Aerial view of the Asbury Park beach, one of the best day trips from Philadelphia

21 Best Day Trips from Philadelphia in 2023 (By a Local)

There are so many great things to do in Philadelphia, but if you’re itching to get out of the city there are plenty of day trips from Philadelphia to explore too!

I am a Philadelphia local and I’m here to help you take advantage of all there is to do just an hour or two outside of Philadelphia!

In this list of 21 Philadelphia day trips, I’ve included the more popular destinations but also some hidden gems you may not have heard of. Whether you’re looking for a beach day, nature hike, or art museum experience this list has you covered. 

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21 Best Day Trips from Philadelphia 

Longwood Gardens

The Longwood Gardens is a vibrant, beautifully curated wonderland of plants, flowers, and trees just about one hour drive from Philadelphia.

Close up view of water lilies in Longwood Gardens
Enormous victoria amazonica water lilies at the Longwood Gardens.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Longwood Gardens Website

Longwood Gardens is one of my personal favorite day trips from Philadelphia because of its breathtaking beauty! The location includes a flower garden walk, forest walk, historic conservatory, Italian water garden, children’s garden, bonsai tree exhibit, and many more exhibits. 

You can make the trip from Philadelphia to Longwood Gardens more than once because the garden exhibits change seasonally. They also offer several different self-guided tours and guided group tours. 

The Longwood Gardens is also a great place for a special occasion or gift. They have events throughout the year, as well as classes for adults and kids. I brought my parents here as a 30th anniversary gift last year. They loved it!

The only problem with the Longwood Gardens is that there is so much to see, you will have to go back for a second day trip.

New Hope and Lambertville

The cute, small towns of New Hope and Lambertville are so close to each other that you can visit both in one day. 

The author with her partner smiling for a selfie with the Delaware River on the background
My partner and I by the Delaware River in New Hope. Lambertville is just across the river.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 New Hope Google Maps & Lambertville Google Maps

New Hope and Lambertville are right across from each other along the Delaware River connected by a small bridge. Both towns make a perfect day trip from Philadelphia as they are just a short 45 minute drive away from the city.

This Philadelphia day trip is excellent for anyone who enjoys antiquing, window shopping, and picturesque small town life. 

Walk along Main Street in New Hope to explore its antique shops, vintage stores, or creepy and peculiar locales like the Creeper Gallery. The town also has a surprising number of delicious restaurants for its size such as Stella, right next to the Bucks County Playhouse. 

After you’ve explored one side of the river, you can take a five minute drive or even ten minute walk across the bridge to scenic Lambertville. Once there make sure to check out the Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market or Funk and Junk Furniture. 

Asbury Park

Relax on the sandy shores and boardwalk of this fun, beachfront city. 

Aerial view of the Asbury Park in Philadelphia
Beautiful aerial view of the ocean and beach at Asbury Park.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 80 minutes | 📍 Google Maps

Located on the Jersey shore, a little under 1.5 hours from Philadelphia by car, Asbury is a fun-loving beach town. Known as the gayest beach town in New Jersey, Asbury Park is a popular destination for the LGBTQ community, especially during pride month in June.

While there you can take a swim in the ocean at Asbury Park Beach, walk along the boardwalk, take the kids to Silverball Retro Arcade, or visit a local music venue such as the Stone Pony. 

In the last few decades, the city has been revitalized as a popular New Jersey tourist destination and is now host to numerous coffee shops, bars, galleries, and restaurants. 

If you decide to extend your trip overnight, check out the Asbury Ocean Club, a beachfront hotel where you can make the most of your time by exploring the city by free bike included with your stay!

Atlantic City

Try your luck at one of the many casinos or soak up the sun at the beach. 

Aerial view of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City
The Ferris Wheel on Steel Pier next to the boardwalk in Atlantic City.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour to 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps

Atlantic City is famous for its casinos and lively boardwalk. Don’t have a car? Not a problem! You can reach Atlantic City in just 1.5 hours by taking the Atlantic City Rail Line from Philadelphia’s 30th street station. 

Atlantic City is the best of both worlds. By day you can lounge on the beach or treat yourself to a spa. After some fun in the sun, dive into the city’s bustling nightlife complete with gambling, live music, comedy shows, and a multitude of high-end restaurants. 

Get planning with Yvette’s guide to the top things to do in Atlantic City.

Cape May

Explore this beautiful and historic beach town on Jersey’s peninsula.

