Pennsylvania in Pictures: 22 Beautiful Places to Photograph
Pennsylvania has so many photographic opportunities that can fulfill a specific topic of interest, like covered bridges, or provide a wide collection of images to represent the state's many sides. The natural beauty in Pennsylvania ranges from the dramatic Pine Creek Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, and the Delaware Water Gap to beautiful lakes and the peaceful rolling countryside and Amish life in Lancaster County. Explore some of these places on Pennsylvania's best hiking trails.
The state is full of railroad imagery, from Penn Station to the Kinzua Bridge Viaduct. There are iconic symbols of American history, with Civil War reenactments, old churches and buildings, and small towns built on early settlements. Then there are the urban skylines that light up the night with skyscrapers and city lights, infusing a modern pulse in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Grab your camera and see where Pennsylvania's imagery takes you.
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1. Delaware Water Gap
The Delaware Water Gap is an unforgettable natural landscape on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is where the Delaware River carves a 1,000-foot gorge through the Appalachian Mountains. There are a number of outlooks throughout the 70,000-acre park to capture an unforgettable photo.
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2. Amish Countryside
One of the most picturesque places to photograph in Pennsylvania is the Lancaster County countryside, which is home to much of the state's Amish population. The rolling green hills that define the south central Pennsylvania area are accented with Amish workers plowing the fields and horses and buggies that share the roadways.
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3. Washington County Covered Bridges
A scenic drive through Washington County in southwestern Pennsylvania will take you past 23 historic bridges. The Longdon covered bridge is the longest covered bridge in the county. It is also one of the most remote, with a location along a dirt road.
4. Cherry Springs State Park
The Cherry Springs State Park attracts avid stargazers and photographers who have a penchant for capturing the Milky Way in the night sky. The 82-acre park has a Dark Sky designation, meaning it is one of the best places in the U.S. to view, study, and photograph stars, planets, and even the aurora borealis on occasion.
The city of Pittsburgh is fun to photograph, especially at dusk, when the skyline comes to life with the lights from the buildings. One of the best city views is from the Mount Washington neighborhood or the Mount Washington Trolley, which you can ride up to the top of the hillside.
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6. Susquehanna River
The beautiful Susquehanna River runs through the Appalachian Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania, where it connects to other sections that flow through New York and Maryland. The picturesque views from the wide waterway can be seen from scenic spots like the Breezy View Overlook in Columbia, Pennsylvania.
7. Kinzua Bridge
It is hard to miss the Kinzua Bridge and skywalk in Kinzua Bridge State Park since it is one of the tallest and longest railroad bridges in the United States. It stands at 301 feet high and 2,053 feet long, with a pedestrian skywalk that extends for 600 feet with stunning views into the Kinzua Gorge. The former railway bridge for the Erie Railroad was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003.
The photographic opportunities in the capital city of Harrisburg are numerous, from the skyline along the Susquehanna River to the old churches along the side streets in the historic town. One of the best images of Harrisburg is the state capitol building at night, with the many lights and fountains surrounding it.
9. Allegheny National Forest
Fall is a stunning time to capture the Alleghany National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. The 517,000-acre forest pops with color from the leaves in late September and early October. It is one of the best places to photograph natural landscapes and wildlife.
10. Eastern Pennsylvania Snow Geese Spring Migration
The Middlecreek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster County Pennsylvania is the place to be in the spring during the snow geese migration. The scene above the lake looks like blinding snow as thousands of geese take flight out of the water. Capture majestic colors at sunrise as the birds depart.
11. Penn Station Railway
The historic Penn Station in downtown Pittsburgh is a restored railroad station that is still in use today. The station was built in the late 1800s and is beautifully restored, with brick-like terra cotta architecture and elaborate details like skylights and a rotunda - features that add depth and beauty to a photograph.
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12. Eastern State Penitentiary
The abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was once one of the most notable prisons in the world, with famous inmates like Al Capone. The best images will come from inside the crumbling prison, where you can take a tour to see the old jail cells and the way of life inside the prison walls with relics like an old barber's chair that is still standing.
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13. Presque Isle Lighthouse
The Presque Isle lighthouse in Presque Isle State Park is the crown jewel of Erie, Pennsylvania. The preserved, historic 1800s lighthouse is especially nice to photograph at dusk as the sun sets on Lake Erie.
14. Pine Creek Gorge
Pine Creek Gorge represents some of the most impressive natural beauty in Pennsylvania. The 1,000-foot gorge snakes its way through north central Pennsylvania for 47 miles, making almost any view of it spectacular.
15. Gettysburg Battlefield
Capture a piece of Civil War history at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Regular reenactments at the park with living history characters bring the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg to life with the shooting of cannons and imagery of how the battlefield looked during the military engagement that became the turning point for the Civil War.
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16. McConnell's Mill
The serene beauty around McConnell's Mill in western Pennsylvania is worth photographing, especially during the autumn, when the fall foliage adds an extra layer of color. The waterfall and historic mill are located in McConnell's Mill State Park.
17. Independence Hall
There are many images representing America's freedom at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell is perhaps the most iconic symbol, but there are other images around the UNESCO World Heritage Site to photograph, from statues and paintings to historic architecture.
18. Veterans Memorial Bridge
The Veterans Memorial Bridge in Columbia, Pennsylvania is just one of a number of photo-worthy bridges in the state. The bridge spans the Susquehanna River, connecting Columbia and Wrightsville. The bridge opened in 1930.
19. Nature Parks
Given the vast habitats that Pennsylvania's natural parks and preserved land offer, it is not surprising that the state has abundant wildlife-viewing opportunities. From bull elk and black bears to mink and many species of birds, including the bald eagle, Pennsylvania's wildlife can be seen and photographed in many of the state parks.
There are so many iconic images to capture in Philadelphia but one of the most stunning is Boathouse Row. The historic Boathouse Row is located on the east bank of the Schuylkill River. There are 15 boathouses, each with its own unique history.
21. Lake Erie Shoreline
The beach scene in Pennsylvania is found on the shores of Lake Erie. There are many beach images to capture in Erie, Pennsylvania especially at Presque Isle State Park, which has more than 3,200 acres that stretch into Lake Erie from its peninsula.
22. Apple Orchards
If you drive through rural Pennsylvania from September through late October, you will see thriving apple orchards with ripe fruit. Orchards in places like Biglerville, Dillsburg, New Hope, and New Wilmington offer fall apple picking. Some of the family-owned orchards have been decorating the Pennsylvania hillsides since the 1800s.