Get into the Christmas spirit with a winter getaway in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State certainly delivers when it comes to holiday cheer, especially since many cities and towns boast thousands of twinkling lights in every color. Whether you’re up for a scenic drive or prefer to walk among the lights, you can find it all in this lovely state. Book a stay at a Pennsylvania vacation rental near one of these festive cities.

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Source: Flickr/Jiuguang Wang

1. Hershey

A vacation rental in Hershey puts you right in the heart of Chocolatetown, USA. Kick off your trip with a visit to Hersheypark’s Christmas Candylane. The popular amusement park lights up with over 4 million lights, and you can see them all from atop the Ferris wheel. Stop by the stables to visit Santa’s reindeer, and be sure to check out the choreographed light show. When there’s a nip in the air that’s too cold to bear, pack the whole family in the car and visit the Hershey Sweet Lights. Drive through 2 miles of wooded trails to see more than 600 illuminated and animated displays. The Little Elves Workshop at the Hershey Story Museum is a special treat for the kids, where they can make their own Christmas ornaments, and the town’s Holiday MarketPlace, which opens in early December, is a great place to finish your shopping.

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2. Altoona

Known as the Mountain City, Altoona is home to Lakemont Park, which hosts the annual Holiday Lights on the Lake. Running from mid-November through early January, this event offers 51 acres of animated light displays. As you drive through the lights, be sure to tune your car’s radio to Lakemont Park’s Radio Network to listen to festive Christmas music. After taking in the lights, stop by Santa’s Village for hot chocolate. The kids can get photos with Santa, and you can buy some presents from the gift shop. Be sure to check out the model train display next door. Spend an evening at Old Bedford Village in nearby Bedford. The living history museum lets you experience an old fashioned Christmas as you sip hot cider and explore by candlelight. Reenactors in period clothing make the event even more authentic. If you’re up for a show, don’t miss the Mishler Theatre’s presentation of “The Nutcracker.”

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3. Bernville

Located in southeastern Pennsylvania, Bernville offers Koziar’s Christmas Village. Watch the kids’ eyes sparkle as soon as they spot the beautiful lights reflecting off the large lake, and stare in amazement at the million lights that glow from barns, trees, buildings, and more. The village opens in early November and stays open until New Year’s Day. You can even visit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Discover charming displays as you stroll along the illuminated pathways, and be sure to pay Santa a visit before you leave. A handcrafted train display adds to the magic. This place does get crowded close to the holidays, so prepare for the long lines. If you want to decorate your vacation rental, visit Miller’s Christmas Tree Farm to choose your own Douglas Fir. You can also peruse the selection of handmade wreaths and greens.

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4. Yardley

Yardley, located in Bucks County, sure knows how to do the holidays right. Shady Brook Farm hosts its Annual Holiday Lights Show, which boasts more than 3 million twinkling lights. The event starts in mid-November and keeps running through the first week of January. Turn on the heater in the car to stay toasty warm as you drive the 2-mile trail to see all the gorgeous light displays. If it’s not too cold, consider taking the tour aboard the farm’s open-air wagon. You can buy a Christmas tree here to add festive flair to your vacation rental, and Santa is known to wander the farm, so have your camera ready. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and a bag of kettle corn to warm up by the bonfire, or purchase a s’mores kit so the kids can make the gooey treats for themselves. If you’re preparing a holiday feast, at your vacation house, Shady Brook’s farm market is open year-round with holiday hours. If you want to have dinner out, Trattoria Rosa Bianca serves a three-course Feast of the Seven Fishes meal on Christmas Eve.

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5. Pittsburgh

The Steel City is just the place to find your holiday spirit. For incredible lights, make the short drive to Kennywood Park in West Mifflin. The park is dripping with 2 million lights, choirs sing Christmas carols throughout the park, and a ride on the Gingerbread Express is the ideal way to soak it all in. Don’t miss the light show over the lagoon that’s set to holiday music. The park is open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve. Light Up Night, an amazing fireworks display in Pittsburgh, kicks off the Christmas season, and the city hosts a Christmas Market on Market Square. Take the kids ice skating at PPG Place, then walk by the Unity Tree to bask in its beauty. An enormous nativity scene at US Steel Plaza is a must-see, as is the the Christmas tree at Point State Park, since it’s made completely of lights.

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