15 Best Day Trips from Philadelphia

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
Our travel recommendations are based on our personal experiences and research, written by locals and travel experts with deep familiarity with the destination. When you book a hotel or tour that we link to, we may earn a commission.

The city of Philadelphia offers an endless array of things to do. With its rich historical landmarks like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and other key sights from American history, this city is a must-see for anyone passing through the region.

But the wonderful things to see don’t end at Philly’s city limits.

This corner of the country is rich in national parks, quaint seaside towns, novelty entertainment and historical landmarks, all of which will give you a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Here are 15 day trips from Philadelphia that will give you the best the region has to offer.

1. Brandywine Valley Wine Tour

VineyardSource: Rostislav_Sedlacek / shutterstock

Calling all wine lovers – you won’t want to miss this day trip from Philadelphia.

This picturesque countryside region is home to six sprawling, family-owned wineries.

Experience new and historic vineyards (including one once partially owned by Benjamin Franklin), sample the vino, and if you get hungry, there’s a varied selection of quaint nearby eateries, and to end the day, check out the nearby museums, luscious gardens, and elegant estates that can all be toured and explored.

2. Amish Country, Lancaster County

Amish Country, Lancaster CountySource: hutch photography / shutterstock
Amish Country, Lancaster County

Step back from the intensity of the urban landscape to experience the slow-paced, simple lifestyle of Amish country, complete with horse and buggy transport.

Choose from a variety of tours where you can learn about the Amish way of life, the communities, and the culture, including visits to some of the local Amish-run businesses like bakeries, handmade goods, and farmers markets.

You can even find authentic and lovingly-made Dutch cooking in restaurants surrounding the area.

You might find a return to the urban landscape jarring after a day living the Amish way of life.

3. Rickett’s Glen State Park

Rickett’s Glen State ParkSource: TechnoSavage / shutterstock
Rickett’s Glen State Park

If you’re an avid hiker or a fan of the great outdoors, make sure you add this to your “to visit” list.

This beautiful state park is home to over two dozen hiking trails, endless waterfalls, and even a lake complete with beach spanning 600 feet.

If hiking isn’t for you, something will be – between horseback riding, wildlife watching, boating, fishing (ice fishing in the winter), or picnicking, there’s something to do for every interest and skill level.

Whatever you decide to do, come prepared for an energizing day spent among the endless miles of oak forest.

4. Six Flags Adventure Park

Six Flags Adventure ParkSource: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / shutterstock
Six Flags Adventure Park

This universally-known adventure park is a must-see if you are visiting Philly.

But this isn’t your typical amusement park; though the park boasts endless thrill rides for all ages, Six Flags promises much more than just your typical amusement park.

Between live entertainment, a safari park complete with animal feeding, and an endless array of shopping and dining options, it might be hard to limit this trip to a single day.

Don’t forget to check the events schedule before your trip to see what kind of seasonal festivals or concerts will be happening.

5. Morey’s Piers and Waterparks

Morey’s Piers And WaterparksSource: moreyspiers.com
Morey’s Piers And Waterparks

For a good old-fashioned day of cotton candy, mini doughnuts and thrill rides, Morey’s Piers and Waterparks will not disappoint.

Though they offer top-quality rides for all ages and your typical amusement park snacks, Morey’s also offers beachside grilles, seafood shacks, and even a Ferris wheel breakfast that you can enjoy in the sky.

If you happen to be timing your visit during the summer, hundreds of sport enthusiasts take to the sand for tournaments in beach volleyball, beach lacrosse, and beach flag football, among others.

However you choose to spend your day trip to Morey’s, we bet you’ll consider it a day perfectly-spent.

6. Lambertville

Lambertville, NJSource: EQRoy / shutterstock
Lambertville, NJ

Antiques fans will want to put an asterisk next to this next day trip on our list.

This quaint little town captures the very best combination of art, history, and excellent cuisine, and the historically-preserved buildings, such as the Victorian-era houses and the train station, give the town a refined but laid-back vibe sure to make any visitor comfortable.

If you’re interested in doing a little shopping, you’ll find the streets lined with unique shops, and if you want more, you’ll want to pay the Golden Nugget Flea Market a visit – especially if you’re looking for something unusual.

7. Cape May

Cape MaySource: Racheal Grazias / shutterstock
Cape May

Sometimes escaping the city doesn’t necessarily mean the wilderness.

A day trip to a coastal, seaside town might be just the day off you need.

Located only two hours from Philly, Cape May is a top choice for a day by the sea.

Between its beautiful beaches, excellent cuisine (try the seafood) and casual atmosphere, this day trip should be at the top of your list.

For those who are less inclined to laze the day away at the water’s edge, the region offers birdwatching tours and state park hiking trails.

End your day by climbing the Cape May Lighthouse, and you’ll be rewarded with an unparalleled view.

8. Belleplain State Forest

Belleplain State ForestSource: Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) / Wikimedia
Belleplain State Forest

When you need a day to unplug from the world, chances are you’ll want to delve into nature.

