For history buffs, Philadelphia is an absolute must-visit. One of the most historic cities in the US, the original capital of the country on the Delaware River, was in many ways the home of the American Revolution that made the United States what it is today. And the best museums in Philadelphia do a great job of telling this fascinating story.
However, there's more to Philadelphia than just history. The city also has some incredible restaurants, lively nightlife, and tons of top tourist attractions that have nothing to do with the past. This is not a city where you're likely to get bored quickly.
However, once you've seen the historic sites, you may find yourself wondering what else the region has to offer. You're in luck. As one of the oldest parts of the United States, Philadelphia is close to many other places that are well worth exploring. The best day trips from Philadelphia can take you to a variety of fascinating places, from the bucolic charm of the Amish country to the neon lights and amusement park rides of Atlantic City. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage and check out some of the best day trips from Philadelphia.
How to get out of Philadelphia
The East Coast of the United States is far more densely populated than the Western portion of the country and, as a result, tends to have better public transportation infrastructure. If you're wondering how to get around in the city, check out our guide to Philly's public transportation network. But if you want to get out of town, there are a few options you can consider for day trips from Philadelphia.
If you're looking to explore nearby cities like New York, Washington DC, and Baltimore, you can take a train from 30th Street station and head out on one of these incredible day trips. On the other hand, if you want to explore the more natural side of Pennsylvania, a better option might be to rent a car. Either way, there are day trips from Philadelphia that will suit you no matter how you like to travel.
From Philadelphia to Gettysburg National Military Park
There is plenty in Philadelphia for history buffs to get excited about, but if you have a little more time, consider taking a day trip to Gettysburg National Military Park. This was the site of one of the most important battles of the Civil War, and today it is a huge national park with plenty to see and do.
You can explore the battlefields on foot or by car, and there are also a number of museums in the area that tell the story of what happened here. If you're interested in learning more about this critical moment in American history, Gettysburg is well worth a visit.
How to get to Gettysburg
It's possible to reach the park from Philadelphia by public transit, but you'll need to take a train or bus to Harrisburg and another bus from there to reach the park. It's far quicker and easier to drive if possible, and this will let you reach the park in a little under three hours. Alternatively, consider taking a guided tour that will pick you up in Philadelphia and explain more about the importance of this battle while you're there.
From Philadelphia to Hersheypark
Hersheypark is an amusement park located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, about two hours from Philadelphia. The park is home to more than 70 rides, including roller coasters, water rides, and family-friendly attractions. This is definitely one of the best day trips from Philadelphia if you're traveling as a family.
In addition to the rides, Hersheypark also has a number of shows, a water park, and a zoo. If you're looking for an action-packed day out, Hersheypark is the perfect place to go.
How to get to Hersheypark
The easiest way to reach Hersheypark from Philadelphia is to drive, which will take around two hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Philadelphia directly to the park, but this will take longer.
From Philadelphia to Lancaster County
For something completely different, take a day trip out of the city to explore the Amish country in Lancaster County. This rural area is home to a large community of Amish people, who live simple lives without many of the conveniences of modern life, and yet it's just a short drive away from the city.
You can explore the countryside by renting a bike or taking a horse-drawn buggy ride. There are also a number of museums and markets in the area where you can learn more about the Amish way of life.
If you're looking for a taste of the simple life, Lancaster County is the perfect place to go for a day trip from Philadelphia.
How to get to Lancaster County
The easiest way to reach Lancaster County from Philadelphia is to drive, which will take around 90 minutes. You may also be able to find guided tours, but it's nice having your own transportation to explore this rural area.
From Philadelphia to Atlantic City
Atlantic City is a popular beach destination that is just a short drive from Philadelphia. The city is home to a number of casinos, as well as a boardwalk with plenty of shops, restaurants, and things to do.
If you're looking to spend a day at the beach, Atlantic City is the perfect place to go. You can relax on the sand, try your luck at the casino, or simply enjoy the atmosphere of this vibrant seaside city. The Steel Pier may not have thrill rides, but it's a fun place to take the kids for a spin on the ferris wheel.
How to get to Atlantic City
The easiest way to reach Atlantic City from Philadelphia is to drive, which will take about an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus or train from Philadelphia directly to Atlantic City. Whichever way you choose to go, be sure to allow plenty of time to enjoy everything this city has to offer.
From Philadelphia to Rickett's Glen State Park
Rickett's Glen State Park is a beautiful state park located in the Pocono Mountains, about two and a half hours from Philadelphia. The park is home to a number of waterfalls, as well as hiking trails and scenic lookouts.
