20 Top-Rated Weekend Getaways from Philadelphia, PA

Written by Freddy Sherman and Joni Sweet Updated Feb 15, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

While Philadelphia may be known as the City of Brotherly Love, sometimes you just need to get away. Philly's Mid-Atlantic location means cities from New York City to Washington D.C. are within three hours by car, and even less by train, making them ideal weekend getaways from Philadelphia.

New York City

The city's large international airport means there are frequent, non-stop flights to resort destinations like Florida and the Caribbean , and you can be on a course golfing in Bermuda within three hours of taking off from PHL.

You can also be strolling the romantic streets of Old Montreal , within two hours of departing Philadelphia by plane. Families may want to consider an urban weekend getaway from Philadelphia to a car-free place like New York City, where you can take the train then unpack and spend most of your time sightseeing in the destination. Or, take a road trip to New York's Hudson Valley , which is downright spectacular in the fall.

Couples seeking a romantic getaway near Philadelphia may actually want to jet off to one of the more exotic places to visit, like spending a weekend in Montreal. For a cheap romantic getaway near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Dutch Country is an easy, inexpensive destination.

Plan your travels with our list of the best weekend getaways from Philadelphia, PA.

1. New York City, NY

2. pennsylvania dutch country, pa, 3. brooklyn, ny, 4. pine creek gorge, pa, 5. ocean city, nj, 6. montreal, canada, 7. gettysburg, pa, 8. jersey shore, nj, 9. new hope, pa, 10. annapolis, md, 11. hershey, pa, 12. rehoboth beach, de, 13. bermuda, 14. the poconos, pa, 15. washington, d.c., 16. hudson valley, ny, 17. reading, pa, 18. allentown, pa, 19. easton, pa, 20. bethlehem, pa.

Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline

The Big Apple is a two-hour drive (or a quick, 90-minute Amtrak Acela high-speed train ride) from Philadelphia's William H. Gray III 30 th Street Station. Walk on the train in Philly and walk off the train in the heart of Manhattan, inside the iconic Grand Central Station.

It's a great weekend getaway for couples-you can enjoy a stroll through Central Park , fine dining , and the Broadway theater scene . Families might enjoy an itinerary of tourist sites like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island . If you're looking for a getaway in from Philadelphia in winter, New York City offers plenty of things to do in winter .

A stay on Manhattan means the entire city can be explored via the subway and public transportation (with some help from taxis and shared ride services like Uber, Via, and Lyft).

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

An Amish farmer in Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Concentrated around the city and county of Lancaster , a rural area about 90 minutes outside Philadelphia, this is the land of the Amish, where you'll share the road with horse-drawn buggies.

The Dutch part of the name is a misnomer. The area was settled by German immigrants in the 17 th and 18 th century, and they referred to themselves as the Deutsche, literally, the Germans. Deutsche was corrupted to Dutch by the locals, and they were referred to as the Pennsylvania Dutch ever since.

The Pennsylvania Dutch Country area is also popular for antiquing, and smart buyers will make time to attend one of the mud sales held in the late winter and early spring. These are charity auctions at the local fire stations, usually filled with interesting antiques and farm ephemera. Families traveling with kids will love Dutch Wonderland , an old-school, 50-acre amusement park for small children and families.

Brooklyn Bridge at sunset

This borough of NYC is worth its own listing as a good Philly weekend getaway and can make a really cool travel destination.

It's now filled with boutique hotels, a thriving restaurant scene, and its own respectable collection of museums. Brooklyn is also a place you can get away to without needing a car. Take the train from Philadelphia and then take the subway around the city.

Leave some time to explore the Brooklyn Botanic Garden , the borough's curated, smaller version of the New York Botanical Garden. It's a nice green space to escape the summer heat and/or the crowded streets. There are beautiful gardens of different types, along with streams and lakes.

One of the more interesting is the Fragrance Garden, designed with different smelling plants to be enjoyed by those with vision impairments. Opened in 1955 and the first of its kind in the country, the Fragrance Garden features signage in Braille and plants grown in raised beds, perfect for children and people in wheelchairs.

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Brooklyn, NY

Pine Creek Gorge

Considered the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, this natural wonder is a 47-mile-long canyon reaching heights (or depths) of 1,450 feet.

This canyon has more gentle, tree-covered sides than the sheer, vertical rock faces of the Grand Canyon. The Pine Creek Gorge sits within the giant, 160,000-plus-acre Tioga State Forest, a protected park. It's about a 3.5-hour drive from Philly.

The many types of deciduous trees in the area make it a popular spot for leaf peeping in September and October. It's also a popular camping spot, and after the camping season ends in the late fall and the deer hunting season ends in late January, the winter brings snowmobiling season. The park has over 177 miles of snowmobile trails.

Leave time to visit Wellsboro, the quaint town adjacent to the gorge. It has a wonderful collection of preserved Victorian mansions, entire neighborhoods lit by vintage gas streetlights. There's also a downtown historic district with interesting shops and places to eat.

Beach houses in Ocean City, New Jersey

Not to be confused with the larger beach town of the same name in Maryland, Ocean City, New Jersey just may be the ultimate family destination.

Originally founded in the 19th century as a Methodist seaside resort, it retains some very family-friendly laws, like no alcohol sales within the town boundaries; no public alcohol consumption; and Blue Laws, which require many businesses to close on Sunday.

The city has a wonderfully wide wooden boardwalk extending almost three miles. The boardwalk is filled with many family-owned businesses, from little amusement parks to gift shops and food places. There are also some hotels and motels that are right on the boardwalk.

Ocean City has about eight miles of clean, well-guarded beaches, along with a large bay area, perfect for fishing and water skiing. This Jersey Shore getaway destination is an easy 2.5-hour drive from Philadelphia.

Read More: Best Things to Do in Ocean City, NJ

Downtown Montreal in autumn

You might not think of Montreal as a place to visit on a weekend getaway from Philadelphia, but Canada's beautiful and very French city is only a 100-minute flight from PHL.

Once here, you can stroll the narrow, cobblestone streets of Old Montreal ; shop in the food and flower markets; and enjoy the unique cuisine. The city has a wonderful European feel to it, enhanced by the fact that the main language spoken here is French.

Summer visitors can take advantage of the warm weather, with beaches along the river like the large Plage de L'Horloge. Summer visitors can also take advantage of BIXI Montreal, the city's public bike-share system. Whether winter or summer, make some time to visit Bota Bota, the city's very hip floating spa, constructed on a barge that floats on the river.

Winter visitors can experience the range of winter sports and use the city's underground passageways to enjoy the downtown area without ever having to brave the cold temperatures.

A hike up (and then back down) Mount Royal is an excellent way to enjoy the fresh air, check out some of Montreal's nicest neighborhoods, and get a view of the city from the summit. Don't worry, Mount Royal is more of a large hill than a real mountain.

The hike through Mount Royal Park to the top takes about an hour. Make sure you visit the Mount Royal Cemetery on your way, as it has some incredible Victorian monuments and architectural details.

  • Read More: Best Tourist Attractions in Montreal

A cannon and barn in historic Gettysburg

The historic Pennsylvania city where President Abraham Lincoln gave his iconic address is about two hours from downtown Philadelphia.

Recent changes and improvements to the Gettysburg National Military Park itself allow for a more meaningful visit, as the majority of the surrounding land has been acquired by preservation groups and returned to its original Civil War-era state. There's a large visitor center and museum, but the highlight is the opportunity to explore the sacred battlefield site by foot.

The small town of Gettysburg itself has a few historic boutique hotels that allow you to immerse yourself in the time period. This can also be done at living history events like battle re-enactments on the original battlefield. While here, you can also visit the adjacent Eisenhower National Historic Site , the home and farm of the former president.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Gettysburg

Atlantic City, New Jersey

A 127-mile stretch of the New Jersey coastline, the Jersey Shore area starts in Monmouth County and goes south through to Cape May. Towns like Wildwood, Seaside Heights, Ventnor, Margate, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Sea Isle City, and Ocean City are all considered part of the Jersey Shore. The range of experiences is also vastly different.

The city of Wildwood offers a carnival-like atmosphere with the opposite being Cape May, filled with families and elegant Victorian homes restored as bed and breakfasts.

All the Jersey Shore destinations are a 60- to 90-minute drive from Philadelphia. Atlantic City is the closest at an hour; Cape May is the farthest at an hour and a half.

Ocean City is the best getaway destination for families. The town retains some wholesome laws from its days as a religious seaside resort. No alcohol is sold anywhere in the town, no alcohol is allowed in any public area, and many shops observe Blue Laws and are closed on Sundays.

New Hope, PA | Photo Copyright: Joni Sweet

This small town in Bucks County on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River has long been a popular place for weekend getaways for couples.

This is antique country, and the town and surrounding area are filled with antique shops. You can also shop for unique treasures at Rice's Market, a flea market that's been around for more than 150 years.

New Hope also has a thriving arts scene, with many galleries and performance venues of all sizes in town, as well as the internationally acclaimed Bucks County Playhouse here as well.

One of the popular summer outdoor activities here is " tubing" down the Delaware . You're able to float in an inner tube (a round inflatable) five to six miles for three to four hours down the river. The current is gentle, and for safety, you always go in organized groups. Kayaks and canoes are also used.

New Hope sits next to the Delaware Canal, part of a 1,200-mile canal system built in the 19th century to move the materials of the Industrial Revolution. Now a National Historic Landmark, it's a popular walking, hiking, biking, and fishing spot.

The Bucks County area has also become a popular foodie destination, with farm-to-table restaurants taking advantage of the area's rich variety of locally grown produce and artisan foods. Visit Solebury Orchards to pick your own berries, apples, and cherries, and stock up on farm-made foods from the on-site market.

Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in New Hope, PA

Sunset over Annapolis

Maryland's historic, cobblestone-street-filled capital city, located on the Chesapeake Bay, is just a two-hour drive from Philadelphia.

An Annapolis getaway means you can explore the city's history, including the United States Naval Academy and the city's many museums. You can also explore the city's modern culture, with trendy locally owned boutique shopping options and a thriving food scene (with especially fresh seafood, of course).

Things to see and do in Annapolis include the Maryland State House building; the country's oldest still-in-use legislative building; and the city's historic city dock, usually home to several tall sailing ships. The waterfront area is also home to the Annapolis Maritime Museum , with its large collection of sailing and sea-related material.

The United States Naval Academy , which is like a large college campus on the waterfront, can be visited and offers guided tours. During the academic year, visitors can watch the daily formation of cadets at noon. On parade days (most Fridays), the full brigade of midshipmen perform formations on Worden Field at 4pm, something not to be missed.

Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Did you know there was a man named Hershey behind the Hershey chocolate empire? Milton Hershey made millions in the late-19 th and early 20 th century by pioneering a process to make caramel using fresh milk and a method for making milk chocolate inexpensively (previously, chocolate had been an expensive luxury).

Milton Hershey created the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania as a company town to house his many workers and their families. There were a lot of them, as Hershey had the largest chocolate factory in the world.

The city of Hershey, Pennsylvania, a scenic three-hour drive from Philadelphia, is all about chocolate. Hershey is home to the giant Hersheypark theme park and Hershey's Chocolate World , a combination chocolate museum and attraction with rides.

Hershey is easy to get to by car and not expensive, so the city is also a good cheap romantic getaway destination. It's near Lancaster and can be combined with a Pennsylvania Dutch Country experience as well.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Hershey, PA

Benches on the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach

This small Delaware seaside town delivers everything you need for the perfect family getaway: wide, sandy beaches; a wooden boardwalk with amusements; and even a big bandstand area with frequent band concerts.

Also to help make it a cheap getaway, Delaware has no sales tax (and there's a huge outlet mall just outside Rehoboth). The town has also gained additional fame due to it being right next to the long-time location of President Biden's summer vacation home.

Rehoboth Beach, just over a two-hour drive from Philadelphia, is primarily a summer destination and is especially popular with families. The beach and water are very clean, the city (and its next-door neighbor Dewey Beach) constantly ranks in the top 20 beaches in the country for water quality.

Rehoboth Beach is also known as an LGBTQ-friendly beach town with many LGBTQ-owned small businesses.

Read More: Top-Rated Beaches in Delaware

Beautiful beach in Bermuda

Closer to Philadelphia by plane (2.5 hours) than Miami (three hours), the Caribbean-like island of Bermuda is actually in the North Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea. It still provides a tropical, paradise-like romantic getaway, complete with pink-sand beaches, luxury resorts, and a lot of golf courses.

Another interesting fact: Bermuda is not technically an independent nation (by choice-they voted on it in 1995); it's a British Overseas Territory. It's under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the British government, and that's why it can feel like a tropical England. The island culture is mixed with traditional British culture, from food like fish and chips to activities like cricket. Cars even drive on the left side of the road.

The island gives visitors an incredible range of things to see, do, and eat. Aside from the beaches, there is history to explore; all kinds of outdoor activities, from hiking to hang gliding; and, of course, lots of fun on, above, in, and under the water.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Bermuda

Bushkill Falls in the Poconos

This mountainous area is known for its great skiing and winter sports during the winter, and amazing hiking and outdoor adventure activities during the spring and summer. The four-county area has over 150 lakes for swimming, fishing, and boating along with several rivers, some of which include sections of white water rafting-ready rapids.

During the summer, the Delaware Water Gap area, at the eastern end of the Poconos, is a great place for outdoor getaways, with miles of rivers and riverside beaches. Of course there are many hiking trails and mountain bike trails as well.

Summer is also the time to visit the area's many water parks and adventure parks (places for ziplining and other adventure sports).

In wintertime, The Pocono Mountains area is the region's largest ski resort area, with six full resorts and 185 slopes, terrain parks and trails for skiing, snowboarding, and every other kind of winter snow activity.

Snow tubing is popular and available at all the resorts. Suitable for anyone, it involves going down a gentle hill sitting in an inner tube (inflated donut).

Sunrise in Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital, and its endless museums, monuments, parks , and vibrant food scene, is only a 2.5-hour drive away. This city is also well-connected to Philly by rail, including Amtrak's Acela high-speed train, which gets you here in under two hours.

To travel around Washington, get a one-day Unlimited Metro Pass, giving you unlimited rides on the Metrobus and Metrorail systems. The city is filled with museums, and a focus on the 17 different museums and galleries that make up the Smithsonian Institution is a good strategy for those with limited time. They're also all free (some require timed tickets, which must be secured in advance).

The Georgetown neighborhood is a great place for shopping and dining. Be sure to visit the Old Stone House, the city's oldest, unchanged, pre-Revolutionary War home, built in 1765.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Washington D.C.

Mohonk Mountain House | Photo Copyright: Joni Sweet

Located roughly three hours away from Philly by car, the Hudson Valley region of New York is an iconic destination for a fall getaway. This mountainous area transforms into a brilliant palette of gold, red, and orange in September and October, drawing leaf-peepers from around the world.

Plus, the region has remarkable hiking opportunities for people of all experience levels. Popular hiking spots in the Hudson Valley include Breakneck Ridge, Minnewaska State Park Preserve , Mount Beacon , and Bear Mountain State Park.

Artsy river towns, like Beacon in the south or Hudson toward the north, make for quaint, culture-filled places to spend the night. They have tons of art galleries, antique shops, great restaurants, and performing arts venues that can fill the itinerary for your vacation.

Another great place to stay is the Mohonk Mountain House , a Victorian castle resort from 1869 that's located in New Paltz.

Reading Pagoda | Photo Copyright: Joni Sweet

Between its art scene, baseball stadium, and quirky attractions, Reading is a fantastic weekend getaway. It's just over an hour's drive from Philadelphia, making it an especially easy destination to visit in a short amount of time.

One of the most unique things to see in Reading is the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum. It has a renowned collection of restored aircraft, including one of just four remaining World War II-era P-61 Black Widows, which you can see up-close.

Reading doesn't disappoint when it comes to entertainment, either. You can catch a baseball game at FirstEnergy Stadium, watch world-class musicians perform at the Santander Arena , or see a play at the Mill Center for the Arts, among other great venues.

Be sure to leave room in your itinerary to watch the sunset from the Reading Pagoda . Considered a symbol of the city, this novel structure offers mesmerizing views.

Malcolm Gross Rose Garden in Allentown | Photo Copyright: Joni Sweet

Drive 90 minutes northwest from Philadelphia and you'll hit Allentown, a much smaller city with more than enough things to do to fill your weekend getaway itinerary.

You could easily spend a few hours wandering around the Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market, a nearly 70-year-old indoor farmers market that stretches across a huge building.

But, once you've filled up on local fare, head to some of Allentown's other top attractions , including the America On Wheels Museum, the Malcolm Gross Rose Garden, and the Allentown Art Museum, which has a Rembrandt painting in its permanent collection.

If you're traveling with kids, be sure to devote a day in your itinerary to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom . In business since 1884, this beloved amusement park has more than 60 thrilling rides, including Pennsylvania's only floorless roller coaster .

Mule-drawn canal boat at the National Canal Museum | Photo Copyright: Joni Sweet

Tourists who are passionate about art and history will love Easton, a small city less than an hour-and-a-half away from Philadelphia by car.

Interestingly, Easton's Centre Square , a green space with a towering monument in the heart of downtown, is where one of just three public readings of the Declaration of Independence was held in 1776.

The city became prosperous in the 19th century thanks to its strategic location where several canals met. This legacy is celebrated at the National Canal Museum , where you can take a ride on a mule-drawn canal.

Public art abounds in Easton, as well. Head to the Karl Stirner Arts Trail , a 1.6-mile-long path lined by large sculptures and other works, to stretch your legs while getting a big dose of creative inspiration.

The farms that surround Easton also make for fun (and tasty!) experiences. You can get a scoop of fresh ice cream at Klein Farms Dairy and Creamery, wander through the 14-acre corn maze at Raub's Farm Market, or shop the Easton Farmers' Market, the longest continuously running open-air market in the United States.

Read More: Top Things to Do in Easton, PA

Shops in Bethlehem, PA | Photo Copyright: Joni Sweet

Looking for a weekend getaway before the holidays? Bethlehem is one of the top Christmas towns in the US.

Also known as "Christmas City USA," the town has holiday magic around every corner in late November and December, including horse-drawn carriages, twinkling lights and ornaments along Main Street, and an award-winning Christmas market. And, given that it's located less than 90 minutes away from Philadelphia, the drive is doable, even if it's a little snowy.

