It’s summer, and that means National Parks are clogged with visitors, zoos are packed with people enjoying the outdoor animal exhibits, and water parks are full of inflatables and screaming and splashing kids. All of these are signs that people are on summer vacation, enjoying some recreation and downtime. But are the Amish among them? Do the Amish take vacations?
The Amish are typically viewed by outsiders as a somber, severe, and hard-working people. The Amish do work hard, but they also play hard. They like to have fun time as much as anyone else and, for the Amish, travel is considered a prime pastime. Nothing fits into their simple lifestyle more than touring the country to take in mountain vistas, wildlife, of warm ocean waves. Amish men love deep sea fishing excursions or wading into a cold mountain stream for some fly fishing.
What do the Amish do on vacation? Well, it's a break from what can be a very hard, labor-intensive life. They like to sight-see, look at wildlife, visit the ocean...activities like campfires, camping, fishing, climbing, and bird-watching are all popular!
🏞️ The Amish and National Parks
Yes, the Amish do visit national parks. Some of the most popular national parks for Amish visitors include Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The Grand Canyon is also a very popular stop for Amish tourists.
The Amish enjoy visiting national parks for a variety of reasons. They appreciate the natural beauty of the parks, and they also enjoy the opportunity to learn about American history and culture. The Amish also find that national parks provide a quiet and peaceful place to relax and reflect.
🌊 The Amish and the Ocean
In the eyes of the Amish there are perhaps few examples of God's awesome power than the ocean. You arrive at the sandy beach and just see all that water stretching to the horizon, it's powerful waves lapping or pounding the shore. Even for someone who is not religious, the ocean is an amazing experience.
My sister-in-law recently saw some Amish tourists on the beaches of Cape May, New Jersey. I once saw a couple of young Amish ladies walking in traditional dress along the beach in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Other beaches popular with the Amish:
Delaware - there are some Amish settlements in the state, so the beach is close by.
Siesta Key, Florida - the Amish community of Pinecraft is nearby and regular bus routes shuttle Amish tourists comfortably from the Midwest.
The Amish enjoy swimming, fishing, and other water activities, and beaches can be a great place to do those things. They also enjoy spending time outdoors and enjoying nature, and beaches offer a unique opportunity to do that. Some Amish families take vacations, and beaches can be a popular destination. They often stay in cabins or other small accommodations, and they get around by walking, biking, or using tricycles.
🏊 The Amish and Waterparks
An Amish visit to a waterpark is a less common occurence. The whole awe of God's power and beauty are removed at a waterpark, replaced by pure fun and frivolity. Still, it's up to an individual preference and I've seen Amish visitors to Coney Island, a big water park in Cincinnati and to Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor waterpark in Mason, Ohio.
🐦 The Amish and Bird-Watching
Some Amish will travel so they can bird-watch.. In fact, it is a surprisingly popular hobby among Amish people, especially in areas with a lot of farmland and open space. There are several reasons why the Amish enjoy bird-watching:
- It is a way to connect with nature. The Amish value their connection to nature, and bird-watching is a great way to do that. It allows them to observe the beauty of God's creation and to learn more about the birds that share their world.
- It is a family-friendly activity. Bird-watching can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and it is a great way for families to spend time together outdoors. Amish families often go bird-watching together, and it is a great way for them to bond and learn about each other.
- It is a low-cost hobby. Bird-watching does not require a lot of expensive equipment, and it can be done almost anywhere. Amish people can often find binoculars and field guides at thrift stores or garage sales, and they can bird-watch in their own backyards or in nearby fields and forests.
🎢 The Amish and Theme Parks
It's a bit unusual to see an Amish family wearing mouse ears at Disney World, but it's not unheard of either. Theme parks are expensive and often showcase secular frivolity that some Amish are not comfortable with. But some Amish enjoy the adrenaline rush of a good coaster as much as anyone, so I have seen Amish people, for instance, at Kings Island in Ohio and Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. Dutch Wonderland and Hershey are popular parks in Pennsylvania for the Amish to visit.
And while this is not maybe a theme park per se, it is not suprising that Ark Encounter in Kentucky is a very popular Amish stop while on vacation.
🐘 The Amish and Zoos
I have seen Amish people frequenty at zoos, both at the zoos in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, but zoos are popular anywhere for Amish visitors.
Yes, some Amish people do like to visit zoos. Animals are viewed as creatures in God's kingdom, and a zoo can be a natural, low-tech way to have an enjoyable family day together. Some Amish communities even have their own zoos, where they can raise and care for animals.
Here are some reasons why Amish people might choose to visit a zoo:
- To learn about animals. Amish people are often interested in learning about the natural world, and zoos can be a great place to do that. They can learn about the different species of animals that live in the zoo, as well as their habitats and behavior.
- To spend time with family. Zoos can be a great place for families to spend time together. They can walk around the zoo, learn about the animals, and have fun together.
- To experience something new. Amish people often live in rural areas, and they may not have many opportunities to see animals in their natural habitats. A zoo can be a great way for them to experience something new and learn about the world around them.
Of course, not all Amish people feel comfortable visiting zoos. Some believe that it is too worldly or that it exposes them to temptation. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to visit a zoo is a personal one for each Amish individual or family.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about Amish zoo visits:
- They will typically dress modestly.
- They may avoid zoos that are crowded or that have a lot of alcohol or other activities that they consider to be inappropriate.
- They may bring their own food and drinks, or they may eat at restaurants that are known to be family-friendly.
Overall, Amish zoo visits are a relatively rare occurrence, but they do happen. When they do, it is usually for a specific reason, such as learning about animals, spending time with family, or experiencing something new.
And while this is not a zoo, it is not surprisngly that I have seen large Amish crowds enjoy the Kentucky Horse Park outside of Lexington.
🛬 The Amish and International Travel
This isn't very common because of the expense and plane travel involved, but some Amish really enjoy tracing their lineage in Europe by visit old family homesteads. And travel to the Holy Land is also a popular destination for Amish who wanter to visit Biblical sites.
🙋 FAQ About Amish Vacations
Trains, planes, buses, and hired drivers are all options for the Amish. They may not own cars, but they are resourceful at finding ways to travel!
Sure. It is not uncommon to see Amish people staying at a Holiday Inn Express or a lower budget Motel6, the bathrooms, refrigerators, and TV are all considered indulgences which are enjoyed on a vacation. When they return home, they'll go back to their normal life.
Most of the time women will wade into the water in their modest dress, as will men. Children and teenagers, who are not yet baptized into the church, will wear traditional clothing or normal swimsuits that other non-Amish children their age would wear.