Elk State Forest and Benezette offer so many great outdoor attractions - sight-seeing, hiking, hunting, and of course, spotting elk. Rainy days can put a huge damper on outdoor activities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find fun elsewhere.
There are plenty of things to do in Benezette, even if the weather is less than ideal. Here are a few attractions in Benezette and close by that will keep the rainy day blues away while you wait out the bad weather.
Note: Before setting off on your rainy day adventures, be sure to check out each location’s website or give them a call to see when they’re open. Many of the local attractions have seasonal hours.
Visitor & Wildlife Centers
Elk Country Visitor Center
1.5 miles from downtown Benezette
Located right in Benezette, the Elk Country Visitor Center is a must-see for anyone visiting Elk County. While the bad weather may keep you from the elk-viewing trails, there’s plenty to do and see inside the visitor center, like watching a film at their 4D story theater or learning about the area through hands-on exhibits and displays.
Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park
34.4 miles from downtown Benezette
Drive out to nearby Sinnemahoning/Driftwood to visit this state-of-the-art hub of Sinnemahoning State Park. You’ll enjoy indoor interpretive exhibits about the local land, animals, and history, as well as green building design. If the weather clears up, you’ll have the opportunity to spot some eagles, elk, and other wildlife against some gorgeous natural views.
Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center and Sky Walk
52.7 miles from downtown Benezette
The Kinzua Bridge was named “One of the World’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Skywalks and Viewpoints” by the Culture Trip, U.K. What was once the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the world, this 137-year-old engineering marvel still stands, reinvented as a pedestrian walkway over the stunning Kinzua Gorge.
While wet weather may keep you from venturing on the bridge, there is plenty to see and learn at the visitor center about the local history and this engineering feat.
Rain won’t keep the elk from foraging for food, so you might be able to catch sight of these majestic creatures when the weather is poor. While you’ll likely want to steer clear of any long hikes, there are plenty of spots you can sit and watch for elk from the comfort of your car. Check out our blog: The Best Places to See Elk in Benezette, PA.
Visit the Local Art Studios, Antique Stores, and Gift Shops
There are so many unique stores in the area that are perfect for getting lost in for a few hours. Pick a few to visit - you never know what you’ll find!
The Elk View Company
2.9 miles from downtown Benezette
Don’t let the rain keep you from looking for elk! This shop will let you look for gifts and sample some of the area’s delectable treats while providing the chance to catch sight of elk just beyond the covered porch.
1.0 miles from downtown Benezette
There’s plenty of treasures at this arts and crafts shop located in Benezette. Though the rain may cancel the live chainsaw carving, you’ll be able to check out this shop’s wares, like sculptures, walking sticks, pottery, paintings, jewelry, toys, and more.
Grant’s Pass Antiques & Wrought Iron
3.9 miles from Downtown Benezette
Just outside Benezette, this shop specializes in wrought iron artwork and also sells antiques, gifts, and more.
Donnell’s Gift Shop
4.2 miles from downtown Benezette
Right in Benezette, this shop has been creating signs, furniture, paintings, and glassware for over 45 years.
Appalachian Art Studio
24.7 miles from downtown Benezette
This Ridgway-based art studio offers more than just art from internationally recognized artists. You can learn how to make your own chainsaw carving or pottery by signing up for one of their classes.
Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA)
26.4 miles from downtown Benezette
Located in Ridgeway, ECCOTA is your go-to for buying one-of-a-kind crafts from local artists. Check out their calendars for monthly exhibits, classes, and events. If you give 48 hours notice, you may be able to book their escape room.
The Little Museum
(16.9 miles from downtown Benezette)
About a half an hour from downtown Benezette, the Little Museum offers a look into the history and heritage of Cameron County, which, despite the name, is anything but small. Tucked away in a Depression-era schoolhouse, the museum displays 15,000+ items that document Cameron County and the people who once called it home.
You’ll find displays on famous locals from four-star general and Military Governor of occupied Germany, Joseph T. McNarney, to one of the first famous cowboy movie stars, Tom Mix. You’ll also learn about Sylvania (the international electrics company that got its start in nearby Emporium) and the mysterious ram’s head carving of unknown origin.
