Pennsylvania's Coal Region has a rich heritage of coal mining and is, in fact, home to the largest deposits of anthracite coal in the Americas. Once a region full of mining towns, the area has since become a tourist destination. The Coal Region has strong blue-collar ties and keeps them to this day. Some of the hardest working people in Pennsylvania have come from here and live in this region.
Most, but not all, of the Coal Region is in the Poconos area of the state.
- 1 Ashland
- 2 Centralia — Famous for an underground coal mine fire that, fifty years later, is still burning. The entire town has been abandoned except for a small few who refuse to leave their native town. The area is a dangerous, burning ghost town and the most famous such town in Pennsylvania.
- 3 Girardville. This small coal town is famous for not only its most famous resident, John "Black Jack" Kehoe, charismatic leader in the fight for coal miner's rights, but for its rapidly growing annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
- 4 Frackville
- 5 Jim Thorpe Lovely town with a lot of history. It's known as the Switzerland of Pennsylvania. Go to the Jim Thorpe (formerly Mauch Chunk) courthouse for some interesting Molly Maguire history.
- 6 Hazleton
- 7 Lehighton
- 8 Mahanoy City
- 9 Mount Carmel — Home of the Red Tornadoes football team which holds the 4th highest win total in high school football history.
- 10 Pottsville — The county seat of Schuylkill County. This is the home to the Yuengling Brewery. Also, an interesting landmark is a large statue erected of the famous 19th century statesman, Henry Clay.
- 11 Scranton — The largest city by population in the region.
- 12 Shamokin — Home of the annual "Coal Drop" on New Year's Eve.
- 13 Shenandoah- Shenandoah has a swimming hole. Most people call it the shen penn. The water is usually freezing but that's nice on a hot day. It gets deep. There is an island out towards the middle. If you go to the bigger part of the shen penn be aware there is a Sucker Pit. The Sucker Pit is created by the old underground mine in Shenandoah which keeps the shen penn filled. If shen penn does ever get drained there is a chance Shenandoah might collapse from the mine being empty.
- 14 Shickshinny
- 15 Tamaqua
- 16 Wilkes-Barre
Pennsylvania's Coal Region is rich in Irish, Welsh, and Polish/Eastern European heritage, as well as the culture of the early mining industry. Additionally, there is visible German (Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as Moravian) and English influence, though the Germans and English were often farmers and industrialists respectively, rather than coal miners. With the exception of a few select towns, the industry has largely left the state, but the cultural roots are still there. Local dialect hearkens back to the days of the mines and local culture reflects that heritage. A visit to the coal region is an opportunity to look at one of Pennsylvania's oldest and first major industries; mine tours show 200-year-old mines and working conditions that today would never be accepted. The historical sites evoke a time when millions of immigrants were trying to get a foothold in American society. Pennsylvania's coal mines aided in that effort and today teach us of the determination and persistence that is essential in life as a Pennsylvanian and an American.
The unique regional dialect in the Coal Region is best described as a northern American accent tinged with various British Isles dialects, and additional strong influences from the Pennsylvania German dialect and Eastern European accents due to historic migration, immigration, and admixture. Local oddities include the use of a "trailing G." For example "coming up" is pronounced "comin gup". People call each other "butt", as in an abbreviated form of "buddy" or "bud". "Ho, butt!" is a common greeting and not to be meant as an insult.
Recent migration patterns and the construction of major highway corridors through the area, combined with its relatively central location, has allowed for the influence of New York City/Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Southern Appalachia, and Central New York on the dialect, and phrases associated with those regions may also be common to hear in the Coal Region.
A good resource for the traditional Coal Region dialect is found online .
For destinations in Luzerne, Lackawanna, northernmost Carbon, and Columbia counties, the nearest airport is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International (AVP) near the Luzerne & Lackawanna County boundary in Avoca. This airport serves regional destinations in the Northeastern and Midwestern US as well as cities in the Deep South.
For destinations in the majority of Schuylkill and Carbon Counties, the nearest airport is Lehigh Valley International (ABE), which is situated on the Allentown-Bethlehem city line in Lehigh County. Like AVP, this airport primarily serves regional destinations.
Those headed to Northumberland or westernmost Schuylkill County might consider Harrisburg International in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The most convenient major international hubs to most of the Coal Region are Philadelphia (PHL) and Newark (EWR), which are both very roughly a 1h30 to 2h30 drive from the core of the region. Other hub airports locals tend to travel through are JFK, LaGuardia, and Baltimore-Washington International.
