Released annually, the Happy Traveler guide is packed with unique destinations, exciting outdoor adventures, and hidden gems throughout the commonwealth to inspire travelers for adventures to come. This year, the guide brings new inspiration to travelers who are ready to plan even as we continue to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
“After months of staying at home and dreaming about travel, it is more important than ever to make our wellbeing a priority and pursue our happiness wherever possible,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary, Marketing, Tourism, & Film at DCED. “The decision to travel is a personal one and when travelers feel safe, Pennsylvania is ready to welcome them. This year’s Happy Traveler offers inspiration for outdoor adventurers, history buffs, culture vultures, and foodies. With 121 free state parks, a diverse array of museums, a rich performing arts scene, and a delicious culinary plate, Pennsylvania is perfectly positioned to help everyone use those vacation days.”
Tomorrow, January 26, is National Plan for Vacation Day, and while Pennsylvanians may not be ready to travel just yet, they can take the time now to plan for what’s ahead. Travel has the benefit of helping local economies and struggling small businesses, and while Pennsylvanians stay home now and support these businesses virtually or curbside, brighter days are on the horizon.
National Plan for Vacation Day, developed by the U.S. Travel Association, highlights the importance of taking time off to travel, both for personal health and to bolster the economy, each of which is more relevant than ever in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Institute for Applied Positive Research, 97 percent of survey respondents report that having a trip planned makes them happier, and 71 percent reported feeling greater levels of energy knowing they had a trip scheduled in the next six months. With the release of the 2021 Happy Traveler guide, travelers are encouraged to look forward and plan future getaways in Pennsylvania.
U.S. Travel’s President and CEO Roger Dow added, “In the face of so much uncertainty, and with more than 63 percent of Americans saying they desperately need a vacation, National Plan for Vacation Day is the perfect opportunity for Americans to renew their love of travel and to look ahead to better days.”
The 2021 Happy Traveler feature story touts the culinary gems that make up the fabric of the commonwealth. It celebrates Pennsylvania’s flavorful heritage with four new self-guided culinary trails: Picked – An Apple Trail, Baked – A Bread Trail, Chopped – A Charcuterie Trail, and Pickled – A Fermented Trail. The trails, developed in partnership with Chatham University’s Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT), will take visitors through historic small towns, along country backroads, and into artisanal shops to discover what makes Pennsylvania’s rich culinary heritage so unique.
Other special features in the guide include:
- Uncommon history lessons from haunted locales to distilled spirits;
- Urban green spaces, children’s museums, and waterside must-sees;
- Great pasta points of interest, snack food tours, and Amish delight destinations;
- The greatest gravel trails, fall foliage hot spots, and on-the-water adventures;
- RV rendezvous from state parks to castles; and
- Virtual events and museum experiences.
“Over the past year, COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. It has impeded our ability to gather and to travel, but it hasn’t taken away our ability to imagine a not-so-distant future when things are back to normal,” added DCED’s Lepore. “Start planning your Pennsylvania getaway today using inspiration from our free travel guide at visitPA.com, and imagine all the ways you’ll be free to pursue your happiness in Pennsylvania.”
Free copies of the Happy Traveler are available at visitPA.com or by calling 1-800-VISIT-PA. Travelers are encouraged to explore Happy Traveler content across visitPA’s social media platforms and share photos of their favorite Pennsylvania adventures using the hashtag #PAHappySnaps.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, housed within the Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to Pennsylvania. For more information, go to the visitPA website or sign up for our Happy Thoughts newsletter, become a fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out photos on Instagram, share pins on Pinterest, watch us on Youtube or listen with us on Spotify.