Bethlehem is more than just a holiday hot spot, though. This is an all-season destination is filled with fascinating things to do.

You can learn about its industrial heritage at the National Museum of Industrial History or at the Hoover Mason Trestle, an elevated linear park set against several impressive blast furnaces from a former steel factory.

Or, travel even farther back in time at the Colonial Industrial Quarter , which has several centuries-old structures from Bethlehem's Moravian community.

You can also see a concert at SteelStacks, peek inside of artists' studios at The Banana Factory, and marvel at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts ' collection of intricate dollhouses. When you're ready for some down time, head to the Linderman Library at Lehigh University. It has a stunning Victorian Rotunda where you can relax with a good book.

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12 Best Weekend Getaways from Philadelphia (less than 4 hours away)

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Are you looking for the best weekend getaways from Philadelphia to escape the city? Lucky for you, there are loads of options! Head to the nature-laden Pocono Mountains, beach towns along the Atlantic, or Christmas-themed Bethlehem to start.

charming town center with brick streets and coastal houses

Whether you’re looking for last-minute weekend getaways from Philadelphia , a shore getaway, or any fun driving vacation – here are 12 of the best weekend trips from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This list is comprised of vacations that are a 4-hour drive from Philadelphia (in fact, most are under 3 hours), and is organized by: (1) weekend getaways near Philly in the state of Pennsylvania , and (2) weekend road trips from Philadelphia to nearby states .

Pennsylvania Weekend Trips from Philadelphia

Here are top-rated weekend trips within the state of Pennsylvania

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

One of the top weekend trips from Philadelphia is Bethlehem, PA — especially during the holidays. Given that the town is named after Jesus’ birth town, Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem is most popular around Christmas.

During this time, you can explore beyond Ph iladelphia’s local holiday attractions and instead experience Bethlehem’s Christmas markets and the town festivities.

Even if you don’t visit around Christmas, you can stay entertained in Bethlehem. Visit the National Museum of Industrial History, check out SteelStacks, and stop by Dutch Springs Aqua Park.

  • Distance from Philly : 2 hours
  • Top Bethlehem, PA hotels to stay at : Historic Hotel Bethlehem and The Sayer Mansion

Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

Calling all nature lovers! Cherry Springs State Park is one of the best weekend trips for outdoorsy Philadelphia folks who want to explore more nature escapes throughout Pennsylvania.

Named after a grove of black cherry trees, Cherry Springs State Park is most well-known for its stargazing. There’s actually a designated spot – the park’s Overnight Astronomy Observation Field – that offers breathtaking views of the Milky Way.

And if you time it right, you can enjoy the fantastic Cherry Springs Star Party, which takes place each June.

  • Distance from Philly: 4.5 hours
  • Best hotel near Cherry Springs State Park: Hotel Crittenden
  • Best camping near Cherry Springs State Park: The main campground is open seasonally from April – October. Review my camping checklist for packing list suggestions.

stargazing at night in a park with a clear view of the milky way

Bushkill Falls, Pennsylvania & DWG

Located in the Pocono Mountains near the Delaware Water Gap, Bushkill Falls is undoubtedly one of the best natural gems in the state and one of our recommended places for autum n hikes . This privately owned series of waterfalls is absolutely picture-perfect and an ideal weekend getaway from Philadelphia!

Things to do near Bushkill Falls: While in the area, you can hike to each of these wonderful waterfalls, get some sweet treats at the Fudge Kitchen, and even mine for gemstones.

Since you are right at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, make an extra memorable adventure out of the trip by planning extra hikes or even a 30-min epic airplane tour over the Pocono mountains to the DWG.

  • Distance from Philadelphia: 2.5 hours
  • Best hotels and vacation rentals near Bushkill Falls: This 6-bedroom rental or a further drive to Skytop Lodge

Hersheypark & Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Since Hersheypark and Harrisburg are so close to each other, you can easily visit both of these wonderful stops in one weekend. As an added bonus, you don’t even have to own or rent a car to get there! Board Amtrak’s Keystone Service train to make it a great weekend train trip from Philly.

Owned by the Hershey chocolate company, Hersheypark is definitely the coolest chocolate-themed amusement park in the world. Hop aboard the Cocoa Cruiser, test your skills on the Reese’s Cupfusion ride, and get a sweet bite to eat at Chocolatetown Treats.

When you’re done exploring this chocolate wonderland or Hershey’s AACA car museum , see what the town of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s state capital, has to offer. Visit the Cathedral Parish of Saint Patrick or the National Civil War Museum, grab a bite to eat at Broad Street Market, or join in a city scavenger hunt to explore deeper!

  • Distance from Philadelphia: 2 hours
  • Distance from Harrisburg to Hershey: 30 minutes
  • Where to stay near Hershey Park and Harrisburg: The Londonderry Inn for couples or this Hummelstown vacation home or the Best Western Premier for families/groups.

roller coaster at sunset

Longwood Gardens & Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Longwood Gardens is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the U.S. With 90,000 species of plants and 1,000 acres of land, it looks like it’s right out of a floral fairytale!

Longwood Gardens is located in the Brandywine region in an area called Kennett Square. So once you’re done admiring all the flora, you can explore this charming area as well.

Things to do near Kennett Square: Buy high-quality mushrooms from The Mushroom Cap, feel fancy at Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop, and pay a visit to Galer Estate Vineyards & Winery.

If you are on a mission to see lots of greater Philadelphia attractions like Longwood Gardens at minimal cost, I highly suggest you get a city pass which offers free entry to over 30 attractions in and near the city. You can also book a private driver departing from Philadelphia to help you explore the Brandywine region (especially if you want to visit vineyards).

  • Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour
  • Best hotels near Longwood Gardens: The Inn at Westwynd Farm , Brandywine River Hotel , and Hotel Du Pont .

Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

One of the best nature-focused weekend trips from Philadelphia is undoubtedly the Pocono Mountains. And since the Pocono Mountains revolve around its natural landscapes, the things that you can do in this region depend on the season.

Summer is perfect for heading out on the water, specifically at Mauch Chunk Lake Park and Promised Land State Park, or even riding in a stock car at the raceway. Fall is filled with autumn colors and leaf-peeping opportunities.

Winter is ideal for cold-weather activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. And spring is great for hiking trails like Lehigh Gorge Trail, Bushkill Falls Trail, and the nearby Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area.

  • Distance from Philadelphia: 2-3 hours (depending on the area)
  • Best hotels near the Poconos: home rentals are common because of group travel, but these hotels are wonderful options: Settlers Inn , Skytop Lodge , Ledges Hotel , and Hotel Anthracite .

hiking along a woods trail near Philadelphia

Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

Valley Forge is one of the best getaways in Pennsylvania for history buffs — especially if you want to visit Valley Forge Historical Park. While in the area, learn about the American Revolution, hike the Schuylkill River Trail, and pop by Washington’s Headquarters.

Try this: Valley Forge Historical Park self-guided driving tour

If you have some extra time on your weekend getaway, you can visit some of the other historical sites in Valley Forge and King of Prussia. Valley Forge boasts the Bryn Athyn Historic District and Pottsgrove Manor. Then, there’s King of Prussia, which has the iconic Justice Bell and is known for its big shopping.

  • Best hotels near Valley Forge: Springhill Suites by Marriott , Element Valley Forge , Tru by Hilton

Fun weekend getaways from Philadelphia (outside PA)

Here are top-rated weekend trips outside of the state of Pennsylvania

Annapolis, Maryland

Not all of the best weekend getaways from Philadelphia are in Pennsylvania. Quite a few of them are in neighboring states! One example of this is Annapolis, Maryland.

Annapolis is the capital city of Maryland. Situated on Chesapeake Bay, it’s most well-known for its water-related activities.

What to do in Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay: Take a stroll on the dock, hop aboard a boat and sail on the bay, take a helicopter tour for an aerial view , and indulge in delicious fresh seafood.

But if you want to take a break from the Atlantic Ocean, you can do that too. Tour the US Naval Academy, enjoy a wine tasting at Great Frogs Winery, or visit the Banneker-Douglass Museum instead.

  • Best hotels in Annapolis: Crowne Plaza Annapolis , Graduate Annapolis , and Gibson’s Lodgings of Annapolis

road trip driving Chesapeake bridge by the coast

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

A fantastic beach trip from Philadelphia is Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Just two hours outside of Philadelphia, this Delaware beach town is quite convenient for beachgoers looking to escape the city, go paddle boarding , and maybe even take some windsurfing lessons .

Add Rehoboth Beach’s beautiful beaches and award-winning boardwalk to your weekend getaway plans for a sandy getaway sans alcohol (yep, this beach spot prohibits booze on the beach, boardwalk or public streets).

  • Best hotels near Rehoboth Beach: The Bellmoor Inn and Spa and Ocean Glass Inn

Cape May, New Jersey

If you’re hoping for a beach weekend getaway from Philadelphia that’s a shorter drive than going to Delaware, consider Cape May, New Jersey. This little town is known for its soft sand and scenic stretch of beaches.

In the warmer months, you’ll definitely want to check out Sunset Beach, Higbee Wildlife Management Area, Cape May Point, Historic Cold Spring Village, and Cape May Point State Park. This is also a great place for dolphin and whale watching so consider booking a 3-hour cruise to spot some!

  • Distance from Philadelphia: 1.5 hours
  • Best hotels near Cape May: ICONA Cape May , The Virginia and Cottages , Sand Piper Beach Club , The Mason Cottage Downtown

sitting in an old row boat

Eastern Shore of Maryland

The eastern shore of Maryland is filled with gems that are worth a visit – from Ocean City to Assateague Island National Seashore. I recommend trying to see a bunch of these coastal Maryland towns during your weekend trip from Philadelphia.

Tours to book in Ocean City, MD: Parasailing , sail on a catamaran , book a sunset cruise , or try a banana boat adventure .

Get a taste of small-town life in Chesapeake City, say hello to the wild horses at Assateague Island National Seashore, and dine on fresh seafood on Tilghman Island.

  • Distance from Philadelphia: 3 hours
  • Best hotels on Eastern Shore, MD: Princess Royal Oceanfront Resort , Residence Inn by Marriott Ocean City , and Cambria Hotel Ocean City Bayfront

New York City, NY

It goes without saying that NYC is a fantastic weekend trip to take from P hilly . You can take a quick bus for under $10 at times (Bolt or Megabus ), a train for under $40 (NJT or Amtrak), or drive there — but we don’t recommend you subject yourself to that traffic.

While there, you can explore the many boroughs of the city: Visit the Botanical Gardens or experience a Yankees game in the Bronx; indulge in the diverse flavors of Astoria, Queen’s food scene; take iconic bridge photos in Dumbo, Brooklyn; or get lost perusing the many neighborhoods of Manhattan after an epic private helicopter tour .

  • Best hotels in New York City: the hotel options are endless, I recommend you decide which borough you’ll explore the most and then use or Priceline to secure an epic hotel. If you have the budget, staying in Manhattan will help you be most central to top attractions.

standing next to a huge barrel that says cider, while pouring a drink from its nozzel

Which destinations to Choose for Your weekend trips from Philadelphia

Of course, these amazing weekend trips from Philadelphia are just the start! You can also visit fantastic spots like the Catskills in New York for scenic views, New Hope in Pennsylvania for an adorable village feel, Washington DC for their local Cherry Blossom festival , and more!

I recommend considering the season, school vacation schedule, and your group size when planning your weekend getaway from Philly.

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Niagara falls in the summer

Best Road Trips From Philadelphia

Top road trip destinations from philadelphia.

Aerial view of the Central park in New York.

🚗 96 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 10 minutes

You can expect a scenic journey from Philadelphia to New York City, where iconic landmarks and world-class museums await you in this bucket-list city.

Niagara Falls Hornblower Cruise Boat Approaching Waterfall Under a Perfectly Arched Rainbow

Niagara Falls

🚗 415 miles ⏱️ 7 hours

Take on an unforgettable journey from Philadelphia to Niagara Falls, where you will experience jaw-dropping beauty at the world's most iconic waterfalls.

Catskill Mountains

🚗 220 miles ⏱️ 4 hours

Venture from Philadelphia to the stunning Catskill Mountains, where lush landscapes and outdoor adventures greet you. A retreat away from the city hustle and bustle.

🚗 770 miles ⏱️ 12 hours

An epic road trip from Philadelphia to Chicago, leads you to a Windy City dotted with iconic architecture, renowned museums, and vibrant culture.

Landscape of The area around Long Pine Reservoir in Michaux State Forest in Central Pennsylvania

Michaux State Forest

🚗 150 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 50 minutes

You can enjoy pretty and peaceful woodlands, scenic trails, and wildlife aplenty when you heads towards Michaux State Forest.

Cave stalactites, stalagmites, and other formations at Luray Caverns, Virginia.

Shenandoah National Park

🚗 230 miles ⏱️ 4 hours, 10 minutes

Embark on a scenic journey from Philadelphia to Shenandoah National Park, with stunning views and scenery. Head in Spring when the cascading waterfalls and wildflowers emerge.

Montreal, Canada with the city skyline in the background and a yacht in the foreground in the Lachine Canal taken on a sunny day.

🚗 590 miles ⏱️ 10 hours, 25 minutes

This exciting road takes youo from Philadelphia to Montreal, a city packed with pretty streets, stores and eateries. A charming blend of French-Canadian culture.

Huge guitars at Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee

🚗 800 miles ⏱️ 12 hours

Take on a musical journey towards Nashville, where you'll discover live music venues, historic landmarks, and vibrant nightlife in the heart of country music.

Amish Farmer Baling Hay onto Wagon, Amish Country

Amish Country

🚗 60 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 40 minutes

Embark on a cultural adventure, where the simplicity of Amish life, pretty countryside, and delicious homemade treats are waiting!

The United States Capitol building in Washington DC at twilight

Washington, DC

🚗 140 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 45 minutes

From one historical city to another, make a visit to Washington, DC, and you can expect world-renowned sites including The White House and Lincoln Memorial.

🚗 305 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 15 minutes

Embark on a scenic drive from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, where you'll discover a blend of modern attractions, historic sites, and picturesque landscapes in the Steel City.

The Steel Pier at Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Jersey Shore

🚗 50 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 10 minutes

Fancy a coastal getaway? Then Jersey Shore promises sandy beaches, oceanfront attractions, and seaside charm along the beautiful Atlantic coastline.

Sunrise at the 15th Street Pier in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Virginia Beach

🚗 360 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 45 minutes

If you are after a sunny seaside visit then venture to Virginia Beach. You can enjoy soaking up the sun, water sports, and explore vibrant boardwalks along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Boston Public Garden. George Washington Statue surrounded by tulips, tourists and beautiful spring colors.

🚗 420 miles ⏱️ 7 hours

Embark on a historical journey from Philadelphia to Boston, where you'll explore Revolutionary War sites, historic neighborhoods, and famous landmarks in one of America's oldest cities.

Frontenac Castle in Old Quebec City in the beautiful sunrise light.

Quebec City

🚗 620 miles ⏱️ 12 hours, 30 minutes

If you are looking for a city packed with European charm, historic architecture, and a vibrant French-Canadian culture, then head to Quebec City. North America's oldest walled city.

Adirondack chairs by Lake Champlain in New York State

Lake Champlain

🚗 430 miles ⏱️ 7 hours, 15 minutes

Take on a scenic drive from Philadelphia to Lake Champlain, where you'll discover pretty landscapes, charming waterfront towns, and outdoor adventures in the heart of the Adirondacks.

Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta during twilight hour after sunset

🚗 820 miles ⏱️ 13 hours

You can expect a Southern adventure as you head from Philadelphia to Atlanta. Enjoy sites ranging from Atlanta Botanical Garden to the World of Coca Cola.

Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

🚗 580 miles ⏱️ 10 hours

Enjoy a coastal journey from Philadelphia to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, where you'll explore rugged landscapes and charming seaside towns in the northeastern corner of the United States.

An old, dark red locomotive pulls into the station at the New Hope Railroad, PA

🚗 42 miles ⏱️ 48 minutes

Take on a short journey to New Hope, and you can expect a trip filled with eclectic shops, and riverside dining. Visit Bowman's Hill Tower for panoramic views of the Delaware River.

Kayakers in the Delaware River and Canoes and Rafts on the Shore at the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania

🚗 180 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 30 minutes

A visit to Callicoon from Philadelphia will deliver small-town experience with scenic views of the Delaware River, and the opportunity to fish and hike across the charming countryside.

Longer road trips from Philadelphia

Orlando, Florida, USA with the sun shining over Lake Eola park in Orlando.

🚗 1,110 miles ⏱️ 18 hours

Magical theme parks, sunny beaches, and unrivalled energy greet you in the heart of Central Florida.

Beautiful Crandon Park Beach in Miami. Florida.

🚗 1,300 miles ⏱️ 20 hours, 15 minutes

A coastal adventure in Miami, bursting with beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and exciting nightlife.

Streetcar in downtown New Orleans, USA at twilight

New Orleans

🚗 1,340 miles ⏱️ 22 hours, 30 minutes

Toe tap your way to New Orleans, to discover rich history and musical masterpieces in the birthplace of jazz and creole culture.

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United States Chevron

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Philadelphia Chevron

Best Weekend Getaways from Philadelphia

By Regan Stephens

The Tides Inn Irvington Virginia

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Home to a vibrant culinary scene , thousands of larger-than-life works of public art , and—no big deal— the actual home of American democracy , Philadelphia has plenty going for it. Add to that the city’s location: right between New York City and Washington, D.C. and conveniently well-positioned for so many road trips. Charming small-towns, secluded mountain cabins, cultural hubs and coastal retreats—they’re all less than a five-hour drive. If you're longing for a change of scenery a short drive away, read on for our favorite weekend getaways from Philadelphia.