About an hour outside of Philadelphia, you’ll find that Belleplain State Forest has everything you need to recharge your batteries.

Hiking enthusiasts will be able to take advantage of the trails (including higher-intensity routes for the experienced outdoorsman), and if you prefer more relaxing activities, there are options for fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and more.

By the time you return to the city bustle, you’ll feel re energized.

9. Long Beach Island

Long Beach IslandSource: Anthony Tucci / shutterstock
Long Beach Island

This next one is a beach bum’s dream.

The region encompassed by Long Beach Island includes a myriad of towns and hotspots that are must-sees if you’re passing through LBI (as it’s called by the locals). The endless stretch of sand and sea makes the area a prime hotspot for sunsets, waterline strolls, and picnics under the sun.

But if you fancy something to get your blood pumping, don’t miss Thundering Surf Water Park in Beach Haven.

This area also includes limitless options for shopping, including unique stores inside the reconstructed ship at Schooner’s Wharf.

10. NYC

New York CitySource: shutterupeire / shutterstock
New York City

The reputation of this city precedes it.

New York City is a bucket list item for travelers from all over the world, and its proximity to Philadelphia makes it a day trip you can’t miss.

Between the world-famous sights like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge (to name only a few), there’s almost too much to cover in a single day.

The good news is, between the endless list of unique and renowned dining options and the shopping, sights, and activities available to tourists, you will never be bored in the city that never sleeps.

11. Baltimore, MD

BaltimoreSource: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

It’s no wonder that Baltimore is called the City of Firsts.

Between the first ever locomotive, the first telegraph message ever sent, and the first location of the Methodist Church in America, Baltimore is a place with a rich history that has found its place in modern times.

If you make the hour-long trek, you can find an endless list of sights to keep you busy while you’re there.

History buffs will want to visit Fort McHenry, where a British attack during the War of 1812 was foiled.

If you’re interested in aquariums, observatories, or planetariums, then you can find all three in the Inner Harbor, making this a very family-friendly (and educational) day trip.

12. Washington DC

Washington DCSource: Orhan Cam / shutterstock
Washington DC

No visit to this corner of the country would be complete without a trip to the nation’s capital.

For those keen on learning about DC’s rich tapestry of history, Capitol Hill is a must-see, where you can admire the Library of Congress and other surrounding sights from jaw-droppingly close.

The Smithsonian will satisfy any museum buff, and you might find you need more than a day.

For those keen to find the city’s urban beat, the Eastern Market is a vibrant place where vendors will sell fresh food, crafts, and art.

Whether you visit for history or for modern culture, or both, DC is a must-see city.

13. Hershey Park & Chocolate World

Hershey Park & Chocolate WorldSource: Lissandra Melo / shutterstock
Hershey Park & Chocolate World

Good news for all the chocoholics out there: Hershey Park & Chocolate World is a mere 2 hours from Philadelphia.

This mouthwatering day trip is great for the whole family, with interactive games, historical chocolate-making tours, and decadent on-site bakeries and eateries.

If that’s not enough, guests are even invited to create their own candy bars in the facility’s tasting room, including choosing the ingredients and even designing your own wrapper.

This sweet and delicious day trip will be a perfect family-friendly trip – just make sure you brush your teeth when you get home.

14. Lewes, Delaware

Lewes, DelawareSource: Jon Bilous / shutterstock
Lewes, Delaware

Beach towns are in no short supply in this part of the country, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lewes is an exceptionally quaint seaside town located in Delaware, only a few hours from the centre of Philadelphia, and thanks to its perfect location, offers top-rated fishing and boating expeditions for the nautical activity enthusiast.

The numerous waterfront restaurants and bars invite travelers to admire the sunset over dinner and a drink, and if you feel like a break from the excellent cuisine and salty sea air that the city has to offer, there are nature trails just east of the city at Cape Henlopen State Park.

15. Poconos Whitewater Rafting

Poconos Whitewater RaftingSource: www.poconowhitewater.com
Poconos Whitewater Rafting

Adrenaline junkies and extreme sport fans: this is the day trip for you.

Lehigh River offers some of the most perfect water for rafting, and with a whitewater class of only III, this makes it a family-friendly (but still exciting) way to spend a day.

Between the paddling, the splashing, and the adrenaline rush, we bet you’ll be starving when you get back on land – so don’t miss out on the all-you-can-eat riverside barbeque.

Refuel with picnic classics like hot dogs, macaroni salad, and lemonade, and look back on the fun-filled day you won’t soon forget.

15 Best Day Trips from Philadelphia:

  • Brandywine Valley Wine Tour
  • Amish Country, Lancaster County
  • Rickett’s Glen State Park
  • Six Flags Adventure Park
  • Morey’s Piers and Waterparks
  • Lambertville
  • Cape May
  • Belleplain State Forest
  • Long Beach Island
  • NYC
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Washington DC
  • Hershey Park & Chocolate World
  • Lewes, Delaware
  • Poconos Whitewater Rafting