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Cheap Vacation Spots in Pennsylvania

    • Pennsylvania's natural beautydingman falls in pennsylvania image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com

      As one of the original 13 colonies, Pennsylvania boasts a rich, natural beauty steeped in history. While the sight of hill upon blue-rolling hill evokes that familiar feeling of wanderlust, growing numbers of savvy visitors have found that they don't have to dream of a bulging wallet to plan a vacation with loads of fun and relaxation. If you too wonder what may be just around the next corner of the highway, you don't have to wait for the next bonus as the Keystone State offers numerous travel adventures off the beaten path for even the thriftiest vacationers.

    Small Town: Ligonier, Somerset County

    • Nestled in the Laurel Highlands, this quaint town of yesteryear draws visitors year-round for its old-fashioned charm along with its proximity to Idlewild Amusement Park (five minutes) and Seven Springs (30 minutes). On sultry summer Sunday nights, prop a lawn chair on the town square while enjoying a coffee or ice cream from Abigail's Coffeehouse as free live music plays in the gazebo on the diamond. Don't pass by the unassuming exterior of Rosalie's Little Italy; for upwards of $6.95, you can feast on traditional Italian fare or their famous pizza on a pastry crust. For a cheap family trip to Idlewild & Soak Zone (ranked second-best children's park in the world in 2008 and 2009 by "Amusement Today"), visit during one of their BOGO events or "carload" days (As of 2010, up to 8 people in a vehicle get in for a total of $80 with a coupon, which is one-third of the original cost). After a full day's fun, head back to the Ramada Inn in Ligonier for as low as $69 per night. Ranked an average of four out of five stars by guests, you'll find this smoke-free facility has a friendly and courteous staff and clean rooms, although some have complained about the size of certain rooms. New for 2009, each room boasts new beds, bedding, granite sinks and 27-inch TVs.

      Abigail's Coffeehouse
      104 W. Main St.
      Ligonier, PA 15658
      724-238-9373

      Rosalie Jioio's Little Italy
      333 W. Main St.
      Ligonier, PA 15658
      724-238-3007
      jioioslittleitaly.com

      Idlewild
      Rt. 30 East
      Ligonier, PA 15658
      724-238-3666
      idlewild.com

      Ramada Ligonier
      216 W. Loyalhanna St.
      Ligonier, PA 15658
      724-238-9545
      ramadaligonier.com

    Beachfront: Presque Isle, Erie

    • Lake Erie's Presque Isleplage basaltique sous les tropiques presque...d??serte image by Unclesam from Fotolia.com

      Attracting 4 million visitors each year, the peninsula of Presque Isle, Erie, offers numerous free activities for vacationers of all ages. Swimming, sunbathing, playing beach volleyball, biking on water's-edge trails, fishing and boating quickly fill the day from sunrise to dusk. For the budget-conscious, spend $25 per night (as of 2010) and feel secure at one of the 42 family campsites at Lampe Marina Campgrounds where 24-hour security is a plus, along with the large restrooms and electrical outlets. A few steps up in price and class, The Springhill Suites by Marriott offers 2010 rates starting at $85 per night, which includes a free hot breakfast, refrigerator, microwave, and also frequently includes free VIsa cards with a two-night stay as well. With the money saved, you may have leftover cash to splurge, indulging the family in a day at the nearby Waldameer and Water World from $11.25 per ticket or Harborview Miniature Golf at $6 per game.

      Lampe Marina Campground
      3 Wayne St.
      Erie, PA 16507
      814-454-5830

      Springhill Suites by Marriott
      2087 Interchange Road
      Erie, PA 16509
      814-864-5000

      Waldameer and Water World
      3100 W. Lake Road
      Erie, PA 16505
      814-838-3591

      Harborview Miniature Golf
      36 State St.
      Erie, PA 16507
      814-874-3536
      harborviewminigolf.com

    Mountain Hideaway: Pocono Mountains

    • Whether you crave a romantic retreat or an action-packed getaway, the Poconos fit the bill. From wintertime skiing, ice-fishing and hiking to summertime swimming and boating on any of the 150 local lakes or exploring the regional historic villages, every visitor can revel in numerous choices of cheap activities. Explore Big Pocono State Park during the summer and fall months, hiking to its summit. From mid-April to mid-December, history buffs and toddler boys alike thrill over the chance to ride on the historic trains at Steamtown, located in Scranton. Thirty-minute tickets are available for $3 plus the $6 park entrance fee from Wednesday through Sunday. Hundreds of cheap choices in lodging abound, including the Howard Johnson in Bartonsville, given an average of 3.5 out of 5 stars by visitors, who disliked the outdated decor but praised the clean rooms, friendly staff, free high-speed internet and low 2010 rates starting at $49 per night.

      Big Pocono State Park
      Camelback Road
      Tannersville, PA 18372
      888-727-2757

      Steamtown National Historic Site
      150 S Washington Ave.
      Scranton, PA 18503
      888-693-9391
      nps.gov/stea/

      Howard Johnson
      62 Route 611
      Bartonsville, PA 18321
      570-424-6100
      hojo.com

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