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Tours, Trails & Rails: 7 Ways to Explore York

With its bustling central downtown and its nearby countryside offering picturesque views of rolling hillsides and the Susquehanna River, York County is the perfect setting for unforgettable vacations. Take your pick from fun ways to explore the region, from free factory tours to interactive historic sites to wine and brewery trails. We’ve got seven ideas to get you started.

1. Experience the area’s rich railroading heritage on historic train rides.

Steam into History | photo credit: SIH

See gorgeous scenery while peeking into the past on one of the many train rides in York County, such as the Stewartstown Railroad Company, one of the oldest continuously running common-carrier railroad companies. At Steam Into History in New Freedom, experience the days of the Civil War as you ride aboard a faithfully replicated steam engine and interact with costumed living history interpreters, musicians and even “outlaws” on the ride. Dating back to 1832, Strasburg Rail Road will take you through Amish countryside aboard an authentic steam-powered train.

2. Sip and sample your way through wine country with fascinating winery tours.

Moon Dancer Winery, Cider House & Tap Room

Escape to the idyllic countryside, where picture-perfect rows of grape vines sprawl across the verdant valleys, and charming wineries offer samples of their boutique wines. One of the stops on the year-round Mason-Dixon Wine Trail is Moon Dancer Winery, Cider House & Tap Room in Wrightsville, where its French country chateau overlooks the Susquehanna River.

3. See how your favorite snacks are made on special food factory tours.

Martin's Snacks

Explore York County, the Factory Tour Capital of the World®, as you go behind the scenes to see how famous brands make their beloved snacks and treats. Take a family-friendly tour at Martin’s Snacks in Thomasville, Sweet Willows Creamery in York, York City Pretzel Company, and Snyder’s of Hanover.

4. Glimpse into the craft beer scene with local brewery tours.

Wyndridge Farm

Craft beer lovers will have plenty to explore on the Susquehanna Ale Trail, a route of 13 breweries and brew pubs to sample local beers. Along the way, try easy-drinking beers at Aldus Brewing Co. in Hanover, a vast selection of creative brews at Collusion Tap Works in downtown York City, and hard cider made from locally grown apples at Wyndridge Farm in Dallastown.

5. See what it takes to make a legendary Harley-Davidson motorcycle

Harley-Davidson Factory Tour

Get out on the factory floor with a Harley-Davidson Factory Tour in York, and go behind the scenes to learn about the manufacturing and assembly processes of the Touring, CVO, and Trike motorcycles. Then, sit on current production motorcycles, and pick up a souvenir at the gift shop. 

6. Go sightseeing as you ride your bike along the scenic rail trail.

heritage rail Trail County Park

History and outdoor recreation seamlessly intermingle at the Heritage Rail Trail County Park, which features a 21-mile trail alongside historic railroad tracks. Watch as heritage locomotives chug along the rails, and stop into train museums along the way, located at Hanover Junction Train Station and New Freedom Train Station.

7. Get in the “spirit” when you tour local craft distilleries.

Thistle Finch Distillery

Imbibe innovative cocktails handcrafted with locally made spirits—everything from bourbon and rye whisky to gin and moonshine—when you follow the Keystone Craft Spirits Trail to craft distillers throughout the region. At Old Republic Distillery in York, York County’s first distillery since Prohibition, sample small-batch vodka, rum, and even flavored moonshine.

Find even more things to do in York County during your vacation.

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