All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

East Point Lighthouse New Jersey

Maurice River, New Jersey  

Philadelphians searching for a restorative getaway should look no further than the Lokal A-Frame (from $300 per night) , located less than an hour from Philly by car in Cumberland County, New Jersey. The homegrown Lokal hotel group, run by husband-and-wife creatives Chad and Courtney Ludeman, introduced the area to a new style of lodging when they opened their first hotel in Old City in 2017. The “invisible service” hotel—one that replaces an onsite staff with technology and intuitive design—is perfect for these times of social distancing. And the three-bed, two-bath A-Frame vacation home, set on a wooded 2.5 acres, takes it to the next level. Besides groceries, the home is stocked with all the necessities for a secluded break. Fire up dinner in the Big Green Egg grill, screen a movie on the 8-foot projection screen, soak in the wood-fired hot tub, and take your morning coffee (made with locally brewed beans you can find in the kitchen) to the private river beach. In the unlikely event cabin fever hits, break the off-the-grid illusion with a visit to the nearby East Point Lighthouse , or with a scenic drive to one of the New Jersey shore towns. Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Cape May are only a short drive away. (one-hour drive from Philadelphia)

River House at Odettes New Hope PA

New Hope, Pennsylvania  

Just 40 miles north of Center City in bucolic Bucks County, Pennsylvania, New Hope is as charming and small-town as Philadelphia is (charmingly) bustling and gritty. River House at Odette’s (from $389 per night) opened on the edge of town in late September. Named for the cabaret run by French singer Odette Myrtil who once occupied the same site, the 36-room boutique hotel overlooks the Delaware River and is a short walk from Main Street’s antique shops and eateries. Pack a picnic lunch with provisions from the Ferry Market —a salad from Little Radish, made with produce from nearby farms, or a vegetable empanada from Lima Fusion—before pedaling two miles down the canal path to explore what’s in season at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve . End the day at the hotel’s member’s only rooftop lounge, with a local beer from Free Will Brewing and panoramic river views. (one-hour drive from Philadelphia)

Baltimore George Peabody Library one of the most beautiful famous libraries in the world.

Baltimore, Maryland  

Baltimore may be best known for its tourist-thronged Inner Harbor, but fan out from Charm City’s unofficial epicenter to find much quieter, quirkier neighborhoods. Spend a weekend in a restored 19th-century brick mansion in Mount Vernon at The Ivy (from $595 per night ). Plenty of historic sites are in walking distance—the stunning Peabody Library and the Walters Art Museum —but no one would blame you for forgoing it all to stay cloistered in what can feel like your own private estate. Start the day in the courtyard with made-to-order lemon souffle pancakes, take afternoon tea in the library, and in the evening, pour a glass of wine at the serve-yourself Mansion bar. Inside each of the plush 18 rooms and suites is a gas fireplace and complimentary mini-bar stocked with local snacks and drinks. In the Fell’s Point neighborhood along the Patapsco River, the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore (from $295 per night ) sits on Recreation Pier. Opt for a harbor view room where floor-to-ceiling windows show off the scenic waterfront. Try a whiskey tasting at the Cannon Room (named for the 17th-century cannons unearthed on site during the hotel’s construction), and come back in the summer, when the pool set on the edge of Rec Pier opens for sunbathing and socializing. (one-and-a-half hour drive from Philadelphia)

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Pocono Mountains Delaware Water Gap

Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania  

About 100 miles north of Philadelphia, the Poconos have been a sanctuary for city dwellers since the early 19th century, when the region’s first hotel opened. Surrounded by lake-dotted forests, the area is still a draw for camping, skiing, and other year-round outdoor entertainment. Bypass the sprawling resorts and instead book a cozy Airbnb, like the Midcentury A Frame (from $275 per night ) near the village of Hamlin. Nestled in a leafy enclave just a few minutes walk from a lake, the jewel of this lovingly restored home is the soaking tub, framed with a wall of windows to showcase the surrounding nature. Venture out to walk Main Street in nearby Honesdale, and stop for a cup of coffee at Black and Brass , made with beans roasted on-site, or plates of handmade fettuccine and whole roasted trout at Native . (two-hour drive from Philadelphia)

Lewes and Rehoboth Beach Delaware

Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware  

Southern Delaware draws year-round visitors for its 25-mile-stretch of family-friendly beaches, scenic biking trails, and thriving culinary scene. Stay at the Dogfish Inn ( from $119 per night ), a boutique hotel run by Dogfish Head brewery on the edge of downtown Lewes, looking out over the Lewes-Rehoboth canal. Stroll down 2nd Street—stopping in Edie Bees for penny candy and Biblion Books for paperbacks—before tapping the Inn’s gear shed for beach cruisers, binoculars, Woolrich blankets, and other essentials for a trail ride. Return to sit by the fire pit, sampling house beers brewed just down the road. At the Bellmoor Inn + Spa (from $199 per night) in downtown Rehoboth, take your breakfast into the quiet courtyard, read by the fire in the Jefferson library, or schedule an in-room massage. Just two blocks from Rehoboth beach and boardwalk, find a host of restaurants in walking distance, including Egg and Henlopen City Oyster House . (two-hour drive from Philadelphia)

Amber Waves Farm Market  Kitchen Amagansett NY

Amagansett, New York  

While “out east” for sun-seeking Philadelphians typically means the Jersey Shore, in under four hours from Center City, the Hamptons are a refreshing change of coastal scenery. Book a private cottage at recently opened The Roundtree ( from $395 per night ) in Amagansett. Room designs reflect the low-key luxury that defines the region, with a subdued color palette, Frette linens, and Grown Alchemist bath products. In winter, snuggle under a blanket by the fire pit during a s’mores-filled happy hour. Come back in warmer weather to take one of the property’s beach cruisers for the mile-long spin to the ocean (they’ll also give you towels, umbrellas, and all the other essentials for a perfect day at the beach). Or, tour nearby vineyards and shop the town’s farmer’s markets, like nearby Amber Waves , for fresh peaches grown on their 25-acre farm. (four-hour drive from Philadelphia)

Quirk Hotel Richmond VA

Richmond, Virginia  

Virginia’s capital is home to a vibrant art scene, and there’s no better place to soak it in than at Quirk ( from $179 per night) , located in the Arts and Design District—about four hours south of Philly. Light and airy guest rooms are imbued with character thanks to plenty of artwork, but perhaps none mirrors the neighborhood’s dynamic and design-minded vibe more than the Mural Rooms. Each one is painted by a different local artist, and a portion of the room rate will go to Make Space, a mentorship program for young female artists. Check out the neighborhood’s myriad galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, and don’t miss the hotel’s own Quirk Gallery, which showcases exhibitions by established and emerging artists. (four-hour drive from Philadelphia)

The Tides Inn Irvington Virginia

Irvington, Virginia  

Set on the Northern Neck peninsula between the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay is the tiny town of Irvington, right in the midst of Virginia’s Oyster Trail. Less than five hours by car from Philadelphia, The Tides Inn (from $199 per night) has a distinctly retro-seaside resort feel, with tennis courts, lawn games, and dockside crabbing—a perfectly peaceful spot to refresh and feast on local seafood. Book a long weekend in one of the newly designed Ashburn suites, with harbor views and soaking tubs, and make time to cruise Carter’s Creek in one of the hotel's electric Duffy boats, or borrow a stand-up paddleboard to venture out solo. The resort can arrange an Oyster Academy experience, too, where you can tag along with a local waterman to learn about the bivalves before sampling the haul, or hit the trail on your own. First stop: Merroir at Rappahannock Oyster Company for fresh-harvested oysters al fresco. (five-hour drive from Philadelphia)


Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center

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7 easy Philadelphia escapes you can get to in 3 hours or less

Gene Sloan

From Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House to the art collection at The Barnes, Philadelphia is home to enough A-list attractions to keep you busy for a whole summer's worth of weekends. However, as we Philadelphians know (until recently, I lived there for more than 20 years – and I still come back regularly), sometimes you just need to get away.

The good news for those living in and around The City of Brotherly Love — or anyone visiting for an extended stay — is that there is an extraordinarily rich array of options in the region for a quick escape. And I do mean extraordinary. There aren't many other U.S. cities that have classic beach towns, mountain retreats, a historic amusement park, a gambling mecca and one of the nation's most famous battlefields, all within a few hours' drive.

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Below, I list my seven favorite getaways from Philadelphia, all reachable in less than three hours. Some can be done as day trips, but all make for wonderful long weekend escapes, too. I encourage you to plan for a stay of at least a night or two at each.

Note that I didn't even bother to list New York City, which is just 98 miles away and, some might argue, the ultimate weekend getaway for Philadelphians. It's such a major destination that TPG already has an entire New York City guide devoted to it.

Related: How to get to New York City on points and miles

1. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Distance from Philadelphia: 2 hours and 30 minutes

What to do: If, like many Americans, you descend from someone who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg (two of my great-great-grandfathers were there), this is somewhat of a pilgrimage site. Even if you have no connection to the battle, though, it's a fascinating destination. The events that took place over three days in 1863 in this rural town west of Philadelphia changed the course of history.

Often referred to as the turning point of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg took place all around the town, and much of the battlefield is preserved within the National Park Service-run, 6,000-acre Gettysburg National Military Park . Before you do anything, stop in the Visitor Center for its must-see museum, 20-minute movie and iconic, recently restored Cyclorama — a massive, 360-degree painting depicting Pickett's Charge that dates to 1883. While viewing the Cyclorama, you'll get commentary on the battle and a sound and light show. Then head out to the battlefield, preferably with a licensed guide who will hop in your car for a two-hour tour (guide fee: $75 per car).

Related: The best cash-back cards of 2022

Other top Gettysburg stops include the National Park Service-owned David Wills House, where President Abraham Lincoln put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address, and the nearby National Military Cemetery, where he delivered it. For a respite from Civil War history, the area also is home to Eisenhower National Historic Site, the home and farm of President Dwight Eisenhower.

Where to stay: History buffs will have a hard time passing up the Brickhouse Inn, in downtown Gettysburg (rooms from $119 per night). Not only is the two-building, 14-room bed and breakfast just steps away from the Culp's Hill section of the Gettysburg battlefield, one of its two buildings — the 1838-built Welty House — was occupied by Confederate sharpshooters during the conflict (and has the bullet holes to prove it). For those looking to earn-or-burn miles, the immediate vicinity also includes several chain hotels, including a Courtyard, Holiday Inn Express and Wyndham .

Related: A guide to Marriott hotel brands

2. Ocean City, New Jersey

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 20 minutes

What to do: There are quite a few wonderful beach towns within striking distance of Philadelphia, but none we love more than Ocean City. With a two-and-a-half-mile wooden boardwalk lined with kiddie rides, miniature golf courses, a go-kart track and arcades, it's like a throwback to family fun circa 1950. Plus, there's the beaches — all eight miles of them, wide and pristine.

Families are, indeed, the focus. A barrier island that bills itself as America's Greatest Family Resort, Ocean City is, notably, a "dry" town — there are no bars and no liquor stores once you cross the bridge from the mainland. That keeps the rowdy crowd away, and the evening scene is all about strolling the boards with the little ones in tow.

Between games of skee-ball and a ride on the iconic Giant Wheel at Gillians Wonderland Pier (one of the East Coast's largest Ferris wheels), be sure to grab a "cut" at Manco and Manco Pizza, a tub of caramel corn at Johnson's Popcorn and a twist of frozen custard at Kohr Bros. Then head over to Shriver's for a box of its famous saltwater taffy (and to watch the taffy made in the back). The oldest business on the boardwalk, it's been a fixture of Ocean City since 1898.

Note that Ocean City, New Jersey, shouldn't be confused with Ocean City, Maryland — another beach town to the south that primarily caters to the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. markets.

Where to stay: Most visitors stay in weekly rentals (houses, half-houses and apartments being the norm). However, short-time and overnight visitors will find a modest array of hotels and motels such as the beachfront Port-O-Call and The Flanders; current rates for the coming months start at $229 and $219 per night.

Related: TPG beginner's guide — Everything you need to know about points, miles, airlines and credit cards

3. The Poconos, Pennsylvania

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 30 minutes

What to do: With 2,400 square miles of lakes, rivers and woodlands, the mountain region known as The Poconos has long been one of the main escapes for Philadelphians looking to get outdoors. Just 80 miles to the north of the city, and offers such allures as the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which offers hiking, biking, boating and camping. There's also the National Park Service's Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River site, which brings more outdoorsy pursuits. Both areas straddle the Delaware River.

The closest corner of The Poconos to Philadelphia is the Lehigh River Gorge area, home to Jim Thorpe, the "Gateway to the Poconos" and a hub for white water rafting, mountain biking and hiking in nearby Lehigh Gorge State Park. Other hubs include historic Milford, Hawley and Stroudsburg. In addition to hiking, biking and boating, you'll find places to horseback ride, fish, bird watch and even zip line. In winter, there's both downhill and cross-country skiing.

Where to stay: It doesn't get much better than The Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley. It's a 58-room luxury retreat, complete with a spa and dining room. With rates in June starting at $419 per person, it's certainly not cheap, but you'll end up feeling relaxed and refreshed. For something more budget-friendly, try the Inn at Jim Thorpe with rooms starting for just $133 a night.

Related: Starter card showdown — Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture

4. Hershey, Pennsylvania

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Distance from Philadelphia: 2 hours

What to do: Call it the town that chocolate built. Located 95 miles east of Philadelphia, the home to the original Hershey chocolate factory offers a glimpse into the making of one of America's iconic brands. Start your visit at The Hershey Story, located near the corner of Chocolate Avenue and Cocoa Avenue (really, we're not making those names up). It's an interactive museum chronicling Hershey founder Milton Hershey's life and the picture-perfect community's creation as a model factory town.

More Hershey indoctrination awaits at nearby Hershey's Chocolate World, site of a famed ride telling the story of chocolate, a 4D chocolate-themed show and other diversions. The town's biggest attraction, though, is Hersheypark , the historic, roller coaster-filled amusement park that Milton Hershey opened in 1906 as a diversion for his factory's workers (a current offer has tickets starting at $47.95 per person; the full rate is $76.95). Hersheypark is really three parks in one, with 70 rides, a full water park and a zoo included in admission. Its newest attraction, Jolly Rancher Remix, is a revamped roller coaster that includes a blast through a Jolly Rancher flavor-infused tunnel.

If that's not enough Hershey for you, there's also Hershey Gardens, a 23-acre botanical park that, yes, has a tad of Hershey theming, too.

Where to stay: Sure, you could stay at one of the chain motels in the area. But why not go Full Hershey with a night at the historic, 276-room Hotel Hershey (rooms from $229 per night during the off season; much more during peak periods). Milton Hershey himself had it built on a hill overlooking the town in the 1930s. That, or keep it in the Hershey family with a night at the Hershey Lodge, which has its own indoor pool complex (rooms from $129 during the off season). There's also the Hersheypark Camping Resort. The latter has hundreds of campsites that cost $59 for a full hookup. All of these "official" Hershey resorts come with free shuttle service to Hersheypark, extra hours inside the park, tickets to The Hershey Story and Hershey Gardens, and free chocolate at check-in.

5. Brandywine Valley, Delaware and Pennsylvania

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Distance from Philadelphia: 45 minutes

What to do: The Brandywine Valley is just 35 miles south of Philadelphia, but it feels a world away. The site of former country mansions of the du Ponts and other wealthy families, it offers a pastoral, château country-like scene. Drive along scenic routes 100 and 52 between Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, to spectacular Longwood Gardens, designed by Pierre du Pont, and the 70-plus-room Nemours Mansion & Gardens, built by Alfred I. du Pont.

There's also Winterthur, the massive, 982-acre country estate-turned-museum built by Henry du Pont. It houses what's considered the premier collection of American furniture and decor as well as a superb garden that Henry du Pont designed himself.

The Brandywine Valley also is Andrew Wyeth country. You can visit the famed 20th-century artist's studio (where he worked until just before his death in 2009) and the nearby Kuerner Farm, which inspired many of his works. Then learn more about him and his father, the painter N.C. Wyeth, at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. N.C. Wyeth's former residence and studio also is open for tours.

Where to stay: Listed on the National Historic Register, The Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa is the classic place to stay in the area. Eleven carefully restored buildings dating from 1799 are home to 28 guest rooms and suites with four-poster beds and, in some cases, cozy fireplaces. The buildings once housed workers from nearby DuPont powder mills. Rates start at $161 per night.

6. Lambertville, New Jersey

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Distance from Philadelphia: 50 minutes

What to do: Located just 41 miles north of Philadelphia, this historic riverfront town is the place to go when you're on the hunt for cool furniture and decor. Along with its cross-river twin New Hope, Pennsylvania, it's loaded with small craft, vintage, art and antique shops. It's also easy to reach from Baltimore if you're coming from that direction.

Be sure to time your visit around an opening of the giant outdoor Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market, which is just outside of town and usually open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, don't miss The People's Store, which has more than 40 dealers on three floors. Lambertville is also where you'll find Rago, one of the nation's best-known auction houses specializing in 20th-century design. You can build an entire weekend around a pilgrimage to one of its famed mid-century modern auctions.

Founded in 1705, Lambertville is a charmer lined with well-preserved federal townhouses and Victorian homes. So is New Hope, just across the Delaware River via a walkable bridge. If you're heading that way, and you're a theater fan, check out Bucks County Playhouse, which opened in a former gristmill in 1939 and has put on performances ever since.

Where to stay: Filling a restored 19th-century train depot, the 46-room Lambertville Station offers waterside dining, as well as lodging (rooms from $199 per night). Or head across the river to the recently renovated Logan Inn in New Hope. First established as an inn in 1727, it's one of the oldest continuously run inns in the country (rooms from $150).

7. Atlantic City, New Jersey

weekend road trips from philadelphia

What to do: If Ocean City, N.J., is the place to go for kiddie fun at the beach, Atlantic City is its counterpart for adults. Instead of kiddie rides and miniature golf, the big allures of its boardwalk are the giant casinos loaded with adult-only gaming areas — there are nine across Atlantic City in all.

Just 62 miles from Philadelphia (and one barrier island up the coast from Ocean City), the famed gambling town also offers such adult diversions as dance clubs, comedy clubs, lounges with bottle service, bars galore (unlike Ocean City, this is definitely not a dry town) and, yes, "gentleman's clubs" where stripping is the shtick and bachelor's parties are big business.

Not that families aren't welcome. Kiddie rides aren't completely absent from the boardwalk (you'll find plenty over at Steel Pier). And you can't make a trip to this area without a stop at Lucy the Elephant in nearby Margate, a six-story-high marvel of 1880s novelty architecture that has delighted both adults and children for generations. Plus, there's the golden sand beach.

