Despite the high gas prices and rising inflation rates, tourists are still expected to flock to Bucks County this summer.
Tourism may not be at pre-pandemic height, but occupancy rates at hotels in the county have seen positive growth its 2022 — a trend Visit Bucks County’s Chief Operating Officer Paul Bencivengo anticipates will continue for the summer.
Bencivengo said that the price at the pump is not likely to deter visitors since the county is located near major cities. Tourists from nearby metropolitan areas may see Bucks as an affordable trip this summer compared to a cross-country drive.
“Our location coupled with our marketing and a lot of pent-up travel demand has allowed Bucks County to outperform a lot of other destinations over these past couple of years. New York is only 75 miles away. Philadelphia and South Jersey still reach within an easy drive of Bucks County. Some of those New Yorkers and Philadelphians view Bucks County as a close destination,” said Bencivengo, adding that the first quarter of 2022 showed the average hotel occupancy in the county up 8.5% from 2021.
New places to check out in Bucks County
Bencivengo added that many restaurants and attractions are starting to recover from labor shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. With tourism on the rise, the county also has seen major hospitality developments in recent years. This summer is the perfect opportunity for new and returning tourists to visit the new locations.
Among the newest destinations in Bucks County is The Square in Dublin.
Located on North Main Street, The Square kicked off Dublin’s booming development in 2019 and is ready for an active summer. The former factory was transformed into a mix of shops, restaurants and office spaces. From a wine bar called The Boiler Room to the handmade market named Makers, tourists can make the most of their time at The Square.
“As the warm weather is upon us. It’s been every weekend that seems to be filled with more and more people here,” said developer and former county commissioner Rob Loughery.
Perkasie and Sellersville are other towns that have been on the path of revitalization for several years and may be worth a visit for those traveling to the county.
Steve Barth, an economic consultant for the towns, said within the past 10 years over 70 new businesses have opened in Perkasie. For the townships, the millions of dollars in investment have correlated to an increase in out-of-state visitors. specifically, Barth most frequently sees license plates from New York, Delaware and Connecticut in the towns.
New in Doylestown:New Garden Bar pops up on patio at old Puck in Doylestown
Dublin Development:Could The Square in Dublin become Central Bucks’ new hot business, retail, dining spot?
Both locations are packed with destinations that are unique to the county. For instance, located in Perkasie is Rams Pint House and Rooftop Lounge — the first rooftop restaurant in Bucks, which opened in 2021.
Guests can enjoy a meal with a view at Rams as it sits on Chestnut Street in the historic town. The restaurant often has live music and offers a large menu with classic dishes such as cheesesteaks, wings and a juicy bone-in pork chop.
Owner of Rams Pint House and Rooftop Lounge, Joe Wade, encouraging tourists to not only come to his restaurant but also to check out Perkasie, a town he described as “coming alive.”
“There’s walking trails all around. There’s been so much growth in housing and new places popping up,” said Wade.
Perkasie will also be offering a summer concert series at the new amphitheater in Lenape Park. But, Bucks County has many more outdoor summer activities for families to check out beyond Perkasie, such as the new TreeTrails AdventurePark located in Feasterville, which is set to open this July at the Phoenix Sport Club.
The aerial adventure club will offer attractions for ages 4 and up including zip lines and ropes courses.
Hidden gems in Bucks County
While Bucks County is home to many well-known and popular travel destinations such as Peddler’s Village, recently named the No. 1 tourist destination in the Philadelphia region, there are plenty of other places to fill your time when visiting the area.
Bucks has a rich history with endless opportunities for tourists to immerse themselves in at locations that may be unknown to faraway travelers.
One place filled with history that has roots back to the 1950s and ’60s is the Van Sant Airfield in Tinicum Township. The airfield has numerous antique planes on display, but the main attraction is the flight rides. Visitors take off from the airfield and see the county from a whole new perspective in the sky.
“You can see all the buildings up there. It is really just something different. No matter what direction I go there’s something different. On a sunny Saturday or Sunday, this place is smoking with airplanes and antiques flying around,” said Bar Eisenhauer, who is in charge of flight operations at the airfield.
Looking for work?: Barbers, hair stylists jobs on the rise in Bucks County
For our subscribers:Warwick girl makes baseball all-star team, leading the way to bring the sport to more girls in Bucks County and beyond
Also, once a month the airfield has a dinner and movie night under the stars and Eisenhauer invites guests to pitch a tent to spend the night at the airfield.
History can also be found at the opposite end of the county in Bristol. The town was one of the stops on the Underground Railroad and features a Harriet Tubman statue on Basin street.
Ken Kaissar, producing director at the Bristol Riverside Theatre, marveled at the town’s deep history. He said the theater, located on the banks of the Delaware River, is historic in its own right, dating back to the 1950s.
For those looking to soak in the history, you can spend the day in the town and your nights at the theater’s summer music fest presented by William Penn Bank. Many of the concerts feature classic hits such as the iconic ladies of song nights, from July 21-31, featuring music from Patsy Cline, Rosemary Clooney and Tina Turner.
“Bristol has really turned into a wonderful place to come. The river is beautiful. The scenery is beautiful. It’s worth a trip,” said Kaissar.
Beyond its historic ties, Bucks has a prospered nature scene. You may be familiar with the county and state parks, but there are more ways to spend your time outside.
For example, outside New Hope, there’s Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, which has various outdoor living museum exhibits. The preserve is perfect for families or individuals to visit and houses over 750 of Pennsylvania’s 2,000 native plant species.
‘A good summer’
While the pandemic may have put a damper on summer plans the last few years, Bucks County continues to be a hotspot for tourism. New attractions have popped up and old ones remain a key part of the county’s appeal.
When looking ahead, Bencivengo remains optimistic about summer travel.
“Tourism has been strong in the county with overnight roommates. We do expect it to be a good summer,” he said.