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Ten spring break destinations close to home

Christine Illes
Associate Photo Editor

Spring Break is just around the corner, which means it is time to relax and rejuvenate. Although many college students think of traveling to places like Daytona and Cancun, the majority of us are on a budget and can’t exactly afford to travel to such far destinations. Luckily, there are many destinations here in Pennsylvania that can give you the kind of escape you are looking for this Spring Break.

These destinations are perfect for day trips, ranging from historical cities to beautiful state parks with breathtaking views. There are many other parks and cities to visit in the state, but here are ten places to give you some ideas on where you can visit with your loved ones while you are home this Spring Break.

10. Kooser State Park – Somerset, PA
The 250-acre park is located in Jefferson Township, Somerset County. In the heart of the Laurel Highlands, the park attracts visitors to its forest and gorgeous trout stream, which runs through the whole park. Picnicking, fishing, swimming, and camping are some of the many activities the park has to offer. For more information, visit http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/kooser/.

9. Lackawanna State Park – North Abington, PA
This 1,411-acre park is about ten miles north of Scranton. The 198-acre Lackawanna Lake is surrounded by many hiking trails and picnic areas for the many visitors that come each year. In addition to picnicking, fishing, and camping, visitors can also go boating and even horseback riding on the trails. To find out more, visit http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/lackawanna/.

Presque Isle State Park, located in Erie PA, has a sandy shore where people can take relaxing walks.
Presque Isle State Park, located in Erie PA, has a sandy shore where people can take relaxing walks.

8. Presque Isle State Park – Erie, PA
Known to be Pennsylvania’s only “seashore,” the 3,112 sandy peninsula extends right into Lake Erie. Visitors can take a walk along the beautiful coastline or take one of the twenty routes listed in Eugene Ware’s book A Walk on the Park, which is all about the Isle. It is one of the more popular parks in the state and offers many outdoor activities for its visitors. To see everything Presque Isle has to offer, visit its websitehttp://www.presqueisle.org/about/tour-the-park/.

7. Longwood Gardens Kennett – Square, PA
Is there a better way to welcome the spring season? Rich in history, Longwood Gardens is known to be one of the country’s greatest gardens. Its 1,077 acres of land consists of gardens, woodlands, and meadows. More than a million people visit the property each year, as it truly holds magnificent gardens and fountains. To get a closer look at all the sights the gardens have to offer, visit their website, www.longwoodgardens.org.

6. Fort Washington State Park – Fort Washington, PA
Fort Washington is not only a beautiful place to visit, but it ALSO holds historical significance. The park gets its name from the temporary fort George Washington’s troops built in 1777 before heading to Valley Forge. The park is known for its beautiful dogwood trees that blossom in the spring, and is popular with hikers and picnickers. If you want to know information about visiting, go tohttp://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/fin…fortwashington/.

5. HersheyPark – Hershey, PA
Although the park is not open for the spring until mid-April, there are many things visitors can still check out in the area, such as ZooAmerica and Chocolate World. It is one of the most popular places in the state to visit and is known for its sweetness. There are also many concerts that are held in the area each year. To find out more information about the park, visit www.HersheyPark.com and if you are interested in paying a visit to Chocolate World, go to www.Hersheys.com/ChocolateWorld/.

4. Pittsburgh, PA
The second largest city in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh is home to many attractions including Heinz Field, PNC Park, Mount Washington, the Pittsburgh Zoo and Acquarium, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Andy Warhol Museum. To find other attractions in this great Pennsylvania city, visit www.PittsburghPA.gov.

3. Pine Creek Gorge
Known as the “Pennsylvania Grand Canyon,” the gorge stretches for nearly 45 miles with depths ranging to 1,500 feet. It is part of the Tioga State Forest, close to Wellsboro, PA. The canyon holds some wonderful scenery with its deep walls and waterfalls and shows how beautiful Pennsylvania can be. There are many lodging options and restaurants nearby for visitors to explore. To see everything the area has to offer, visit the canyon’s website at www.PACanyon.com.

2. Gettysburg, PA
One of the most historical towns in Pennsylvania, the town of Gettysburg is known for where Union and Confederate soldiers fought the Battle of Gettysburg, the Civil War’s bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties. It was also the inspiration for President Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” The town offers battleground and ghost tours, and is home to many museums. Visit http://www.destinationgettysburg.com/visitor/do.asp to find out more information about the town.

Philadelphia has a rich history and many fun attractions to check out.
Philadelphia has a rich history and many fun attractions to check out.

1. Philadelphia, PA
Being the largest city in Pennsylvania and second largest on the East Coast, Philadelphia has more than enough to offer. Rich in history, the city is home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Eastern State Penitentiary, which was home to many infamous criminals such as Al Capone. Many interesting museums are also located within the city, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Franklin Institute. Visitors also have the chance to take a look at the large Philadelphia Zoo, see a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, or even run up the steps Sylvester Stallone ran up in Rocky. It is a city one could never get bored in, and is a must-see in Pennsylvania. Visit the official tourism site at www.VisitPhilly.com.