Where to stay: The 2,000-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is the place for a Las Vegas vibe. The MGM Resorts property boasts oodles of slot machines and table games, a 2,400-seat event center that draws the likes of Pearl Jam and Gwen Stefani, a sprawling spa, retail shops, and lots of dining and nightlife. Rates start under $100 a night during the off season, and as a member of MGM's M Life Rewards program , you can enjoy status matching with World of Hyatt and earn 5 Hyatt points per dollar spent on your stay.

Related: How to redeem points with the World of Hyatt program

Bottom line

There's no shortage of fabulous road-trip destinations within a three-hour drive of Philadelphia. As eagle-eyed Philadelphians will have noticed, I didn't even try to be all-encompassing. In addition to the destinations above, there are plenty more great getaways in the region, from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (aka Amish Country) to Cape May, New Jersey, to explore.

More of Gene Sloan's stories:

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  • Last Updated On
  • September 5, 2023

25 Best Weekend Getaways From Philadelphia — Quick Trips!

Claire Allard

Philadelphia is a slice of paradise for travelers.

It’s not just because it’s home to the Independence Hall and the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art’s “Rocky Steps.”

It’s also because it’s in an excellent location.

Situated in the southwestern part of Pennsylvania, Philly gives you access to other must-see places outside the city.

So if you’ve seen the city’s tourist spots, you can still carry on with your adventures in other places.

Is this the situation you’re in?

Discover other beautiful areas with the best weekend getaways from Philadelphia I handpicked for you below.

1. New York City

New York City

This city consists of five boroughs sitting at the intersection of the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s home to known skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and Central Park.

You can get to New York City from Philadelphia in 1 hour and 38 minutes if you travel by car.

Here’s one of the best places near Philadelphia for vacation.

It has everything you’re looking for in the big city.

Explore some of the eight trails of sprawling Central Park.

Watch a play in Broadway Theater.

Then take a stroll along neon-lit Times Square.

You’ll agree this is one of the best getaways in Philadelphia or nearby you can’t miss.

Related: Day Trips Around NYC

2. Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Dutch Country, PA 17608 (717) 787-2500

This region comprises 19 counties and has centers in the cities of Lancaster, Reading, York, Allentown, and Hershey.

It derives its name from the immigrants who resided in the region in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The travel time from Philadelphia to Pennsylvania Dutch Country is 1 hour and 30 minutes.

This is unlike your big-city Philadelphia weekend getaways.

You’ll feel a relaxing small-town vibe wherever you go in Pennsylvania Dutch County.

Learn more about the residents of the area in The Amish Experience.

You’ll visit an Amish farm and learn more about the area’s cottage industries during the tour.

Check out the Green Dragon Farmers Market and Auction, too.

You might just find the perfect souvenir for you.

3. Brooklyn


Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 802-3700

This borough is on the western end of Long Island.

It’s home to famous landmarks, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch.

It will take 1 hour and 50 minutes to get to Brooklyn if you’re coming from Philadelphia.

Don’t look any further for places to go for a weekend trip near you.

Brooklyn is the perfect destination for a holistic experience.

Experience nature in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, with its over 14,000 taxa of plants on 52 acres.

Are you more of a history lover?

Check out the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883.

You should also drop by the Greenpoint Historic District with its 19th-century row houses.

Prefer the museum experience?

Head to The Brooklyn Museum.

You’ll love its art collection, composed of around 1.5 million objects.

Recommended Hotel: The Williamsburg Hotel

Also See: Weekend Getaways From Pittsburgh, PA

4. Pine Creek Gorge

Pine Creek Gorge

4797 Route 660 Wellsboro, PA 16901 (570) 724-2868

Also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, this natural landmark is a 47-mile gorge in north-central Pennsylvania.

It sits on 160,000 acres of the Tioga Forest.

The travel time from Philadelphia to Pine Creek Gorge is 3 hours and 17 minutes by car.

This is one of the best romantic getaways from Philadelphia for a reason.

After all, Pine Creek Gorge is a natural beauty.

So it makes for the perfect backdrop to your bonding moment with your significant other.

Hike the almost five miles of the Barbour Rock Blue Overlook Trail together.

You’ll get spectacular views of green valleys.

If you’re up for a more challenging hike, try the Chimney Hollow Falls trail.

The terrain is more rugged and steeper.

But you’ll find a beautiful waterfall when you get to the end.

Recommended Hotel: Rough Cut Lodge

5. Ocean City

Ocean City

This city sits on Jersey Shore.

It’s famous for its beaches, boardwalk, and amusement parks.

You can get to Ocean City in 1 hour and 5 minutes if you’re coming from Philadelphia.

If you’re searching for the best family getaway, Philadelphia and its vicinity offer a wide array of options.

Ocean City is one of them.

Take the kids to Gillian’s Wonderland Pier.

They’ll love the Canyon Falls Log Flume, which drops from a height of 35 feet.

Ride the Wild Waves Coaster or the Swings with them in Playland’s Castaway Cove, too.

If they get tired of amusement park rides, take them to the beach.

Splash in the waters under the blue skies for the perfect family bonding moment.

Recommended Hotel: Atlantis Inn Hotel

Related: Hotels in Philadelphia

6. Montreal


Set on an island in Saint Lawrence River, Montreal is the largest city of Quebec province.

It’s home to the Notre Dame Basilica and the bohemian Plateau district.

Montreal is 452 miles away from Philadelphia.

So you’ll get to the Canadian city in 7 hours if you travel by car.

This may be one of the long weekend trips from Philadelphia you’ll take.

The long trip, however, is worth it.

You’ll get to visit the Notre Dame Basilica.

It’s one of the most spectacular examples of Gothic Revival architecture.

You can explore the Plateau district, too, with its colorful houses and neo-Art Deco exterior.

Want an artistic experience?

Don’t forget to swing by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Its permanent collection includes more than 44,000 works of art.

Recommended Hotel: Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile

7. Gettysburg


Gettysburg, PA 17325 (717) 334-1160

This borough in Pennsylvania stretches for 1,062 acres in Adams County.

It features the Gettysburg National Military Park and a historic downtown.

You’ll get to Gettysburg from Philadelphia in 2 hours and 19 minutes.

If you’re a history enthusiast, Gettysburg is the place to go.

You’ll have the time of your life following the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln.

Visit the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station.

It’s where Lincoln’s train arrived in 1863.

Then drop by David Wills House, where he spent the night.

Then explore Baltimore Street and Cemetery Hill, where he delivered his famous Gettysburg address.

Finally, check out the Presbyterian Church, which is the last stop in his Gettysburg itinerary.

Recommended Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Gettysburg

8. Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore, NJ 08901 (732) 745-3000

This shore encompasses 141 miles of oceanfront across Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, May, and Atlantic counties.

It’s a popular tourist destination for its boardwalks and amusement parks.

Jersey Shore is 52 miles away from Philadelphia, and you can reach it in 1 hour and 7 minutes by car.

Who says you need to go far away for a cool overnight trip?

Jersey Shore is just over an hour away, and you’ll enjoy it here, too.

View the sunrise at Spring Lake in Monmouth County.

Take a dip in the clear beach waters of Sunset Beach in Cape May County.

Although this isn’t one of the cheap vacations from Philadelphia on this list, it’s worth it.

Recommended Hotel: Clarion Hotel & Conference Center Toms River

9. New Hope

New Hope

New Hope, PA 18938 (215) 862-3347

This borough in Pennsylvania stretches over 906 acres in Bucks County.

It features famous tourist spots like the Parry Mansion and the New Hope Arts Center.

On average, it’s a 47-minute drive from Philadelphia to New Hope.

And guess what?

There are many short trips from Philadelphia worth taking , and New Hope is one of them.

You can do many things in this gorgeous place without breaking the bank.

Check out the 1784 Parry Mansion, which features furnishings from different time periods.

The New Hope Arts Center is your stop for your artistic fix.

The museum features contemporary works of art in historical surroundings.

Overall, this is one of the most inexpensive weekend getaways near Philadelphia that deserve a repeat.

Recommended Hotel: Ghost Light Inn

Related: Weekend Vacations in Pennsylvania

10. Annapolis


Annapolis is Maryland’s capital city.

It stretches for 5,190 acres in the Chesapeake Bay and is home to the United States Naval Academy.

It’s a 2-hour drive from Philadelphia to Annapolis.

This is one of the best Philadelphia area weekend getaways for travelers seeking the coastal experience.

There’s a reason Annapolis has been touted as America’s Sailing Capital.

Just marvel at the over 3,000 boats that occupy the city’s harbors and marinas.

Don’t forget to drop by the United States Naval Academy.

Its sailing team is one of the best in the country.

Recommended Hotel: Graduate Annapolis

11. Hershey


Hershey, PA 17033 (717) 533-2057

This unincorporated community encompasses 9,216 acres in Derry township.

Founded by entrepreneur Milton S. Hershey, the community was originally a model town for workers of his chocolate factory.

You can reach Hershey in 1 hour and 36 minutes if you travel by car from Philadelphia.

Although Hershey is a small community, you won’t run out of things to do here.

Explore the Hershey Story museum, which tells of the community’s origins and the chocolate company.

Then take the kids to Hersheypark, touted as the biggest amusement park in Pennsylvania.

They’ll love the Wildcat’s Revenge, the park’s all-new wood, and steel hybrid coaster.

Recommended Hotel: Best Western Plus Hershey

12. Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach

This city stretches for 1,049 acres in Sussex County.

It’s a popular tourist spot for its beautiful beaches and bustling main street.

If you’re using a car from Philadelphia, you can get to Rehoboth Beach in 2 hours and 6 minutes.

There are many last minute weekend getaways from Philadelphia you can choose from.

Rehoboth Beach, however, should be at the top of your list.

You’ll enjoy its small-town and beachy feel perfect for relaxation.

Take a stroll along the one-mile Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk for spectacular coastline views.

Enjoy a dip on the beach under the gorgeous blue Delaware skies.

Then savor the perfect meal on Main Street.

It’s an unforgettable experience, just like what you get during your Philadelphia vacations.

Recommended Hotel: Avenue Inn & Spa

13. Bermuda


Bermuda, UK HM 11 (441) 295-5151

This self-governing British territory is in the North Atlantic Ocean.

It consists of 181 islands known for their pink sand beaches.

Bermuda is closer to Philadelphia than Miami by plane.

It will only take 2 hours and 30 minutes to get to the British territory.

This is as opposed to the 3 hours it will take you to get to Miami.

Want to go overseas without spending too much time traveling?

Bermuda is your best bet.

You’ll technically already be in the United Kingdom when you get to the island.

You can enjoy the territory’s beautiful beaches.

They get their distinctive pink color from the shells and calcium carbonate left behind by tiny marine animals.

Explore the Crystal & Fantasy caves here, complete with gorgeous stalactites and stalagmites.

For some history, visit the National Museum of Bermuda.

You’ll learn more about how Bermuda came about and its maritime history.

Recommended Hotel: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club A Fairmont Managed Hotel

14. The Poconos

The Poconos

Stroudsburg, PA 18360 (570) 844-2001

This nature oasis stretches over a million acres in Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne counties.

The Poconos are home to 150 lakes, forested peaks, and valleys.

You can reach The Poconos in 1 hour and 36 minutes by car.

Looking for unforgettable trips from Philadelphia?

Consider The Poconos, especially if you love nature.

You can have the ultimate nature experience in this beautiful place.

Hike a portion of the trails here for stunning views of waterfalls and forests.

Make sure you bring your camera with you.

You’re bound to see great blue herons and ballards during your hike.

Recommended Hotel: Hampton Inn Stroudsburg Poconos

15. Washington


Washington, DC 20001 (202) 789-7000

This US capital is on the Potomac River, bordering Virginia and Maryland.

It’s home to architectural gems, such as the Supreme Court and the White House.

If you’re driving from Philadelphia, you can get to Washington in 2 hours and 33 minutes.

Don’t miss out on Washington if you’re an architecture enthusiast.

As the seat of government, the city is replete with imposing structures you can explore.

Marvel at the White House, with its gorgeous Neoclassical style.

Check out the Supreme Court, too.

You’ll love its beautiful facade made of marble and the courtroom’s grand 24 columns.

Union Station is a must-see, too.

Its Beaux-Arts architecture will blow you away.

Recommended Hotel: Riggs Washington DC

16. Inn at Stonington

Inn at Stonington

60 Water Street Stonington, CT 06378 (860) 535-2000

Set along a waterfront, this inn is just a stroll away from dining spots and galleries.

It features 18 rooms, massage rooms, and a fitness room.

Getting to this inn from Philadelphia will take 3 hours and 54 minutes.

Want a relaxing getaway this weekend?

Why not spend a weekend at this cozy inn?

The charming inn has the amenities you need just to unwind.

Get rid of any stress in the body in any of this place’s two massage rooms.

You can get your daily dose of exercise in the gym, too.

It has a Peloton bike and a treadmill.

Afterward, why not take a dip in your room’s jacuzzi?

17. The Blue Water House

The Blue Water House

407 East Market Street Lewes, DE 19958 (302) 645-7832

This bed and breakfast is just a 7-minute walk from Lewes downtown.

It’s home to 10 suites, each with its Florida Keys theme.

The driving time from Philadelphia to The Blue Water House is 2 hours.

Feel the tropical experience in this colorful bed and breakfast.

You’ll love your room, with its walls painted in screaming colors and pop art hanging around.

Enjoy a read on the porch.

You’ll feel like you’re floating on the sea, with the porch’s bright blue floors reminiscent of the ocean.

Want the real deal?

Just walk a bit, and you’ll get to Lewes Beach.

18. Boardwalk Plaza Hotel

Boardwalk Plaza Hotel

2 Olive Avenue Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 (302) 227-7169

This hotel in front of the Atlantic Ocean boasts a Victorian theme and features modern amenities, such as a heated pool and a fitness room.

It’s a 2-hour drive from Philadelphia to Boardwalk Plaza Hotel.

Enjoy a relaxing stay in this beautiful hotel.

Read your favorite book in your room, with the stunning Victorian antiques around you.

Want more physical activity?

Enjoy a swim in the hotel’s heated pool instead.

You can also just head to the fitness room and use any of the treadmills and other equipment there.

Tired of staying indoors?

Just cross to the other side of the hotel.

Take a dip in the beautiful blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

19. Atlantic Hotel

Atlantic Hotel

2 N Main Street Berlin, MD 21811 (410) 641-1234

This hotel is in the center of Berlin’s historic district.

Built in 1895, it features 18 Victorian period-themed rooms and an on-site restaurant.

You can reach the Atlantic Hotel in 2 hours and 25 minutes.

Travel back in time in this gorgeous hotel set in the 19th century.

You’ll enjoy your stay in The Elizabeth.

It has gorgeous carpeting and an elegant mini-chandelier above an ornate bed.

The Rose Room is a beauty, too.

Its four-poster antique wooden bed in the center catches the eye.

The pink theme stands out, too.

Related: Weekend Trips From Baltimore

20. Inn BoonsBoro

inn boonsboro

1 North Main Street Boonsboro, MD 21713 (301) 432-1188

This boutique hotel dates back to the 1790s.

It is home to eight luxury guest rooms, porches, and a fitness facility nearby.

If you’re coming from Philadelphia, you can reach Inn BoonsBoro in 2 hours and 37 minutes.

Escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city in this historic hotel.

Marvel at the inn’s Victorian and lodge-themed facade.

You won’t get enough of the white porch railing with ornate details and the main structure made of stone.

You can choose a different theme for your room, though.

And each room gets inspiration from famous novels.

For instance, the Nick and Nora room has a modern touch.

The theme comes from The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett.

If you want colorful surroundings, try the Eve and Roarke room from the In-Depth novels by J.D. Robb.

21. Bethlehem


This city stretches for 12,454 acres in Northampton and Lehigh Counties.

It’s home to historical structures, Bethlehem Steel, and a wide array of shopping options.

If you use a car from Philadelphia, it will take 1 hour and 9 minutes to get to Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is oozing with history.

Built in 1857, the headquarters of Bethlehem Steel, once the country’s second-largest producer, remains here.

The Burnside Plantation is a must-see, too.

Built in 1768, it has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1990.

Recommended Hotel: Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino & Resort

22. Cherry Springs State Park

Cherry Springs State Park

4639 Cherry Springs Road Coudersport, PA 16915 (814) 435-1037

This state park stretches for 82 acres in Potter County.

It derives its name from the black cherry trees originally found in the area.

If you’re driving from Philadelphia, you can get to Cherry Springs State Park in 4 hours and 12 minutes.

Getting to Cherry Springs State Park might take a little longer than usual.

However, the long journey is still worth your time and effort.

The park, after all, allows for the ultimate nature immersion.

Hike a portion of the 85 miles of the Susquehannock Trail.

You’re likely to come across a newt and even bald eagles.

Stay for the night, and you’ll see the beautiful Milky Way if you look up.

You might even see planets from far away.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Crittenden

23. Bushkill Falls

Bushkill Falls

Route 209, Bushkill Falls Road Bushkill, PA 18324 (570) 588-6682

Also known as the Niagara of Pennsylvania, the popular tourist spot consists of eight waterbodies.

The falls are deep in the wooded Pocono Mountains.

By car, you can reach Bushkill Falls in 2 hours.

Experience nature at its finest in this stunning nature oasis.

Follow the yellow trail to get to the main falls and the lower gorge.

You’ll see the falls drop over the edge of a 100-foot cliff.

At the bottom, you’ll find beautiful wildflowers and ferns surrounding the resulting stream.

Recommended Hotel: Pocono Mountain Villas by Exploria Resorts

24. Harrisburg


Harrisburg, PA 17101 (717) 255-3040

This capital of Pennsylvania sits on the east bank of the Susquehanna River.

It’s home to the National Civil War Museum and beautiful structures.

The travel time from Philadelphia to Harrisburg is 1 hour and 44 minutes.

There’s no shortage of things to do here.

Visit the National Civil War Museum, with its over 21,000 artifacts.

The Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex is a must-see, too.

Its Renaissance-style dome replicates the one in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Recommended Hotel: Best Western Premier the Central Hotel & Conference Center

25. Longwood Gardens & Kennett Square

Longwood Gardens & Kennett Square

1001 Longwood Road Kennett Square, PA 19348 (610) 388-1000

The Longwood Gardens stretch for 1,077 acres in Kennett Square.

