This year we decided to do a small staycation with my entire immediate family, that was 8 adults and 6 children ranging from 15 months – 6 years. It was my parents’ wish to take us back to where we used to visit when we were that young: Lancaster, Pennsylvania. And honestly, I think it’s the perfect place to take small children because it’s [relatively] inexpensive, close in proximity and there’s enough to do for little ones so that they aren’t bored.
Where we Stayed
We chose this hotel mainly due to the central location to all of our activities during our stay at Lancaster. And it really was conveniently located to all of the attractions including Amish country, Strasburg railroad and about a 6 minute drive to Dutch Wonderland.
They honored our request to place all four rooms near each other, and the service and staff were always accomodating. Breakfast and parking are free at the hotel, and they have a fridge and microwave in each room. It was a very busy summer weekend, but the only time we felt it was during rush hour at breakfast. I thought breakfast was very nice, lots of tasty options and fresh coffee was available 24/7. The pool located outside was a big hit with the kids. Overall, it was a pleasant stay at this Hampton Inn and I would recommend it to anyone visiting.
The thing I love about re-visiting our childhood vacation spots is seeing things that haven’t changed from my memory. Strasburg railroad is a child’s dream of sitting on a steam engine train which will transport you back into a different time. There’s several class options, and the trains run quite frequently. The older kids loved it, while the younger ones were a little frightened of the loud whistles.
Now I had planned out the weekend to a tee, however the reality is we had to improvise some of the time due to certain circumstances. I had planned on taking a buggy ride through Amish Country, because well, how can you not when you’re visiting Lancaster, home to the Amish?!
But…sadly the day was super humid and hot, and the waiting time for a buggy was long, so we decided to postpone it and then just didn’t end up making it back in time. But I have ridden the buggy before, and always enjoyed the quiet, peaceful ride through the country and observing how the Amish live. It’s a definite must-do when visiting, and I can’t wait to go back there with my kids next time.
The kids were so, so excited to visit Dutch Wonderland theme park, because we kept passing the huge castle on our way to other attractions. This park is stamped into my memory as a young child, in awe of the beautiful castle and fairytale feel of the entire park, and I’m happy to say I enjoyed it just as much as when I was a little girl.
The park is small, affordable and manageable for small children. It is jam packed with children and family rides, and the lines are short or nonexistent as it doesn’t get overcrowded like most theme parks. They have wonderful performances, shows, story-telling and the fairy-tale theme is apparent throughout the park. I would HIGHLY recommend this park if you have children under 10, they will love it!
Note: I purchased a family of four pack, and it was the most affordable option. My 2-year old was free, but my mom used the extra 4th ticket. They also offer evening tickets at a discount for after 5pm visits.
Route 66, Lancaster PA
This would be our second visit to the only halal place in Lancaster, and we always enjoy it. Route 66 is exactly what you want in a burger place. Good burgers and fries, fast service, inexpensive, and nice, simple burger-place decor. I would highly recommend this to all families for a quick bite, you won’t be disappointed.
We didn’t get to explore that much as we only had 2 days to spend there, but I was lucky to visit two different bakeries and both times I was SO impressed. The friendly service and high quality products are something that I will be coming back for again and again. There’s definitely something about the baked goods, probably the fresh butter, because I’m telling you these baked goodies/cakes were amazingly delicious.
The Baker’s Table
This place was so cute, and I wish I had more time to try different things off their menu. It was just a quick stop, but I tried several mini sweets and cookies, and a cake and everything was so, so tasty!
Bistro Barberet Bakery
Again, I was so impressed by this bakery. I had called ahead and needed a quick cake for a surprise anniversary dinner, and they had kept one packed for me, so that I could just pop in and purchase. It was so delicious, light and fresh!
I hope all that sugary goodness put you in the mood to make a trip to Lancaster. It is totally worth it!
Have you ever visited Amish Country and what did you enjoy there? Leave a comment below!