State College PA

Photo Courtesy of Visit Penn State

#6. State College PA

With just over 41,000 residents, State College is a small central Pennsylvania town that’s often referred to as the Happy Valley. It’s home to Penn State University, which plays a huge role in making State College a family-friendly borough.

Aside from Big 10 football games in the fall, the university is home to a beautiful 395-acre arboretum, which features the unique Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden with fun, hands-on activities and elements designed specifically for kids. Beyond that, the school district in State College maintains a below-average student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1, which means children get more personalized attention in small classes.

Best Way to Keep Everyone Entertained on a Saturday Afternoon: Snag tickets to watch the State College Spikes, a minor league team affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Kid-Friendly Restaurant: Baby’s Burgers and Shakes, a 1950s-inspired diner with vintage decor, thick milkshakes, burgers, hot dogs and more.

Best Date Night Spot (for frazzled parents): Get a sitter and book the three-hour tasting experience at the chef’s table at The Carnegie Inn and Spa Restaurant for an elegant dinner date.

Where to Score the Sweet Stuff: Berkey Creamery, which has been going strong since 1865 on the Penn State campus. The creamery, which is where the founders of Ben and Jerry’s learned to make ice cream, serves up more than 20 flavors made from the university’s herd of 200 cows. Grab a few scoops and sit on the expansive patio!

Coolest Indoor Playground: Though it’s not technically an indoor playground, the entire family can let loose at Penn Skates, an indoor roller rink and family fun center. They offer skate rentals up to size 15 so parents can get in on the fun, or just watch, free of charge.

Dog-Friendly Hangout Spot (because they’re part of the family too!): Tom Tudek Memorial Park, where your pooch will get to stretch his legs at the dog park. The rest of the family will enjoy the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden, the community garden plots and the 87 acres of open space and amenities.

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