View of a boardwalk leading to a path walk in Cape May
Boardwalk across the dunes in Cape May.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 90 minutes | 📍 Google Maps

Cape May is one of the most beautiful towns along the Jersey Shore with pristine beaches and views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware bay. You can take in the sights from the Cape May Lighthouse, especially gorgeous at sunrise and sunset. 

Cape May is about a 1.5 hour drive from Philadelphia and well worth it. I suggest taking a trip to the Harriet Tubman museum while there to learn about the town’s important abolitionist history. Many anti-slavery activists spent time in the town in the 1800’s. 

The Nature Center of Cape May offers other educational opportunities for adults and kids wanting to learn about the area’s natural environment. 

For more, check out Yvette’s full list of fun things to do in Cape May.

The Wissahickon Valley Park

This massive park is a quiet getaway from city life and you don’t even have to leave Philly.  

The Margaree Dam surrounded by trees in the Wissahickon Creek
The Margaree Dam in the Wissahickon Creek.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 90 minutes | 📍 Google Maps  | Friends of The Wissahickon Website

Though the Wissahickon Valley Park is technically in Philadelphia, this urban park feels like a small forest worthy inclusion on any list of the best day trips from Philly. 

The park has many entrances throughout the city. If it’s your first time visiting, I suggest trying the entrance on Forbidden Drive or the entrance on Valley Green Road in Philadelphia. From there you’ll be able to follow clearly marked trails.

The park has miles of hiking trails perfect for a leisurely walk along the Wissahickon creek, hiking, or mountain biking. 

You may encounter people horseback riding while on the trail or have a chance to even meet a few horses if you walk past the Northwestern stables or Monastery stables, located at opposite ends of the park. 

Plan to visit more than once as there is something new to discover each time you’re at the Wissahickon. 

Delaware Water Gap

This natural and protected oasis offers an abundance of wildlife.

The author kayaking at the Delaware Water Gap
My partner and I kayaked this past summer through the beautiful Delaware Water Gap.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 2.5 hours to 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Delaware Water Gap Website

I was amazed by the beauty of the Delaware Water Gap when my partner and I visited this past summer to go camping. 

In just three short days we saw a black bear, turkeys, frogs and toads, lizards, and a raccoon, just to name some of the animals that call this protected national recreation area home. 

At the Delaware Water Gap you can hike along the Appalachian trail or a variety of other trails, kayak, swim, or go tubing. I recommend this company for kayak rentals, which gives you ample time to leisurely paddle down the river and stop for a picnic or swim. 

As the drive is 2.5 to 3 hours this trip can be done in a day. However, I’d recommend camping at Worthington State Forest for $25 per night so that you can fully enjoy the experience.

Kennett Square

The mushroom capital of the country hosts an annual mushroom festival and much more. 

Close up view of oyster mushrooms in Kennett Square
Oyster mushrooms at the farmer’s market in Kennett Square.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps

Kennett Square truly is the mushroom capital of the world, where over 500 million pounds of mushrooms are farmed every year. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Philadelphia.

Each year, the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival takes place in September where you can try out mushroom recipes, stock up on some mushrooms of your own, and browse through the dozens of vendors. 

Not a fan of mushrooms? The town has lots more to offer! Take a Kennett Underground Railroad Center tour to learn about the city’s participation in the underground railroad or visit the Kennett Classic Computer Museum to learn about early computers. 

Pocono Mountains

Visit Pennsylvania’s famous mountainous region to explore the beautiful vistas, waterfalls, and hiking trails. 

Overlooking view at the Pocono Mountains
The view from within the Delaware Water Gap recreation area in the Pocono Mountains.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 2 hours to 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps 

The Pocono Mountains stretch across a vast area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Poconos are the ideal destination for every season and include many state parks, lakes, beaches, and hiking trails. 

In the summer months, I recommend a day trip to Ricketts Glen State Park (about 2.5 hours from Philadelphia) to take in the dozens of majestic waterfalls. In the fall you can take the 2 hour drive to Camelback Mountain to take in the gorgeous foliage or go ziplining.

The Poconos are also an ideal location for winter skiing, snowboarding, or tubing at the Shawnee Mountain ski area. The Seven Tubs Recreation Area is another popular destination for swimming, hiking, and taking in the sights. 

Lancaster County

Learn about the historic Amish community still living their traditional way of life today.

Horses eating grasses at the Lancaster County
Horse on an Amish farm in Lancaster County.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 80 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | 👉 Reserve an “Amish Experience” Tour

Lancaster County, also known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, is known for the Amish community and farmlands. 

