Discover Lancaster gave us some tickets and special discounts to some of our activities. Dutch Wonderland gave us complimentary admission in exchange for coverage. We covered the rest. Our hotel was not covered. Thank you to Nissan for lending us the Armada. Note, all opinions (as always) are uniquely my own). This post contains affiliate links.
Right after July 4th, we took a road trip down to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Our plan was to go to Dutch Wonderland, learn about the Amish and take a ride on the Strasburg Railroad. This was our first real road trip since my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes almost a year ago. We started in Port Jervis, NY where my in-laws live, so we took them with us! Nissan lent us their Armada and definitely traveled in style. Lancaster County PA Road Trip: Pennsylvania Dutch Country & Dutch Wonderland
While we do drive a minivan, it was a big change to try out the Armada. The Nissan Armada is not a small car. It’s a big SUV, but seriously — it drove like a much, much smaller car. Sometimes when I borrow a car it’s an adjustment to make it feel like my own, but I felt so comfortable with the Nissan Armada almost immediately.
When you are using the third row in the Armada, that will cut into trunk space. Luckily we packed light, even with all of my oldest son’s Type 1 Diabetes supplies and three days worth of clothes for 7 people!
Getting to Lancaster should take 3 hours from Port Jervis, where we left from — but we stopped for lunch at the 5th Street Dinner in Temple, PA, so it was a little more. We liked the 5th Street Diner. The food was good, service was excellent, and the place was very kid-friendly with placemats to color and big packs of crayons. Get the Greek Salad!
We arrived at our hotel and I did pause for a minute. I had booked the Marriot Lancaster at Penn Square, which is right in Lancaster City.
There is a parking garage that you can park in (and costs around $19 a night. However, parking is going to be tough — add this into your cost.
We did the basic tour — Prices: Adult (ages 12-59): $9.95 Senior (ages 60+): $8.95 Child (ages 5-11) $6.95. This is not recommended for small children, as it’s a guided tour and young children may not be able to listen to a 40-minute tour.
We went to dinner next at the Hershey Farm and Restaurant for an Authentic Pennsylvania Dutch Meal. They had EVERY Food under the sun! Here are some dishes.
After our meal, our kids loved running outside to the big play structure. Tip: Watch out for goose poop!
After our fun-filled first day, we piled back into the Nissan Armada, blissed out the air conditioning and SiriusXM and headed back to our hotel. How did our night go with my son’s Type 1 Diabetes — that’s another post!
The 2nd day we got up and had breakfast in our hotel. It was raining, so we delayed going to Dutch Wonderland. We went swimming in the hotel pool (my son’s first time swimming since his Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis last summer) and then went for lunch at Federal Tap House.
It was delicious.
We headed over to Dutch Wonderland around 2PM after the rain stopped.
Parking is $5, but $15 if you want premium (ie. closer) parking. We were fine with regular parking (ie. I’m not going to pay more to park).
Check out our video about our visit to Dutch Wonderland. We were very impressed with the size, extreme cleanliness, staff attitudes. This is for kids around 12 and under. Bigger kids may not have as much to do, but they will still heartily enjoy themselves.
For a more extensive review of Dutch Wonderland, check out writer Amanda’s piece from several years ago. Thank you to Dutch Wonderland for providing complimentary admission.
Because we went later in the day, the park wasn’t very crowded and we had cooler weather. We hit Texas Roadhouse later for dinner and then went back to our hotel.
We woke up and enjoyed another delicious breakfast at the hotel. Getting it included saved us a large amount of money (ie. the breakfast buffet was delicious but not cheap). We packed up (checkout was 11) and headed over to the Strasburg Railroad). We boarded and had a ball. This is an authentic 45-minute steam train ride to Paradise, Pennsylvania. Did you know you can actually get off the train, have a picnic and then take another train back?
We met some fancy ladies.
And then settled in for our ride.
There is a restaurant/snack bar, a play area, a pump car (kids can ride by hand-cranking a little vehicle) and a gift shop. The railroad museum is right behind this area, but we didn’t have a chance to go. You could easily spend several hours here.
We passed the Red Caboose Motel (where my in-laws had stayed around 43 years ago). After our rail trip, we went back there and had a delicious lunch in Casey Jones’ Restaurant — which offers two train cars which are now dining rooms. Food was excellent and very reasonable.
25 S Queen St, Lancaster, PA 17603
The Amish Farm and House
2395 Covered Bridge Dr,
Lancaster, PA 17602
Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn
240 Hartman Bridge Road
Ronks, PA 17572
There is a coupon for $2 off their smorgasbord for lunch or dinner!
301 Gap Road
Ronks, PA 17572
Red Caboose Motel and Casey Jones’ Restaurant
312 Paradise Lane,
Ronks, PA 17572
717-687-5000 OR 888-687-5005
2249 Lincoln Highway East
Lancaster, PA 17602
Phone: 1-866-FUNatDW (1-866-386-2839)