For its estimated 8.85 million yearly visitors, Amish Country, Pennsylvania, represents a much-needed break from the modern world. With their idyllic rural lifestyles, traditional values, and unique handcrafted products, the Amish boast one of the most fascinating cultures in America.
Additionally, there is much to see in Amish Country: from gorgeous wood-crafted furniture to sprawling farmlands and unique attractions; there is something for everyone.
Amish communities, prevalent in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, represent the fastest-growing religious community in the United States, and their influence continues to shape American identity.
There is no better destination for visitors eager to learn about this thriving community; there is no better destination than Amish Country, Pennsylvania.
Use this guide to Amish Country to determine when to go, what to do, and how to best prepare for the trip of a lifetime.
Why You Should Visit Amish Country, PA
Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country, also known as Amish Country, represents the second-largest Amish community in the United States. Amish Country, PA, is primarily located in Lancaster and its outskirts, though most Amish people live on farmlands outside the city.
Lancaster is famous for its booming Central Market — the oldest continually operating market in the United States — its rolling hills, gorgeous antiques, and unique attractions.
But the most exciting aspect of Amish Country is the unique culture of its inhabitants. Amish people have one of the most insulated cultures in the world. Most Amish communities thrive without using modern technologies — including phones, cars, and electricity.
Instead, they live simple, peaceful lives on beautiful farms and homesteads and hold traditional values, prioritizing industry, community, and the maintenance of family and farms.
Aside from its many attractions — from butter-churning to antique treasure troves — Amish Country is an incredible place to visit for its palpable serenity and natural beauty.
Overall Best Time to Visit Amish Country, PA
The best time to visit Amish Country, PA, is in the fall — particularly in October. October is harvest season, and visitors can enjoy farmer’s markets, apple picking, animal encounters, and scenic landscapes blooming with color.
In October, temperatures in Lancaster range from 40 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Although you should remember to pack plenty of layers, October is generally temperate, and rainfall is light.
Tourists can enjoy indoor and outdoor activities in comfort and take advantage of the many attractions the autumn season offers.
Train and airplane tickets are generally cheaper in the fall than during the summer — though you can still enjoy activities such as hiking, swimming, ziplining, or spelunking.
In October, Amish Country, PA, hosts the Fall Art Walk, an immersing, mobile art exhibition experience. Additionally, consider celebrating Halloween with a haunted tour of Lancaster or a trip to Dutch Wonderland’s Happy Hauntings event.
Throughout the autumn season, you can assist local farmers in picking pumpkins and apples. If harvesting isn’t for you, consider riding the Pumpkin Patch Train — a family-friendly Halloween experience.
Lastly, October is the most colorful month in the North East, when trees reach the peak of seasonal change, and the gorgeous landscape offers panoramic views of multi-colored mountains. Although there are many good times to visit Amish Country, October offers the most well-rounded experience for tourists.
Cheapest Time to Visit Amish Country, PA
The cheapest time to visit Amish Country, PA, is in January. After the holidays, flights to Lancaster generally become much cheaper, with prices dropping up to 50% off.
The average cost of a round-trip flight to Lancaster (from anywhere within the United States) is between $240–$300. Additionally, many establishments lower their costs to entice tourists to visit— including restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions.
Remember that January is the coldest month in Amish Country, with temperatures in the mid-teens to high-30s Fahrenheit, discouraging many cold-averse visitors from venturing north.
If you pack appropriately, however, and remember to account for possible snow, you’ll have a wonderful time in Amish Country in the peak of winter.
If traveling on a budget, consider flying into Lancaster on Wednesday, as this is generally the cheapest time to fly.
Additionally, purchase your tickets and accommodation well in advance, and reach out directly to business owners and hotel managers for promotion inquiries. Weekday rates are generally more affordable than weekend stays, so consider this when booking your trip.
Least Busy Time to Visit Amish Country, PA
January and February are the least busy times to visit Amish Country, PA. January is generally less busy than February since some couples plan their visit to coincide with Valentine’s Day, but both months are relatively quiet, and crowds are slim.
As a general rule, Amish Country is least busy throughout its coldest months: temperatures in January range from 15 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and heavy snowfall can often prohibit certain activities like mountain climbing or swimming.
However, if you pack appropriately and prepare, January is an excellent time to visit. For those seeking a culturally immersive experience, consider booking a butter-churning lesson or visiting local homesteads and shops.
The Amish are famous for their beautiful, handcrafted furniture and intricate, unique crafts, so winter is an excellent time to take advantage of short lines and fewer competing shoppers.
Additionally, many shopkeepers, restaurant owners, and hotel managers lower their prices during winter to appeal to infrequent visitors so that you can snag a gorgeous hand-made desk for half its usual price.
In February, Amish Country hosts the Mud Sale auctions, frequent events at which you can find hand-made gifts at affordable prices.
Many establishments offer Valentine’s Day specials for couples seeking a getaway experience, and the Lititz Fire & Ice Festival offers attractions for the whole family.
Consider taking a ride on the Strasburg Rail Road to see the expansive, snow-capped mountains and rolling hills, or book a hot air balloon ride over Lancaster to get the complete picture.
Worst Time to Visit Amish Country, PA
The worst time to visit Amish Country, PA, is in July. Most visitors to Lancaster are seeking a getaway experience.
After all, the Amish are famous for their quiet, traditional values and idyllic farm houses. But July is the busiest month in Amish Country. July is the hottest month, with temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Northeastern summers are hot, muggy, and often crowded since children are on summer holidays and most adults take vacations.
