Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

13 Charming Small Towns in Pennsylvania You Might Just Want to Move to

From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s cities attract thousands of visitors every year. But the Commonwealth has far more to offer than just its metropolises and famous sites, including a vast history that influences its many adorable and historic small towns. From the Poconos to Amish country, Pennsylvania is defined by the richness of variety available to locals and travelers alike, whether you want to unwind in nature or enjoy some arts and culture. Many of the towns are easily accessible from New York City by car, train or bus, and all offer a sense of individuality not always found elsewhere. For those looking for a weekend away or perhaps to completely relocate to somewhere new, here are 13 of the most charming small towns in Pennsylvania.

RELATED: Your Next Weekend Escape: Bucks County, Pennsylvania

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1. New Hope, PA

Located on the Delaware River, New Hope is a scenic small town in the heart of Bucks County. It’s home to the celebrity-friendly Bucks County Playhouse and known for its eclectic, delicious restaurants, which include riverside spot The Landing and Stella by Jose Garces. Stop by the New Hope Arts Center, local spot Nakashima Woodworkers, the historic Parry Mansion or take a ride on a vintage train, which run on the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad to nearby Lahaska. It’s small and quaint, and the river location makes for nice walks through town.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Harvest Moon Farm: 4 guests
Modern carriage house: 3 guests
Luxury private suite: 6 guests

2. Johnstown, PA

The fall leaves are impossibly bright in Johnstown, found in the Allegheny region of Pennsylvania, but that’s not the only time to enjoy this quaint town. Explore the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, see a performance by the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra or investigate the tragic history of the area at the Johnstown Flood Museum, which showcases how a massive flood destroyed Johnstown in 1889. Thrill seekers should look for the Johnstown Inclined Plane, a funicular built back in 1891, which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “steepest vehicular inclined plane in the world.”

Airbnbs to stay at:

Ivy Chateau: 2 guests
Entire house: 4 guests
The SafeHouse: 16 guests

3. Ridgway, PA

Found on the edge of Allegheny National Forest, Ridgway embraces local business and an artsy vibe. The population and the town itself are quite small, but there’s a lot do, especially when it comes to annual events. Come for the Tasting in the Wilds Festival or learn more about the art of chainsaw wood carving at the Ridgway Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous, the biggest gathering of its kind. Its proximity to Allegheny National Forest, which is filled with trails, boating, horseback riding and camping, means visitors can easily enjoy the great outdoors. In the fall, the Clarion River-Little Toby Rail Trail is especially popular with those looking for the famous Pennsylvania fall foliage.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Private, entire cottage: 2 guests
Victorian boutique hotel: 4 guests
Bear Creek Cabin: 4 guests

Richard A. Cooke III /Getty Images

4. Ohiopyle, PA

If you prefer trees to people, get away from it all in Ohiopyle, which is home to a mere 100 inhabitants. It boasts the Ohiopyle State Park, perfect for hiking in its 20,000 acres of beautiful wilderness (look for the trail that goes to Ohiopyle Falls), and the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile hiking and biking stretch that passes through town. Of course, the main attraction in

Ohiopyle is Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed home Fallingwater, a memorable feat of architecture that was partially built over an actual waterfall. This is the destination for those who want a moment of respite and some peaceful time in the woods.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Orndoff Cabin: 4 guests
Corey Cabin: 8 guests
Pura Vida Entire House: 12 guests

Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

5. Honesdale, PA

Only a two-hour drive from New York City, Honesdale is the perfect small town for a weekend away in the Poconos. Whether you want to explore the Wayne County Historical Society’s Museum and Research Center or dance the afternoon away during the annual Honedale Roots & Rhythm Music & Arts Festival, the colorful town has something for everyone. The downtown buildings, made up of shops, restaurants and cafes, date back to the 1800s and visitors can glimpses the boyhood home of Dick Smith, composer of “Winter Wonderland.” Be sure to book a ride on the Stourbridge Line Train, which travels from Honesdale along the Lackawaxen River Valley.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Quiet Lakefront Cottage: 3 guests
Main Street Apartment: 3 guests

6. Yardley, PA

Pennsylvania’s small towns are filled with history, but none more so than Yardley. George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Night in 1776 in this charming town, which has been memorialized with the picturesque Washington Crossing Historic Park and with Bowman's Hill Tower. Today, Yardley is known for its historic town center, which is filled with boutiques, taverns and old-timey buildings. Families (and childless animal lovers) should head to Shady Brook Farm, one of the largest family-friendly farms in Bucks County, where you can pick your own crops and enjoy annual festivals.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Historic Tiny Cottage: 3 guests

Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

7. Milford, PA

You won’t have to go far to end up on one of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area’s many trails when staying in Milford, located in Pike County. The town has a lot of history, which can be uncovered in the Columns Museum, home to the Lincoln Flag, and the Grey Towers National Historic Site, the scenic former home of Gifford Pinchot. The walkable downtown is filled with shops and eateries (look for Bar Louis in the sleek Hotel Fauchère), and visitors arrive every year for the Black Bear Film Festival and the Milford Music Festival. For something a little more adventurous, rent a canoe or kayak at Kittatinny Canoes (which also boasts a zip line and paintball range). Because Milford is only 90 minutes from New York City, it’s the perfect spot for a quiet weekend or even just a night away from your usual busy life.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Still Life Studio: 2 guests
Remote Waterfall Cabin: 2 guests
1880s Forest Cottage: 6 guests

8. Wellsboro, PA

Many travelers may not realize that Pennsylvania has its own Grand Canyon, the 50-mile long and 1,000-feet deep Pine Creek Gorge. It’s a sight to behold even for those who aren’t inclined to hike around its trails, and Wellsboro is the entry point for all visitors. Staying in the Victorian town, which gives the sense of stepping back in time, is a great way to experience Pennsylvania’s impressive nature, from the scenic Tioga Central Railroad to the Pine Creek Rail Trail, which runs across the Appalachian Mountains from north of Wellsboro. Don’t miss the old school Wellsboro Diner, which serves up inexpensive American fare, and the Frog Hut, an old-fashioned ice cream shop.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Rexford Cabin: 6 guests
Grand Mountain Lodge: 8 guests
Sky High Chalet: 10 guests

John Greim/Getty Images

9. Lititz, PA

Once voted the coolest small town in America, Lititz is basically the definition of a charming town. Pay a visit to the Lititz Historical Foundation & Museum or stroll around Lititz Springs Park before touring the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the U.S.’s first commercial pretzel bakery founded back in 1861. Lancaster County Food Tours are a great way to learn more about the culture of the area, from the Pennsylvania Dutch to Lititz’s historic (and delicious) Wilbur Chocolate Store. For something truly magical, book a private tour of the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, which provides refuge to 40 Pennsylvania wolves.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Grey Wolf: 3 guests
Rosey's Guest House: 10 guests

Discover Lancester

10. Lancaster, PA

The heart of Pennsylvania’s Dutch community can be found in Lancaster, which famously acted as the state capital from 1799 to 1812. The local farms mean lots of amazing food and fresh produce, which can be found at Lancaster Central Market (the U.S.’s oldest public market). The town is also the starting point for the Lancaster County Art Gallery Trail, which travels through several nearby towns and showcases the area’s most interesting (and affordable) art. To better understand the history of the Pennsylvania Dutch, head to the Amish Farm and House or book a tour at the Mennonite Information Center. In the fall, don’t miss Liederkranz, Lancaster County's version of Oktoberfest, which has been around since 1810.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Little House on Mary Street: 2 guests
Sycamore A-Frame; 4 guests
Cabbage Hill Farmhouse: 6 guests

Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

11. Stroudsburg, PA

You don’t have to go to Napa to winery hop. Stroudsburg, in the Poconos, has plenty of local wineries to enjoy, from RAW – Urban Winery to Tolino Vineyards. If you prefer some culture, head on a tour of Stroud Mansion or see a concert at the Sherman Theater. Nearby, the Levee Loop Trail boasts hiking and biking alongside Brodhead Creek (which is also known for its fishing) and Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm makes for a nice day out for families. Visit in August to experience the lively StroudFest, a free festival with shopping, live music and food. Bonus: There are several ski resorts in driving distance, including Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, which means you can also enjoy Stroudsburg in the winter.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Cozy Pocono Cabin: 6 guests
El Sol: 8 guests
Ski & River Cabin: 12 guests

Visit Bucks County

12. Doylestown, PA

Wish you go to Europe and explore its castles? You don’t have to leave Pennsylvania to find historic luxury. Instead, head to Bucks County to discover Doylestown, a vibrant town that’s home to Fonthill Castle, a 20th-century mix of Gothic, Medieval and Byzantine architecture that offers daily tours. Art lovers should include the Michener Art Museum, which showcases Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings, and Mercer Museum on their itinerary, while those looking to get outside will find a lot to do in nearby Nockamixon State Park. Don’t miss the Peace Valley Lavender Farm, which comes into bloom in June and July.

Airbnbs to stay at:

The Ranch: 2 guests
1949 Borough Bungalow: 4 guests

Dorothea Schaefer

13. Jim Thorpe, PA

Known as the “Switzerland of Pennsylvania,” Jim Thorpe boasts a historic downtown and is home to the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, which takes visitors on scenic excursions along the Lehigh River. The town was named for Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe—and it’s also where he was buried, so look out for his memorial and statue. Visit the Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center to learn more about the area’s coal mining history, or marvel at the opulent rooms in the Asa Packer Mansion, a historic house museum built in 1861. For those traveling in the fall or winter, Jim Thorpe’s Olde Time Christmas and Fall Foliage Festival are events not to be missed.

Airbnbs to stay at:

Cabin in the Trees: 3 guests
Colorful Historic Home: 6 guests

RELATED: The 16 Most Charming Small Towns in New York

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