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Beyond the City: 10 Charming Towns to Visit in Central PA

Central Pennsylvania is often associated with its vibrant cities like Harrisburg and Lancaster, but nestled within the region are charming towns that offer a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Escape the hustle and bustle of urban life as we explore ten delightful towns that beckon you to experience their allure.

Central PA Charming Towns

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Just a short drive from State College, Bellefonte transports you to the Victorian era. Stroll along tree-lined streets adorned with grand 19th-century homes and explore the charming downtown. Don't miss the historic Brockerhoff House, home to the Bellefonte Art Museum, or the Big Spring Spirits Distillery. Bellefonte also hosts the delightful Victorian Christmas celebration.

Jim Thorpe

Nestled in the picturesque Pocono Mountains, Jim Thorpe exudes small-town charm. Known as the "Switzerland of America," it offers outdoor adventures like hiking and biking on the Lehigh Gorge Trail. The historic downtown is a treasure trove of shops, galleries, and cozy eateries. Take a scenic train ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway for breathtaking views.

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Carlisle is a town with deep historical roots and a passion for automobiles. Explore the Cumberland County Historical Society and visit the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. Car enthusiasts will appreciate the Carlisle Events fairgrounds, home to some of the country's largest automotive shows.


Lititz, often dubbed "America's Coolest Small Town," offers a blend of history and charm. Stroll around the picturesque Lititz Springs Park or take a tour of the historic Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. For a sweet experience, visit Wilbur Chocolate and the annual Chocolate Walk.

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Boalsburg is famous for its patriotic spirit and historical significance. It's home to the Pennsylvania Military Museum and hosts the annual Memorial Day celebration that inspired the national holiday. Visit the Columbus Chapel, a relic of American history tucked away in this small town.


Nestled along the Juniata River, Lewistown is a serene escape for nature lovers. Take a scenic drive along the Juniata River Valley, go fishing or kayaking, and explore the nearby Juniata College campus. Be sure to visit the 17-acre Myers Park, a tranquil oasis within town limits.

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Elizabethtown is known for its charming college-town atmosphere. Explore the campus of Elizabethtown College or take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Masonic Village. Visit the Star Barn Village, a historic and meticulously restored complex with a fascinating history.


Situated along the shores of Lake Wallenpaupack, Hawley offers a serene escape for water enthusiasts. Enjoy boating, fishing, and lakeside dining. Explore the historic Hawley Silk Mill, now a vibrant cultural and shopping center.

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Nestled along the Susquehanna River, Selinsgrove is a quaint town known for its riverfront charm. Take a scenic river walk, visit the historic downtown, and explore Susquehanna University's beautiful campus.


Mifflintown is your gateway to outdoor adventures along the Juniata River. Experience tubing, kayaking, or canoeing down the river with Juniata River Adventures. Explore nearby state parks like Tuscarora and learn about the town's history at the Juniata County Historical Society.

Exploring Central PA's Hidden Gems

Central Pennsylvania's charming towns offer a perfect blend of history, natural beauty, and small-town allure. Whether you seek outdoor adventures, historical discoveries, or simply a relaxing escape, these ten towns have something special to offer. So, venture beyond the city limits and immerse yourself in the unique character of Central PA's hidden gems.


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