BringFido's Guide to Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Posted by Billy Francis

First settled by German immigrants in the 18th century, Pennsylvania Dutch Country is a region of The Keystone State famous for being home to traditional religious groups like the Amish and Mennonites. Bring your pooch along to learn about the area’s rich history, dine on fresh-from-the-farm food, and uncover the historic charm and beautiful countryside of this Southeastern Pennsylvania vacation destination.

Things to Do

“Don’t start rolling yet!” Photo by Abe’s Buggy Rides

Take a ride down memory lane, shop until you drop, and play off-leash at one of the country’s most epic dog parks in this enchanting region.

Learn on the Move

Learn about Amish and Mennonite cultures as you and Fido are carried in an authentic Amish buggy on a private tour with Abe’s Buggy Rides. Your driver will provide historical facts and stories about the area during your horse-drawn carriage ride along country roads. Choose a 20-minute tour for a quick jaunt through the Lancaster County countryside, or a one-hour leisurely ride to see Amish homes, businesses and attractions. The longer tour also includes a stop at a Mennonite craft store and bake shop.

Play in an Amazing Dog Park

Pennsylvania Dutch Country is home to The Keystone State’s best dog park. Located in the historic city of Lancaster, Beau’s Dream Dog Park at Buchanan Park is a colorful space with a 40-foot rollercoaster bridge, separate areas for small and large dogs, splash pads and a tennis ball tree that flings balls in all directions. Humans can enjoy the show from comfortably shaded Adirondack chairs on a whimsically designed deck that resembles a dock on the edge of a dry lake.

A Scenic Drive Through Fantastic Farmland

Following an old Native American trail route, Conestoga Ridge Road Heritage Byway is a great way to see the quintessential sights of the region from the comfort of your car. This pretty road spans 25 miles from Safe Harbor to Christiana and showcases a selection of beautiful family-run farms and rolling hills and valleys on each side.

“This is fur-st class!”Photo by @visitphilly_abbystyle

Take a First Class Train Ride

All aboard the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, a scenic pet-friendly train ride through the “Switzerland of America.” Hop in an enclosed or open-air coach from the 1920s for a 16-mile journey through the Pennsylvania wilderness. On the one-hour narrated train ride, you’ll learn about anthracite coal’s role in the industrial revolution and enjoy stunning views of the Lehigh Gorge. The train operates on weekends and holidays from late May to late December.

Discover the Scent of Old Books

Founded in 1745, Moravian Book Shop is not just the oldest bookstore in the U.S. but the oldest continually operating bookstore in the world. If you love nothing more than curling up on the couch with a good book and your best friend for company, pick up a bestseller or a book that documents the history of the region inside this historic store that welcomes leashed dogs to join you.

“Thanks for having me!”Photo by BringFido/Maddy

Tour Amish Country

Swing by The Amish Farm and House for a pet-friendly guided tour of Amish country. Established in 1955, this entertaining place claims to be “America’s first Amish attraction.” Hop on the bus and enjoy the countryside with stops at businesses selling local wares. This delightful tour ends at a 15-acre working farm that features animals, a schoolhouse, a covered bridge, and more. Leashed dogs are allowed on the grounds but not inside any buildings.

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

Heritage Rail Trail County Park begins in downtown York and leads to the Maryland state border over 27 miles away. On the journey, dog walkers can enjoy four railroad bridges and historic sites like Howard Tunnel, New Freedom and Hanover Junction Train Stations, all of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This wide, stone trail is accessible to travelers of all fitness levels.

Places to Stay

“Big bed for a little pooch.” Photo by @prescotnation

Planning a vacation to Pennsylvania Dutch Country? Find historic homes, cozy hotels, and unique stays in this breathtaking region.

Stay Close to the Poconos

After a day of adventuring through nearby Lehigh Gorge, cozy up with your pup for a quiet evening at Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Lehighton. This clean and comfortable hotel offers dog-friendly ground floor rooms with hardwood floors and easy access to the pet relief area outside. For a longer walk, access D & L - Lehigh Canal (North) near the hotel entrance.

Pitch Up with your Pup

Enjoy the great outdoors when you reserve this Tentrr Signature Site in Lancaster County. The off-the-grid rental takes the hassle out of camping with pre-pitched canvas tents, each with a comfortable bed inside and an outdoor fire pit. Climb out of your tent and take the scenic walking path to the trout-stocked Conowingo Creek, or venture a short drive away to Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve along the Susquehanna River.