If you're looking to escape the city for a day and enjoy some of the stunning natural scenery Pennsylvania has to offer, Rickett's Glen State Park is the perfect place to go.
How to get to Rickett's Glen State Park
The easiest way to reach Rickett's Glen State Park from Philadelphia is to drive, which will take around two and a half hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Philadelphia directly to the park, but this will take longer. Consider renting a car for the day if you want to explore the park at your own pace.
From Philadelphia to Six Flags
Definitely one that will make you popular with the kids, this is one of the best day trips from Philadelphia for families. Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the biggest and most popular theme parks in the country, and it's just a short drive from Philadelphia.
The park is home to more than 50 thrill rides, including roller coasters, water rides, and family-friendly attractions. In addition to the rides, there are also shows, a water park, and a number of restaurants.
If you're looking for a fun-filled day out, Six Flags is the perfect place to go. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you'll be doing a lot of walking!
How to get to Six Flags
The easiest way to reach Six Flags Great Adventure from Philadelphia is to drive, which will take around one hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Philadelphia to the park, but this will take longer. Consider renting a car for the day to make things easy on yourself. The theme park has lots of parking, though you make have to walk a ways to get into the park.
From Philadelphia to Lambertville and New Hope
Lambertville and New Hope are two charming towns located in Bucks County, about an hour from Philadelphia. The towns are home to a number of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. They're also a popular destination for those looking to enjoy the outdoors, with plenty of trails and parks along the Delaware River to explore. The towns themselves are full of antique shops too, making this a great day trip if you're looking for some interesting objects for your home.
How to get to Lambertville and New Hope
The easiest way to reach Lambertville and New Hope from Philadelphia is to drive, which will take around an hour. You won't find much in the way of public transit out here, so driving is probably the best way to enjoy this particular day trip.
From Philadelphia to Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens is a stunning garden located in Kennett Square, about an hour from Philadelphia. The gardens are home to more than 10,000 different plant species, as well as a number of sculptures and fountains.
If you're looking for a day trip that's both relaxing and educational, Longwood Gardens is the perfect place to go. You can stroll through the gardens at your leisure, or take one of the many guided tours that are available.
How to get to Longwood Gardens
The easiest way to reach Longwood Gardens from Philadelphia is to drive, which will take around an hour. Alternatively, you can take a train from Philadelphia directly to Kennett Square.
From Philadelphia to Cape May
Cape May is a beautiful seaside town located in New Jersey, about two hours from Philadelphia. The town is home to a number of bed and breakfasts, as well as boutique shops and restaurants.
If you're looking for a romantic day trip or a relaxing weekend getaway, Cape May is the perfect destination. There's plenty to see and do here, from strolling along the beach to taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of the historic district.
How to get to Cape May
The easiest way to reach Cape May from Philadelphia is to drive, which will take around two hours. It's probably better to have a car while you're here, too, so renting a vehicle is definitely the way to go.
From Philadelphia to New York City
One of the undeniably most exciting day trips from Philadelphia that you could take is the surprisingly short journey to New York City. Although it’s technically not a day trip as the journey will take you around two hours, once you arrive in the city that never sleeps there is so much to see and do that you could easily spend a couple of days there. Highlights include world-famous attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Central Park.
How to get to New York City
The best way to make the journey from Philadelphia to New York City is by train, with Amtrak offering several direct services each day. The journey takes around two hours and tickets can be bought in advance online. Once you arrive in New York, you can use the extensive public transportation system to get around or simply walk between attractions.
From Philadelphia to Washington DC
Another great day trip destination from Philadelphia is the US capital of Washington DC. This city is full of world-famous monuments and museums, making it the perfect place to learn more about American history.
Some of the must-see attractions in Washington DC include the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Capitol Building. If you're interested in politics, you can also take a tour of the White House or visit one of the many government buildings located in the city.
How to get to Washington DC
The best way to make the journey from Philadelphia to Washington DC is by train, with similar services like the ones to NYC. The main attractions in Washington DC are quite walkable, so taking the train is a great way to reach the capital without stress.
Realistically, you're probably not going to run out of things to do in Philadelphia. However, a fun day trip from the city can easily be a highlight of your vacation. These day trips from Philadelphia can take you to some of the most fascinating locations on the East Coast, from the beaches of the Jersey shore to the Six Flags amusement park, one of the most important battlefields of the Civil War, or the bright lights and buzz of New York City.
Whatever you like to do, there's bound to be a great day trip you can go on from Philadelphia to explore more of the region. So leave your bags behind and get ready to see everything Pennsylvania and the rest of the East Coast has to offer.