They include a conservatory, which houses over 4,600 different types of flora.

It’s a 48-minute drive from Philadelphia to the Longwood Gardens & Kennett Square.

If you love nature, make sure you swing by the place.

Take a stroll along the 600-foot-long flower garden walk.

You won’t get enough of the outdoor gardens, with their plant designs ranging from formal to naturalistic.

Check out the camellias and poinsettias in the Conservatory, too.

You’ll agree this is one of the best weekend getaways from Philadelphia that deserve a repeat.

Recommended Hotel: Fairfield Inn & Suites Kennett Square

Map of The Best Weekend Getaways From Philadelphia, PA

25 Best Weekend Trips From Philadelphia 2024

  • New York City
  • Pennsylvania Dutch Country
  • Pine Creek Gorge
  • Jersey Shore
  • Rehoboth Beach
  • The Poconos
  • Inn at Stonington
  • The Blue Water House
  • Boardwalk Plaza Hotel
  • Atlantic Hotel
  • Inn BoonsBoro
  • Cherry Springs State Park
  • Bushkill Falls
  • Longwood Gardens & Kennett Square

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  • 1 Cape May, New Jersey
  • 3 The Poconos, Pennsylvania
  • 4 Washington D.C.
  • 5 Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania
  • 6 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • 7 Hershey, Pennsylvania

7 Best Weekend Getaways Near Philadelphia

With iconic historical monuments, innovative modern art museums, and a red-hot culinary scene, the City of Brotherly Love easily eeks out a spot among America’s top destinations. But should you look to set your eyes on new sights just for a day or two, we’ve got a handful of equally worthwhile options just a short distance away. Pound the pavement in other top-notch cities or ditch it all for the outdoors on a romantic mountain retreat.

A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.

See recent posts by Chelsea Stuart

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Cape May, New Jersey

1 hour and 50 minutes by car from Philadelphia

The Jersey shore may have developed a (rowdy) reputation over the last decade, but the resort town of Cape May is unlike anything you've seen on MTV. When it comes to stays, you have to go with the Virginia Hotel — a 24-room landmark that’s been in the heart of the historic district since 1879. On a tree-lined street just half a block from the beach, the boutique welcomes guests with airy, light-filled interiors and fresh farm-to-table fare at onsite Ebbitt Room (think: rainbow trout with herb-caper brown butter, and broccolini and duck fat potatoes). Despite its less than cheerful name, Poverty Beach is a standout among Cape May’s many Atlantic shores (and parking here is meter-less—a rare find). Comb for shells, try your luck surfing, or just enjoy the quiet shore. The low-key, seaside town has more to offer than sand, though—take a trip to Willow Creek Winery or Cape May Winery & Vineyard for tours, tastings, and even summer lobster bakes.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Cape May, NJ hotels

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2 hours by car from Philadelphia

If you’re not interested in escaping all cities, but simply your city, on your weekend away, then NYC—as always—is a top contender. Drive not even two hours northeast of Philly and you’ll land yourself in the five boroughs. While you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to dining and daily activities, there are some things we’ll never tire of: exploring the High Line —a now-defunct railroad turned 1.5-mile-long elevated city park that runs from Gansevoort St. to 34th Street on the West Side; walking over the East River on the Brooklyn Bridge from Dumbo to Lower Manhattan; and popping by envelope-pushing exhibits on the Museum Mile stretch of Fifth Ave (see: the Guggenheim , Neue Galerie , and Met ). When it comes time for dinner, we’ve been drooling over the new BBQ-meets-fine-dining menu—particularly the smoked and grilled pork chop with peach habanero jam— from chef Matt Abdoo (previously of Mario Batali's Del Posto ) at Pig Bleecker in Greenwich Village. Looking for the perfect NYC hotel for your weekend trip? Check out The Hoxton’s Williamsburg location , where the rooms are as luxurious as the hotel's sweeping cityscape view.

RELATED : 10 Best Day Trips from NYC

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Brooklyn, NY hotels

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The Poconos, Pennsylvania

2.5 hours by car from Philadelphia

Looking to flee the stifling summer city heat? Head 2.5 hours out of Philly to the adults-only Lodge at Woodloch for a retreat packed with farm-to-table meals (check out seasonal chef-curated garden dinners), wine tastings with chocolate pairings, and lavish spa treatments—all bookended by afternoons spent by cozy stone fireplaces and tranquil soaking pools. While we wouldn't blame anyone who chose to spend their entire weekend onsite (just take a look at the lake-view porch just off of the library), there's much to see and do beyond the resort. One option: exploring the Pocono Mountains at Bushkill Falls — dubbed the Niagara of Pennsylvania—where eight cascading waterfalls are connected by a series of hiking trails, observation decks, and wooden bridges.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Hawley, PA hotels

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Washington D.C.

1.5 hours by train or 3 hours by car from Philadelphia

The nation’s capital may be contentious turf nowadays, but no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, we’re sure you can get down with luxe hotels, gourmet grub, and iconic historical and cultural institutions. We love a good comeback, and in 2016—fresh off of a $125 million renovation— that’s just what we got with the illustrious Watergate Hotel (aka ground-zero for America’s OG political scandal). Avant-garde architecture from Luigi Moretti greets guests at the door, while interiors nod to the hotel’s original 60s design—right down to the staff who are decked out in period-appropriate uniforms by way of Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant. In terms of good eats, D.C’s culinary scene has been evolving at a breakneck pace. While we can’t keep up with all the openings, one in particular has our stomachs rumbling: Mirabelle . The glam dining room—just two blocks from the White House— serves up refined French fare from James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef Frank Ruta and IG-worthy desserts from Pastry Chef Aggie Chin.

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Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania

3.5 hours from Philadelphia

Home to a thriving culinary scene and small-town-meets-big-city glam, Philly has many an enviable feature. But one thing the urban sprawl is lacking? Worthwhile options for the outdoorsman. While it’s a bit of a trek, making the 3.5-hour drive to Pine Creek Gorge—aka the Grand Canyon of PA—presents days full of open-air activities like hiking, fishing, biking, tubing, and swimming. Exhausted from all there is to explore along the 47-mile-long gorge, retire at La Belle Auberge B&B , a surprisingly luxe retreat (think: breakfast on a wraparound porch, in-house massage, and jacuzzi tubs) on gas-lantern-lit Main Street in Wellsboro.

RELATED : Northeast Vacations: The 9 Cutest Towns For Your Trip

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Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

An indisputable hotbed of American history (see: the Liberty Bell , Independence Hall , and—don’t forget—the Rocky Statue and steps), Philadelphia isn’t lacking in monuments and patriotic sites. But if you’re a history buff looking to further broaden your horizons, you can always opt for a weekend in Gettysburg. Former host of one of the largest Civil War battles, and the site of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address, the town holds strong to its rich history with battlefield tours, annual war reenactments, and museums highlighting every interesting facet of wartime in the town. To stay close to it all—seriously, it’s just a two-minute walk from the Soldiers’ Cemetery and the Culp’s Hill section of the battlefield—check in at the Brick House Inn B&B . Turn of the century-style guestrooms are split between a three-story Victorian mansion and a home once occupied by Confederate sharpshooters (look for original bullet holes in the walls—they're there).

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Gettysburg, PA hotels

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Hershey, Pennsylvania

Two hours by car from Philadelphia

Traveling with hard-to-impress tots? Hershey, “The Sweetest Place on Earth,” is guaranteed to grab their attention with an unbeatable combo of roller coasters, carousels, and—of course—chocolate, all found at family-friendly Hersheypark . Though the sweets-centric town is known for just that, there are non-calorie-consuming things to do. You can visit the 23-acre Hershey Gardens (with a butterfly atrium), check out the river otters, black bears, bobcats, and more at ZooAmerica , or visit The Hershey Story , an interactive museum that follows the story of candy tycoon Milton S. Hershey. Given there aren't many non-chain hotel options in the area, keep it casual with the nearby Hampton Inn for a quick stay with the kiddos.

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11 easy must-do weekend trips from Philadelphia

Weekend trips from Philadelphia

It’s natural to feel a little burned out, especially when residing in a bustling metropolis like Philadelphia. Getting out of the city has plenty of benefits and can even make you appreciate your hometown even more. But you won’t need to fly to the Grand Canyon to get a breath of fresh air, there are many amazing outdoor destinations within a few hours of Philly. Places like the Jersey Shore and other coastal towns are within reach as well. This shouldn’t be surprising, but there are a number of quaint and historic towns to visit that are very easy to get to from Philadelphia. 

All it takes is a little planning. If you have access to a car, these weekend trips are simple, and car rentals are easy enough to arrange. Even though researching lodging, luggage storage , activities, and arranging an itinerary takes a little bit of time, it’s well worth it. You have to decide where you’ll be heading for your weekend trip. 

Here are the best weekend getaways from Philadelphia for tourists and locals: 

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Weekend trips from Philadelphia to Annapolis

Ocean City, Annapolis, and Chesapeake Bay, Maryland

Maryland’s Eastern shore and the Chesapeake Bay have a bevy of excellent water-side towns, especially Annapolis and Ocean City. Finding a vacation rental or hotel is a great way to enjoy the summer weather. There are beaches, boats, and other ways to enjoy some time outdoors along the water. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

It takes about two hours to drive from Philadelphia to Annapolis. The rest of Chesapeake Bay is within an hour of downtown Annapolis. 

Our activity recommendations: 

Annapolis, Maryland’s Capital city, may not have the cultural offerings of its larger neighbor Baltimore, but there are many historic landmarks and parks like the US Naval Academy to visit. There are also bustling Annapolis and Ocean City harbors that are perfect for boat lovers. Otherwise, spending time on the water in the Chesapeake Bay is an ideal way to spend a weekend. 

Best season to visit Annapolis: 

Because of all the outdoor time you’ll spend on the water, the best time of year for weekend trips to Annapolis, Ocean City, and the surrounding area is summer. 

Cape May, New Jersey Shore

Some of the best weekend getaways for families with young children are in Cape May along the Jersey Shore. This quaint seaside town has a ton of outdoor activities along with a cute downtown for eating and drinking. 

It only takes about 90 minutes to reach Cape May and the Jersey Shore by car, which is the only convenient way to get there. 

This is all about spending time outdoors, and Cape May has amazing places to do it. Higbee Wildlife Management Area is great for hiking and biking. Cap May Point State Park and Sunset Beach are perfect for taking the kids to see the ocean. If you want to catch a glimpse of some marine wildlife, look into a cruise in town for whale and dolphin watching. 

Best season to visit Cape May: 

Because it’s along the coast, late spring, summer, and September are the best times to head to Cape May. 

Cherry Springs State Park

Cherry Springs State Park

82 acres of beautiful black cherry trees are only a few hours away from Philadelphia at Potter County’s Cherry Springs State Park. Hiking and other activities are popular draws to this beautiful stretch of land. It’s an ideal weekend getaway for couples looking for a romantic experience away from the big city. 

It takes a little over three hours to drive from Philadelphia to Cherry Springs State Park. Friday rush hour traffic from downtown Philadelphia is best avoided.

Hiking, biking, star watching, and birdwatching are all popular activities near Cherry Springs State Park. Depending on your accommodations, this is also a great place for a quiet weekend at the cabin, where you can truly relax and recharge. It’s far enough from Philly and Pittsburgh that there is no light pollution, so you can gaze at the stars. 

Beast season to visit Cherry Springs State Park: 

Any time from late spring to mid-fall is great for visiting Cherry Springs State Park. 

Pine Creek Gorge

Known as Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon, this massive gorge spans almost 59 miles of scenic (even spooky) topography that is ideal for outdoor recreation. The surrounding Tioga Forest boasts miles upon miles of trails for hiking and enjoying the beautiful Pennsylvania wilderness. 

Pine Creek Gorge is just over three hours from Philadelphia by car. 

Our activity recommendations:

Hiking and outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with the Chimney Hollow Falls and Barbour Rock Blue Overlook trails, which are rated as some of the best hiking paths in the state. The difficulty is moderate, with steeper terrain, but there are great beginner trails in the area for families and older visitors. 

Best season to visit Pine Creek Gorge: 

The biggest draws for Pine Creek Gorge are hiking trails and other outdoor activities, so summer is the ideal time of year for a weekend trip. A rainy spring can make the gorge difficult to navigate, but fall is a great time to go when the leaves change color. 

Harrisburg weekend trip from Philadelphia

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 

This charming state capital has all the best aspects of smaller cities, with a cute downtown and a number of historical and cultural landmarks. While the nightlife and dining scenes aren’t amazing, they’re perfectly serviceable for young families and older travelers. 

Driving from downtown, you’ll get to Harrisburg in just under two hours. 

While it’s a cute town with small-town charm, it’s all about historical landmarks in Harrisburg. The National Civil War Museum and the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, which was modeled after Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, are must-sees. 

Best season to visit Harrisburg: 

Weekend trips to Harrisburg may not be ideal during winter, but this is an all-year travel destination. 

Maurice River, New Jersey 

This Cumberland County hidden gem is one of the best weekend getaways for a relaxing time away from the city. While there isn’t a notable attraction that brings tourists in, there are quaint downtowns to explore. This is a great place for couples looking to get away for a romantic weekend. There are hiking trails nearby for afternoon adventures, but getting cozy will be the primary focus. 

It’s a quick hour-long drive from Philadelphia. Rush-hour traffic can push it to 90 minutes, but it’s still a very quick weekend getaway. 

It’s all about peace and quiet here. Look into a secluded vacation rental or one of the local hotels like the Lokal-A-Frame, which provides a more private experience. You’ll get that classic “cabin weekend” experience (with a few modern amenities), so you should look into grabbing groceries on your way in to cook your own meals and share a bottle of wine. 

Best season to visit Maurice River: 

Weekend trips to this quaint little town are perfect during the fall, especially when the leaves have changed color. 

Weekend trips from Philly to Gettysburg

Gettysburg National Military Park 

The ideal weekend getaway for history buffs, the small borough of Gettysburg features one of the country’s most important historical landmarks. 

From Philadelphia’s Center City , it takes about two hours and 15 minutes to drive to Gettysburg. 

One of the best landmarks to visit is the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station, where Abraham Lincoln arrived in town at his iconic address at Cemetery Hill. The Gettysburg National Military Park is another important place to visit. Culturally, you’ll find a charming small-town main street with restaurants, breweries, and shops. 

Best season to visit Gettysburg: 

Weekend trips to Gettysburg are most enjoyable when the weather cooperates, but it doesn’t necessarily mean summer. Fall is ideal when the leaves change, but the town and historical landmarks are beautiful in spring. 

Pennsylvania Dutch Country

While visiting a region defined by its antiquated culture may not be the ideal weekend getaway for some, a trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country is one of the most interesting travel experiences one can have. Experience the unique way of life of the Dutch and German communities living apart from society without modern technology. 

While it’s a large swath of land, the closest parts of Pennsylvania Dutch Country can be reached in as little as 90 minutes from Philly. 

Visiting the smaller towns and Amish farms and exploring this unique way of life is the main draw. There are also farmers' markets (like the Green Dragon held every Saturday) and antique auctions. 

Best season to visit Pennsylvania Dutch Country: 

Weekend trips to Pennsylvania Dutch Country are great during spring, summer, and fall. Fall is especially popular for enjoying the rustic charm and seasonal beauty. 

Weekend trip to Rehoboth Beach from Philly

Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania 

Philadelphians are shocked when they learn that all of their outdoor dreams can come true just by driving 100 miles from downtown. The Poconos are Pennsylvania’s most popular outdoor recreation area, with acres of skiing and hiking terrain along with hundreds of iconic resorts. The 80’s ski-town vibes have become popular with nostalgic millennials looking for a bit of nightlife after hiring the slopes. The town of Hamlin is a hotspot for restaurants and bars, with a few hotels clustered around its main stretch. 

The Pocono Mountains are a two-hour drive from Philadelphia. 

Promised Land State Park, along with the Pocono's numerous ski resorts, are the main draws of the Poconos depending on the time of year.

Best season to visit the Pocono Mountains: 

For a weekend trip full of hiking, it’s ideal to visit the Poconos during summer, fall, and summer. Winter is the high season, given the numerous ski resorts. 

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Coastal Delaware enjoys warmer waters than the North Atlantic Ocean and, when paired with a sunny summer afternoon, boasts some of the best beach conditions outside of Florida or California. This makes Rehoboth Beach and surrounding towns extremely popular for weekend trips from Philadelphia and Baltimore. The town has a boardwalk with restaurants and bars, along with a few landmarks to visit. 

It will take about two and a half hours to drive to coastal Delaware from Philadelphia. 

Swimming, surfing, sunbathing, paddle boarding, hiking, and everything in between are popular activities. It’s all about spending time outside and on the water at Rehoboth Beach. There are also a few culinary attractions, like the iconic Dogfish Head Brewery , which is one of the most important craft beer producers in the country. Their headquarters and restaurants are all in town and have become something of a pilgrimage for craft beer aficionados. The restaurant serves delicious wood-fired pizza with its beer and is perfect for the whole family.

Best season to visit Rehoboth Beach: 

Summer is the best time of year to visit Rehoboth Beach, but that means higher prices for lodging. A weekend getaway before Memorial Day or after Labor Day can possibly provide a solid bang for your buck. 

Weekend trips to Valley Forge from Philadelphia

Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

Another amazing quick trip for history enthusiasts, Valley Forge and King of Prussia are both charming towns with significant importance dating back to the American Revolution. Booking a room at a bed and breakfast and touring the Valley Forge Historical park, as well as hiking through the Schuylkill River trail, is a popular itinerary for older couples and young families. 

Valley Forge is a swift hour's drive from Philly, making it a possible day trip if you don’t want to pay for a hotel or vacation rental. 

Touring the historic towns of King of Prussia and Valley Forge is great for older travelers and families with young children. You can see the iconic Justice Bell in historic downtown King of Prussia. The Valley Forge Historical Park will be the main draw; touring this monument is an amazing experience, given the town’s historical importance. Look into a self-guided tour to go at your own pace.

Best season to visit Valley Forge: 

Fall is the best time of year to visit Valley Forge. Spring and summer are decent as well. 

