Pennsylvania was dubbed the Keystone State because of geography: It lay between five other former colonies when the U.S. was newly formed and seemed to physically lock the country together. But its nickname could equally apply to Pennsylvania's key role in the history and development of the U.S. from colonial times to the present. Appropriately, history is what draws many travelers to the state today.

At Valley Forge, you can see the place where the Continental Army weathered a tough winter and formed the fighting unit that would win the country's independence. At Gettysburg, tour the grounds where perhaps the most important battle in the nation's history was waged. And in Scranton, you can come to a better understanding of the industrial capabilities that helped make the U.S. a world power.

Those less interested in historical sites won't be left out, however. The mountains that run across the state create beautiful vistas and play host to the resort playground of the Poconos and the outdoor activities of the Laurel Highlands. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh provide big-city cultural and entertainment possibilities, and rural getaways such as Bucks County and the Brandywine Valley mix scenic countryside with affluent living. For visitors who want to learn more about the past and those who prefer to simply enjoy the present, Pennsylvania has much to offer.

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