“A place in the sun.”Photo by VRBO

Home with Epic Views

Book a stay at an 1860s Waterfall Retreat with views of a man made waterfall from the backyard. This historic home also features a fire pit and a private footbridge leading to the pet-friendly trail with waste stations at Flory Park, perfect for Fido’s evening walk. Inside, tile and hardwood floors make for easy cleanup, and the living area is a light and airy space to enjoy with your pooch.

Hotel in the Capital

Tour the city sights of Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg, and stay near Happy Tails Dog Park at Hilton Garden Inn. The popular pet-friendly hotel has designated walking trails on site and access to green space for evening strolls before bedtime.

Elegant Historic Home

Sip on a pint with your pup at Hop Hill Brewing Co., then retreat with your Terrier to the Downtown Bee. This modern, elegant home in downtown Bethlehem has been expertly renovated to suit pet travelers who have grown accustomed to luxury Airbnbs. Spend an evening with your new book on the comfortable couch, or watch the sunset from the front porch.

Sign off in seclusion.Photo by VRBO

Cabin in the Woods

Sleep like early settlers in The Back Woods Cabin in Narvon. This restored log cabin, originally constructed in the 1800s, features a front porch with pond views and rocking chairs, hardwood floors, a hot tub in the bathroom, and space to roam on the grass outside. When the sun sets, grab some logs from outside and start a fire in the stone fireplace.

Book a Cute Cottage

Are you thinking of retiring to Lancaster with your Labrador? Book a stay at The Cottage on The Green next to Meadia Heights Golf Course to test the town out first. Inside this adorable home, you’ll find hardwood floors and a decorative stone fireplace. Fido can enjoy roaming off-leash in the fenced courtyard outside while you fix dinner on the gas grill.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

"Let me show you around the compound!” Photo by Retriever Brewing Compound

Looking for fresh food sourced locally and new dishes inspired by cuisine around the world? Take a culinary tour of Pennsylvania Dutch Country with your pup.

Retrieve a Beer Here

Named for the owner’s favorite dog breed, Retriever Brewing Compound spans over five acres and boasts a giant beer hall, a pool deck and pub, three patios, and a beer garden. Leashed dogs are welcome in most areas of the compound. You can even commemorate your visit with a Retriever Brewing Compound leash.

“We better be getting ice cream after this photoshoot.” Photo by @brandiszczesny

All the Fun of the Farm

Give into your chocolate milk cravings at Perrydell Farm and Dairy in York. This working dairy farm has been producing milk for nearly a century and invites you and your pooch along for a tasting. Try one of the many delicious flavors of fresh ice cream like banana split, vanilla or chocolate. If you’re still hungry, head to the farm shop and pick up a sandwich to enjoy with your pooch in the picnic area outside.

BBQ Barn

Does your dog dig barbecue restaurants? The BBQ Barn at the Amish Farm and House offers a variety of authentic Amish chicken BBQ, soft pretzels, whoopie pies, and drinks to wash it down. Leashed dogs are welcome to join you for lunch on the grounds at one of several outdoor tables.

World’s Largest General Store

If you and your pooch have always wanted to be like Dorothy and Toto, follow the yellow brick road through Country Junction. Claiming to be the “world’s largest general store,” this one-stop shop has everything Fido could need or want under one roof, including themed areas, a petting zoo, and a pet section full of swag and treats for your best friend. When you’re finished shopping, grab a meal with your dog in the outdoor dining area of the on-site restaurant.

Sip a glass with your best friend in beautiful surroundings.Photo by

Wine and Dine your Dog

Bring your pooch along to Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery in Breinigsville and take a self-guided tour down rows of vines together. The winery serves wine flights, slushies, charcuterie boards, and light snacks. Pick your favorite chardonnay or pinot grigio, then head to a table underneath an umbrella on the outdoor patio. Keep an eye on the calendar for dog-friendly events held throughout the year featuring food trucks, live music and more.

Chill Out in Lancaster

Cool canines can hang out with local Labs at The Fridge. Dogs are welcome to keep you company on the pet-friendly patio of this funky establishment that serves up draft craft beer, flatbreads, soup, and sandwiches, all made using ingredients sourced from Lancaster County when possible. Don’t forget to pick up a six-pack from the craft beer bottle shop while you’re there.

Paw Lickin’ Good!

Have you ever wanted to sample “Paw-ruvian” food? Frisco's Chicken brings the taste of South America to Pennsylvania Dutch Country with whole chickens, slaw, corn and other traditional sides. There are lots of pet-friendly tables to choose from on the outdoor patio so bring Fido whenever you work up an appetite.

What’s your favorite dog-friendly thing to do in Pennsylvania Dutch Country? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by BringFido/Traci.