With so many cultural and historical offerings, you may feel you’ll never have to leave Philadelphia. But city life can be exhausting, so getting away for a quick weekend or day trip from Philadelphia can really be restorative and, in the long run, help you appreciate Philly even more. Whether it’s weekend trips to the Jersey Shore or maybe even a three-day staycation in Philly , getting out of the city or just your regular routine is massively beneficial. It gives you perspective, even a new hope for how you want to live in your day-to-day life. Luckily, Philadelphia has plenty of amazing travel destinations (in and outside the city) worth exploring. 

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The Best Pennsylvania Road Trips You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Take (Till Now)

pennsylvania road trips pa summer travel

Memories from our Pennsylvania road trips / Clockwise from top left: Bob Greenspan; Laura Swartz; Kiki Sorick; Victor Fiorillo; Sandy Smith; Alpha Stock/Alamy Stock Photo; Rusty Glessner; Bradford Pearson; dinosaur: Laura Swartz; elephant: Hannah Albertine

Ah, the open highway — the drive that takes you beyond Philly’s borders, one full of scenic vistas, nostalgic roadside­ stops and epic adventures. Remember all that? It’s there waiting for you this summer. So pack up the car, fire up the GPS, and head out on one of these quintessential­ road trips.

Pennsylvania road trips

A map of our Pennsylvania road trips / Illustration by Eric Hinkley

When I was a kid, family vacations didn’t take us to far-flung destinations around the globe. For my mom, dad, sister and me, it was all about the road trip. We’d pile into the white Mazda minivan, fight traffic out of Southern California, and finally, gloriously, end up on our way. We’d stop at such marvels as the Four Corners, where it brought eight-year-old me such joy to get my hands and feet in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah all at the SAME TIME!! But what stands out most is the experience of it all — singing along to Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” with my dad when I got to sit in the front seat, or the sheer awe of seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time.

Here in Pennsylvania, we have a seemingly endless list of our own road-trip attractions along our 121,000 federal, state and local highways — from natural wonders and stunning vistas to bizarre tourist outposts and man-made landmarks. They’re all worth visiting, even if only for a laugh and bragging rights that you have, indeed, been to a building shaped like a Giant Coffee Pot, which food editor Hannah Albertine visited on her Lincoln Highway tour. Pennsylvania even has its own Grand Canyon, which features editor Bradford Pearson experienced on his scenic drive through Central PA to State College. (He, too, was awestruck by the 45-mile-long crevasse that’s the original’s kissing cousin.)

The best part? The five trips you’ll read about here are easily drivable from Philly. They range from overnight to five days, and they all take you off beaten paths to places you’ve likely never thought much about exploring. Prefer the finer things? We’ve got those, too, by way of a few luxurious places to stay and dine and ritzy things to do. So go ahead and wander. Get lost — and maybe discover your own roadside gems along the way. — K.S.

Pittsburgh and the Laurel Highlands

weekend road trips from philadelphia

The Duquesne Incline / Photograph by Chris LaBasco/Alamy Stock Photo

Go for the Steel City’s museums (from Warhol to a bicycle heaven), and stay for the adventures that await outside of town. Keep reading …

Central PA to State College

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Pine Creek Gorge, a.k.a. the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, is an awe-inspiring sight for travelers. / Photograph by Craig Rupp/iStock/Getty Images

There’s much more to State College than football games. Explore gorges, caves, ice cream, and the sticky world of stamps as you go. Keep reading …

The Lincoln Highway

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium / Photograph by Mira/Alamy Stock Photo

A journey on the first transcontinental highway is a nostalgic way to discover Pennsylvania’s past — and see something unexpected (elephants! Giant coffeepots!) at every turn. Keep reading …

NEPA to Scranton


In Scranton, take the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour into a historic anthracite mine. / Photograph courtesy of Discover NEPA

With a Muffler Man, trolleys, and a pizza trail worth every slice, the trip to Dunder Mifflin’s hometown isn’t just for fans of The Office . Keep reading …

River Road From Bristol to Easton

weekend road trips from philadelphia

The Delaware River bridge in Lumberville / Photograph by EQRoy/Alamy Stock Photo

You may know this iconic route as the way to New Hope — but with loads of history, natural landmarks, and even a chance to fete your inner child, there’s much more to discover. Keep reading …

Published as “Postcards from PA” in the June 2023 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

  • PA Road Trips

PA on Pause

10+ Easy Road Trips from Philadelphia for the Whole Family

Living in Philadelphia and looking for some great road trips? Known for its rich history and vibrant culture, Philadelphia is a great starting point for road trip adventures, especially to other exciting destinations on the East Coast. 

There are tons of great opportunities for every type of traveler. From nature lovers, beach lovers, history lovers, those with young kids, and more, you’re sure to find a destination that excites you.

We’ve done many of these road trips ourselves, but we asked our friend Lola for some extra help. She’s an expert on East Coast travel, especially the DMV area.

Amazing Road Trips from Philadelphia 

Gettysburg and michaux state forest, pa.

weekend road trips from philadelphia

They are both located about 3 hours away from Philadelphia and make a good day trip experience, especially for adults. You can learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.

The museum houses a huge collection of artifacts, interactive exhibits, and displays that help visitors get some insight into the Civil War and its impact on the nation.

Just adjacent to the battlefield is the home and farm of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. They provide insights into Eisenhower’s life and military career.

For some outdoor fun, visit Michaux State Forest. It is located not too far from Gettysburg and features several hiking trails, ranging in difficulty from easy walks to challenging hikes. The Appalachian Trail travels through Michaux, and the midpoint of the trail can be found nearby in Pine Grove Furnace State Park .

Washington DC

weekend road trips from philadelphia

About 3 hours from Philadelphia, DC makes a great road trip opportunity for everyone. DC is known for its monuments and iconic landmarks.

One of the most popular places to explore is the National Mall which is an open area with a lot of iconic monuments and museums. Some of the landmarks include the U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and World War II Memorial, although there are many more. 

The National Mall is also home to several Smithsonian museums, like the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of Natural History.

The Smithsonian museums are great to visit especially if you are looking for free or budget-friendly options . Entrance to most of these museums is free. Some museums, although free, require advanced reservations so be sure to check well ahead of time. 

Besides the National Mall, explore the White House, which offers public tours. Although the tours require advance booking and can be hard to come by, you can still view the exterior of the White House and the South Lawn if you don’t secure a ticket.

Washington DC is a beautiful city with lots of things to explore even at night time . You can watch the sunset from the Washington Monument, ride the capital wheel, take evening tours, or catch a sporting event. The options are nearly endless! 

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore is an amazing stop on a road trip from Philadelphia. There is so much to do for kids, families, and friends. One of the most popular places to visit in Baltimore is the Inner Harbor. It is a tourist destination and is a great way to experience the city’s rich history, culture, and waterfront charm. 

You can check out the National Aquarium, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Inner Harbor. It houses a diverse range of marine life, including sharks, dolphins, and tropical fish. The aquarium even offers an immersive experience for visitors. Be sure to check out the times for the dolphin show. It’s worth the wait!

If you are traveling with kids, it’s important to note that strollers are not allowed inside the building. There is a space to park strollers before beginning the tour.

The Maryland Science Center, located on the southern side of the Inner Harbor, is another family-friendly destination with interactive exhibits, an IMAX theater, and a planetarium. It’s a great place for hands-on learning and entertainment and is one of the best things to do in Baltimore with kids.

If you have a couple of days here, explore the historic ships at the Inner Harbor, including the USS Constellation, USS Torsk, and the USCGC Taney. These vessels offer some learning opportunities about maritime history.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

You might know Hershey, PA because of the Hershey Chocolate Company. It is about 2 hours from Philadelphia . Located here is Hershey Park, a major attraction, featuring roller coasters, water rides, family-friendly attractions, and some live entertainment.

Especially if you have kids, this getaway is sure to be a hit with them.

Another great location in Hershey is ZooAmerica which is located adjacent to Hersheypark. It is a wildlife park that offers a close-up look at over 200 animals native to the North American continent.

After a day of thrilling adventure at Hershey Park, spend some time relaxing at the Hershey Gardens. It is such a beautiful botanical garden and offers a relaxing and calm environment, perfect for decompressing after a busy day at the amusement park. The garden also has a Butterfly Atrium where you can stroll among hundreds of butterflies.

If you are just looking for hiking opportunities, you can explore the region through hiking trails.

Ocean City, MD

Ocean City, MD is one of the most popular tourist places to visit on the East Coast, especially during the summertime. It is about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Philadelphia.

The iconic boardwalk is about 3 miles long and is lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions. 

For seafood lovers, there are a lot of seafood restaurants in OCMD to suit your cravings!

If you visit with kids, there is a lot for them to explore. Visit the Jolly Roger Amusement Park for classic rides, try out some mini-golf, or enjoy water activities. Trimper’s Rides and Amusements is another historic amusement park on the boardwalk for kids and families. 

Ocean City, MD has a lot of opportunities to engage in watersports like jet skiing, parasailing, paddleboarding, and windsurfing. You do not need to have your own equipment, as you can rent equipment from local shops.

Ocean City is a perfect beach vacation from Philadelphia .

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Pittsburgh is about 5 hours and 30 minutes from Philadelphia. Check out the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, especially if you have family or friends who love history.

The art museum features a diverse collection of European and American paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and contemporary works from notable artists like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, and more.

The Natural History Museum houses exhibits on dinosaurs, minerals, and gems from around the world.

If museums are not your thing, you can visit Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which is a great place to relax and connect with nature. It’s beautiful year-round. There are also over a dozen state parks near Pittsburgh where you can enjoy the outdoors.

If you happen to be in town in June, check out the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Arts Festival, featuring live performances, art installations, and a lot of creative works.

New York, NY

weekend road trips from philadelphia

New York is not left out in all the fun. It is a very popular state and for good reason.

One top thing to do here is check out Times Square. It is a spot full of vibrant energy, entertainment, shops, and flashing billboards. 

If you have some time, catch a Broadway show in the Theater District. There are lots of great world-class theater productions you can enjoy with your family. We loved seeing both Lion King and Aladdin. 

If you have more time in NYC, take a ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You can explore the museums and learn about the history of immigration to the United States. Get a ticket to climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty. There are a lot of tight, spiral stairs, but the views are awesome!

Finally, if you would rather take in the beautiful view of NYC from Manhattan, you can visit the One World Observatory at One World Trade Center, which is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

There are so many things to do in NYC that we couldn’t possibly list them all!

Annapolis, MD

Annapolis is a nice charming town in Maryland known for its maritime heritage. It does not lag behind when it comes to fun things to do while on a road trip from Philadelphia. 

One of the must-visit places to check out is the United States Naval Academy. It is a prestigious institution with beautiful architecture. You can take a guided tour of the campus.

You can also visit the Maryland State House, which is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use. 

Annapolis is full of many restaurants, especially for brunch . A few great ones include Miss Shirleys, Boatyard Bar and Grill, and Iron Rooster. They usually have long wait times on weekends, so plan accordingly. 

The Poconos, Pennsylvania

weekend road trips from philadelphia

About an hour and a half from Philadelphia, the Pocono Mountains, often known as “the Poconos” is a great outdoor experience. There are lots of hiking trails, especially in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which has lots of beautiful views. 

A sight you have to see is the Bushkill Falls. Known as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” it has eight waterfalls hidden around. Of course, it’s not as huge as Niagara Falls, but if you can’t make it to Niagara Falls, this is a great alternative. There is an entrance fee to visit the Bushkill Falls area.

We also loved Raymondskill Falls and Dingmans Falls. Both are accessed via short hikes, but there are some stairs to navigate.

You can also enjoy water activities on lakes such as Lake Wallenpaupack which provides opportunities for boating, fishing, kayaking, and jet skiing.

If you head to the Poconos in the wintertime, there are lots of ski resorts like Camelback Mountain Resort, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, and more which offer skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.

Jack Frost Big Boulder is another great snow tubing location, and one of the closer ones to DC.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Located about an hour and 20 minutes from Philadelphia is Atlantic City in New Jersey. It is the place to go, especially for family road trips. It is a popular tourist attraction known for its boardwalk, casinos, entertainment, and seaside attractions. 

The boardwalk has lots of shops, restaurants, and amusements. You can also simply relax on the beach, especially during summertime, swim, or enjoy some water sports. 

The aquarium is a popular spot as well with tons of marine life and exhibits on local marine species, such as sharks, turtles, and more.

In the winter months, Atlantic City has recently opened the Island Waterpark at Showboat, which is an indoor waterpark with several slides, swimming pools, shops, and restaurants.

The Showboat Resort hotel where it’s located has a huge amount of arcade games, bumper cars, and more if you choose to reserve a stay with them. 

Richmond, VA

Richmond, Virginia is about 4 hours away from Philadelphia. 

While on a road trip here, there are lots of opportunities for history, culture, and outdoor activities. 

Visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to experience a diverse collection of artworks from around the world and from various time periods and styles. 

If you are doing a road trip with kids, visit the Children’s Museum of Richmond. It contains interactive exhibits, art activities, and imaginative play areas. Inside the museum, there is a carousel for kids to ride on while enjoying a bunch of imaginative areas.

Next to the Children’s Museum is the Science Museum of Virginia where your kids can engage in interactive exhibits, watch live science demonstrations, and do a ton of hands-on activities. 

Since Richmond is known for its culinary scene, it is also worth taking a food tour to enjoy some of the local cuisine. 

Williamsburg, Virginia

If you are looking for a colonial town getaway, then Williamsburg, VA is about 5 hours away and will make a great road trip.

Visit the Governor’s Palace and learn about the lives of Virginia’s colonial governors. There is a short tour, which lasts about 30 minutes but is very informative. Make sure you go inside, tour the outside, and explore the storage cellars.

For kids and adventure lovers, Busch Gardens is an amusement park with lots of roller coasters, live entertainment, and themed attractions. 

Also located here is Water Country USA, a water park with a variety of water slides, lazy rivers, and family-friendly attractions. 

Adults might enjoy a stop at Williamsburg Winery which is a nice hidden gem with opportunities to take some photos in the beautiful vineyard. The staff usually gives some information on the winemaking process before the wine tasting and then afterward, they give you a wine glass to take home for free.

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Although it is located about 6 hours from Philadelphia, it’s still worth the road trip.

A top highlight is the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long trail that guides you through about 16 historically significant sites, including the Massachusetts State House, Paul Revere’s House, and the Old North Church.

You can check out the Boston Common, which is the oldest public park in the United States, and then stroll through the adjacent Public Garden, famous for its Swan Boats and colorful flowerbeds.

For outdoor activities, take a ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands to go hiking, enjoy a picnic, and explore the historic sites. 

Conclusion on Road Trips from Philadelphia 

As you can see, road trips from Philadelphia can be adventure-filled with unique experiences. Each of these destinations offers its own history, culture, cuisine, and adventures.

No matter what type of traveler you are, you are bound to find the perfect Philadelphia road trip. 

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Samantha is the owner and author of PAonPause, a blog that helps travelers find the best outdoor travel experiences and highlights unique locations around the Great Lakes. When she isn't writing and creating content for the website, she's hiking and exploring with her husband and 2 rescue pups. She also enjoys a good craft beer, a summer ride in her Jeep with the top down, and discovering a new waterfall.

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Great Road Trips You Can Make from Philadelphia


Even though Philadelphia is a great place to live and explore, sometimes you just need to get out of town to recharge, relax, or discover a new city. Here are the best road trips you can easily take from Philadelphia, some of which you can do in one day and others that require a stay.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips , compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips .

The Jersey Shore, NJ

Natural Feature

Visit picturesque beaches along the Jersey Shore

Distance: 54 miles (86.9 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 10 minutes | No matter which shore town you choose to visit when you take a trip to the Jersey Shore , you’ll be able to find fun for the whole family. On a hot summer day, there’s no better feeling than digging your toes into the sand and relaxing by the ocean. After the sun goes down, depending on which town you pick, you can explore Avalon & Stone Harbor’s boutique stores, check out one of Cape May’s great restaurants, walk the boardwalk in Atlantic City, and more.

Bethlehem, PA

Architectural Landmark

Bethlehem is an old industrial town

Distance: 70 miles (112.6 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 21 minutes | Known for its colonial history and industrial backbone, Bethlehem isn’t far from the City of Brotherly Love and is home to tons of festivals throughout the year, beautiful parks, and a great collection of museums. While you’re there, see who’s headlining the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, which regularly attracts big-name comedians and musicians.

New York City, NY

Building, Museum, Park Distance: 96 miles (154.4 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 42 minutes | What can be said about New York City that hasn’t already been said? It’s only a quick drive from Philadelphia to the Big Apple. So, head through New Jersey and the Lincoln Tunnel, and spend a day (or two) wandering Central Park, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, taking in a Broadway show, wining and dining, and so much more.

Baltimore, MD

Aquarium, Museum

Explore Baltimore on a day trip

Distance: 100 miles (160.9 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 44 minutes | Another big city close to Philadelphia, Baltimore is a great option for a short trip. While you’re there, check out the National Aquarium , visit Fort McHenry, wander through an art museum or Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, and walk by the waterfront—and, of course, eat as much fresh crab as you can.

The Pocono Mountains, PA

The sunset in the Poconos is breathtaking

Distance: 103 miles (165.7 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 45 minutes | The Pocono Mountains are a popular year-round destination for many Philadelphians. In the winter, you can hike, ski, and experience a huge number of snow activities at ski resorts such as Blue Mountain , and stay at any number of romantic, cozy bed & breakfasts at the end of the day. In the summer, take a visit to Lake Wallenpaupack or the Delaware River Water Gap with the whole family, and enjoy the abundant sunshine and scenic views of nature.

Hershey, PA

Brewery, Park

Ride the ferris wheel at Hershey’s Chocolate World

Distance: 95 miles (152.8 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 47 minutes | Hershey truly is fun for the whole family. If you have kids, take them to Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World—after all, this is where Hershey’s Chocolate itself was founded—and let them see how their favorite treats are made before riding a chocolate-inspired roller coaster at the park. If you’re all of age, head to a local brewery like Troëgs for a tour and a few of their excellent craft beers, such as the Solid Sender or Nugget Nectar.

Washington, D.C.

