As fall comes to an end and winter descends upon the Keystone State, the crisp air serves as a gentle reminder that snowflakes are about to fall. Since the state is in this stunning state of transition, it’s an idyllic time to visit Pennsylvania for the Thanksgiving holiday. Pack your scarf and mittens and head to one of these Pennsylvania vacation rentals and destinations to celebrate Thanksgiving with the ones you love while gearing up for the Christmas holiday that lies ahead.
Located in South Central PA, Lancaster is a picturesque town full of history and charm, but it doesn’t lack on entertainment. The Red Rose City offers an abundance of attractions and events to keep you busy from morning until night on Thanksgiving Day. Get up early for the Millersville Turkey Trot 5k at Penn Manor High School, or take the three-hour tour of Lancaster County’s most picture-perfect covered bridges, beginning in Strasburg. If you don’t feel like cooking Thanksgiving dinner at your vacation rental, Columbia United Methodist Church serves a free community dinner. After, head to the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater for a production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Families with kids shouldn’t miss the Lancaster County Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Thanksgiving is a big deal in Philly, especially because the city hosts the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade that dates all the way back to 1920. Settle into a spot along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to take in the excitement, or book a vacation rental that overlooks the parade route. Prepare to see grandiose floats and enormous balloons depicting your favorite cartoons, carolers, marching bands, special guests, and Santa Claus himself. Before your getaway ends, be sure to check out the Comcast Holiday Spectacular at the Comcast Center, which starts on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a 15-minute video and music experience that’s projected on a 2,100-square foot video wall, and it’s just the thing to put you in the holiday spirit.
3. Pocono Mountains
In Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Pocono Mountains offer scenic views and a welcoming atmosphere. Let someone else do the cooking when you have Thanksgiving dinner at one of the area’s incredible restaurants. The Dock on Wallenpaupack serves up a Fuss-Free Thanksgiving, complete with roast turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie tarts for dessert. If you’re sticking around longer, be sure to check out Honesdale for the Holidays, which begins the day after Thanksgiving and includes a Santa parade, tree-lighting ceremony, and lots of shopping options.
Situated in South Central Pennsylvania, Gettysburg receives visitors all year long to the Gettysburg National Military Park. When it comes to Thanksgiving, the history-rich town doesn’t disappoint. For Thanksgiving brunch, drop by 1863 Restaurant, or go all-you-can-eat with the Thanksgiving Day buffet at The Pike Restaurant & Tap House. Don’t miss the Civil War Christmas tour at the Shriver House Museum, a candlelight tour that takes you inside a mid-1800s home complete with period decorations. Here you can find out how the Civil War affected the lives of the Shriver family during this hauntingly emotional experience.
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Prepare to be busy when you plan a Thanksgiving getaway in the Steel City. Kick off the holiday by running in the annual YMCA Turkey Trot at PNC Park in the morning, then volunteer with Light of Life Ministries to serve hot meals to the needy. If you’re taking a long vacation, make sure you’re in town for the Celebrate the Season Parade, which takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Past celebrity guests have included Christina Aguilera, Alex Trebek, Usher, Chubby Checker, and Pat Boone.
6. New Hope
In Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Bucks County, New Hope is a modest borough with a historic train station, situated about 40 miles north of Philly. The Thanksgiving Day Two-Town Turkey Trot is a popular event here. This 5k event lets you run the streets of New Hope and Lambertville, New Jersey. Register in advance or on the day of the race to participate. Once you work up an appetite, enjoy a four-course dinner with the family at the Washington House, or fill up on the seven-course meal at the Black Bass Hotel.
Find out why Hershey, Pennsylvania, is the Sweetest Place on Earth when you spend your Thanksgiving Day in Chocolatetown, USA. Spend your morning being pampered at The Spa at The Hershey Hotel; the Fall Pumpkin Package gets you a Pumpkin Spice Scrub, Pumpkin Souffle Wrap, and Great Pumpkin Facial. Once you’re refreshed and rejuvenated, enjoy dinner with the family in the Chocolate Ballroom at the Hershey Lodge. Before retiring to your vacation rental, stop by Hersheypark Christmas Candylane to view the incredible twinkling lights, ride some holiday-themed rides, and see your favorite Hershey characters decked out in their Christmas best.
In Southwestern PA, Greensburg is only 30 miles from Pittsburgh. The town hosts an annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day where you can walk the course, or compete as a family for the Family Team Cup. Denunzio’s Italian Restaurant serves a popular Thanksgiving Buffet Extravaganza every year, or you can order your turkey and all the trimmings to go to take back to your vacation rental. Come a few days early to catch the Annual Greensburg Holiday Parade.
While Indiana, Pennsylvania, takes pride in being the Christmas Tree Capital of the World, this city also knows a thing or two about Thanksgiving. The Indiana YMCA hosts an annual Turkey Trot at Fleming’s Christmas Tree Farm where you can participate in the race, or just come for the hot chocolate. You can even pick out your tree while you’re visiting. The town also hosts an “It’s A Wonderful Life” Festival that begins the week before Thanksgiving and lasts for six weeks. There you can enjoy visits with Santa, tree decorating, holiday shopping, Victorian home tours, and a magical parade.
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