The Coolest Activities for Summer

June 25th, 2009

The temperatures are turning up and staying in one spot is a sure way to stay hot. Get off the couch, hit the road and cool down in the Laurel Highlands. Most importantly, stay hydrated and drink plenty of water while enjoying these summer fun activities.

Idlewild & SoakZone: Get Ready…Get Set…Get Wet! It’s liquid to the limits with the SoakZone swimming pool, body slides, inner-tube slides, and many features for children, including a miniature pool and Captain Kidd’s Adventure Galley. Other theme areas that are great spots to soak up the fun include Story Book Forest, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Jumpin’ Jungle, Hootin’ Holler and Olde Idlewild.

Splash around Idlewild & SoakZone

Splash around Idlewild & SoakZone

Art Museums: Stay cool indoors, by visiting the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley, featuring an exhibition of approximately 100 urban and rural landscapes and industrial scenes created by artists Ron Donoughe and Kevin Kutz. You can also enjoy the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, featuring thirty-one of the most celebrated artists who came to maturity in the 1950s, with key paintings and sculptures selected from the Modern Masters of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection. Kids can enjoy the Water Room at Johnstown Children’s Museum featuring water play exhibits where children can learn about concepts like dam-building, municipal plumbing, rain in mountains and valleys, acid rain, and native fish.

Westmoreland Museum of American Art

Westmoreland Museum of American Art

Kayaking, Canoeing and Rafting: Some of the coolest whitewater kayaking and rafting in the eastern United States can be found along the Laurel Highlands Youghiogheny River. There is whitewater boating available for all experience levels. Choose from several whitewater companies specializing in guided and escorted rafting tours, including River’s Edge Canoe & Kayak, Laurel Highlands River Tours, Ohiopyle Trading Post, White Water Adventurers and Wilderness Voyageurs.

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater Rafting

Cool Off Underground: The Laurel Caverns and Geological Park in Farmington is PA’s largest developed cave, featuring a 430-acre natural park and indoor kavernputt. Miles underground and better than any air conditioner, the caverns temperature drops to its year-round average of 52 degrees upon entrance.

Laurel Caverns

Laurel Caverns

Mmmm … Ice Cream: The Laurel Highlands is home to the Banana Split, created by Dr. David Strickler at his drug store fountain on Ligonier Street in Latrobe. Visit Valley Dairy and celebrate the anniversary of the banana split. Or, enjoy a scoop, or two, frozen custard and even a cool milkshake treat, at Suzy’s Frozen Custard or Shepherd’s Farm Restaurant & Ice Cream Shoppe in Confluence.

Have A Banana Split

Have A Banana Split

Visit a Spa: Nothing is more relaxing than a visit to a spa resort. Relax, unwind and renew at the Trillium Spa at Seven Springs or visit the Woodlands Spa at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort for body treatments, massage, salon services and more.

Get a cold beverage: Check out Falls City Restaurant & Pub serving up ice cold crafted ales and lagers and the Ligonier Tavern. For those 21 and over, the experience of a specialty brew coupled with great food, is an excellent getaway that will beat the heat.

Rockslides: At Ohiopyle State Park, the Meadow Run 100-foot-long natural rock waterslide is a popular summer hangout, dropping into a refreshing swimming hole, situated among great Laurel Highlands scenery with tons of breezy forest trees to sit under in the shade.

Rock Slide

Rock Slide

Shopping: Shop til you drop at the many specialty shops in the Laurel Highlands, offering extraordinary merchandise in historic towns. Visit Ligonier’s charming specialty shops around the Diamond. Whether you are looking for a piece of art, kitchen gadget, treasured toys, or the latest Vera Bradley bag, you will enjoy browsing this breezy storefront community. Click here for a complete listing of shopping experiences in the Laurel Highlands.

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Ligonier Beach: With over 1.3 million gallons of water and a 400 by 125 foot long beach, Ligonier Beach claims fame to being the largest swimming pool in Pennsylvania. The beach has been serving-up fun for over 79 years. This historic landmark has entertained generations of residents and visitors from all over the nation.

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