If you’re looking for a winter getaway in PA, look no further than the Ephrata in Lancaster County. Discover a variety of Christmas lights in Lancaster, and experience holidays with the Amish in a unique and memorable way. On our most recent trip, we learned that over 10 Christmas Hallmark movies were filmed in this area, and for good reason! We made Ephrata our home base, as we found it to be the heart of Lancaster’s spectacular holiday activities.
Living out our Holiday RomCom in Ephrata – Christmas Lights in Lancaster
Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster PA
We stayed at the Historic Smithton Inn for the second time this year, as we truly believe it to be the best bed and breakfast in Lancaster PA. Located just outside of downtown Lancaster, this Inn is as cozy as it gets. With in-room fireplaces, homemade breakfasts, and the friendliest host, the Historic Smithton Inn always leaves us feeling both happy and satiated. If you’re looking for a cute, quaint Lancaster B&B, this is the spot for you!
Why stay at a hotel or AirBnB in Lancaster PA when you can stay at the Historic Smithton Inn?
Christmas Lights in Lancaster, Ephrata, and More!
Koziar’s Christmas Village
It certainly felt like the holiday season the moment we stepped foot in Koziar’s Christmas Village! While it’s geared toward families, the Christmas Village is kitschy, fabulous, and fun for all ages. There are over 1 million Christmas lights, 11 indoor shops, and a long winding walkway highlighting various holiday characters alongside Amish traditions. No need to book in advance – simply grab yourself a parking spot, get a ticket at the gate, and bring that holiday cheer! Koziar’s Christmas Village is truly a Christmas fairytale.
‘Tis the season to be jolly – Christmas Markets in Lancaster County
Christmas Lights & Ziplining at Refreshing Mountain Retreat
Christmas Lights Ziplining was one of the most unique experiences that I’ve had. Located about 15 minutes north of Ephrata, Refreshing Mountain Retreats decks its grounds with an incredible amount of beautiful Christmas lights. You can choose from four different activities offering a combination of zipline courses and up to 33 different elevated obstacle challenges. If you don’t feel like ziplining, you also have the opportunity to get a Birds Eye View of the lights from the Observation Deck, or you can walk around the well-lit Christmas Lights walking path. There are so many different options and it’s simply magical. I found this to be one of the most enjoyable things to do in Amish country PA, and would suggest no less than an hour and a half there.
Zipline Course at Refreshing Mountain Retreat – Winter Getaways in PA
Christmas Light Drive Thru at Stone Gables
We learned that Stone Gables Estates spends four months preparing for this event! The Christmas Light Drive Thru at Stone Gables is not to be missed. Play those Christmas tunes as you drive through 3 miles and pass over 800,000 LED lights. The major highlights for me personally were the Christmas light covered bridge and the iconic Star Barn. Lancaster County is known for its covered bridges, and the Herr’s Mill Covered Bridge just shines. I’d recommend getting there just after sunset to get ahead of the crowds.
Stone Gables Estates knows how to create a winter wonderland – Christmas Lights Lancaster County
Holidays at Mount Hope
Holidays at Mount Hope has Christmas carols and seasonal music throughout the day. A former private estate turned historic estate, Mount Hope now offers entertainment, live theater, on-site breweries, and a winery. The estate goes all out for Christmas, and it feels like a step back in time. Enjoy wandering from room to room, taking in a variety of Christmas trees, decorated mantels, and actors dressed in character from the 1800s. I heard that the grounds at Mount Hope are also home to the Renaissance Festival and hope to check it out next year.
Mount Hope is such a fun spot during the Holidays in Lancaster County
Holidays with the Amish
While my main focus for this trip was to cover the Christmas lights in Lancaster County, let’s not forget holidays with the Amish! One of the things that makes Lancaster such a unique winter getaway in PA is the Amish culture.
Amish Cookie Tour
If you’re looking to dive into holidays with the Amish, I’d highly recommend checking out the Amish Christmas Cookie Tour. This tour takes you to multiple Amish homes where you learn the recipes for their Christmas cookies. If I’ve learned one thing during my visits to Lancaster, it’s that their baked goods are simply delicious! Since it’s a Cookie Tour after all, you’ll have the opportunity to take home four homemade cookies from each Amish farm.
Scootin’ with Santa
If you’re looking for something more active, have a look at Scootin’ with Santa. It’s a brilliant way to take in the Amish countryside and dive into holidays with the Amish. Do note that sunglasses are required, and the entire tour can take up to 3 hours, so I recommend planning this into your schedule ahead of time. Nothing like driving through the countryside, led by Santa himself!
Christmas Shows in Lancaster PA
Lancaster County is home to everything from intimate dinner theaters to large scale productions at Sight and Sound Theater. This season, you could see Elf the Musical, Home for the Holidays, or the Ghosts of Christmas Eve by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you’ve seen enough of the Christmas lights in Lancaster, this is a fantastic way to spend your evenings!
Enjoying the Amish Holiday Season in Lancaster County
Things to do on a Cold Day in Lancaster County
While there are many things to do on a cold day in Lancaster County – from cute coffee shops to antiquing – if you are still looking for a unique Christmas gift for that special someone in your life, this is the best place to find it! There are so many shops in Lancaster County, but two in particular stood out on this trip.
Artisan Mill Company
A former mill turned boutique shopping center, the Artisan Mill Company is just fabulous! Honestly, we could have spent hours there, and we left with bags full of goodies. With a “letters to Santa” box outside, and a variety of adorable stalls, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll find that perfect holiday gift at Artisan Mill Company!
Checking out Artisan Mill Co. is one of the best things to do on a cold day in Lancaster County
Prussian Street Arcade
Our host at the Historic Smithton Inn, Rebecca, described Prussian Street Arcade as “if Etsy had a storefront” and that couldn’t be more accurate! Since it was once a warehouse, this space certainly has character. Spend some time wandering through the boutique vendors — you’re certainly bound to find something unique!
When looking for things to do in Pennsylvania in winter, indoor shopping is a must!
Plan for next season!
Ephrata in Lancaster County has quickly become one of our favorite winter getaways in PA! Whether you’re looking to cozy up with a loved one, enjoy the holiday cheer, or witness the look of wonder upon your child’s face, you'll have an incredible time. Ephrata Christmas lights and the holiday spirit are abundant in Lancaster County. If you’ve already planned your December festivities, be sure to bookmark this page and make plans to visit next season! In the meantime, have a look at some of my favorite things to do in Lancaster PA.
Spectacular Christmas Lights in Lancaster – Holidays with the Amish are highly recommended!