Getting Oriented

Many Bucks County sights are along two perpendicular corridors: U.S. 202, which runs northeast from Doylestown to New Hope, and Route 32, also known as River Road, which runs northwest parallel to the Delaware River and Canal. The former connects the county's leading destination towns: Doylestown, the county seat and home to several interesting museums; New Hope, a bustling tourist mecca of shops and restaurants; and Lambertville, a tamer version of New Hope that feels Bucks-like even though it's actually in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. The latter connects a number of historical sites as it winds from the re-created 17th-century Pennsbury Manor past the important 18th-century events of Washington Crossing and on through New Hope and small, quaint river towns farther north.

Bordering Philadelphia, Lower Bucks County consists of older, more densely populated suburbs dotted with really old settlements. It's not unusual to see the vestiges of 18th- and 19th-century hamlets, little more than a farmhouse or a few buildings at a crossroads, surrounded by big-box stores, malls, and post-war housing, including the well-known Levittown. A handful of tourist gems can be mined in Lower Bucks County, in Colonial corners and malls alike.

A little farther from Philadelphia, Central Bucks County offers more elbow room than its southern neighbor. In general, there are bigger gaps between the towns and housing developments. Though not home to as many residents as Lower Bucks, this area is home to the majority of the county's sightseeing and specialty shopping, in such towns as New Hope and Doylestown.

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