Where is Laurel Highlands?
It is in southwestern Pennsylvania, the mountainous region of the Laurel Highlands consists of 3,000 square miles shared within three counties- Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland. This diverse region is located within 250 miles of major metropolitan cities of Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. For the Pittsburghers, some of the best attractions in Laurel Highlands are less than an hour away, making the region one of the best weekend getaways from Pittsburgh.
Our drive from Columbus, Ohio took approximately 4 hours. During our drive we marveled at the beautiful mountainous scenery and couldn’t wait to check off our list the fun things to do in Laurel Highlands. It was the perfect road trip destination for our winter weekend getaway. When planning your Pennsylvania road trip, be sure to include the Laurel Highlands!
The Best Things to Do in Laurel Highlands During Winter
During any season, a visit to the Laurel Highlands will make for one of the best weekend getaways. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the plentiful winter adventures, history buffs will learn stories from George Washington, the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and foodies will love the delicious comfort foods found throughout the region. For craft beer and wine drinkers, enjoy each of these experiences while sipping on locally made spirits.
Keep reading as the Laurel Highlands offer plenty of things to do in Pennsylvania in winter!
Skiing and Snowboarding
The Laurel Highlands has four great ski and snowboard areas with perfect slope conditions, making for some of the best skiing in Pennsylvania. Hit the slopes at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Laurel Mountain, Hidden Valley Resort and Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. For adventurous skiing in Pennsylvania, Laurel Mountain features the highest vertical drop as well as the steepest slope in the state!
We had fun skiing at Seven Springs, which features more than 30 slopes throughout 285 skiable acres.
As one of the most joyful winter sports, snow tubing is fun for the entire family! Laurel Highlands features three snow tubing parks – Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley Resort and Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.
We snow tubed at Seven Springs, the largest snow tubing park in the region, featuring 11 tubing lanes and the Magic Carpet, a conveyor that takes riders back to the top of the tubing lanes. With lots of laughs, snow tubing at Seven Springs was one of our favorite winter adventures!
Other Outdoor Adventures
If you’re not a skier or snowboarder or looking for other ways to enjoy the winter season, Laurel Highlands offers great snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and sledding.
Winter just might be my favorite season for hiking. With a fresh blanket of snow and the invigorating, crisp air, it’s like trekking in a giant snow globe! The Laurel Highlands offers some of the best hiking trails in Pennsylvania, boasting 120,000 acres of state parks. With eight state parks, two state forests and several local parks, you’ll find plenty of wilderness to explore, like the Laurel Highlands 70-mile backpack & hiking trail. Along the way, hike the Pumphouse Trail to the historic Jones Mill Dam and visit the gorgeous waterfalls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Laurel Hill State Park:
Address: 1454 Laurel Hill Park Road, Somerset, PA 15501
Website: Laurel Hill State Park
Ohiopyle State Park:
Address: 124 Main Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470
Website: Ohiopyle State Park
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater
Frank Lloyd Wright found inspiration in Laurel Highlands’ landscape, creating four unique homes in the region. As one of the most famous things to do in western PA, visitors shouldn’t miss touring Wright’s masterpiece and UNESCO Heritage site, Fallingwater.
Commissioned in 1935 to be the summer home of the Pittsburgh-based Kauffman family, the home was completed in 1937. Blending seamlessly into the surrounding landscape and waterfall, Fallingwater displays the architect’s profound skills. Tours of the home are available March through December. The home is closed January and February, but visitors can still explore the magnificent property.
While in the Laurel Highlands, be sure to visit the other Frank Lloyd Wright properties- Kentuck Knob, Duncan House and Mäntylä. For a special treat, Duncan House and Mäntylä offer visitors overnight stays. They are two of approximately a dozen Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the United States that offer overnight lodging.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater:
Address: 1491 Mill Run Road, Mill Run, PA 15464
Flight 93 National Memorial
September 11, 2001 is a day that many of us will never forget. The quiet, small town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania is forever changed from the events of that day. Forty courageous passengers and crew members onboard United Flight 93 thwarted the hijackers’ plan to fly the plane to Washington, D.C. Flight 93 National Memorial is an emotionally powerful exhibit dedicated to honor the forty passengers and crew members.
The memorial consists of the Flight Path Walkway and Overlook, a Visitor Center which displays the day’s events, artifacts from the crash and passenger information, Wall of Names at the impact site and the Tower of Voices, a ninety-three feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members. Be prepared for an emotionally moving experience.
