The area's strong Anthracite coal mining heritage makes touring Schuylkill County a memorable and educational experience.
Visitors to Schuylkill County have the opportunity to explore the county's roots by visiting The Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine in Ashland, which runs 1,800 feet into the side of Mahanoy Mountain. You can visit the Mother's Memorial, the only national monument to mothers in the United States, located in the heart of downtown Ashland. The Pennsylvania Anthracite Miners Memorial in Shenandoah is another outstanding attraction. You may also want to explore the history of the Molly Maguires, who in the 1870's were blamed for terrorizing the region when the first Miner' Unions were being formed. A driving tour is available through the Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau.
America's oldest brewery, D.G. Yuengling & Sons, founded in 1829 and located in Pottsville - features regularly scheduled tours. The Yuengling tradition has been carried on for five generations and continues to run strong. Just up the street from the brewery on Mahantongo Street, magnificent homes that once belonged to the coal barons of the region can be seen, along with the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts, housed in the former Yuengling Mansion. The Soldier's Monument at Garfield Square and the statue of Henry Clay high above the city of Pottsville are further reminders of the county's proud history.
If nature is more your taste, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary near Drehersville is a 2,000-acre nature preserve. Migrating hawks, eagles and osprey in the late fall and the magnificent blooms in the spring and summer are special sights at Hawk Mountain, which also features excellent hiking trails. Nearby, the Appalachian Trail and the Schuylkill River heritage trail provide additional hiking opportunities.
If you are searching for a few moments of peace and tranquility to escape the hectic pace of everyday life, visit Stonehedge Gardens in South Tamaqua. The public gardens and arts center are located on seven developed acres and are open 365 days of the year.
Family-oriented outdoor recreation is available at Schuylkill County's Sweet Arrow Lake as well as Swatara, Tuscarora and Locust Lake State Parks - where camping, swimming, boating and hiking are popular activities. The Schuylkill River - between Port Clinton and Schuylkill Haven - and the Little Schuylkill River - between New Ringgold and Port Clinton - provide canoeing and kayaking from spring until fall. In addition, two all-terrain vehicle parks provide intricate and challenging off-road experiences in the mountains of Schuylkill County.
Family-oriented activities are also abundant in this value-centered county. Programs at the Schuylkill YMCA/YWCA highlight principals and self-esteem while encouraging fun and socialization. While each feature individualized programs, the Y offers activities for youth including teen recreation centers, after-school childcare, day camp, exercise and gymnastic programs and specialty programs designed to enlighten and empower those participating.
Outdoor sports for youth and adults include both organized and pick-up softball, baseball, tennis, golf, soccer and bowling. Golf and miniature golf courses are available in all sections of the county. Racquetball, indoor tennis courts and numerous physical fitness and aerobic facilities are sprinkled throughout the county. Some school district facilities are used for public swimming, running, jogging, basketball, volleyball and hiking.
If camping interests you, there are numerous camping facilities and hiking trails in all corners of the county, including the Appalachian Trail and Historic Tow Path Trail. Schuylkill County continues to be one of the prime hunting and fishing locations in all of Pennsylvania. With a number of state game lands and miles of fishing streams, avid sportsmen have enjoyed our forests and rivers for several generations.
Schuylkill County features many other historic and recreational activities, including the Pottsville Winter Carnival, the Schuylkill County Fair and literally hundreds of car cruises, street festivals, an church bazaars that reflect history of nearly 200 years of neighbors-caring-for-neighbors and a place that still treasures family values.