After over a year of being stuck indoors, who can blame you for feeling the itch to get away this summer? Even if you’re not up for a European excursion or an expensive Caribbean getaway, there is still one tried and true method of having a little fun in the sun: the classic American Road Trip!
Luckily, you won’t have to go far to check out some of the most unique and interesting sights of America right here in Berks County, Pennsylvania!
PA’s Americana Region has its fair share of one-of-a-kind destinations, including local museums, restaurants, shops, attractions, and more. We’ve put together a handful of great road trip itineraries that include some of our most unique attractions. Follow one, or mix and match the itineraries to create one best suited to you and your family.
This Trip is For the Birds!
Are you a fan of bird-watching? If so, you’re in luck! The Berks County area is teeming with exceptional avian wildlife. This region offers an array of places to view our fine-feathered friends year-round! Grab your binoculars and head to some of these local birding spots.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary – The name says it all! Hawk Mountain is the perfect spot to kick-off a bird-centric road trip. A leader in raptor conservation science and education, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the first sanctuary for birds of prey. It is also one of the best places in North America to watch the annual fall raptor migration. Hike to its mountaintop lookouts for a bird’s eye view of the raptors, set against ever-changing and spectacular vistas. Open year-round, the sanctuary is family-friendly and offers year-round educational programs and fun weekend activities for kids. The lookouts become crowded in fall when the raptor migration is in full swing.
Blue Marsh Lake – Combine birdwatching with other forms of outdoor fun at Blue Marsh Lake. During the hot summer months, Blue Marsh is a popular spot for boating, swimming and picnicking, however, it is also a fantastic birdwatching venue. The man-made lake was built and is maintained by the Philadelphia District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, water supply and quality, and recreation. In addition to the lake, Blue Marsh offers hiking and biking trails, a small beach and boat launches. According to Audubon, the area’s many features provide a high quality habitat for Barn Owls and Field Sparrows, and it is a flyway used by many migratory waterfowl and songbirds.
French Creek State Park – On the other side of Berks County, in the quaint town of Douglassville, sits French Creek State Park. This vibrant nature-area offers year-round bird-watching opportunities. The park’s forests and lakes attract songbirds and waterfowl, as well as raptors including osprey and bald eagles. In fact, many of the 379 bird species that nest, winter, or migrate throughout Pennsylvania can be found in the French Creek Watershed. Think of it as a one stop shop for bird-watching.
Let’s Rock and Roll!
Are you more of the actively adventurous type? Do you like getting close to nature in a way that makes your hands dirty? If so, PA’s Americana Region can provide for you as well! Bring your bikes, hiking boots, kayaks, and paddles for a day of fun with this earthy road trip itinerary.
The Birdsboro Climbing Quarry – For the truly adventurous, the Birdsboro Climbing Quarry offers serious thrills. For over 20 years, the abandoned quarry-turned-sport-climbing-area has challenged climbers from across the Mid-Atlantic. We recognize rock-climbing isn’t for everyone, but you might enjoy watching these daredevils in action. If you think you’re up to the task, start scaling your way to the top today.
Scoupe deVille – After a few hours of intense physical exertion, what better way to rest than with a frosty ice cream sundae? Not far from the Birdsboro Quarry, you’ll find Scoupe deVille, a 1950s themed ice cream shop that has reinvented itself into a 1950s drive-through so customers can safely dine on these marvelous treats in the post-pandemic era.
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site – Not far from Birdsboro, add some history to your trip with a visit to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. Step back in time and gain valuable knowledge and an appreciation of the work of the people of Hopewell Furnace. With no admission fee, no parking fee, and wheelchair accessibility, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site is a great way for people of all ages to spend an afternoon!
Daniel Boone Homestead – Still hungry for some history? After Hopewell, why not squeeze in some time to check out the Daniel Boone Homestead? That’s right; the famous frontiersman was born in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region. Check out the Boone homestead and the outbuildings that served the family before they moved away from the area when Daniel was just a teenager.
A Bridge Too Far!
Looking for some leisure time? Load up the car for a scenic drive along the Berks County area’s beautiful country roads. Along the way, you can check out the PA Americana region’s five remaining covered bridges, and make some truly unique stops along the way.
Berks County Heritage Trail – There’s no right or wrong way to follow the Covered Bridge Trail, but a good starting point is Berks County Heritage Center. It’s home to Wertz’s Bridge, the longest covered bridge in Pennsylvania, which at one time, was thought to be haunted! While visiting, take time to see the park’s other attractions like Gruber Wagon Works and the colorful Der Distelfink.
Crystal Cave Park – After visiting the bridges, travel south towards Kutztown, where you’ll eventually come across the historic Crystal Cave Park, Pennsylvania’s first show cave. Always a cool 54 degrees, a tour of the cave is especially inviting during the hot summer months!
Kutztown University’s German Cultural Heritage Center – If our local German heritage has piqued your interest, a visit to the PA German Cultural Heritage Center – located on the campus of the illustrious Kutztown University, is the perfect way to take a closer look at this unique lifestyle. The museum captures the spirit of the region’s rural heritage with a fully-restored one-room schoolhouse, an early stone farm house and summer kitchen, a kitchen garden, a classic bank-barn decorated with barn stars, and two authentic log houses.
Saucony Creek Craft Brewery & Gastropub – Getting hungry? Enjoy outdoor dining at the extremely close Saucony Creek Craft Brewery & Gastropub, one of the many fun restaurants in the area. Get your meal to-go and head to Kutztown Park for a picnic. The park provides a quiet place to stretch your legs, complete with picnic tables and a sculpture by world-famous pop artist (and Kutztown local), Keith Haring.
Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles – If you’re still up for a little more fun after lunch, be sure to travel to nearby Boyertown, where you’ll find the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. Discover over 90 Pennsylvania-built vehicles on display, including everything from wagons and carriages, to bicycles and motorcycles, to cars and trucks! The Museum is also home to the newly-restored 1872 Jeremiah Sweinhart Carriage Factory, where vehicle-building began in Boyertown.
Colebrookdale Railroad – Lost deep in the woods sheltering the Manatawny and Ironstone Creeks, is a mythical secret valley. Before the Colebrookdale Railroad could take you there, only white-tailed deer, great blue heron, and bald eagles experienced the beauty of this legendary land once settled by the region’s frontier pioneers. Now, the Colebrookdale Railroad offers a variety of railroad excursions designed to inspire you and your family.
The Peppermint Stick Candy Store – Everyone loves sweets. While in Boyertown, keep your eyes peeled for the incredible Peppermint Stick Candy Store, where you’ll discover all your favorite sweets including fudge, artisan chocolates, loose chocolates, gummy candy, penny candy, nostalgic candy, and more!
Bridge Inn Restaurant & Martini Bar – At the end of a long, adventurous day, unwind at the Bridge Inn Restaurant & Martini Bar in Oley, where you can enjoy relaxed dining at a comfortable pace. Every dish in this restaurant is cooked to order, so sit back, unwind and enjoy American cuisine. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available! Upstairs, you’ll find a martini lounge that offers live music on weekends and your choice of over 50 house-specialty martinis, as well as a number of unique craft beers and wines.
Follow our link to discover more road trip itineraries to Pennsylvania’s Americana Region.