20 Day Trips From Philadelphia

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Philadelphia (or Philly for short) is a great city, but sometimes you just need to get out of the concrete jungle and explore what else is out there. Luckily, the city is surrounded by small towns, historical landmarks, beautiful nature trails and iconic areas – all perfect for a day trip from Philadelphia. So whether you’re looking to explore some history, get your tourist on, or want to take a hike, here are 20 day trips from Philadelphia that are definitely worth the trip.

There are some exciting day trips from Philly; it all depends on your interests, how long you are willing to travel and whether you prefer public transport or have a car rental. So read on for a highlight of the best day trips from Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Will you choose to ride in a buggy with the Amish in Lancaster Country, become part of history in Gettysburg or opt for the big city lights of New York City? If you have a day to spare, the choices are exciting.

20 Day Trips From Philadelphia

Top 3 Tours

  • Premium Amish Country Tour – Immerse yourself in the traditions of the Amish on this Philly day trip.
  • New York In One Day – Discover the delights of the Big Apple in one day, including famous landmarks like Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial.
  • Valley Forge – Step back in history on this driving tour of Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Day Trips From Philadelphia – Under 1 Hour

1- Bucks County Wine Trail – Bucks County, PA

best day trips from philadelphia
Visiting a vineyard is a pleasant day trip from Philadelphia.

Bucks County is the perfect day trip from Philadelphia for all you wine lovers.

There are over 20 wineries along the Bucks County Wine Trail, so you can spend the day visiting different vineyards and doing tastings.

Aside from wine, Bucks County is home to beautiful countryside views and several small towns worth exploring.

Some outdoor activities here include hiking, biking, horseback riding, canoeing or kayaking.

Escape the concrete jungle for a day and explore nature instead.

Bucks County is the perfect place to go.

The wine trail is extensive, and you may need more than a day, but it will take you only an hour to get there from Philadelphia (36 miles or 150km).

2- New Hope, PA

day trips from philadelphia new hope
New Hope is another small-town day trip from Philadelphia to tick off your list.

New Hope is a quaint little town along the Delaware River filled with cute shops, great restaurants and art galleries.

It’s the perfect place to stroll around and enjoy the small-town charm.

Stroll down Main Street and do some window shopping at the unique boutiques and galleries.

Stop for lunch or coffee at one of the many casual or upscale restaurants.

In the afternoon, walk or ride a bike along the scenic Delaware Canal towpath. Check out this guided e-bike tour.

If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a kayak or canoe and paddle down the Delaware River.

New Hope is about an hour from Philadelphia and a 42-mile (67 km) drive. If you prefer public transport, SEPTA offers a Regional Rail service from Philadelphia to the New Hope station.

3- Valley Forge National Historical Park – Valley Forge, PA

2 day trips from philadelphia A Reproduction Log Hut at Valley Forge National Historical Park.
One of the best day trips from Philadelphia for those interested in history is a visit to Valle Forge.

Nestled in the rolling hills of southeastern Pennsylvania, Valley Forge National Historical Park is the perfect day trip destination for history buffs and nature lovers.

Just a short drive from Philadelphia, this 3,500-acre (1416 ha) park offers plenty of opportunities to explore the American Revolution, hike scenic trails, and breathe fresh air.

This park commemorates the site of George Washington’s winter encampment during the Revolutionary War.

Admission is free, making it a great option if you’re on a budget and excellent for the whole family.

It’s about 30 minutes outside Philly and only a 20-mile drive (32km) or take a private tour to learn more from a guide.

4- Peddler’s Village – Lahaska, PA

Peddler’s Village is an outdoor shopping mall with over 70 shops selling everything from clothes to home goods to food.

There’s also a spa on-site if you want to relax and pamper yourself for the day.

Peddler’s Village is in Bucks County, about an hour from Philadelphia.

It’s great for a day trip if you want somewhere different, away from Philadelphia’s history and natural landmarks.

The drive will be around 44 miles (70km), and parking is easy and free.

5- Media – Media Borough, PA

great day trips from philadelphia
For a cafe and shopping escape from Philadelphia, try Media.

Media is a historic town in Delaware County filled with antique shops, art galleries, cafes and boutique stores.

If you’re looking to do some fun shopping or want to explore a little bit of history, Media makes for a great day trip from Philadelphia.

Media Borough is about 20 minutes outside Philly by train or car (22 miles or 35km) and a great option to escape from the city but not go too far away.

6- Eastern State Penitentiary – Fairmount, PA

day trips from philadelphia pa tunnels inside the jail
Visiting Eastern State Penitentiary is a history lover’s day trip from Philadelphia.

One of Philadelphia’s most well-known attractions is just outside the city – Eastern State Penitentiary.

It was operational for 140 years, from 1829 to 1969, and during that time, it housed some of America’s most notorious criminals, including Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton.

Even if you are unfamiliar with the story of Al Capone, you will appreciate the dramatisation that is brought to the tours.

Time your visit well, and you can also do Halloween-themed ghost tours.

