Wondering if there are cheap things to do in Pennsylvania? Well, there are plenty actually! Pennsylvania, dubbed as The Keystone State, is home to interesting low-cost attractions for budget travelers. Gear up for a fun, memorable yet pocket-friendly adventure by checking out this list of 10 cheap travel destinations in Pennsylvania! So if you are looking for great Pennsylvania road trip destinations and don’t want to spend on exorbitant adventures, then check out our comprehensive sampling of enjoying the Keystone State thriftily.
If you spend time as wisely as you spend money, get a quick summary of the best cheap things to do in Pennsylvania through the below slides:
- 1 1. Chanticleer: A beautiful destination
- 2 2. Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art
- 3 3. Phipps Conservatory
- 4 4. Flight 93 National Memorial
- 5 5. Valley Forge National Historical Park
- 6 6. Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium
- 7 7. Hershey’s Chocolate World
- 8 8. Elk Country Visitor Center
- 9 9. The Susquehanna Art Museum
- 10 10. Reading Terminal Market
- 11 Find Lovely Rental Homes Near Cheap Things to Do in Pennsylvania
1. Chanticleer: A beautiful destination
Chanticleer initates our list of 10 cheap things to do in Pennsylvania. This beautiful destination features several themed gardens, a lush arboretum, lawns, forested areas, the Chanticleer House and a pond.
The Rosengarten’s, headed by Adolph Sr. and his wife Christine, was a wealthy family with a pharmaceutical firm. They had the Chanticleer estate created originally as a summer home but decided to permanently move in permanently in 1924.
Join guided tours of the Chanticleer House and the surrounding gardens. You may opt in for individual or group tours. You can also choose self-guided tours but note that this requires a prior appointment. There are also several installations, quirky sculptures and rooster motifs to explore inside the garden.
Other activities to enjoy include picnicking, bird sighting and art appreciation. Many artists and casual photographers also paint and take photos of the picturesque surroundings inside the park! You may also simply stroll around, sit on the benches and relax as you reflect and take in the wonderful natural views.
Chanticleer is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission costs $10 for adults from 13 years and up. Teens and kids aged 12 years and under may enter free of charge!
2. Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art
Location: Chadds Ford
Appreciate art and nature at the same time by heading over to Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art! This is a lovely museum situated at the banks of the Brandywine Creek. It primarily houses the prized works of American realist and regionalist painter Andrew Wyeth. The museum also showcases works from Wyeth’s father N.C. Wyeth, his son Jamie Wyeth and other notable artists.
Step inside and instantly marvel at the beauty of the natural surroundings where this museum is set! A 19th-century mill was converted to become the main museum, with several glass and steel additions to let the picturesque outdoor sceneries of Brandywine Creek and Pennsylvania countryside in.
Other notable places to visit inside the conservancy and museum include:
- N.C. Wyeth House and Studio
- Andrew Wyeth Studio
- Kuerner Farm
- Outdoor native plant and wildflower gardens
- Millstone Café
- Museum Shop
Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art is open Wednesday to Monday from 10 am to 4 pm. Timed tickets must be purchased and it cost $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $6 for students of 6-18 years of age. Kids under 5 and Brandywine members may enter free of charge.
3. Phipps Conservatory
Another addition to our list of fun cheap things to do in Pennsylvania – a visit to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. This lovely natural oasis is teeming with exotic plants and flowers. It was founded in 1893 by real estate magnate Henry Phipps.
Phipps Conservatory has 14 rooms of themed indoor gardens. Some examples of these gardens include:
- Tropical Fruit and Spice Room
- Fern Room
- Orchid Room
- South Conservatory
- Sunken Garden
Meanwhile, the conservatory also features 6 outdoor gardens, namely:
- Children’s Discovery Garden
- Rooftop Edible Garden
- Botany Hall
- Outdoor Garden
- Aquatic Garden
- Japanese Courtyard Garden
The beautiful greenhouses feature fascinating glass and steelwork as they house lush plants, herbs and flowers. Birds, bees and butterflies also abound throughout the conservatory, especially at the Children’s Discovery garden.
Stop by Café Phipps and feast on fresh food with ingredients coming straight from the Rooftop Edible Garden. Then, visit The Shop at Phipps for amazing gifts and souvenir findings.