This tour provides an excellent way to learn about the Amish way of life, including traditional crafts, cooking, farming, and the history of the Amish. 

While in Lancaster County be sure to stop by one of the many farmers markets or the Lancaster Central Market. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is another popular destination in the county as well as Dutch Wonderland, an amusement park great for families with small children.

Linvilla Orchards

A quick day trip perfect for apple picking and hayrides. 

Colorful gourds at the Linvilla Orchards
Decorative fall gourds on display.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 30 minutes to 1.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Linvilla Orchards Website

Linvilla Orchards is the quintessential fall farm destination. They offer U-pick apple picking, hayrides, corn mazes, a farm train, and farm store. 

Pumpkinland is open at Linvilla annually from September to November where you can purchase pumpkins and gourds of all sizes, and learn about the legends of the harvest season. 

Don’t forget to visit and pet the barnyard animals while there including horses, goats, sheep, and ducks. 

Wolf Sanctuary of PA

Walk amongst the wolves on a guided tour or listen to their howls on a full moon night time excursion. 

View of two wolves at the Wolf Sanctuary of PA
Two wolves photographed through a fence from my visit to the Wolf Sanctuary in the summer of 2022.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 1.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Wolf Sanctuary Website | 

The Wolf Sanctuary provides the magical experience of visiting rescued and displaced wolves and wolf dogs. Visiting the Wolf Sanctuary is one of the most popular day trips from Philadelphia for animal lovers, myself included!

Guided public tours are offered Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for $15. You’ll see several different types of wolves, learn about conversation efforts, wolf biology, and the wolfpacks at the refuge. 

The refuge also offers photography tours for professionals and full moon tours once a month complete with a bonfire. Make sure to reserve your ticket in advance to secure a spot.  

Hershey Park

This family theme park is an excellent Pennsylvania destination for all ages.

View of the sign at the Hershey's Chocolate World
The entrance to Hershey’s Chocolate World. (photo: Alizada Studios / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Hershey Park Website

Hershey Park has candy-themed amusement park rides for all thrill levels and ages from kiddie rides to terrifying roller coasters. There are tons of activities to do including roller coasters, water park rides, bumper cars, and more.

If you need to wind down, take a stroll along the boardwalk or grab a bite to eat at the Chocolatier. There is even a small zoo at the park as well. Then take a free chocolate tour at Hershey’s Chocolate World just next door or design your own candy bar.

As a bonus, Hershey Park also has excellent, well-trained staff, free water, and clean facilities. Hershey Park is a fun day trip for the whole family, though you’ll probably want to come back for more candy-themed fun!

Crystal Cave

Explore mesmerizing crystalline limestone formations in this underground cave. 

Limestone formations inside the Crystal Cave
Limestone formations in an underground cavern in PA. (photo: Laura Welsh / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 80 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Crystal Cave Website

The Crystal Cave in Kutztown, PA, just an 80 minute drive from Philadelphia, lies 125 feet underground. The cave is filled with milky white stalactites, stalagmites, and dripstone rock formations.

Guided tours are only $19 for adults and $14 for children under 12 years old. The tour includes a guided walk through the cave formation and a film shown in the Crystal Cave Theater on the cave’s geological history.

Keep in mind there are many steps to descend within the cave so this trip may not be suitable for very young kids or those with disabilities. Photos are permitted and the unique crystalline formations are a stunning sight to see. 

Tohickon Valley Park

This park is the perfect destination for a scenic hike, rock climbing, or mountain biking. 

Overlooking view from the Tohickon Valley Park
View from the High Rocks Vista at Tohickon Valley Park.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps

Tohickon Valley Park is a hidden gem just a little over an hour north of Philadelphia. The name comes from the indigenous Lenape word meaning “Deer Bone Creek.” 

The park has scenic hiking trails, climbing tracks for rock climbers, a rushing creek, a playground, and small waterfalls. You can even reserve a spot for tent or cabin camping.

During the pandemic, my partner and I hiked up to the High Rocks Vista which offers beautiful sights as well as a view of any rock climbers. The park seems to be a little known destination as the trails are usually sparsely populated, making it a perfect choice if you’re trying to find some quiet outside of the city. 

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

Go wild on roller coasters and water slides all day long!

View of the roller coaster ride at the Dorney Park
The Hydra roller coaster at Dorney Park. (photo: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom Website

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom is the quintessential amusement and water park day trip destination in Allentown, PA. One ticket at $39.99 gets you entry to both the amusement park and water park. 

