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5 Family-Friendly Day Trips Just Outside of Philadelphia

Nemours Estate, Wilmington, DE

John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

From cheesesteaks to some of the “meanest” sports fans to ever walk this earth, Philadelphia is one of a kind. This Pennsylvania city is home to more than 1.5 million Americans and borders the Delaware River in Southeastern PA. The city is well known for historical sites dating back to the American Revolution, artifacts like the Liberty Bell, and cultural statues like Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) at the city’s Art Museum. Residents know Philly’s culture and her unique landmarks all too well. So, this article caters to families residing in the downtown Philadelphia area to suggest close-to-home day trips appropriate for the whole family.

Just in the state of Pennsylvania, there are many options for full-day family-friendly trips to get out of the city. Other areas of interest often include surrounding states like New Jersey, Delaware, and New York. Philadelphia (PHL) could be the most important city to PA residents but is not Pennsylvania’s capital city (lawmakers gave that title to Harrisburg). The Philly area offers everything from historic landmarks and cultural centers to wide open spaces for outdoor activities. Families from this city don’t have to travel too far to feel they’ve strayed from their routine and into an enjoyable family getaway. Before the journey out of Philadelphia, readers must consider the following travel guide to find the best day trips for families.

Day Trips from Philadelphia to Excite the Whole Family

1.   The Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore is the travel destination for residents of Philadelphia. The relationship between the two areas dates back to the 1800s when “shoobies” from Philly would take the train from the city to the beach?carrying their lunch in a shoebox. While the same train system to the beach no longer exists, the travel trends have remained. Philadelphia is closest to beach towns like Atlantic City, Long Beach Island (LBI), Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant, and Asbury Park. However, many families opt for Southern NJ shore towns like Ocean City, Wildwood, or Cape May. Wherever the family decides to go for the day, it usually consists of tanning on the beach, hitting the boardwalk roller coasters, and tapping into the local ice cream establishments.

2.   New Hope, PA

Families of Philadelphia need only drive an hour to Bucks County, PA, to enjoy the small town of New Hope. Situated right on the Delaware River, this day trip is perfect for those who’d like to walk through the picturesque area and take in some scenic nature views. Families can bring their bikes or walking shoes for hiking or biking alongside the Delaware Canal. Moreover, places like the Bucks County Playhouse or Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve are popular stops. Whichever sites the family chooses for their day trip, it’s easy to fuel up on some excellent food for any meal in the town’s restaurants and breweries.

3.   Wilmington, DE

The city of Wilmington, Delaware, is only 30 minutes South of Philadelphia. Tourists of this town get to experience a new city without sacrificing much time to do so. Wilmington has a bustling downtown with great places to eat and drink. What’s more, Wilmington is home to exciting spots and art galleries like the Nemours Estate and the Winterthur Museum that are sure to excite history buffs traveling from Philadelphia to Wilmington. Families looking to experience outdoor adventures must check out the Wilmington Riverwalk, Bellevue State Park, and Brandywine Creek State Park, all nearby.

4.   Bear Creek Mountain

The Bear Creek Mountain & Resort is located in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. This is the closest place for families from Philadelphia to ski, snowboard, or tube during the winter months. Many individuals think to go to the Pocono Mountains when planning a Wintertime adventure. However, Bear Creek is the perfect place to go for a quick day trip. This is a smaller resort with a lodge, equipment rentals, and a great park area?checking all the boxes for a short ski trip.

5.   Lancaster, PA

Lancaster County is best known for the Amish community that has lived in this area since the 17th century. This day trip is a journey back in time as the Amish are famous for forgoing the use of electricity. Families should seek out historic sites like the Strasburg Railroad or amusement parks like Pennsylvania Dutch Wonderland. What’s more, farmers’ markets in this area like the Lancaster Central Market are a bucket list item with excellent, organic food items. This adventure to Amish country is just an hour and a half away, making it another perfect day trip location for families in Philadelphia.

When traveling to these nearby destinations, a family from the Philadelphia metro area is liable to have the best day with their loved ones?looking for more ideas to showcase the best of North America? Traveling families should also look into cities like Hershey, Kennett Square, Baltimore, Gettysburg, Valley Forge, or Washington DC.

Any family-friendly road trip ideas of your own? Share your adventure at our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

READ MORE: Explore “The Promised Land” In Eastern Pennsylvania

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