Flight 93 National Memorial:
Address: 424 Lincoln Highway, Stoystown, PA 15563
Scenic Byways and Covered Bridges
Laurel Highlands’ scenic beauty makes for the perfect road trip destination. Whether traveling along the National Road, Lincoln Highway or the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway, these roads will lead you to some of the best roadside attractions in the state! Showcasing 10 historic covered bridges, quaint towns, historic sites, kitschy roadside attractions, murals, architectural wonders and the region’s vast outdoor playground, you’ll find something interesting on whichever route you choose to drive.
History is abundant in the Laurel Highlands with battlefields, forts and artifacts dating back hundreds of years. Walk through history by discovering the ten sites where George Washington led his troops. The first shots of the French and Indian War were fired near Fort Necessity. Historic Hanna’s Town is home to one of the last conflicts of the Revolutionary War. Several hundred years of history await to be discovered at dozens of historical sites throughout the Laurel Highlands.
Local Breweries and Wineries
Discover the spirit of Laurel Highlands by sipping on local craft beers, wines and spirits. The region boasts 14 breweries, 11 wineries, one distilleries, one cidery and one meadery! Taste the flavor of the Laurel Highlands’ beer, wine and spirits on the self-guided Pour Tour trail. Grab the official Laurel Highlands Pour Tour Passport and collect stickers at the participating locations to receive Pour Tour prizes.
I often find the best way to discover a region is by visiting local wineries and craft breweries because you can chat with locals and learn their favorite spots in the area. During our weekend getaway in Laurel Highlands we visited Helltown Brewing and Glades Pike Winery.
Address: 13 Henry C. Frick Street, Mt. Pleasant, PA 15666
Glades Pike Winery:
Address: 2208 Glades Pike, Somerset, PA 15501
The Laurel Highlands offers an array of dining options that will satisfy even the most discerning palate. From upscale dining featuring delectable cuisines to comfort food classics served at local diners you’ll savor every bite of southwestern Pennsylvania’s culinary scene. Restaurants atop mountains, nestled in valleys, a riverside setting or overlooking a vineyard, you’ll be treated to a meal with a view in Laurel Highlands!
Looking for more things to do in the Laurel Highlands?
Explore the Fred Rogers Trail. Fred Rogers’ hometown is Latrobe, and this special trail celebrates his legacy.
Visit the Big Mac Museum. Created 40 years ago in the Laurel Highlands, the museum is dedicated to the world’s most popular sandwich and is home to the world’s largest Big Mac.
Where to Stay in Laurel Highlands
Seven Springs Mountain Resort is Pennsylvania’s winter outdoor adventure headquarters, featuring more than 400 hotel rooms, each with a private patio or balcony, private cottages and chalets and mountaintop condos. Whether you are looking for a romantic couple’s retreat, family friendly vacation or a girlfriend’s getaway, Seven Springs has lodging to accommodate your needs.
Staying at Seven Springs, you’ll have easy access to winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing, snowmobile tours and snowshoe tours. The resort even has ski in/ski out rooms to accommodate the ski enthusiasts who wants to hit the slopes directly out their door.
When you need to warmup from the cold winter weather, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do indoors at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. A bowling alley, roller skating rink, miniature golf course, the Bear Trap Fun Zone Game Room and a swimming pool, there are just as many indoor adventures as outdoor at Seven Springs. If you need a relaxing retreat, pamper yourself at Trillium Spa.
Seven Springs has more than 10 on-site restaurants to fuel your winter adventures. Be sure to dine at Helen’s for a fantastic upscale meal and for breakfast feast on a fluffy omelet at Slopeside’s omelet bar. Nightlife and entertainment can be found at one of the resort’s bars and lounges, which make a great place to cheers to a fun day on the slopes.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort:
Address: 777 Waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs, PA 15622
Winter Activities In Laurel Highlands Interactive Map
We truly enjoyed our winter weekend getaway in Laurel Highlands, and we can’t wait to return during the other seasons! While there are plenty of wonderful things to do in PA, be sure to include the diverse region of the Laurel Highlands to your PA bucket list. From the outdoor adventures, historical sites, culinary scene and local hospitality, the Laurel Highlands is one of the best weekend getaways in Pennsylvania! I hope this list of the best things to do in the Laurel Highlands in winter will encourage you to get out and explore the winter season!
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A special thanks to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office and Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau for a wonderful Pennsylvania weekend getaway! I was an invited guest of Pennsylvania Tourism, Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau and Seven Springs Mountain Resort. As always on Ohio Girl Travels, all opinions are my own.