Thrill rides include the infamous hydra roller coaster and steel force roller coaster. If that’s not quite your speed try out the woodstock express roller coaster or the kaleidoscope. There are rides for all ages, even children as young as three, some of this is one of the best Philadelphia day trips for families.

Dorney Park is open year round, while Wildwater Kingdom is open from May to September. Make sure to visit Planet Snoopy while you’re there! 

Museum of Indian Culture

Visit this educational center to learn about the history and contemporary culture of the Lenape people. 

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 20 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Museum of Indian Culture Website

The Lenape are the indigenous people of the Delaware Valley, an area once known as Lenapehoking. 

If you live in the area or are visiting, it is absolutely worth taking the time to learn about the history and current culture of the Lenape people with a visit to the Museum of Indian Culture in Allentown, PA. 

The museum includes multiple exhibits, tours, and educational programs. This is a perfect day trip for history buffs as well as anyone interested in learning about the indigenous nation whose ancestral homelands we are on. 

Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art

Appreciate a blend of art and environmental conservancy at this small museum along the Brandywine Creek. 

A blue heron at the Brandywine Creek
Great Blue Heron on the Brandywine Creek, part of the Conservancy.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Brandywine Museum of Art Website

The Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art was started as a means to protect the land from developers. It is now a unique union of contemporary art, fine art, and environmental conservation efforts. It’s located in Chadds Ford, PA about an hour from Philadelphia.   

The museum is situated on a land conservation project which includes a farm, protected wildlife areas, a protected watershed area, and other nature preserves. 

Visit the art museum for $18 (reduced rates for seniors and children) and ask about the environmental conservancy while you’re there. 

🛎️ Visiting Philly? Check out my guide to the where to stay in Philadelphia.

Adventure Aquarium

Camden’s aquarium is home to over 15,000 aquatic animals including sharks, penguins, and stingrays. 

View of a jellyfish in Adventure Aquarium
Colorful jellyfish at the Adventure Aquarium.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Adventure Aquarium Website

When I visited the Adventure Aquarium with the two children I regularly babysat they were starstruck! We spent hours ogling at penguins, touching stingrays, and staring up at fish swimming above our heads. 

The Adventure Aquarium is just a short drive across the bridge from Philadelphia. You can easily get there without a car as well by taking the PATCO line from Center City. 

Once there, there is a lot to see from walking through the shark tunnel to visiting the invertebrate touch tank. The aquarium is also home to hippos, sea turtles, and countless species of fish. Ticket prices vary seasonally but are around $30 for adults and $20 for children.


A hub for museums, parks, restaurants, and a castle

View from the inside of the Mercer Museum
Inside the Mercer Museum (photo: / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps

Doylestown is most known for the Mercer Museum, Fonthill Castle, and Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. You can visit all three in a day to take in a range of art, pre-industrial artifacts, and handmade mosaics. 

After that, wind down with a beer at Geronimo Brewing or find a delicious meal along East State Street in the middle of town. 

Ridley Creek State Park

One of my favorite places just outside of Philadelphia to get lost in nature for an afternoon. 

Water flowing at a waterfall in Ridley Creek State Park
Waterfalls at Ridley Creek State Park.

🗺️ Distance from Philadelphia: 40 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Ridley Creek State Park Website

Ridley Creek State Park is only a 40 minute drive outside of Philadelphia and accessible by public transportation as well (take the Market-Frankford line to the 104 bus). The park is large enough that you can find a new area to explore each time you visit. 

While exploring the park you’ll find a winding creek, lots of trails, picnic areas with grills, and even a giant sequoia tree. Ridley Creek is the perfect spot to plan a large group outdoor gathering or take a solo hike through the woods. 

FAQs About Philadelphia Day Trips

What are some good day trips from Philadelphia?

Some of the best day trips from Philadelphia include New Hope and Lambertville, Atlantic City, the Wolf Sanctuary, and the Poconos. In the summer, the Jersey shore has many popular day trip destinations from Philadelphia such as Asbury Park and Cape May

What Philadelphia day trips can I do without a car?

Atlantic City is a fun day trip from Philadelphia that is easily reachable without a car. Just take the PATCO speedline from Center City, Philadelphia straight to Atlantic City. The Adventure Aquarium is a great destination for families and is easily reachable by PATCO from Center City, Philadelphia as well. 


I hope this article helped you find some fun day trips from Philadelphia! 

Comment below if you visited any of the Philly-area locations listed and tell me your thoughts. I hope to add to the list as I continue my travels in the greater Philadelphia area. 

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