Do you want to spend the best four days exploring the Lancaster area? Well, you couldn’t have found a more perfect blog! We’re here to help you map out an excellent stay, and for this, we’ve gathered our favorite things to do. Between outdoor activities, history tours, and antique shopping, one thing is for sure: Your bucket list will be full! Read on to discover how to spend your four days in Lancaster, PA, and start planning your stay with us today at the Historic Smithton Inn! Make sure you also download our free Vacation Guide. It will come in handy when trying to find more local recommendations.
Your 4 Day Itinerary to Lancaster, PA
There are so many things to do and see in Lancaster, PA, and that’s why dedicating four days to exploring the area is a fantastic idea. Below, you’ll find four types of itineraries that will fit your preferences and make sure you get the full Lancaster experience while you’re here!
Day One: Countryside Day
Start your vacation in Lancaster by exploring its scenic countryside. There’s nothing like relaxing as you drive through the fields and country roads. After enjoying our delicious homemade breakfast at the Historic Smithton Inn, hop in your car and get ready for an authentic adventure. Here are some of our favorite stops:
Riehl’s Quilt Shop
Lancaster is rich in Amish culture, so it’s no wonder why your first stop is the Riehl’s Quilt Shop. This fabulous, family-owned shop is on a working farm. It features more than 200 quilts of all sizes, including wall hangings, pillows, dolls, spice mats, mailboxes, and more. It’s a great stop, but also a great place to find gifts to bring back home to your loved ones.
Lapp Valley Farm
Next, it’s time to visit the Lapp Valley Farm! Amish farmer Dave Lapp and his family raise more than 70 Jersey cows and make some of the freshest, most delicious milk in the area. If you want to treat yourself to a mouthwatering ice cream, be sure to try their creamy black cherry flavor!
Strasburg Scooter Tour
If you don’t feel like driving your car, try a scooter tour of the countryside with Strasburg Scooter Tours! This is a great way to explore the surroundings and learn about the area’s history. They offer several tour options, but our favorite is the Covered Bridges tour. These historical structures have become a symbol of nostalgia and modern intrigue, and make for great pictures!
Day Two: Lancaster City
Spend your second day exploring Lancaster City. After trekking in the countryside the day before, you need to see the modern side of the region. Follow the itinerary below and spend a fun day roaming Lancaster’s streets!
Historic Walking Tour
A walking tour of the city is a good idea if you’ve never been to Lancaster before. The Historic Lancaster Walking Tour takes you on a walk through the streets and gives an overview of the past 250 years in Lancaster. All tours are on foot and run between April and October.
Are you curious about the local products of Lancaster? Then the Central Market is a must-see. Do you know it’s the oldest market in the country? It was created in 1730! It welcomed farmers and vendors who wanted to sell their goods, and that’s still the case today. Participate in this long-standing tradition as you wander the aisles and discover a variety of products. You can even buy some to make your own picnic basket!
Art Gallery Row
If you like art, we highly recommend the Art Gallery Row. Walk along Prince Street and discover Lancaster’s community center for the arts. Enter the various galleries and shops, and marvel at their creations. The first Friday of every month also hosts the ArtWalks which offer extended hours, special activities, and live music.
Day 3: History Tours
Now, for all of the history buffs out there: Lancaster is home to rich history and American heritage. Dedicate your third day to visiting the most emblematic landmarks and museums, and get ready for a fun step back in time!
Visit the first religious community ever created in the United States at the Ephrata Cloister! German settlers founded the cloister in 1732, and today, it’s a United States National Historic Landmark. Art and music were a big part of life at the cloister. The community even became known for self-composed a capella music as well as Frakturschriften, a Germanic calligraphy style. You can still enjoy this music nowadays thanks to the Ephrata chorus, which brings to life the traditional music from the era.
Landis Valley Museum
If you want to travel back in time, then there’s one more place you cannot miss: The Landis Valley Museum! It was created in 1925 by brothers Henry and George Landis to promote Pennsylvania’s history to younger generations. This replica of an 18th and 19th-century village gives you great insight into the German communities that settled in the region.
National Civil War Museum
The National Civil War Museum is a wonderful resource for those interested in the Civil War era. This museum is associated with the Smithsonian and seeks to portray the entire story of the American Civil War as well as preserving important artifacts. Discover a variety of objects, documents, exhibits, and more!
Day 4: Outdoor Exploration
We haven’t forgotten you, nature lovers! Spend your last day in Lancaster regrouping in nature in the scenic outdoor areas surrounding the town. Here are some of our favorite spots for hiking:
Heritage Rail Trail
The Heritage Rail Trail in Ephrata is one of our favorite places to go hiking. It was built by the York County government in 1999 and offers a walk along the inactive Northern Central Railway Line. Make sure you stop by the New Freedom Railroad Station along the way! It was restored to its original 1940 appearance and offers the exciting Steam Into History ride. You can board the train and ride along the same route that carried President Lincoln from Washington D.C to Gettysburg to deliver his famous speech!
Governor Dick’s Trail
Another fun trail to follow is the Governor Dick’s Trail. It’s one of the greatest hikes in the state with more than 14 miles of trail and gives you the opportunity to explore the Cornwall Iron Furnace as well as the Dick Observation Tower. If you’re a climber, the trail also offers interesting boulders along the way, so bring your shoes and chalk bag!
Horseshoe Trail to the Pretzel Hut
Last but not least, hike the Horseshoe Trail! This one is for those who wish to be dazzled by the beauty of nature. Pass by an old iron forge, see the famous Eagle Rock vista, and end your adventure with a delicious lunch at the Pretzel Hut. They have some of the best barbecue sandwiches around!
Stay in the Best B&B Near Lancaster!
Our charming B&B is right next to Lancaster—in the quaint town of Ephrata, PA—and is the best place to stay in the area. You’ll love its cozy and elegant atmosphere, as well as its modern amenities! Relax in a scenic countryside setting, or by the fire with a glass of wine in hand. Our gardens are lovely in the summer, and the fresh scent of the blooming flowers will enchant your senses.
Treat yourself to that marvelous view for the duration of your stay and book one of our Garden View Rooms! You can choose between the romantic Red Rose Room, soothing Sage Room, or the spacious Crimson Dove Suite. Then, prepare for your next hike or fishing adventure with our delicious, homemade breakfast. It includes fresh fruit, inn-baked muffins and bread, our signature homemade granola, and a hot entree! We are proud to use local ingredients from Lancaster County farmers. One thing is for sure: Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll wish it were morning all day long!