Make sure you wear comfy shoes as you’ll do a bit of walking. There are some great cafés and restaurants in the neighbouring area.

The penitentiary is only a 10-minute drive from Philadelphia (1 mile or 1.5km).

7- Wissahickon State Park

Wissahickon Valley Park is northwest of downtown Philadelphia and one of the area’s largest parks.

With more than 50 miles of trails, it’s an excellent place to hike, no matter your skill level.

There are also plenty of scenic spots to take a break and enjoy the scenery, and in the warmer months, you can wade ankle-deep into the cooling water (although swimming is not allowed for safety).

There are several different starting areas along the park, but it will take approximately 25 minutes to drive there (10 miles or 16km).

8- Tyler State Park Waterfall, Bucks County, PA

The waterfall at Tyler State Park is a 40-foot (12 m) beauty that you can reach via a short (.25 mile or 400m) hike from the main parking area, and it’s definitely worth your time.

The falls flow over a series of large rocks into a deep pool below, and it’s simply breathtaking (especially after a rain).

It is family-friendly, and you can choose several trails depending on how challenging you want it to be.

The waterfall is just under an hour’s drive from Philadelphia (35 miles or 65km).

9- Longwood Gardens – Kennett Square, PA

day trips from philadelphia with kids
Fans of gardening will want to take a day trip from Philadelphia to Longwood Gardens.

Longwood Gardens is a beautiful place to visit all year round, especially in the spring when myriad flowers bloom.

In addition to walks through gardens filled with flowers of every colour imaginable, there are fountains, ponds and streams throughout the property.

There are also indoor gardens with tropical plants if you need a break from the cold weather outside.

One of the most popular attractions at Longwood Gardens is the four-acre (1.6 ha) conservatory that houses different gardens, including a cactus garden and an orchid house.

It’s not hard to spend an entire day exploring Longwood Gardens.

You can get to the gardens in an hour’s drive (37 miles or 60km) or let someone else drive and take a guided tour.

10- Wilmington, Delaware

day trips from philadelphia to wilmington
One of the relaxing day trips from Philadelphia is to spend time in Wilmington.

Wilmington may not automatically be high on your list of go-to places, but you should consider some great sights in this city just out of Philadelphia.

Hagley Museum is a National Historic Landmark that features a historic house, a working gristmill, and many hands-on exhibits.

If you’re interested in early American history, this is the perfect place.

Wilmington is also home to the French-inspired Nemours Mansion.

Explore the gardens, tour the mansion and enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds. It’s a relaxing way to spend a day in Delaware.

With over 10 miles (16 km) of walking trails, it’s one of the largest formal gardens in North America, or go on an e-bike cycling tour with a local guide.

Wilmington is an easy drive from Philadelphia and will take you under an hour from the city (32 miles or 50km)

11- Brandywine Battlefield State Park, Chadds Ford, PA

Brandywine Battlefield State Park is perfect for history buffs who will appreciate a visit to the Visitor Center, where they can learn about the Battle of Brandywine that occurred on 11 September 1777.

The Visitor Center also houses a museum with artifacts from the battle and an auditorium where presentations are given on various topics related to the American Revolution.

Nature lovers will relish hiking the trails that wind through the 1,100-acre (445 ha) park.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as deer, turtles and birds are all known to make appearances.

The State Park is about 32 miles from Philadelphia (50km), and the drive will take about 50 minutes to an hour. This private Brandywine Valley Tour will take you to several places of your choice, including the Brandywine Battlefield.

Day Trips From Philadephia – Under 2 Hours

12- Lancaster County – Lancaster, PA

day trips from philadelphia by train
A row of Amish carriages and buggies at a Lancaster County event.

Lancaster County is well-known for its Amish community.

Visitors can take horse-and-buggy rides through picturesque farmland or go on walking tours of Amish businesses and homes.

There are also several farmer’s markets and craft stores in Lancaster County where you can find locally made goods.

It has the largest continuously operating farmer’s market in the country.

Lancaster County is about an hour and a half drive from Philadelphia – around 62 miles (100km). Find out more here.

13- Atlantic City, NJ

day trips philadelphia atlantic city
Atlantic City can be a fun day trip from Philadelphia for kids.

Just a short drive from Philadelphia is Atlantic City, New Jersey, home of sunny beaches, boardwalk adventures and world-class casinos.

Try your hand at blackjack or slots at one of the many casinos or relax on the beach with a good book.

No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Atlantic City.

The boardwalk is open year-round; however, the pier with the amusements is seasonal, so best to go in the summer and spring months.

Atlantic City is around an hour’s drive from Philadelphia (60 miles or 95km) or just over two hours by train.

14- Cape May, NJ

day trips from philadelphia area
The Southern Mansion in Cape May, NJ, showcases historic Victorian architecture and is a lovely day trip from Philadelphia.

Cape May is a charming small town in New Jersey that is hugely popular in the warmer months.

This seaside town is perfect for a summer day trip and offers plenty of activities like fishing, kayaking and sailing. One of the most popular activities is to go on a whale and dolphin-spotting cruise.

