If heritage tourism is what attracts you to a city, St. Marys will become your perfect destination. The Saint Marys Historic District is considered to be the national historical wealth, and it is a well-preserved example of a small town in the mid-19th early 20th century. The district is home to 399 contributing buildings, including several churches, residential houses, and parts of the historic business district. The oldest building dates back to 1845. There are many landmarks, but the most notable are the Decker's Chapel, St. Joseph Monastery, Straub Brewery and The Bucksgahuda, and Western Railroad. The entire district was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Straub Brewery is the place you certainly want to drop by while you're in St. Marys. Founded in 1872 by Peter Straub, it is the third-oldest family-owned brewery in the United States. Straub Brewery is still in operation, and even more than that - it is still one of the favorite places for locals and visitors alike. Join a tour around the brewery, sample beers from their eternal tap, invite your friends for a Happy Hour with some great food and even greater beer, and just enjoy your stop. Despite being one of few pre-Prohibition breweries in the country with a long trail of tradition behind it, the Straub family looks confidently into the future and does their part in making it better for everyone. In 2016 they received recognition from Pennsylvania Resource Council for their use of reusable packaging. Straub Brewery is the last in America that produces and sells beer in “Pounders” - old-fashioned returnable glass bottles that get refilled and reused afterward.
The Bucksgahuda and Western Railroad is another popular tourist spot to time travel through the history of the US. It is a non-profit railroad museum run by the Bauer brothers, railroad enthusiasts whose goal is to preserve, reconstruct, and display historical railroad memorabilia and educate people on the history of the American train industry.
They started the project in 1966 with the purchase of their first locomotive, “Otto.” It is a steam locomotive built in Germany in 1939. They specialize primarily in narrow-gauge locomotives but do have a couple of standard cabooses and cabins as well. The name Bucksgahuda is derived from an old German story that was used to get children to behave. If the kids didn't do their chores, they were told that a huge gander would fly by, pick them up, and drop them in an unknown place. There the gander would turn them into baby geese still wearing their little kid clothes, and after that, they would never grow up. Bucksgahuda is the place where little trains never grow up. The name references German culture as both the brothers and the train project started from the natives of Germany.
Saint Marys indeed carries a lot of exciting stories of the past and has lots to offer those who love to deep dive into the origins of the place they travel to. However, the city also has lots to put forward for those who find their peace of mind around nature.
Plan a trip to Bendigo State Park. It is a beautiful, wooded area located in the scenic hills twenty minutes north of Saint Marys.
It is an excellent place to go tree-spotting as the area is dotted with Cherry, Maple, Birch, and other beautiful tree species. It is also a superb spot for fishing for trout; part of the Clarion River flows through the park, providing a brilliant serene space to unwind your rod and sit in silence with your thoughts, listening to twangy streams passing by.
Another half of the park represents a big covered picnic area where you can spend a fun time with your loved ones enjoying some grilled fish, board games, and even organizing small outdoor jam sessions.
Allegheny National Forest is another unique natural place just twenty-five minutes northwest of the city. It is truly special since it is the only National Forest in Pennsylvania. It was established in 1923, is approximately 517,000 acres in size, and contains the Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir. The forest is a popular tourist destination, with over 1.5 million visitors each year. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, grey foxes, white-tailed deer, and even red-backed salamander. The forest also contains over 200 miles of hiking trails, 53 miles of cross-country skiing trails, and more than 10 miles of Interpretive trails that you can walk on your own leisure or take a guided tour through.
Allegheny NF provides unique opportunities for camping with its variety of open-air campgrounds, cabin rentals, and RV parks. You can wander around Allegheny National Forest for days and still not get enough of its enchanting view.
The Best Time to Visit Saint Marys, PA
Winters in Saint Marys are known to be snowy, freezing, and cloudy, so it is better to plan your trip from spring till mid-fall. Warmer and more predictable weather will present you opportunities to explore and experience all of the natural wealth of the area and spend as much time outside, something that we don't do enough these days.
However, if you're still planning a winter escape to the area, there are plenty of places to keep you warm during this time. Here is a quick selection of locations to pay attention to:
Casali's Italian Grill is a bright, neat place. Certainly, visit for their tasty Gorgonzola-Alfredo Steak or to shop for their locally made honey and maple syrup.
Village Peddler Country Store is a two-in-one. It is a pretty antique shop where various collectibles and country trinkets can be found, as well as a delicious home food restaurant, with grilled sandwiches on homemade bread and soups created entirely from scratch.
The Pour House Bar and Grill is a friendly family-owned bar that opened in 2018. Regardless of being pretty new to the scene, it is already a local staple for good American comfort food. They also offer quality craft beer as well as house wine, so it is a must-visit spot while you're in town.
Some of the popular local restaurants are conveniently located near hotels, motels, and hostels, so you won't have any trouble finding a great place to stay and getting around the city.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Saint Marys, PA:
Saint Marys, PA: Prices by Star Rating Class
Below are 3 charts illustrating avg. nightly cost trends by star rating class in Saint Marys, PA. Browse these charts to calculate the cheapest time to stay in Saint Marys for your upcoming travels.
High-end Hotel Options in Saint Marys, PA
We have a variety of excellent premium hotel choices to suit your needs. These top-rated 4-star and 5-star options offer top-notch amenities and beautiful settings. Browse our selection of luxurious hotels, resorts, and cabins and book your stay today with our handy online reservation system.
Cheap Saint Marys Hotels
3 Star Average Prices: $113.52
You'll find several low-cost hotel options in the area. We've compiled a list of all hotels that offer comfortable rooms at a fraction of the cost of other local establishments. Regardless of your plans - you're staying for one night or planning a more extended trip - you'll find a place that will accommodate you with all the essential features you need for work or rest and won't exhaust your budget in the process.