Larger crowds can make it difficult to enjoy the peace and tranquility of Amish Country, and long lines can prevent you from enjoying local attractions and getting the best deals in stores and hotels.
Additionally, prices tend to climb during summer, as many hospitality businesses and shops strive to capitalize on high tourism rates. July also receives relatively high rainfall, with an average of a 25% to 30% chance of rain daily.
However, July is the best time for summer festivities, including Independence Day celebrations, the Sweet Corn Festival, and fly-fishing expeditions.
Things to Consider
Once you have decided to book your trip to Amish Country, PA, you should know several essential details. First, remember to pack plenty of layers. Temperatures vary wildly in Amish Country, with highs and lows often separated by 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, treat this cultural experience like any other: approach people with respect and consideration and practice tolerance and patience when dealing with locals who may not share your customs.
Before you travel to Amish Country, read through the following primary considerations:
- Water is potable in Amish Country, though some homes may not have running water.
- People speak German and Dutch dialects as well as English. Most people speak both.
- When planning your trip, budget around $1,500 for a solo traveler, $3,100 for couples, and $5,900 for families.
- Leave additional room in your budget for homemade souvenirs and handcrafted treasures, as Amish Country is famous for its local craftsmanship.
- Consider staying at an Amish AirBnB to immerse yourself fully in the cultural experience.
- Most Amish farms have farm animals. Remember to exercise caution when interacting with animals and exercise proper hygiene (for you and the animals!).
- The Amish don’t mind photography, but please respect their right to privacy and do not interfere with their activities to solicit a picture.
When budgeting your trip to Amish Country, consider the following:
- January and February are the cheapest times to visit, as flights are more affordable and many establishments offer sales and promotions.
- Prices are highest in the summer, so avoid the warmer seasons if you want to save on your trip.
- Prices are comparable to other cities in the United States, though you may have to pay more for handmade goods.
- Leave room in your budget for local food, as Amish, Dutch-inspired cuisine is one of the best features of Amish Country.
- Please tip your servers, hotel staff, and cleaners as you would anywhere else.
When planning your trip to Amish Country, keep the following in mind:
- If you engage in outdoor activities, remember to pack accordingly. For example, bring a swimsuit in the summer and snow-appropriate footwear for the winter.
- Attractions in Amish Country are season dependent—you won’t be able to swim in the winter, for instance, or pick apples in the spring.
- Book your activities in advance, as prices tend to climb as the dates approach.
- Consider booking cultural activities like buggy rides through the countryside, tours of Amish homesteads, animal encounters, museum tours, and more.
- The Pennsylvania scenery is breathtaking throughout all four seasons, so bring a camera and schedule plenty of time to stop and smell the flowers.
- The Amish lifestyle prioritizes slowness and meticulousness, so don’t expect the same degree of instant service available elsewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you have any remaining doubts about your trip to Amish Country, PA, consider the answers to our most frequently asked questions below.
What is Amish life like?
The Amish value simplicity, tradition, Christian values, and a slow, intimate lifestyle. They are often pious and tolerant of others and frequently live without modern accommodations like electricity, cars, and technology.
The Amish are very community-minded, and their ethics compel them to treat strangers like family — so don’t be surprised if someone invites you into their home!
Additionally, Amish people are famous for their attention to detail and self-sufficient lifestyles, so you can expect to see some of the most high-quality craftsmanship in the world. Remember that not all Amish people follow the same traditions.
You may see an Amish person using a phone or riding in a car—this doesn’t mean that they have violated their ethical precepts, but that they have permission from their church or community.
What behaviors should I avoid in Amish Country?
The Amish are people like any other, and they follow the same etiquette as most other communities in America. You can use a cellphone or take a picture (within reason), but remember to respect the privacy and personal space of those around you.
Additionally, while the Amish follow their guidelines, they likely won’t expect you to do the same. Simply be mindful of local customs as you would anywhere else.
Can I Go to an Amish Church?
You most likely won’t be able to attend Amish Church. Many Amish families hold church in their homes, and services are often conducted in German or Dutch dialects.
So you wouldn’t be able to understand them anyway! Additionally, it’s highly unusual for an outsider to attend an Amish church, so it’s best to refrain from doing so unless asked.
What Language do People in Amish Country, PA Speak?
Most Amish people speak High German and Pennsylvania Dutch amongst themselves and in formal settings. Even if you speak Dutch or German, the Amish dialects are generally different from the standardized versions of those languages.
So you may not comprehend what others say. However, the Amish increasingly know English and other languages, so you’ll likely have no issues communicating with those you encounter.
What Are the Best Things to Do in Amish Country, PA?
Amish Country, PA, is famous for its natural beauty and cultural experiences. Depending on the season, you can hike, rock climb, swim, ride horseback, pick fruit, ride in a buggy, and more!
If you choose to attend during a particular time of year, consider researching local festivals and events, as the Amish frequently host seasonal celebrations. Additionally, Amish Country is home to many attractions, including antique stores, an amusement park, a scenic railway, and more!
When Will You Visit Amish Country?
A trip to Amish Country, PA, will undoubtedly represent one of the most unique and fulfilling experiences of your lifetime. There is nowhere in the United States — or the world — like Amish Country.
For its simplicity, rural beauty, traditional values, cultural and historical attractions, and local craftsmanship, Amish Country offers an unparalleled experience for singles, couples, and families.
October is the best time to visit Amish Country, but if you are looking for a budget trip, consider staying in January or February when flights are cheap, and promotions and sales abound.
Use the checklist included in this article to prepare for your trip. No matter when you choose to visit Amish Country, your trip will surely be one to remember. Happy travels!