Check out the Cape May Lighthouse for stunning views of the shoreline.

Cape May is a 1.5-hour drive from Philadelphia (93 miles or 150km) and a stunning drive along the shore.

15- Jersey Shore

day trip from philadelphia jersey shores
You can also go on a day trip from Philadelphia to Jersey shores if you fancy some time at the beach.

A trip to the shore is always a good idea, and there are plenty of options within driving distance of Philadelphia.

Whether you’re keen on relaxing on a beach or exploring the Boardwalk, there’s sure to be a beach town perfect for you. And don’t forget about all the delicious seafood.

You may be familiar with the Jersey Shore from the movies and TV, but it is even more beautiful in real life.

You can get to the Jersey Shore in around an hour and 20-minute drive (50 miles or 80km).

16- New York City

day trips to philadelphia from new york city skyline
Pick up the pace in New York City, which is a doable day trip from Philadelphia.

NYC is close to Philadelphia and can easily be done as a day trip.

In just one day, you can visit some of the most iconic landmarks, enjoy world-class shopping and dining and take in incredible views of the cityscape.

No matter what your interests are, there’s sure to be something for everyone in NYC.

Just remember to pace yourself as there’s a lot of ground to cover in a day. This tour will give you an idea of how much you can cram into a visit to New York in one day.

Remember that NYC is huge, so you won’t be able to see everything in just one day, so try to focus on one or two specific areas.

Traffic between Philadelphia and New York can add hours to the trip (and parking is extremely expensive), so the best way to travel is by train.

You can get there in 1.5 hours on the Amtrak rail system. It’s comfortable, safe and quick.

Day Trips From Philadephia – Over 2 hours

17- Gettysburg National Military Park – Gettysburg, PA

winter day trips from philadelphia
If military history is our beat, one of the fun day trips from Philadelphia is to Gettysburg National Military Park.

This historical site needs no introduction.

The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, and this park allows visitors to explore the battlefields, monuments and museums dedicated to preserving its memory.

The park is about two hours outside of Philly, and the best way to get there is by car, and it will be a 142-mile drive (228 km).

There are several free attractions in Gettysburg, including the Soldier’s National Cemetery, the final resting place for soldiers who died during the Battle of Gettysburg.

The cemetery is open daily from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Another free attraction is Seminary Ridge Museum, which tells the story of how this area was used as a hospital during the battle. It also served as a lookout point for Confederate troops.

Get your bearings on this two-hour guided history bus tour of Gettysburg Battlefield.

18- Hershey, PA

Who doesn’t love Hershey’s chocolate? Hershey, Pennsylvania, is home to Hershey Park, a world-famous amusement park with rides for everyone in the family.

This is a day trip from Philadelphia for the young and young at heart.

Don’t miss out on the chance to tour the Hershey Chocolate Factory while in town.

It’s a sweet way to spend a day.

You will know you are close when you start smelling the sweet chocolate aroma wafting from the chocolate factory in town.

Hershey is a two-hour drive from Philadelphia (93 miles or 150km).

19- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a lovely spot for those who enjoy spending time outdoors.

With over 70 miles of trails, the recreation area offers something for everyone – whether you want to go hiking, biking, fishing, or canoeing/kayaking and admission is free.

Raymondskill Falls is a three-tiered waterfall popular with families and can be reached via a short, half-mile hike from the main parking area.

Once you see it, you’ll understand why it’s one of the most popular waterfalls in Pennsylvania.

A thrilling way to explore is to go on a private flightseeing sight of the area.

You would be looking to drive for around 2.5 hours to get to the main part of the recreation area (112 miles or 180 km).

20- Washington DC

day trips from philadelphia covid
A must-do day trip from Philadelphia is visiting Washington DC.

D.C. is a great place for a day trip from Philadelphia to get away to a quieter city with plenty to see and do.

The best part is that most attractions are free.

The National Mall is the pick of places to start your day as it’s home to some of D.C.’s most iconic monuments and memorials.

Other can’t-miss attractions include the U.S. Capitol building, the White House, and the Smithsonian museums. Here’s how many monuments you can cram into a visit to DC in a day.

You can drive to Washington DC, in under three hours (140 miles or 225 km) or take the AMTRAK train there in about 2.5 hours.

These day trips from Philadelphia offer something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history or shopping or want to escape city life for a day, grab your friends or family and hit the road for one of these great destinations.

best winter day trips from philadelphia Panorama of Philadelphia skyline, Ben Franklin Bridge and Penn's Landing sunset.
Looking for day trips from Philadephia? Here’s a bumper list of the top 20.
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emma denning
Emma is an Aussie writer and travel enthusiast. Born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia, she has lived in Philadelphia, USA for the past three years and is preparing for her next big move to The UK in 2023. A University graduate in Supply Chain Management, she decided to break away from the corporate 9-5 after only a couple of years to pursue freelance writing. Emma has travelled to over 30 countries and hopes to visit at least 30 more in the next 10 years. Her favourite travel destination is Southeast Asia (Thailand in particular), and hopes to live there one day near an elephant sanctuary.