Outdoor Adventures, Fast and Slow
Lehigh Valley is known for its charming towns steeped in U.S. history, it's important landmarks, its world-class museums, urban cities, and quaint little towns. Hidden among and sprawling between all these stops, travelers will find plenty of opportunities to get outside and explore the region’s diverse landscapes. The postcard-pretty Lehigh Valley, just north of Philadelphia, offers a variety of outdoor escapes, from fast-paced to low-key.
Warm up with a stroll through Jacobsburg State Park & Environmental Education Center1 with its wooded areas, fishing streams, and hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. You can even book a horseback trail ride through the park for a different view. Admire the boardwalk along Little Lehigh Creek at the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the Wildlands Conservancy’s main office.
In the mood for a bit more adventure? Rent and launch kayaks, row boats, sailboats, and stand-up paddleboards onto the 117-acre, 50-foot-deep Leaser Lake, named for Frederick Leaser, who transported the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to Allentown during the Revolutionary War. Landlubbers can also enjoy the four-mile Liberty Bell Trail, with beautiful views, easy hiking, and in winter, cross-country skiing.
For those with a need for speed, don’t miss Valley Preferred Cycling Center, one of the world’s fastest outdoor cycling tracks. The Velodrome hosts a weekly summer racing series, as well as national championships and one-day clinics for various skill levels.
Wrap up your outdoor adventure with a visit to a nearby local farm for a seasonal treat or perhaps an ice cream. Sometimes though it’s a cold beer that completes the day. Lehigh Valley microbreweries have become attractions, offering tours, tastings, live music, food menus – even a game of Jenga so you can hang out and try a few pints. You’ve earned this one.
Magical Musical History Tour
The charming small towns around Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton that make up Lehigh Valley are packed with music history and opportunities for cultural exploration.
Drive north to Nazareth to tour the C.F. Martin & Co. Factory, which has been producing world-renowned acoustic instruments for more than 175 years. (Did you know that it takes more than 300 steps to go from rough lumber to a playable guitar?)
Visiting in summer? Head to the campus of DeSales University for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, the long-running event which mounts a variety of musicals, comedies and classic performances for all ages.
Each August, Bethlehem hosts MusikfestⓇ, one of the largest free music festivals in the country. U.S. musical acts of all genres entertain on multiple stages in a village-like setting packed with local food and drink.
Any of the events makes an ideal immersion into small-town culture with a big city feel.
SIDEBAR With a prime location on Main Street, in Bethlehem, Tapas on Main is your go-to for Spanish fare. Order a selection of small plates to share—and don’t forget the sangria! Favorites include classic red, blood orange, classic white, and rotating seasonal options. Plus a full list of Bethlehem eats can be found here.
Made in Lehigh Valley
Lehigh Valley has been a hub of American industry for more than 200 years. Come see for yourself how some of the world’s most famous products are produced.
Martin’s handmade guitars have been shaping the music world for over 170 years. See the entire production process as you tour the Martin Guitar Factory in Nazareth.
Afterwards, relive your colorful childhood memories at The Crayola Experience™ at Two Rivers Landing.
Enjoy an intimate experience at one of Lehigh Valley wineries and vineyards. Designated an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 2008, Lehigh Valley is Pennsylvania's fastest growing wine region.
Then take a journey through the history of the company that got America rolling at the Mack Truck Museum.