If you live or plan to be in the area, there are many, many Philadelphia day trips that you and your family can enjoy! These vary from historical downtown tours in the city to the sands of the Jersey Shore to the lush, rolling farmland hills of Lancaster, PA, and even to the scenic Pocono Mountains! All of these ideas are just an hour or two away.
Below are some of our family’s favorite get-aways in the extended Philadelphia area. With a nine-year spread from the oldest of our 4 boys to the youngest, it can be a real challenge to find something that is entertaining for all ages – the ideas below worked out great for us!:
Fairmount Park / Schuylkill River: If the weather is nice, park at John Lloyd Hall along boat house row (free parking); take a stroll along the beautiful river path, check out boat house row, watch the rowers, and have a picnic lunch; run up the Art Museum stairs and have your picture taken next to the Rocky statue; go to the Water Works Museum, the Franklin Institute, or the Art Museum. From here you can also take a short ride across the river to the other side of Fairmount Park and visit the Philadelphia Zoo or Please Touch Museum. Mann Music Center, near Belmont Plateau, offers many outdoor concerts in this natural amphitheater in the park. And finally, just 5 miles up the Schuylkill River Trail from the Art Museum and boat house row are the many trendy bars, clubs and restaurants of Manayunk.
Historic Philadelphia: Visit the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, or the many other historical sights . The availability of these tours can be limited during weekend, vacation,and peak times – try to make your reservations early. Another highly-entertaining option is to take a Ride the Ducks tour and experience the City of Brotherly Love by sea and land!
Pocono Mountains: Located just 2 hours north of Philadelphia, the Pocono Mountains area brings a whole new variety of recreation including: ski resorts, Camel beach outdoor water park, Great Wolfe Lodge’s Indoor Water Park, Delaware Water Gap National Park, Bushkill Falls, Ressaca Falls, and Dingman’s Falls, and much more.
Ashland Coal Mine Tour: Just 110 miles northwest of Philadelphia, Ashland has a fun coal mining tour that takes you in real miner rail cars right into the side of a mountain to a former working mine. Also in the area is Pennsylvania’s ghost town of Centralia, PA, and the Yuengling factory tour in Pottsville (kid’s get a free birch beer)!
Lancaster Dairy Farm Tour: Lancaster, PA is a great Philadelphia day trip to take with the family! Located an hour and a half west of Philadelphia, Kreider Farms offers a fun drive-thru tour and visit their merry-go-round-style dairy operations. While there, visit the Amish markets, take a horse & buggy ride, visit the hilarious novelty store Outhouse, or just drive through the breath-taking farm lands of Amish Country.
Ocean City, NJ: A often over-looked Philadelphia day trip during non-summer months is the Jersey Shore. Located just 65 miles away, Ocean City, NJ has a 2.5 mile boardwalk – some concessions are open year-round, most have hours between April and October. Take your bikes; go for a stroll, collect some sea shells, fly a kite…then enjoy a picnic, pizza, or an ice cream cone on the boardwalk before heading back.
New Hope, PA: Located 40 miles north of Philadelphia, the New Hope area along the Delaware River has lots to see and do. Visit the shops and amusements in Peddler’s Village; see a show at the Bucks County Playhouse, eat dinner on one of the patio-style restaurants on the river, take a stroll along the canal, ride the steam engine train through the rolling green hills of Bucks County, or have a hot dog and ice cream cone at Dilly’s then walk it off across Center Bridge to Stockton, NJ. If you’re really up for adventure, go up river just a few miles to Point Pleasant Raft & Canoe and take a float ride down the Delaware River!
Lake Galena / Peace Valley Park: Take a ride north above Doylestown, PA to this 350+ acre lake where you rent paddleboats, canoes, sail boats, go fishing, bike riding, throw a frisbee, fly a kite, play on the playground, enjoy a family picnic, and more. This is a great spot for a fun family outdoor play-day!
As you can see, there are so many Philadelphia day trips and lots of fun to be had in and out of the city, with just a short drive away. With so much to see and do, the Philadelphia area is well worth visiting. And if you already live in the area, be sure to take advantage of all these activities just outside your door!