However, the museum is only open from June 1st to the end of October, Wednesday and Sundays from 1 to 4 pm (or by appointment).
17.5 miles from downtown Benezette
Known as one of the smallest chapels in the world, Decker’s Chapel is a quaint place of prayer originally constructed in 1856. After various renovations, the once rustic stone structure is now a picturesque chapel (and handicapped accessible). Open year-round every day to visitors, stop by this quiet place of prayer.
Looking for some fun for the whole family? There are two bowling alleys within a half-hour drive from downtown Benezette - Saint Mary’s Olympic Lanes and Jireh Lanes.
St. Mary’s Olympic Lanes (18.1 miles from downtown Benezette) is open year-round, and Jireh Lanes (also 18.1 miles from downtown Benezette) is open from Labor Day through the end of May. Both have dining options, so grab a slice of pizza and get your game on!
Catch a Movie
The Apollo Theatre
19.5 miles from downtown Benezette
Located in downtown St. Mary’s, The Apollo Theatre dates back to 1928 when the palatial building served as a 900-seat theater for live performances and movies. Fast forward 90 years and you’ll be able to enjoy a new Hollywood releases with all the comforts of a modern movie theater - and still plenty of the building’s original art-deco charm.
AMC CLASSIC Dubois 5
27.4 miles from downtown Benezette
For an even larger selection of movies to watch, visit the nearby town of Dubois and its AMC theater. With all the newest release and the RealD 3D experience, you’ll be able to forget all about the rainy weather and escape into an exciting story.
Tour the Local Wineries and Breweries
While the rain will dampen the gorgeous outside views, you can always enjoy the insides while sampling some of the area’s local wines and brews.
Copper Fox Winery
15.6 miles from downtown Benezette
Elk County’s newest winery offers a wide selection of wines and also has locally crafted beer and spirits.
Twisted Vine Winery Saint Marys
17.2 miles from downtown Benezette
With many locations across Northwestern PA, visit this winery’s St. Mary’s location for a taste of their uniquely flavored fruit wines.
0.2 miles from downtown Benezette
Located in downtown Benezette, this wine shop offers a selection of local wine and coffee.
19.9 miles from downtown Benezette
Founded in the late 1800s, this local brewery offers tours, a gift shop, and plenty of beers on tap to sample.
Elk County Historical Society
26.7 miles from downtown Benezette
Learn about your Elk County experience by visiting the Elk County Historical Society and their Robinson Museum. The museum has something for everyone, from elegant Victorian clothing to photographs and documents exploring the county’s 200-year history.
You can also visit the Center Street House, an 1890s Victorian house showcasing period furniture and artifacts. On the second floor, you’ll be able to tour a recreated Victorian doctor's office and explore all those great quack cures. Tours are available by request, so be sure to call ahead.
Doolittle’s Dinosaurs & Doolittle Station
31.6 miles from downtown Benezette
At Doolittle Station, you’ll find a replica 1880s B&O rail depot and museum that explores the history of the railroad. While you’re there, dine in one of the historic railroad cars onsite. Choose between a 1950s-style diner or a parlor car from 1913. You can also sample local craft brews from Boxcar Brew Works - in an actual boxcar!
Kids (and adults!) will enjoy the 9-layout model railroad car display, as well as the self-guided dinosaur tour where visitors can dig for fossils and ride dinosaurs.
Grice Clearfield Community Museum
33.2 miles from downtown Benezette
Have a passion for antique automobiles or wild animals? You won’t want to miss the Grice Clearfield Community Museum. With cars from the 1910s to the 1980s and a display of African game mounts, there’s plenty to see at this Clearfield-based museum.
Like many other attractions, this museum is open Memorial Day through October, so take a look at the hours before making the trip.
Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park
69.0 miles from downtown Benezette
If you’d still like to experience nature despite the rain and don’t mind an hour and a half drive, check out Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park. There’s no need to worry about the rain as you take a boat ride through this large cave, exploring its wondrously formed stalactites and stalagmites. Enjoy lunch from the snack shop located in the late-19th-century hotel on the property, or pack a picnic lunch to eat under the cover of the park’s gazebos.
While there are so many awe-inspiring natural sites to see and experience in Elk State Forest, there’s plenty of things to do in Benezette when it rains.