Phipps Conservatory is open daily from 9:30 am to 8 pm, excluding Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission rates are $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for students 18 years and up, as well as seniors 62 years and up and $11.95 for kids 2-18 years of age. Kids under 2 and members can visit free of cost!
4. Flight 93 National Memorial
Location: Stoystown, Somerset County
Pay your respects to the courageous passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 by visiting this Flight 93 National Memorial. The memorial was built on the spot where the doomed airplane crashed after it was hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001.
The memorial honors the 40 passengers and crew who died fighting the hijackers of the fourth plane in the tragic September 11 attacks. Their bravery overpowered the fouronboard terrorists and prevented a possible attack to the U.S. Capitol, although it cost them their lives. As such, United Flight 93 was the only aircraft that did not reach the intended suicide attack target.
Flight 93 National Memorial is home to the actual plane crash site – a field near Indian Lake and Shanksville. Activities you can do inside the park include:
- Learning the events that transpired on the United Flight 93 plane at the Visitor Center Complex
- Walking on the memorial trails
- Looking at the exhibits
- Viewing the Memorial Wall
- Listening to actual calls made by passengers while on board the flight
- Perusing inside the bookstore
- Listening to interpretive talks given by Park Rangers and Volunteer Ambassadors
Flight 93 National Memorial is regulated by the National Park Service. Grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset even during the holidays. The Visitor Center, Bookstore and exhibits are open from 9 am to 5 pm excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Entrance and parking are free for all visitors.
5. Valley Forge National Historical Park
Location: King of Prussia, Upper Merion Township
Next on our fun but cheap things to do in Pennsylvania list is a visit to the massive Valley Forge National Historical Park. This place is a natural wonder and carries a historical significance as well. It was originally a state park but was also recognized as a national historical park in 1976.
Valley Forge was formerly an American Revolutionary War winter encampment site of the Continental Army. During this time, the army led by General George Washington proved to be a cohesive fighting force instrumental in freeing the people of the United States.
Start your journey from its temporary Visitor Center (the original one is under renovation). From there, you can discover structures such as:
- Washington Memorial Chapel
- PC Knox Estate
- Washington’s Headquarters
- Muhlenberg Brigade Huts
- Varnum’s Headquarters
- Statues, monuments and markers like the National Memorial Arch, Patriots of African Descent Monument, General Anthony Wayne Monument and Baron von Steuben Statue
Other things to do inside this picturesque park include:
- Encampment tours via car or trolley
- Interactive stories
- Hiking, biking and horseback riding on approximately 35 miles of trails
- Bicycle rentals
- Bird walks
- Ranger-guided walks
- Artillery demonstrations
- Kid-friendly activities such as Junior Ranger Programs
- Free park films at the Theater
Valley Forge National Historical Park grounds are open daily, all year long from 7 am until half an hour after the sunset. The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and 9 am to 6 pm starting mid-June to mid-August. It’s closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Parking and entrance are both free of charge.
6. Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium
Location: Orrtanna, Adams County
Be a kid all over again at Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium! This destination is truly among the quirky yet cheap things to do in Pennsylvania.
Start your journey by visiting the Elephant Museum first. Inside, you’ll find over 1,200 elephant figurines, toys, political memorabilia and circus souvenirs. All these elephants belong to the museum’s owner Ed Gotwalt. His elephant collection started from the first elephant given to him as a wedding gift and it just blew up from there.
After that, take a walk outside and explore the themed gardens admiring the nature. You can witness even more elephants at the Sun Garden. Head to the Shade Garden for some bird sighting, then walk to the Enchanted Forest to meet the Seven Dwarfs and the fishes on their pond.
Finally, enter the Candy Emporium and gift shops just before you leave. Mister Ed’s has a yummy range of homemade fudge, roasted peanuts and old-time candies like Candy Buttons and Pop Rocks. They also sell shirts, face masks, mugs, magnets, shot glasses and other ornaments.
It’s free to enter Mister Ed’s! They’re open Monday to Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm and Friday to Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm.
7. Hershey’s Chocolate World
Location: Park Boulevard, Hershey
Are you a chocolate lover? Then, you’ll enjoy this free destination in Pennsylvania – the Chocolate Tour inside Hershey’s Chocolate World!
