Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is a great tourist destination for groups of all ages and interests. The area has seen its ebbing and flowing of tourist interest throughout the decades, starting in the 1950s when Amish tourism became popular.
The Amish culture is an integral part of Lancaster County, and even Hollywood used the 1985 movie Witness to portray some of Amish culture. The area received a boost to tourism because of the movie due to the star power of Harrison Ford.
Lancaster County can be described as many things, but picturesque and historic are two of the words that first come to mind. With the beautiful backdrop of the community and landscape, you will have no problem finding fun things to do with your friends in Lancaster, PA.
18th century colonial Pennsylvania saw the ancestors of the Amish begin to immigrate to take advantage of the religious freedom offered by William Penn. There was also great soil and a mild climate perfect for agriculture. The area was populated by a number of English Welsh and Ulster Scots, so the diversity of culture was not limited to the Amish community.
While the Amish community is a major attraction for tourism in Lancaster, there are many things to see and do with any size group. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Markets and Craft Beer
There are a group of great markets in Lancaster County that one can enjoy when visiting. The Bird in Hand Farmers Market, the Lancaster Central Market, The Taste Lancaster, and the Lancaster History and Craft Beer Walk are all great options for your group when visiting.
The Bird in Hand Farmers Market
This farmers market is beautiful and is right in the middle of Bird-in-Hand, Pa, the heart of Amish Country. You can stop by for lunch with fresh meats and homemade baked goods and even take home some handcrafted trinkets by local Amish artisans.
By visiting the market, you’re not only learning about Amish culture but contributing to the community in Lancaster County.
The Lancaster Central Market
The Lancaster Central Market is historic. Not just because of its size but because it is the oldest continually operating farmer’s market in the United States, originally established in 1930.
Interestingly enough, locals still pick up their weekly groceries there and enjoy lunch at the food stands that you can find inside. This is a perfect stop whether you’re passing through to get groceries to bring back to your hotel or just want a quick lunch before going off to do more touring.
If you’re looking for more of a structured tour, Taste Lancaster is a self-guided walking tour organized around a culinary theme. Anybody doing the tour gets to visit local and nationally recognized restaurants and sample multiple dishes from each to get a taste of Lancaster County and the American cuisine.
Lancaster History and Craft Beer Walk
There is a Lancaster History and Craft Beer Walk for those more interested in the hops of their tour. This educational tour passes through downtown Lancaster City and allows participants to sample some of the town’s best beers.
Lancaster’s brewery culture is historic and dates back to the early German settlers in the eighteen hundreds. Brewing is a large part of Lancaster County’s roots, and sampling some of these beers is a nice way to connect with the place’s history.
Of course, the farmers markets and the Central Market both have shops within, but if you’re looking for specific shops, there are a few that stand out.
Riehl’s Quilts and Crafts
This is the best place to purchase almost Amish quilts and handcrafted goods. The store is located on a family farm that sells quilts and other goods made by local families, most of them part of the Amish community.
Cackleberry Farm Antique Mall
Cackleberry Farm is an antique wonderland that proves exactly why Lancaster is renowned for its antiquing. Many of the pieces have been handcrafted from the local community, and many of the vendors live and work in the area full-time.
For those in your group with a taste for adventure, Lancaster County will not leave you wanting. There is a Motorsports Park, a horse farm, Refreshing Mountain Ziplines, a Wildflower Preserve, a wolf sanctuary, and Hot Air Balloon rides.
Of course, all of these are made more enjoyable by touring Lancaster County from the comfort of your own scooter. This would be a great option for any sized group.
Unique Things To Do With Friends in Lancaster County
Henry and Linda Stoltzfus raise miniature horses, alpacas, and goats, and you can get up close with them on their farm as part of an adventure.
Buck Motorsports Parks
hi HiIf you’d like a little more horsepower, check out the Buck Motorsports Park. Locals call it the Buck, and it hosts monster trucks, truck pulling, and Demolition Derby events from spring all the way through fall, so the weather is great for all of the events. Hi
Wolf Sanctuary of PA
If you’re looking for a little danger, there’s a wolf sanctuary dedicated to rescuing gray wolves and wolf-dogs that can’t live in the wild. You’ll be guided on a personalized walking tour where you can view the wolves, learn more about them and how they live in the sanctuary. It is all safely led by volunteers and staff.
US Hot Air Balloon Team Rides
If you’re not afraid of heights, the US Hot Air Balloon Team rides are perfect for you. Take a bird’s-eye view of Lancaster in a hot air balloon. Soar over the beautiful Amish farmland and Countryside around Strasburg, Intercourse, and Bird-In-Hand.
Talk about getting a different perspective!
Rest and relaxing
Anyone looking to rest and relax will be pleased with what Lancaster County has to offer.
The Revere Tavern
This is an excellent place to rest and dine. You can even stay overnight in the hotel while enjoying everything with friends in Lancaster County and grab a meal in the tavern right next door.
Shenk’s Ferry Wildflower Preserve
If you’d like some tranquility, there is a wildflower preserve great for outdoor hiking located right along the Susquehanna River. This is a great recommendation if you’re there in the spring because the beautiful wildflower trails are blooming around that time.
Landis Valley Museum
If you’re interested in some history, visit the Landis Valley Museum. Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s German roots are on full display at this unique living history museum. The outdoor museum can be toured at your own pace. You can learn about the early settlers in Lancaster from Germany, the Scots, and of course, the Amish settling communities that landed in the eighteen hundreds.
Old Windmill Farm
Lancaster County isn’t just a trip to the past. Many of the farms are fully operational, including Old Windmill Farm. Taking a trip there will give you a peek at what it’s like to live on a farm. You can take a tour, help feed the animals, and even make some traditional foods with the people who work and live there.
With all of these events, you’re going to need a good way to get around that isn’t going to bore you or tire your group out. Scooters are the best option for groups of all sizes, and the Strasburg Scooters Ultimate Amish Adventure tour is an excellent day trip to add to your itinerary. The four-hour trip lets you see the gorgeous scenery, historic covered bridges and meet some Amish friends on their farms.
Since you’ll have local guides, you’ll get the best recommendations for the things to do in Lancaster. Whether you’re a first-time rider or a veteran on a scooter, these award-winning scooter tours will give you the full Lancaster experience in a single day.