Last week we traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I have been there a few time over the years and each time we love it more and more. For us, it’s only a 2 hour drive, yet we feel like we really escape. All four of my children love animals and farms. So naturally, Amish country is a great place to entertain them. After visiting a few times, I’ve come to learn there is so much available for family travel in Lancaster, PA. I tried to narrow down our favorites over the years in a list of the top things to do with kids in Lancaster, PA.
Lancaster, PA Top 10
A fun little video of our trip to kick off the list!
We have stayed a few places, but Fairfield Inn and Suites was by far the best. I would highly recommend this hotel for families:
- It’s brand new and impeccably clean
- Great price
- PERFECT location – nothing on the list below is more than 10 minutes away from the hotel. It’s also RIGHT across the street from Dutch Wonderland, which means you can walk there and you don’t have to worry about paying for parking
- The pool: They have the perfect size indoor pool for kids. It’s also in a room with a wall of windows so you don’t feel like you’re in a closed in gloomy indoor pool (like many hotels!). My kids loved the pool.
- The breakfast: They have the best free breakfast we’ve had! You will definitely not have to go out for breakfast if you stay here, so consider that when comparing hotel prices. All four of my kids loved the breakfast and the adults did too.
- Amazing staff: the staff was so incredibly helpful and kind. They knew the area well and really helped in finding places to eat, giving directions, etc. When we check into a hotel with our “circus of youngsters” aka our family, we don’t always get the warmest welcome – but here we really felt welcome with little kids Lancaster Inn and Suites. They also had brand new, super clean pack n plays in the rooms for us.
I can’t say enough great things about Verdant View Farm. I was hunting for a farm to take the kids to and stumbled upon their site online. I honestly didn’t know what to expect but knew that “milking a baby cow” would be something my kids would all love, so I booked the tickets. This is a place we will definitely be going back to. It was wonderful. It’s a very quaint and laid back. There are goats, bunnies, dogs, cats, cows and chickens. All of which the children can interact with. My kids were playing with the goats, holding chickens and carrying tiny bunnies out of their hutch into a pen to play with them.
We also got a tractor ride out to the fields where we learned so much about life on a dairy, farming in Lancaster and more. We got to walk around the whole farm and then headed inside to learn how to milk a cow. The kids each got a turn to milk the cow and then feed the baby cows with a giant baby bottle. Tommy talked about the “giant baba” for days. The staff was wonderful. The tour was given by a young boy who has grown up on the farm next door. He was an amazing tour guide and there was no better way for my children to learn about life on a working farm than from a child only a few years older than them.
This is a hidden gem if you want to visit a real Amish farm. You feel like you are pulling into a family’s farm house. The store is amazing and the family is so wonderful to talk to. The miniature horse farm is amazing for little kids because all the horses in the barn as at their level. Even Tommy and Miles were walking around petting them, not scared at all. A young girl, maybe 10 or 11, came to help with the horse back rides. Again, because the horses are so small, it’s perfect for kids. Also, once again, I was so happy for my kids to see someone so young working hard and having responsibility. My kids didn’t want to leave this farm. The Amish family that owns it is just so kind and welcoming.
4. Dutch Wonderland
5. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
This place is so much fun! From petting animals, to corn mazes to a giant trampoline: you can definitely spend a day here (or just a few hours if that’s all you have time for). There’s honestly so much to do there. There’s also great food and a really friendly staff. The Strausburg Railroad goes through too, so if you want to see the train but not ride, here’s your chance.
Amish House is a really neat, small place near Dutch Wonderland and the hotel above (Lancaster Inn and Suites). It’s right next to the Target if you’re trying to find it. It’s a great little place to teach the kids a bit about Amish life. There are some animals, really pretty flowers, land to run around on and a really cute playground. There are also tours you can do but I have not tried any of them.
The Strasburg Railroad place is wonderful! A few years ago we road the train – you feel like you’re going back in time on an old railroad. It’s a real, working steam engine. This time we didn’t ride the train but still had plenty to do. There’s a cute train themed playground, fun shops, plenty of trains to see (and hear) AND this awesome “Cranky Car”. We’re planning to head back to Strasburg Railroad for one of their Christmas events this year. If your kids are Thomas the Train fans, they do a “Day out with Thomas” throughout the year. You can read Julie’s review of Day out with Thomas here.
I know what you’re thinking: who has time to outlet shop on a vacation with 4 kids? There are fun outlets across from Dutch Wonderland (down the street from the Fairfield Inn and Suites). They have a Dollie & Me outlet which is like going to a mega discounted American Girl store. There’s even a runway in the back to play on. We’re talking doll outfits for $8…. There’s also a Disney Store outlet, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids AND a fun fenced in playground. We actually did this one night after dinner and it was completely empty (the playground and the stores).
So let me start by saying I do not like buffets – not one bit. I tried Miller’s because everyone said we “had to” if we were visiting Lancaster and I like to try what the locals recommend when traveling. I was very impressed and not only liked it 2 years ago but went back again this trip. It’s nice, family friendly and one pro I never thought of at a buffet with kids with zero patience: they can eat as soon as they get there. There’s farmland outside (for miles and miles) so you have a nice view. There are always Amish people there dinning too, so I figure it must actually be “authentic” PA Dutch food/recipes.
10. Isaac’s Deli:
This is a great family place to eat. It’s across the street from the Strausburg Railroad, down the street from Verdant Farm.
Lancaster, PA is somewhere I would highly recommend for a family trip!
Disclosure: We were not compensated for this post. I did receive tickets to Dutch Wonderland and a room at Fairfield Inn and Suites in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.