The tour gives you an overview of how Hershey’s chocolate candies are made. Follow the cocoa beans as they go through different processes until they transform into the famous Hershey’s chocolate which everybody loves today. The Chocolate Tour also offers a free complimentary chocolate sample! The immersive Chocolate tour runs for 30 minutes with free admission and no tickets required at all!
Other attractions inside Hershey’s Chocolate World include:
- Create Your Own Candy Bar
- 4D Chocolate Movie
- Hershey Trolley Works
- Hershey’s Photo Studio
- Hershey’s Unwrapped – A Chocolate Tasting Journey
Note that all other attractions apart from the Chocolate Tour require paid tickets. Only the tour is offered for free. You must also download a free timed pass from their website before your trip; this is required before you enter their premises.
Hershey’s Chocolate World is open at different hours depending on the month and the season of your visit. Visit their site under Plan a Visit > Hours and check the calendar for the specific operating hours on your desired dates of visit.
8. Elk Country Visitor Center
Further into our cheap things to do in Pennsylvania list is a trip to the beautiful Elk Country Visitor Center. Located in Benezette, it’s the perfect place for elk sight-seeing and nature-tripping!
The Visitor Center has three walking trails where you can spot elks in their natural habitat. There are also designated viewing areas where you’ll get magnificent vistas featuring elks. Learn more about the elks and the natural environment of Elk Country through the interactive panels, hands-on exhibits and educational displays in The Great Room.
Other spots to explore inside the Visitor Center include:
- Discovery Room
- Immersive Theater
- ECCO Building
- Gift Shop
- 4D Film
- Horse-drawn Wagon Rides
Elk Country Visitor Center offers free admission! Other activities inside the park include the 4D Film which may have some fees. Hours of operation may vary, so check out their website first when planning your visit.
9. The Susquehanna Art Museum
The Susquehanna Art Museum is another amazing as well as an inexpensive destination in Pennsylvania. This is a non-profit art museum and the only dedicated art museum in the capital city of Harrisburg. It was founded in 1989 by a group of art educators.
This facility offers lots of engaging and innovative exhibitions, being Pennsylvania’s cultural hub. The museum features galleries of artworks created by both local, regional and international artists. They also feature special rotating art exhibitions.
Come to the Susquehanna Art Museum Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. They’re also open on Sunday from 12-5 pm. Admission tickets cost $8 for adults and $5 for teachers, seniors and veterans. Children under 12 may enter for free!
The museum offers extended hours from 6-9 pm every third Friday of the month. This is to give way to the city-wide event, the Third in the Burg. It’s also a free admission day for all!
10. Reading Terminal Market
Last but not least, stop by Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia for great deals on seafood, meat, baked goods, confections and locally-grown produce. Reading Terminal Market is an enclosed public market that has been in operation since 1893.
The market is home to around 80 merchants, with two of them descendants of the original market stand-holders. Apart from a large selection of food dealers, you’ll also find several restaurants inside the market proper. It has truly become the gastronomic hub at the heart of Philadelphia! After filling up your tummy, scour through the markets and you’ll also stumble upon clothing, jewelry, flowers, ethnic finds and handmade crafts.
Temporary hours of operation due to the COVID-19 pandemic are Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm. Seniors may shop during the special Senior Shopping Hour every Wednesday from 8 am to 9 am.
Find Lovely Rental Homes Near Cheap Things to Do in Pennsylvania
A fun and relaxing vacation isn’t complete without renting out a trusty vacation home! You can scour the web for low-cost vacation home deals, or use a reliable listing platform such as Rental Trader. There, you can find several property listings near affordable destinations in Pennsylvania.
Look for a budget rental property that suits your vacation needs, then connect with owners and book it for your preferred date all within the site. It’s easy and hassle-free rental property booking brought to you by Rental Trader.
For more information, head to their Contact Us page and feel free to call them up! You can also inquire about their listing services by filling up their web form.
And with this, we’re wrapping up our 10 cheap things to do in Pennsylvania list. Add our budget-friendly destinations to your Keystone State bucket list and prepare for a pocket-friendly yet fun vacation!