Fallingwater is an iconic American destination even if you aren’t necessarily an architecture buff. The house is one of the publicly accessible (and probably most recognizable) Frank Lloyd Wright homes. A Fallingwater visit has been on our travel wish list for years, but we just had never made it happen.
Lucky for us, a recent stay at the Mill Run Jellystone brought us within miles of Fallingwater, so we bought tickets for ourselves and our three young children.
Yikes, you may be thinking. That doesn’t seem like a very family-friendly activity.
Our twin 10-year olds and 6-year old enjoyed every minute of the hour long tour. Seriously. They were completely engaged and fascinated. And although every child is different, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this destination even if you have kids in tow.
To hear us talk about our recent trip to Fallingwater, you can click on the play button at the top of this article. Or you can listen to The RV Atlas podcast episode in your favorite podcast app like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.
Where is Fallingwater Located?
Fallingwater is located southeast of Pittsburgh, and just over the border from West Virginia and Maryland. It’s most certainly an A-list attraction if you are visiting Pittsburgh, but also if you’re just heading through Pennsylvania on I-81. We would highly recommend a brief detour off the highway for a visit to the house and grounds.
Fallingwater is located in the beautiful region of the Laurel Highlands, which surprises people with its natural beauty. The area is an outdoor enclave with a plethora of biking, hiking, tubing, and rafting opportunities nearby.
Before You Go to Fallingwater
Visitors need to purchase tickets for house tours in advance of arrival, a fact I blessedly discovered while doing some trip planning research. In fact, tickets for the guided tours, which are the only way to see the interior of the house, are not available day of visit. Even more importantly, tickets do sell out in advance on virtually every single day from May through November. We bought our tickets on Friday for the following Monday and had a range of tour times to choose from. But by that Sunday, every single tour was booked when I checked the website.
If you do miss out on buying tour tickets, note that a limited amount of grounds passes are available each day for ‘walk ups’. You can tour the grounds, and see the house from the outside.
Available Tours at Fallingwater
We booked the standard guided house tour for people ages 6 and up. Adult tickets were $30 and youth were $18. At the time of purchase I cringed, paying over $100 to bring my kids to a pretty house. However, after the tour we felt like the price was an amazing value. The tour guide was engaging and knowledgable, and the experience was priceless. Seeing how much effort goes into preserving the house and grounds was eye opening to say the least.
There are also in depth tours of the Fallingwater house, where visitors can see spaces not accessible on the main tour. Additional specialized (and more expensive) tours are also available. You can scroll through various options on the website.
Additional Information about Visiting Fallingwater
Know in advance that you will not be able to take any photos during the Fallingwater tour. At first this seemed disappointing, but it was truly a pleasure to just focus on the taking in the beauty and history of the house. And, to be honest, there are plenty of professional photos out there far better than any we would have taken.
After the tour, you can walk down to a viewpoint and get a selfie in front of the iconic house and waterfall.
The surrounding grounds are beautiful and worth spending time exploring. Unfortunately we had six hour drive ahead of us, and needed to hit the road. We would budget more than two hours for a future visit.
Another thing we would plan for in the future is a packed lunch. The cafe served what looked to be very tasty options. However, the prices were a bit high and I doubted my kids would much enjoy the highbrow options. The thought of paying $12 for a sandwich that would be picked at by a six-year old makes me clutch my wallet close. And $4 cookies? I’ve got three kids to put through college, thank you very much.
The gift shop, on the other hand, was worth browsing. There were so many beautiful items from local artisans and the prices seemed reasonable to us. It felt like the type of gift shop where you can find unique, special holiday presents for everyone on your list, kids included.
Lastly, check out the membership options before buying your tickets. One of the membership levels gives you reciprocal membership to 30 other Frank Lloyd Wright Homes. It may be worth the money to get that membership depending on your travel plans. The Kentuck Knob house is just miles away and is included in that reciprocal membership.
Other Highlights in the Laurel Highlands
And don’t forget to check out our complete review of the Mill Run Jellystone, a fantastic campground just miles from Fallingwater!
See you at the campground,
Stephanie + Jeremy