Welcome to a fun trip through Eastern Pennsylvania! We started the trip in Allentown (don’t miss our post about the Lehigh Valley area) as it was the city where my husband was born/raised so first visit family and friends in the area. For this trip we rented a car to explore from enchanting gardens to thrilling roller coasters, from Longwood Gardens to Hersheypark and not forgetting Lancaster with its beautiful landscapes. Come on!

— Puedes leer esto en español aquí —

Remember that some links will take you to the map for a better location of what we were visiting and others to the official page of the place to be able to purchase tickets or any other questions you have about the site.

enchanting gardens to thrilling roller coasters
Our road trip

Our trip was Thursday through Tuesday in August, spending Sunday at Longwood Gardens and Monday at Hersheypark. It rained for a few minutes on one day, another day was beautiful sunny and the day in Hersheypark was cloudy but without rain. At night, for me, it was a bit cold (while the locals were enjoying that fresh air) – 70F/21C or so. From Central Florida it is easy for us to take a flight in the city of Sanford (north of Orlando) and in 2 hours we are in Allentown.

enchanting gardens to thrilling roller coasters
I tried this when I arrived in Allentown and it was so good.

After spending a few days in the Lehigh Valley area, especially between Allentown and Bethlehem (since we went to MusikFest for 1 day), we began the drive to Kennett Square, the city where Longwood Gardens is located. I love when I see different landscapes than what I’m used to seeing. Old houses with interesting architecture, green fields, some hills and mountains – I live in Florida where there are no mountains 🙂 -. And well, if it’s a car trip, it’s something I love to do.

Longwood Gardens:

We begin our adventure at Longwood Gardens. From lush gardens to captivating greenhouses, I find this destination offers a visually stunning experience any time of year.

enchanting gardens to thrilling roller coasters

Super recommended! –> Get tickets to the gardens once you have the day of your visit in mind, depending on the season it can be difficult to enter. Here is the official website of the gardens to purchase the tickets. When we visited in August we found several times available on a Sunday that made it easy to choose, but at the time of writing this post, here’s what availability looked like:

The place offers a lot to see. From beautiful gardens, to small exhibits such as the history of the gardens and the Peirce-du Pont house. “At the age of 36, Pierre purchased the Peirce farm and soon began creating what would become Longwood Gardens”From the Longwood Gardens web site.

enchanting gardens to thrilling roller coasters

Obviously you can’t miss the fountain show. When you enter to the gardens you will most likely see the show schedule, so plan your stroll to at least enjoy one show. Thanks to the fact that my husband knows the place very well, we began the journey to the right, first visiting areas like “Italian Water Garden” and then continuing towards “East Conservatory” which I thought was a beautiful place, I really couldn’t stop taking photos and videos of the area. In the conservatory there is also a nice area for the little ones… although we still got to enjoy it.

We also enjoyed a delicious lunch that it was perfect. The place has a slightly more formal restaurant, but this time we decided to eat at the buffet.

Longwood Gardens is definitely a must-see for nature lovers.


Our next stop was basically to spend the night, have dinner and rest. Of course, in love with the views along the way. I love seeing green fields.

We arrived at the city center where we stayed in Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. Right next door is The Exchange Lancaster where we enjoyed a delicious dinner and beautiful views – accompanied by some cocktails.

The next morning, before continuing to our last stop, we stopped to see an iconic hotel in the city, Fulton Steamboat Inn. We tried to book a night to stay there but there was nothing available. In the area there are several restaurants, mini golf and Dutch Wonderland, another theme park.


We concluded our trip at Hersheypark, the sweetest theme park in America. This park offers thrills for all ages, from dizzying roller coasters, a water park, and a small zoo.

We first started at The Hershey Hotel. Gorgeous!. There are several hotels in the area like the Hershey Lodge that my husband tells me (we didn’t visit on this trip) it is usually a little cheaper than the one we visited, and at least the time he stayed there, at 8pm, they brought him a freshly baked cookie to his room with the brand’s famous ‘kisses’ chocolates on top of it. When I visit again, I’ll have to do a good diet before visiting 🙂 lol. I love chocolate.

In the park we tried to go on as many rides as we could. Also when we buy tickets online, we add a Hersheypark Fast Track to avoid long lines and the parking ticket. Again, super simple and fast. Here’s the link for their site to get tickets in advance.

And before leaving the park, we enjoyed a delicious Philly-style chicken sandwich.

Obviously, although it was difficult for us to decide, we tried some delicious desserts at the place. The truth is that if they were delicious I wanted more. We ordered a huge cookie and a s’mores pudding.

When to visit?

I would say that spring and summer are ideal to visit Longwood Gardens and Hersheypark, when the weather is mild and the gardens are in full bloom. Of course, as I mention in the video at the end of this post, the Christmas celebration at Longwood Gardens looks incredibly beautiful. I believe Longwood Gardens has its charm depending on the season. When we visited it was during the month of August when the day was beautiful but super sunny, although I visited from Florida when the summer is strongest, we still felt the heat at Longwood Gardens.

The day at Hersheypark was dark, looking like rain was approaching (but it didn’t), which made the visit more relaxed for us, not so hot. Plus, keep in mind, it is not like in Florida where the theme parks open every single day. At least for this 2024 season it opened on March 29th and will be closing for the season on January 1, 2025.

If you’re visiting from Philadelphia, Longwood Gardens is about a 1-hour drive away, while Lancaster and Hersheypark are about a two-hour drive away. For us, from Allentown, it took us about 1hr30min to Longwood Gardens and almost the same time from Hershey to Allentown. But I loved the views wherever we were driving by.

Below is our video of this trip. We really had a great time between enchanting gardens to thrilling roller coasters. Get ready to discover the beauty and fun this region has to offer! (CC for subtitles in English).

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