, Bucks County may be one of the state’s most populated areas but is by no means lacking in beauty, boasting both picturesque, historic towns and plenty of rural charm. A visit to Doylestown, will delight history buffs with attractions like the delightful Fonthill Castle, while art aficionados will love the small town of New Hope, a former art colony once home to celebrated artists like Edward Redfield and now home to several galleries. Traveling northwards, the landscape transforms into rolling hills and farmland, and visitors will find sights like the beautiful 5,286 acre Nockamixon State Park.

Adams County

A must visit Pennsylvania destination for history buffs, Adams County is best known as the home of Gettysburg. The site of the American Civil War’s biggest battle, visitors to the historic town can discover its past at the Gettysburg National Military Park, but beyond the county’s biggest town, a wealth of scenic countryside is waiting to be explored. See the best of Adams County’s rural landscape with Destination Gettysburg’s self-guided Scenic Valley Tour, a 36-mile round route of the countryside around Gettysburg. It takes visitors through tiny towns and lush orchards and via sights like the charming 150-year-old Sachs Covered Bridge.

Carbon County

From the county seat of Jim Thorpe, a picturesque town dubbed the ‘Switzerland of America’ for its mountain setting and charming 19th-century architecture, to its state parks and the Pocono Mountains, Carbon County has a wealth of must see sights. The Delaware & Lehigh National Scenic Corridor cuts its way through the county, offering visitors a particularly scenic vantage point of the county along the edges of the Lehigh River and up in its northernmost corner. Nestled in the western foothills of the Poconos lies Hickory Run State Park, home to more than 40 miles of hiking trails and Boulder Field, an awe inspiring rock strewn patch of land unchanged for millennia.

Sullivan County

Nestled in the heart of northeastern Pennsylvania’s stunning Endless Mountains region, Sullivan County is the state’s second least populated county and a breathtaking rural area steeped in both natural beauty and history. Visit the historic town of Eagles Mere, a gorgeous mountain resort dating back to the 19th century dubbed ‘the town that time forgot,’ and explore its quaint Victorian architecture and specialty shops before hopping over to the neighboring World’s End State Park. With 780 acres of rugged woodland, the park is a photographer’s dream, especially during fall when the changing colors of its foliage transform the landscape.

Chester County

Famous for its horticulture, Chester County in southeastern Pennsylvania is home to two horticultural sites of note. The beautiful Longwood Gardens, a 1,077 acre site with 40 indoor and outdoor gardens, magnificent fountains and an open-air theatre, attract around one million visitors each year. While the quaint village of Kennett Square grows 51 per cent of the USA’s mushroom crops and is quite rightly nicknamed the ‘mushroom capital of the world.’ Beyond horticulture, visitors to Chester County will also find one of eastern USA’s best known wineries, the acclaimed Chaddsford Winery, alongside historic sites like the Brandywine Battlefield State Park.

McKean County

A haven for lovers of the outdoors, scenic McKean County resides in the northwestern reaches of the state, near the New York border, in an area rightly dubbed the Pennsylvania Wilds. The beautiful Allegheny National Forest, the state’s sole national forest, makes up much of the eastern part of the county and offers miles upon miles of scenic trails designed for hiking, biking, horseback riding and winter sports. On the edge of the forest sits the county’s most famous attraction, the Kinzua Sky Walk, a breathtaking 624-foot-long walkway constructed on a former viaduct that offers spectacular panoramic views of the area. Quaint towns like Bradford and Kane boast quirky accolades as the ‘home of the Zippo lighter’ and ‘black cherry capital of the world.’

Pike County

Located in the heart of the northern Pocono Mountains, Pike County boasts some of the prettiest waterfalls in the region from the popular Bushkill Falls, dubbed the ‘Niagara of Pennsylvania,’ to Raymondskill Falls, the state’s tallest waterfall. Miles and miles of trails give hikers access to Pike County’s most scenic spots, which include an astonishing 115,000 acres of state forest and lakes and ponds that make up 74 square miles of the county. Quaint small towns like county seat Milford, nestled on the banks of the Delaware River, make a charming base for exploring the county’s bountiful wilderness.

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