Major Intersate highways include I-81, I-476 (tolled as part of the PA Turnpike system) and I-380, which all run N/S, plus I-80 and I-84, which run E/W. Tamaqua, Pottsville, and southern Schuylkill County are also served by various exits off of I-78/US 22 in the neighboring counties of Lehigh and Berks. Major local routes include PA 309, PA 115, PA 315, US 209, PA 54, PA 443, PA 61, PA 940, PA 903, PA 248, PA 487, PA 903, PA 902, US 11, PA 437, PA 183, and PA 93.
- Steamtown National Historic Site. in Scranton is a working museum of steam railroading operated by the National Park Service, on the site of the old Lackawanna Railroad yards. A shopping mall and trolley museum are adjacent to the site.
- Number 9 Mine and Museum. in Lansford offers a coal mining museum and an underground mine tour.
- Knoebel's Amusement Resort, Elysburg. Fun, food, and fantasy -- Knoebel's Amusement Resort! A nice amusement park to take the kids. Along with amusement rides, there is an extensive picnic grove. This place is a local staple and has been owned and operated by the Knoebel's family since 1929. FREE parking and entrance; pay for rides.
- Eckley Miner's Village, Weatherly. 9AM-5PM. Eckley Miners' Village was an original anthracite mining town that is now a museum devoted to the everyday lives of the anthracite miners and their families. It is located nine miles east of Hazleton, Pa., off Route 940. Sean Connery was here to film part of the Molly Maguires movie. 4.00.
- Centralia Mine Fire in Centralia is famous due to its long duration (nearly half a century) and persistence.
- Pioneer Coal Mine Tunnel in Ashland is a very well-maintained museum which includes an actual tour of a coal mine shaft.
- The Hometown Farmer's Market in Hometown is open from 8AM to 8PM on Wednesday only, offering award-winning food, fresh vegetables, and bootleg T-shirts.
- White Haven Cemetery in White Haven is one of the oldest United States cemeteries.
- Cinemark Movie Theater in Moosic is the Coal Region's largest movie theater.
- PNC Field in Moosic is home to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees Major League Baseball team (as of 2019).
- The Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Moosic hosts major summer concerts.
- The Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre is home to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, an AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and hosts concerts and entertainment year round.
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Plains hosts one of the largest casinos in the state and also serves as a daily harness racing track.
- The A-Hole in Girardville is popular for swimming.
- Shenandoah is a popular place to drive your car around in circles, a common coal-region activity known as "cruising".
- The Clover Irish Weekend Festival in Heckschersville. Schuylkill County, is an annual celebration of blended Irish and coal cracker culture held the last weekend in July, filled with music, dance, food, genealogy, games, crafts, and more.
- The Girardville St. Patrick's Day Parade is sponsored annually by the Jack Kehoe Division #1 AOH is growing to be one of the largest in PA! Always held the Saturday after St. Patrick's Day, this parade abounds with pipe bands, AOH marching units, floats, and community groups marching along Girardville's historic streets. Visit the Jack Kehoe Division website or the Girardville website for details, photos, and more.
- Mrs. T's Pierogies, Shenandoah. No trip to the coal region is complete without pierogies! This tasty Eastern European food (similar to a ravioli only with a potato and cheese filling, typically) can be found in most area restaurants, even local pizza shops. For a real treat, look for block parties and church picnics which might have homemade peirogies.
- Heisler's Cloverleaf Dairy, Tamaqua. A great place to go for Heisler's homemade ice cream, mini golf, or a driving range. Part of the fun is the drive through farms and the PA countryside.
- Tony's Lunch. in Girardville is a very famous restaurant which serves "Screamers" and "Growlers", hamburgers and hot dogs (respectively) with its signature hot sauce. Tony's is open from 8PM until the last customer leaves. Has to be experienced to be understood.
- Pizza Place. in Frackville is known around the region as one of the best pizza places, with its signature "sweet sauce" that is often imitated but rarely duplicated. It stands as one of the main reasons chain pizza restaurants do not find success in the area.
- Centiole's Pizza. East Main Street, Girardville has the region's best pizza. No kidding — this pizza is famous. The Centiole's clan only makes so many each night, so get a phone book and call early.
- [formerly dead link] Bressi Family Foods, Kulpmont, ☏ . 24/7. Bressi Family Foods is the very best place to go for ethnic city chicken, sopressata, capicola, torpedo, shooters, salami, chorizo, andouille, and a host of other ethnic coal region foods.
- Dorko's, Fourth and Poplar St, Mt. Carmel PA, ☏ .
- End Zone Bar & Grill, 216 North 10th St, Kulpmont, ☏ .
- RJ's, 601 W Centre St, Shenandoah, ☏ .
- Roman's, 101 S Broad Mountain Ave, Frackville, ☏ .
- JAKES, 451 E Ave Mt Carmel.
For the most part, crime is extremely low in the Coal Region