Historical Landmark

A visit to Washington would not be complete without a trip to the Washington Monument

Distance: 138 miles (222 kilometers) | Travel time: 2 hours, 33 minutes | The nation’s capital is a bit of a drive from Philadelphia, but it’s well worth the trek. Head south and explore D.C.’s Smithsonian museum collection (which are free to the public), and see the White House and the Capitol building. Also, gaze up at the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, and then hit Dupont Circle or U Street to visit one of their many restaurants for a drink and an excellent meal.

Gettysburg, PA

Learn some US history in Gettysburg

Distance: 140 miles (225.3 kilometers) | Travel time: 2 hours, 22 minutes | Historic Gettysburg is quite far, but for Civil War buffs, it’s an absolute must. Start by visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield and the Gettysburg National Military Park. Then, stop by Eisenhower’s former home, and explore the Jenny Wade House while you’re there.

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Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

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Short Breaks And Weekend Getaways From Philadelphia

Article By: FTFstaff

weekend road trips from philadelphia

The big state of Pennsylvania offers many possible weekend getaways, but there’s also big city life, sand beaches and coasters near Philadelphia families. 

As one of America’s oldest cities and a magnet for any family interested in American history, Philadelphia is one of our favorite all-time destinations for weekend getaways, short school breaks, or even a month-long vacation — there’s that much to see and do. But sometimes the weight of hosting Betsy Ross and the noise of the Liberty Bell can be too much, and that’s why area families and their suburban neighbors look for a change.

Whether your family is looking for a short break holiday, a cheap vacation package, a fun last-minute excursion to break up a road trip, or a weekend getaway from everyday routines, there are lots of options within a 200-mile radius of Philadelphia, and many are much closer than that.

The following weekend getaway roundup includes some of our family’s favorite kids’ destinations. There are, of course, many other choices for spending your time and money on a short break, so we’ll just highlight some of the top local attractions, kid-friendly festivals and events that suit all ages. We welcome you to submit your own favorite mid-Atlantic weekend getaways.

Want to see Philadlephia and New York on the cheap? Get up to 40% discounts on attractions with CITYPass.  

Big City Weekend Getaways from Philadelphia

New York City Family Attractions Easily accessed by trains, planes and automobiles — not to forget cheap buses — the city of New York needs this comprehensive sightseeing guide instead of an introduction.

Baltimore, Maryland Family Attractions A family guide to historical, educational and fun places to visit, from the aquarium to Camden Yards, in this seafaring, mid-Atlantic port city.

Washington DC wtih Teens There are many reasons to visit the nation’s capital, but you can always use fresh ideas if you have tweens and teens visiting (or re-visiting) with their folks.

Fine Arts & Fun in Pittsburgh Explore galleries, theatres, museums, local cuisine and more with a family guide to fine arts and fun attractions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Weekend in Wilmington Delaware Quiet Wilmington, Delaware is a bargain place to explore with the school kids, because of the gardens, museums, and American history this area has to offer.

Explore Richmond Named a “Best City for Families” by  Parenting  magazine, Richmond has developed many  fun tourist attractions since the Civil War.

Short Breaks & Family Beach Weekends Beyond Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Apple Farms Families will find many u-pick apple farms and pumpkin patches that are easily accessible to Philadelphia, Wilmington and New Jersey families.

Hershey Pennsylania’s Family Adventures What to do when you’ve had enough candy in the surprisingly entertaining chocolate capital of the world: Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Cape May, New Jersey What we don’t know about the Jersey Shore: an insider’s guide to a peaceful family beach getaway vacation in the peninsula’s historic Cape May.

A Weekend at the Jersey Shore Check out two different scenes (and we don’t mean the TV show), minutes from each other on the Jersey shore, for a beach weekend, mini-vacation or daytrip.

Rehoboth Beach Promises Family Fun Along the east coast Atlantic shoreline, the pristine sands of Delaware, especially Rehoboth, provide ingredients for the ultimate family beach getaway.

Pennsylvania: Poconos Family Hotels & Resorts The friendly mountain region that has welcomed outdoorsmen and honeymooners for generations is setting its sights on the family market.

Pennsylvania Dutch Country Resorts & Hotels It’s your choice between country inns, farm stays, resorts and motels as you tour the classic Amish country surrounding pretty Lancaster.

American History Road Trip: Philadelphia, The Amish, Gettysburg Leave Philly on your American history road trip and explore the regions of Lancaster and Gettysburg together.

Free Travel Fun in Gettysburg While some may think battlefield, others look forward to dropping by Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum, one of the many free attractions around Gettysburg.

Connecticut Family Attractions There’s so much to see and do in nearby Connecticut, which boasts Lake Compounce, the nation’s oldest themepark, and Mystic Seaport, an extensive maritime museum with a learning center and aquarium full of whales.

Ocean City Attractions From adventures on the sea, to rides, games and explorations on the land, there’s “shore” to be something fun for everyone in Maryland’s beach town of Ocean City.

Favorite Family Resorts for Pennsylvania Weekends

Skytop Lodge Family Weekend Visit a surprisingly fun resort in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains whose restraint and dignity make time and tradition stand still.

Woodloch Pines for Family Reunions FTF’s annual Top 10 survey of award-winners highlights Woodloch Pines as one of our best places to host your family’s next reunion.

Spa Stop at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa Offering a great Kids Club and entertaining nearby attractions, this Farmington, Pennsylvania resort pampers families with an amazing spa getaway.

Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.

2 Replies to “Short Breaks And Weekend Getaways From Philadelphia”

You are so right Banfos, thanks for the heads up. Mystic CT is quite remarkable and has much to see besides the aquarium. We have made the change.

Mystic Seaport is a world-renowned maritime history museum. It is not an aquarium as stated in your article.

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40 great day trips near philadelphia, art, history and the great outdoors — all in philly’s backyard....

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Historic homes, fascinating museums, gorgeous gardens, shopping havens and sprawling parks await visitors venturing outside the city into Philadelphia’s Countryside for an exciting (or relaxing) day trip.

Towns and boroughs throughout Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties offer adventures for nature lovers, art appreciators and history buffs, as well as some of the best shopping on the East Coast.

Historic sites like Valley Forge National Historical Park and Brandywine Battlefield take visitors back to the days of the Revolutionary War. Outdoor adventures await at preserves and parks like John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and Ringing Rocks Park . The expertly landscaped Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens delight guests with themed gardens and bountiful floral displays. And Elmwood Park Zoo and Sesame Place entertain kids with furry friends. Wrap it all up with some retail therapy at shopping destinations like Peddler’s Village and Suburban Square .

Check out our guide to 40 of Greater Philadelphia’s most awesome attractions for fun day trips — all located within a one-hour drive of Center City Philadelphia .

Brandywine Museum of Art and The N.C. Wyeth House & Studio

Brandywine River Museum of Art interior

The grounds are as breathtaking as the art at the bucolic Brandywine Museum of Art , housed in a renovated 1864 gristmill surrounded by wildflower gardens and the meandering Brandywine River. Inside, works by Andrew Wyeth sit beside other beautifully detailed illustrations, paintings and installations along with permanent and rotating exhibitions. Cross the road to visit the N.C. Wyeth House & Studio , the 1922 family home and workspace of Andrew’s father, a National Historic Landmark with Colonial Revival architecture, country furnishings, illustration tools, and many Wyeth relics including a birch-bark canoe and a firearm collection.

Where: Brandywine Museum of Art and The N.C. Wyeth House & Studio, 1 Hoffmans Mill Road, Chadds Ford

Fonthill Castle

People outside of Fonthill Castle

Former home to archeologist, anthropologist and ceramist Henry Chapman Mercer, Fonthill Castle is a 115-year-old museum displaying Mercer’s massive collection of prints, books and handcrafted ceramic tiles produced at his historic Tile Works (see above). The collection — including a 2,000-year-old whale oil lamp and cuneiform tablets dating back four millennia — is spread among mansion’s 44 rooms and 32 stairwells. As impressive as the relics, the building features 200 windows, 23 chimneys, and a bevy of turrets and balconies (plus 11 bathrooms!). The castle hosts year-round programming, including summer festivals, fall ghost tours and foodie events.

Where: Fonthill Castle, 525 E. Court Street, Doylestown

King of Prussia, a Simon Property Mall

A family walks through King of Prussia mall pointing at stores and holding colorful shopping bands.

With over 450 stores and at nearly 3 million square feet, King of Prussia, a Simon Property Mall is the third-largest in America and the premier shopping destination on the East Coast. Together, The Court, The Plaza and The Pavilion welcome around 20 million visitors each year to anchor stores like Nordstrom; shops like Tiffany & Co., Sur La Table, Givenchy and Versace; and 17 dining options for on-the-go eats or sit-down relaxing. Get there via SEPTA’s M line (formerly the Norristown High Speed Line) or grab one of the center’s 13,000 parking spaces.

Where: King of Prussia, a Simon Property Mall, 160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia

Three kids build and play with Legos at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia.

Are you a LEGO maniac? Then head to the 33,000-square-foot LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Montgomery County’s Plymouth Meeting Mall. Designed for kids 3 to 10, the indoor LEGO playground offers a dozen LEGO-themed rides and attractions (including the Imagination Express and Great LEGO Race Virtual Reality Experience), a 4D cinema, create-your-own build stations, LEGO workshops with master builders and the LEGO Ninjago Training Camp — plus a themed café and LEGO store. Don’t miss Miniland, with huge miniature recreations of Philly’s most iconic buildings and landmarks created from over 1 million LEGO bricks.

Where: LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia, 500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting

Linvilla Orchards

Pumpkins and kids at Linvilla Orchards

One of the last working farms in Delaware County , the year-round fun of Linvilla Orchards offers pick-your-own apples, peaches, berries, corn and more, plus fun-filled festivals and educational programs built around them. Visitors can stop by the open-daily, always-fresh farmers market, or enjoy seasonal events and activities like fall’s Pumpkinland for hayrides and pumpkin carving and Christmas Around the Farm’s chop-down-your-own Christmas tree and a holiday gift market.

Where: Linvilla Orchards, 137 W. Knowlton Road, Media

Longwood Gardens

At over a thousand acres, Longwood Gardens is Philly’s largest and arguably most famous botanical garden, named No. 1 on Fodor’s list of Best Botanical Gardens Across the United States . Pierre du Pont’s tranquil horticultural oasis showcases nearly 10,000 varieties among its indoor and outdoor grounds. Guests can enjoy permanent exhibits like the Green Wall, Orchid House and Hillside Garden, as well as the seasonal Illuminated Fountain Performances (color-lighted musical dancing water shows at the center of a magnificent five-acre fountain garden) and elaborate installations like the late-winter Orchid Extravaganza, Chrysanthemum Festival and A Longwood Christmas .

Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square

Peddler's Village

Popular Lahaska shopping haven Peddler’s Village welcomes more than 1.6 million visitors a year to enjoy its 70-plus charming colonial-style independent boutiques, specialty shops, wineries and restaurants ringing the storybook-like landscaped grounds connected by winding brick pathways. While browsing through vintage apparel, handmade jewelry, and local art and craft stores, take a moment to stop by the flowing fountains, Zen gardens and historic carousel, and check the village’s calendar for annual festivals celebrating strawberries, blueberries, apples, scarecrows, gingerbread houses and other seasonal events.

Where: Peddler's Village, 2400 Street Road, New Hope

Ridley Creek State Park and Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation

Three people walk through the trees of Ridley Creek State Park with a dog.

Delaware County’s Ridley Creek State Park is a 2,600-acre oasis of wooded trails and rolling hills perfect for nature lovers. Visitors can enjoy hiking and horseback riding trails, a creek stocked with trout, park space for archery and deer hunting, and picnic areas. History buffs can explore the former workers’ cottages, mill dam and historic buildings in the 18th-century milling village known as Sycamore Mills and visit the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation , the 112-acre Pratt family farm that operated from 1720 to 1820 that’s now a living history site.

Where: Ridley Creek State Park and Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, 1023 Sycamore Mills Road, Media

Sesame Place

We’ll tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Place , the only Sesame Street -themed amusement park east of California. Fans can meet their furry friends like Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Elmo and many more lovable costumed characters along with experiencing kid-level thrills on 35 rides and water attractions. The 14-acre park also features carnival games, plenty of refreshments and concessions, daily (and nightly) parades, and special festivities like character birthdays and the popular A Very Furry Christmas celebration. Sesame Place is open seasonally from spring through the holiday season.

Where: Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne

Valley Forge National Historical Park

People looking at huts at Valley Forge National Historical Park

The difficult 1777-1778 winter the Continental Army spent at at Valley Forge went down as one of the Revolutionary War’s most trying periods. Today, Valley Forge National Historical Park honors those who encamped here with monuments, statues and buildings throughout the grounds, along with replicated huts, General Washington’s original headquarters, the National Memorial Arch , and a recently renovated visitor center that features artifacts and a lifesize statue of the future first President. The 3,500-acre park also includes scenic overlooks, picnic areas, and miles of recreational trails where runners and cyclists can cruise the park.

Where: Valley Forge National Historical Park, 1400 N. Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia

Historical Sites

Brandywine battlefield park.

weekend road trips from philadelphia

What is now known as Brandywine Battlefield Park was the site of the longest single-day battle for George Washington and his Continental Army in the entire Revolutionary War. Stop by the visitor venter to explore the on-site museum and exhibition, take a self-guided tour or explore two onsite historic homes : the Benjamin Ring House, a reconstruction of the home that Washington used as battlefield headquarters, and the Gideon Gilpin House where the Marquis de Lafayette stayed before the battle, complete with an 18th-century cookware collection.

Where: Brandywine Battlefield Park, 1491 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford

Glencairn Museum and Bryn Athyn Historic District

The Glencairn Museum in Montgomery County ’s Bryn Athyn Historic District is one of the nation’s largest museums dedicated to religious art and history, containing nearly 8,000 works from across ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, medieval Europe and Asia, early Islamic and Indigenous nations, and more. The gallery also features a large collection of Nativity art, including stained-glass windows, sculptures, manuscripts and paintings. Also in the historic district: the 26,000-square-foot Gilded Age-era Cairnwood Estate historic home and gardens, as well as the picturesque Early Gothic-style Swedenborgian Bryn Athyn Cathedral .

Where: Glencairn Museum and Bryn Athyn Historic District, 1005 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn


Cairnwood Estate, 1005 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn

Bryn Athyn Cathedral, 900 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

Tucked into the expanse of French Creek State Park in rural Chester County , historic Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site is home to 14 now-restored structures that were part of a colonial-era iron-producing village that relied on free labor and the work of enslaved people. Nature lovers enjoy birding and photography opportunities, and visitors can participate in demonstrations of crafts, agriculture and other 19th-century activities.

Where: Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, 2 Mark Bird Lane, Elverson

Pearl S. Buck International

Bucks County ’s Pearl S. Buck International — the early 18th-century Perkasie estate and farmhouse of the Nobel Prize-winning author — is home to a museum featuring a plethora of The Good Earth writer’s personal belongings on display, including the typewriter she used to pen the classic historical fiction novel. Visitors to the site, often referred to as Green Hill Farms, can tour her former home, the stunning gardens and Buck’s nearby gravesite.

Where: Pearl S. Buck International, 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie

Washington Crossing Historic Park

Both a preserved historic site and nature area, Washington Crossing Historic Park offers visitors a chance to see where General George Washington and his troops covertly crossed the Delaware River in the dark of Christmas night 1776 on their way to key victories at Trenton and Princeton. The park, open daily, features a bevy of historic sites including Thompson-Neely House & Grist Mill and Bowman’s Hill Tower plus a visitor center, walking paths, picnic pavilions, fishing areas and boat launches. Come back Christmas Day to view the annual reenactment of the famous crossing.

Where: Washington Crossing Historic Park, 1112 River Road, Washington Crossing

Delaware Canal State Park

A 60-mile linear park along the Delaware River from Easton to Bristol, Delaware Canal State Park calls to joggers and cyclists, as well as nature enthusiasts who enjoy the wildlife that thrives along the river shoreline and nearly a dozen river islands. There’s plenty of fun on the water, too, as the river and canal the path follows offer ample opportunities for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

Where: Multiple points of entry including 603 Jefferson Avenue, Bristol

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

Established in 1972, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is a 1,000-acre park just outside Philadelphia International Airport built to protect the largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania. The refuge, which lies mostly in Delaware County , is an urban enclave for outdoor recreation featuring 10 miles of low-lying trails for hiking and biking and four-and-a-half miles of tidal creek and boat ramps for canoeing, kayaking and fishing access. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy spotting the over 300 varieties of resident and migratory birds, rare plants and numerous land animals, including several endangered species.

Where: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, 8601 Lindbergh Boulevard

Nockamixon State Park

Southeastern Pennsylvania’s largest lake — located inside the 5,000-acre Nockamixon State Park — is a great spot for boaters and fishers of all types. Visitors can find more than 25 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, picnic sites, and four public launching areas for boats. Park rentals include motorboats, paddleboats and canoes, and the seven-mile-long Lake Nockamixon welcomes fishers of bass, pickerel, catfish and beyond.

Where: Nockamixon State Park, 1542 Mountain View Drive, Quakertown

Ringing Rocks County Park

Bring your own hammer (no joke!) to Ringing Rocks Park , a seven-acre field of hulking round stones that respond to strategic whacks and thumps with the sound of ringing bells. Climb onto the field and start banging away on the primordial igneous diabase boulders to experience an unexpected and unforgettable melodic geological sound created by a combination of melting permafrost, weathering and rock shape. Once through the boulder field, visitors can continue on into the 123-acre park, a dense forest for hikers, bikers and picnickers which also features High Falls, Bucks County ’s highest waterfall.

Where: Ringing Rocks County Park, 1924 Ringing Rocks Road, Upper Black Eddy

Art Museums

George nakashima woodworkers.

The Nakashima family incorporates its samurai roots, as well as experiences in construction and art, to its museum-like George Nakashima Woodworkers furniture studio. The grounds double as the family’s private residence, and visitors are welcome by appointment into the showroom, finishing room, chair shop and Conoid Studio. The hand-crafted wood pieces are designed with art and utility in mind.

Where: George Nakashima Woodworkers, 1847 Aquetong Road, New Hope

James A. Michener Art Museum

Visitors walk through the gallery at the Michener Art Museum.

Pennsylvania impressionist paintings take center stage at the James A. Michener Art Museum , named for the Pulitzer Prize-awarded and Doylestown native writer of classics like Centennial , The Source , Chesapeake and the novel that inspired the Broadway musical South Pacific . The museum, built from a historic 19th-century prison, also features other historical and contemporary works, photography exhibits, a reading room inspired by the sleek woodwork of nearby furniture maker George Nakashima Woodworkers (see above), an outdoor sculpture garden and a terrace built in the original prison yard.

Where: James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown

John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove

A blue bird rests on a branch with pink blossoms at John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove outside Philadelphia

Opened in 2019, the immersive John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove museum and nature facility occupies the site of famed ornithologist and environmentalist John James Audubon’s historic 18th-century home. Visitors can explore galleries and exhibits on conservation and art, an outdoor birdwatching area and an interactive exhibit that allows individuals to experience the earliest stages of a bird’s life from egg to first flight. The center rests beside the existing historic house, barn and nature trails located on the farm where an 18-year-old Audubon lived when he first arrived in America in 1803.

Where: John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, 1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon

The TileWorks

Moravian Pottery and Tile Works

Doylestown’s “working history” TileWorks museum (formerly known as Moravian Pottery and TileWorks) is a National Historic Landmark that continues to create handmade tiles in a manner similar to the method established at founder and ceramicist Henry Chapman Mercer’s workshop that produced hand-crafted ceramic tiles during the American Arts & Crafts Movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. Visitors can tour the site to see original displays and get a glimpse of the production process. Pair a visit with stops at the artist’s Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle (see below).

Where: The TileWorks, 130 E. Swamp Road, Doylestown

Wharton Esherick Museum

The Wharton Esherick Museum in the woods of Chester County

Deep in the Chester County woods and atop a mountain adjacent to Valley Forge National Historic Park lived wood sculptor Wharton Esherick, “Dean of American Craftsmen,” whose work can be seen at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon his death in 1970, his magnificent hand-built, 12-acre rural modernist home, farmhouse and studio was turned into the Wharton Esherick Museum , an immersive, interactive National Historic Landmark for Architecture featuring 200 of his pieces including works made in collaboration with Philadelphia architect Louis Kahn. Guided tours are available when scheduled in advance.

Where: Wharton Esherick Museum, 1520 Horse Shoe Trail, Malvern

Cultural Museums

American helicopter museum & education center.

Nearly three dozen helicopters, autogiros, convertiplanes and other spiral wing aircraft are on display at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center . The nation’s premier rotary flight aviation museum features displays including a model helicopter room with over 400 pieces and an exhibit dedicated to the Whirly-Girls , a pioneering group of women helicopter pilots. Several times a year, guests of all ages have a chance to ride in a helicopter for a bird’s-eye-view of the countryside. If you own your own helicopter (!), you can arrive in rotary style utilizing the adjacent helipad, ramp and runway.

Where: American Helicopter Museum & Education Center, 1220 American Boulevard, West Chester

American Treasure Tour Museum

The American Treasure Tour in Oaks is the region’s kitschiest museum. The 100,000-square-foot collection features over 1 million pieces of American pop culture memorabilia including neon road signs, self-playing orchestras, life-sized cartoon characters, decades of movie posters, herds of stuffed animals and fleets of antique autos … all accessed via an indoor electric tram. The museum is part of The Factory in Oaks complex, which includes Arnold’s Family Fun Center (think go-karts, laser tag, bumper cars and the like), a trampoline park, a rock climbing gym, a bowling center and more.

Where: American Treasure Tour Museum, One American Treasure Way, Oaks

Mercer Museum

Old wagons, boats and other pre-mechanical materials fill the Mercer Museum

The towering castle that houses the Mercer Museum is full of themed rooms dedicated to the tools and crafts of American life before mechanization. Archaeologist, collector and tile maker Henry Chapman Mercer founded the museum in 1916 to display his incredible 40,000-piece collection of pre-industrial tools, early manual technologies and crafts related to American life before mechanization including a whaling boat and a Conestoga wagon. Permanent exhibits include the kid-oriented and interactive Animals on the Loose gallery , as well as shoe- and hat-making stations.

Where: Mercer Museum, 84 S. Pine Street, Doylestown

Pennsbury Manor

Fall foliage at Pennsbury Manor

The statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia’s City Hall gazes down toward the city founder’s landing site at Penn Treaty Park . But it was 22 miles north and 20 years later where Penn resided at the turn of the 18th century in his bucolic Pennsbury Manor country estate on the Delaware River he built for his Quaker family. Visitors to the manor, reconstructed in 1939 and the only museum dedicated to Penn, can check out period furnishings, historical objects, an award-winning exhibit about Penn and his legacy, plus hands-on activities and open hearth cooking demos.

Where: Pennsbury Manor, 400 Pennsbury Memorial Road, Morrisville

Botanical Gardens

Bowman’s hill wildflower preserve.

A pond at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve

Head to Bucks County’s historic Pidcock Creek Valley to unwind among 134 acres of 2,000 native plant species and the wildlife that depend on them. Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve ’s grounds span forests, a meadow, hillsides, a creek, two ponds and extensive wetlands. The preserve also offers varied programming for children and adults , including specialty walks like “mornings in the meadow” and forest bathing. Pro tip: View the preserve from above atop the nearby 12-story-tall Bowman’s Hill Tower .

Where: Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, 1635 River Road, New Hope


People exploring the grounds of Chanticleer.

The gardeners at 35-acre Chanticleer pleasure botanical garden are also artists, incorporating wood, metal and stone into the lush landscape. The exquisite locale on the grounds of the century-old Rosengarten manor displays over 5,000 plants across a dozen collections from perennials to agricultural crops, tended by in-house landscape artists who design their own installations. Make time for the Teacup Garden, brimming with tropical plants carefully arranged to create a colorful, sensory experience, and the Minder Ruin Garden, a folly built on the main cottage’s foundation resembling ancient ruins overtaken by the elements, including a 24-foot sarcophagus-shaped reflecting pool.

Where: Chanticleer, 786 Church Road, Wayne

Tyler Arboretum

Fall foliage at Tyler Arbroetum

The 650 acres of Tyler Arboretum ’s woodlands, meadows and flora are part of a property that English Quaker Thomas Minshall purchased from William Penn in 1681. With 17 miles of trails, 80-foot-tall trees and delicate wildflowers, it’s one of the region’s oldest and largest public gardens. Adventurers relish solving the seven-ringed Meadow Maze labyrinth, children learn about nature at Discovery Stations, those with decreased vision enjoy the aromatic Fragrant Garden (one of the first designed primarily for people who are blind) and history-lovers can tour several sites on the National Register of Historic Places.

Where: Tyler Arboretum, 515 Painter Road, Media

Family Attractions

Elmwood park zoo.

At the 16-acre Elmwood Park Zoo , guests can meet over 100 species, including bison, zebras, jaguars, red pandas, otters and more — including Liana the two-toed sloth, Penny the American alligator and Noah the bald eagle, the mascot of the Philadelphia Eagles. Families can pet the goats, sheep and donkeys in the barn, feed the giant giraffes (ticket required), ride the zoo-themed carousel or zip line 50 feet above the grounds. Adults can picnic with BYO snacks or grab a craft beer at the Zoo Brew Bar & Beer Garden.

Where: Elmwood Park Zoo, 1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown

Herr’s Snack Factory Tour

Children on Herr's Factory Tour with Herr's mascot, Chipper.

You can make Herr’s yours, as the slogan goes, with the tasty Herr’s Snack Factory Tour , a guided firsthand learning experience with a behind-the-scenes look at the production floor and factory warehouse where Herr’s Foods’ beloved pretzels, tortillas, popcorn, cheese curls and potato chips are created and packaged. The one-hour tour also includes fresh warm samples, a visit to the gallery in the gift shop, lunch at Chipper’s CafĂ© and a myriad of little-known snack facts. Tours run Monday through Wednesday for both folks with reservations and walk-ins.

Where: Herr’s Snack Factory Tour, 271 Old Baltimore Pike, Nottingham

New Hope Railroad

Passengers aboard the 150-year-old New Hope Railroad can enjoy narrated train tours of scenic Bucks County on classic rail cars pulled by either a 1925 steam locomotive or one of two diesel engines that date back to the early 1960s. Coast through the county’s hills and valleys past sprawling farms, historic bridges and other countryside features on one of several trips, including the 45-minute standard tour, 21-plus excursions for wine and cocktail lovers, or one of the seasonal holiday trains from Valentine’s to Christmas.

Where: New Hope Railroad, 32 W. Bridge Street, New Hope

Baldwin’s Book Barn

First established in Delaware in 1934, Baldwin’s Book Barn has been offering used, rare, and fine books along with hundreds of manuscripts, maps and prints at the more “recent” West Chester location since 1946. The friendly-family bookstore is located inside a 200-year-old five-story stone barn housing a collection of over 300,000 items packed into every corner, cranny and hideaway. Named one of the World’s Most Beloved Independent Bookstores by Architectural Digest , everything in the bookshop is available for purchase or for leafing through while lounging in a cozy nook or discussing around the wood-burning stove.

Where: Baldwin's Book Barn, 865 Lenape Road, West Chester

Philadelphia Premium Outlets

Philadelphia Premium Outlets

Home to more than 135 designer and brand-name factory stores from Coach and Kate Spade to Nike and Swarovski, outdoor shopping plaza Philadelphia Premium Outlets offers 553,000 square feet of deals as big as 70% — all just 35 miles outside of Center City . When all those discounts make you hungry, grab lunch at one of a half-dozen restaurants or the convenient food court — with plenty of outside seating during warmer months.

Where: Philadelphia Premium Outlets, 18 W. Lightcap Road, Pottstown

Suburban Square

Pedestrian-friendly Suburban Square in Ardmore is an upscale outdoor shopping plaza that serves as one of the Main Line’s premier retail and dining destinations. Among the nation’s oldest planned shopping centers (and the first with a department store), the square dates back to the late 1920s. Brands like Apple and Free People have set up here, and visitors can also find affordable silver and gemstones at Dandelion, work up a sweat at SoulCycle, and grab a meal at eateries like Lola’s Garden, DanDan or Sweetgreen. The six-square-block development — which is adjacent to Amtrak and SEPTA’s Ardmore Station — also features a daily farmers market.

Where: Suburban Square, 602 Coulter Avenue, Ardmore

Performing Arts

Bucks county playhouse.

Take in a show at historic Bucks County Playhouse (founded 1751), a theater on the Delaware River in New Hope that presents both local and touring productions that has seen the likes of Grace Kelly, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Redford, Liza Minnelli and more grace the stage converted from a gristmill in 1939. Since a reboot in 2012, the 500-seat theater has hosted several world premieres and has returned to its roots as an incubator for soon-to-be Broadway hits.

Where: Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main Street, New Hope

Hedgerow Theatre

Delaware County’s Hedgerow Theatre , founded in 1923, is a repertory theater and company that has attracted prominent performers to its stage including Keanu Reeves, Paul Robeson and Ann Harding (who purchased and donated the theater to the company in 1931). Hedgerow has also operated as a proving ground for writers like Eugene O’Neill, Langston Hughes and George Bernard Shaw, and features furniture and staircase designs by Wharton Esherick (see above). In addition to general audience productions in the 144-seat playhouse, the “Mother of All Philadelphia Theaters” offers an outdoor children’s theater and innovative sensory-friendly performances.

Where: Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Road, Media

Philadelphia Union and Subaru Park

Pre-match activities on the field at Philadelphia Union's soccer stadium in Chester, PA

The Philadelphia Union , the region’s Major League Soccer club, has been thrilling association football fans decked out in navy and gold since 2010 — including capturing the 2020 Supporters’ Shield for the league’s best regular season record, three U.S. Open Cup finals appearances and a run to the MLS championship match in 2022. Beautiful soccer-specific Subaru Park stadium in Chester hosts the Union’s lively home games, led by the friendly-but-rowdy 5,000-member strong Sons of Ben supporters’ group. Bonus: Spectators can enjoy impressive views of the Delaware River and the Commodore Barry Bridge which soars above the site.

Where: Subaru Park, 1 Stadium Drive, Chester

  • Museums & Attractions
  • Bucks County
  • Chester County
  • Delaware County
  • Kennett Square
  • Montgomery County
  • West Chester

weekend road trips from philadelphia

Come for Philadelphia. Stay (Over) for Philly.

The only way to fully experience Philly? Stay over.

Book the Visit Philly Overnight Package and get free hotel parking and choose-your-own-adventure perks, including tickets to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Franklin Institute, or the National Constitution Center and the Museum of the American Revolution.

Or maybe you’d prefer to buy two Philly hotel nights and get a third night for free? Then book the new Visit Philly 3-Day Stay package.

Which will you choose?

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Day Trips From Philly

Top 12 Day Trips from Philadelphia

weekend road trips from philadelphia

It’s no secret that Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is strategically located and close to an abundance of other major east coast cities as well as smaller towns. It’s also easy to reach the New Jersey Shore’s beaches, the Pocono mountains—and many great spots in-between. There are many exciting and fun day trips from Philadelphia, in all directions of the city, and here are 12 favorites.

Bushkill Falls (Pocono Mountains)

 Considered the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” Bushkill Falls is a beautiful wooded destination for nature lovers. With plenty of marked nature trails, lookout points, and bridges, all leading to eight stunning waterfalls of various sizes, this park is a favorite for those who enjoy the outdoors. This family-friendly destination is about a two-hour drive from Philadelphia. Nearby, there are other activities as well, including picnic areas, paddle boats, miniature golf, a playground, and a mining adventure that’s ideal for kids. 

Less than an hour’s drive from Philadelphia is the historic town of New Hope, a charming and sometimes quirky destination lined with lovely clothing boutiques, antique stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and pleasant walkways. A former industrial town located by banks of the Delaware River, it’s a lively place to spend the day, especially on weekends, when there are often markets and special events planned, so be sure to check the website for upcoming activities.  

About two hours from Philly is the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, a tiny destination that’s big on fun. Situated by the Lehigh River, this former coal-mining town is steeped in history, as it was home to one of the first railroads in the United States and named for one of America’s best athletes. Today, this walkable town is filled with shops, restaurants, and great outdoor activities, such as white water rafting, hiking, and camping. With exciting festivals and events scheduled throughout the year, the town always has something going on, so be sure to visit the website for upcoming activities. 

Delaware Art Museum

Less than an hour south of Philadelphia is the Delaware Art Museum that houses a vast collection of sculptures, paintings, and a variety of unique artwork. Highlights include American 19th-century art to the present, British pre-Raphaelites, and a lovely sculpture garden.

The museum also houses a café, so you can grab a snack when you’re finished admiring the many pieces of art. Admission for adults is $12, but there are many discounts available.

Longwood Gardens

 Founded by Pierre S. du Pont, Longwood Gardens is an incredible and award-winning destination that encompasses over 1,000 acres of exceptional indoor and outdoor displays of flowers, wooded areas, meadows, and more. Whether you’re a horticulture buff or just enjoy the jaw-dropping blooms and foliage, it’s a lovely, family-friendly place to spend the day. There are also gorgeous fountains, restaurants on-site, and plenty of special events throughout the year. The holidays are especially festive with brilliant lights and decorations just about everywhere! 

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library

Set on over 1,000 acres, this childhood home of Henry Francis Du Pont, Winterthur  is an exquisite 175-room house that’s filled with beautiful artwork and awe-inspiring furnishings (and it’s less than an hour from center city, Philadelphia). It’s a fascinating destination that features over 90,000 objects used in America between the mid-1640s and the late 1800s. It’s well worth a day trip, and there are always intriguing exhibits on display. Since this home is so large, it’s nearly impossible to experience it all in one visit. Luckily, Winterthur also offers a variety of different tours so that you can return again and again. 

Beach Plum Farm, West Cape May, New Jersey

For a rustic and authentic experience, check out Beach Plum Farm , located in the picturesque town of West Cape May, New Jersey. Take a guided tour of this expansive 62-acre working farm and check out lovely gardens and fountains, as well as many farm animals, such as chickens, pigs, horses, ducks, and more. The farm’s market sells fresh produce grown on the grounds, as well as breakfast items on weekends.

Congress Hall, Cape May, New Jersey

Considered the first resort town in the United States, Cape May was first settled over two hundred years ago and is known for its Victorian Charm. The beautifully-renovated Congress Hall is a block-sized historical oceanfront property featuring shops, restaurants, bars, live music, a swimming pool, and lots of public spaces. For history buffs, the hotel offers an intriguing historical tour that invites visitors to take a step into the past and learn about the history of the property. The area is also famous for its exceptional bird watching and filled with fun things to see and do, including great beaches, bicycling riding, the Cape May lighthouse, the zoo, whale watching, and more. 

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City is a classic resort town a little more than an hour's drive from Philadelphia and features the longest boardwalk on the Jersey shore – and a host of great entertainment. In warm weather, it's great fun to hang out on the beach or stroll along "the boards," but there's plenty to do indoors, too. A few of the must-visit spots include the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the city's newest casino that features several restaurants and music venues (and many daily shows), and Ocean resort and casino, the northernmost casino with a great deal bars, eateries, and stylish public spaces. 

Valley Forge National Park

 At over 3,500 acres, Valley Forge National Park was the location of General George Washington’s continental army in the winter during the from 1777 to 1778. Today, it’s an expansive park featuring statues, monuments, trails, walkways, and other historically significant structures. It’s best to visit in the warmer months, as the park is outdoors and there is plenty to explore. There are also many events and programs scheduled throughout the year. 

The famous Hershey chocolate bar is named after an incredible town in Pennsylvania.

Visitors can enjoy many attractions here, including the Hershey Story museum, where you can learn about how Milton Hershey created his world-renowned chocolate empire. There’s also the Hershey gardens, the Hershey Spa, or the opportunity to take in a Hershey Bears hockey game. Of course, you can also visit the exciting HersheyPark , which features an abundance of the latest and greatest amusement rides, shows, and entertainment—it’s fun for all ages. 

Most visitors know that Lancaster is a rural region that comprised of several small towns that’s home to Pennsylvania Dutch country and a large Amish community. But there’s more than meets the eye…it’s also a great shopping destination, known for its many antique shops (and nearby retail outlets, too); museums, spas, wineries, breweries, and family-friendly activities, also. It’s definitely worth a day trip from Philadelphia—any time of year.  

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