11 easy must-do weekend trips from Philadelphia

Published by: BouncePosted Updated
Weekend trips from Philadelphia

It’s natural to feel a little burned out, especially when residing in a bustling metropolis like Philadelphia. Getting out of the city has plenty of benefits and can even make you appreciate your hometown even more. But you won’t need to fly to the Grand Canyon to get a breath of fresh air, there are many amazing outdoor destinations within a few hours of Philly. Places like the Jersey Shore and other coastal towns are within reach as well. This shouldn’t be surprising, but there are a number of quaint and historic towns to visit that are very easy to get to from Philadelphia. 

All it takes is a little planning. If you have access to a car, these weekend trips are simple, and car rentals are easy enough to arrange. Even though researching lodging, luggage storage, activities, and arranging an itinerary takes a little bit of time, it’s well worth it. You have to decide where you’ll be heading for your weekend trip. 

Here are the best weekend getaways from Philadelphia for tourists and locals: 

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Weekend trips from Philadelphia to Annapolis

Ocean City, Annapolis, and Chesapeake Bay, Maryland

Maryland’s Eastern shore and the Chesapeake Bay have a bevy of excellent water-side towns, especially Annapolis and Ocean City. Finding a vacation rental or hotel is a great way to enjoy the summer weather. There are beaches, boats, and other ways to enjoy some time outdoors along the water. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

It takes about two hours to drive from Philadelphia to Annapolis. The rest of Chesapeake Bay is within an hour of downtown Annapolis. 

Our activity recommendations: 

Annapolis, Maryland’s Capital city, may not have the cultural offerings of its larger neighbor Baltimore, but there are many historic landmarks and parks like the US Naval Academy to visit. There are also bustling Annapolis and Ocean City harbors that are perfect for boat lovers. Otherwise, spending time on the water in the Chesapeake Bay is an ideal way to spend a weekend. 

Best season to visit Annapolis: 

Because of all the outdoor time you’ll spend on the water, the best time of year for weekend trips to Annapolis, Ocean City, and the surrounding area is summer. 

Cape May, New Jersey Shore

Some of the best weekend getaways for families with young children are in Cape May along the Jersey Shore. This quaint seaside town has a ton of outdoor activities along with a cute downtown for eating and drinking. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

It only takes about 90 minutes to reach Cape May and the Jersey Shore by car, which is the only convenient way to get there. 

Our activity recommendations: 

This is all about spending time outdoors, and Cape May has amazing places to do it. Higbee Wildlife Management Area is great for hiking and biking. Cap May Point State Park and Sunset Beach are perfect for taking the kids to see the ocean. If you want to catch a glimpse of some marine wildlife, look into a cruise in town for whale and dolphin watching. 

Best season to visit Cape May: 

Because it’s along the coast, late spring, summer, and September are the best times to head to Cape May. 

Cherry Springs State Park

Cherry Springs State Park

82 acres of beautiful black cherry trees are only a few hours away from Philadelphia at Potter County’s Cherry Springs State Park. Hiking and other activities are popular draws to this beautiful stretch of land. It’s an ideal weekend getaway for couples looking for a romantic experience away from the big city. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

It takes a little over three hours to drive from Philadelphia to Cherry Springs State Park. Friday rush hour traffic from downtown Philadelphia is best avoided.

Our activity recommendations: 

Hiking, biking, star watching, and birdwatching are all popular activities near Cherry Springs State Park. Depending on your accommodations, this is also a great place for a quiet weekend at the cabin, where you can truly relax and recharge. It’s far enough from Philly and Pittsburgh that there is no light pollution, so you can gaze at the stars. 

Beast season to visit Cherry Springs State Park: 

Any time from late spring to mid-fall is great for visiting Cherry Springs State Park. 

Pine Creek Gorge

Known as Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon, this massive gorge spans almost 59 miles of scenic (even spooky) topography that is ideal for outdoor recreation. The surrounding Tioga Forest boasts miles upon miles of trails for hiking and enjoying the beautiful Pennsylvania wilderness. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

Pine Creek Gorge is just over three hours from Philadelphia by car. 

Our activity recommendations:

Hiking and outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with the Chimney Hollow Falls and Barbour Rock Blue Overlook trails, which are rated as some of the best hiking paths in the state. The difficulty is moderate, with steeper terrain, but there are great beginner trails in the area for families and older visitors. 

Best season to visit Pine Creek Gorge: 

The biggest draws for Pine Creek Gorge are hiking trails and other outdoor activities, so summer is the ideal time of year for a weekend trip. A rainy spring can make the gorge difficult to navigate, but fall is a great time to go when the leaves change color. 

Harrisburg weekend trip from Philadelphia

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 

This charming state capital has all the best aspects of smaller cities, with a cute downtown and a number of historical and cultural landmarks. While the nightlife and dining scenes aren’t amazing, they’re perfectly serviceable for young families and older travelers. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

Driving from downtown, you’ll get to Harrisburg in just under two hours. 

Our activity recommendations:

While it’s a cute town with small-town charm, it’s all about historical landmarks in Harrisburg. The National Civil War Museum and the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, which was modeled after Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, are must-sees. 

Best season to visit Harrisburg: 

Weekend trips to Harrisburg may not be ideal during winter, but this is an all-year travel destination. 

Maurice River, New Jersey 

This Cumberland County hidden gem is one of the best weekend getaways for a relaxing time away from the city. While there isn’t a notable attraction that brings tourists in, there are quaint downtowns to explore. This is a great place for couples looking to get away for a romantic weekend. There are hiking trails nearby for afternoon adventures, but getting cozy will be the primary focus. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

It’s a quick hour-long drive from Philadelphia. Rush-hour traffic can push it to 90 minutes, but it’s still a very quick weekend getaway. 

Our activity recommendations:

It’s all about peace and quiet here. Look into a secluded vacation rental or one of the local hotels like the Lokal-A-Frame, which provides a more private experience. You’ll get that classic “cabin weekend” experience (with a few modern amenities), so you should look into grabbing groceries on your way in to cook your own meals and share a bottle of wine. 

Best season to visit Maurice River: 

Weekend trips to this quaint little town are perfect during the fall, especially when the leaves have changed color. 

Weekend trips from Philly to Gettysburg

Gettysburg National Military Park 

The ideal weekend getaway for history buffs, the small borough of Gettysburg features one of the country’s most important historical landmarks. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

From Philadelphia’s Center City, it takes about two hours and 15 minutes to drive to Gettysburg. 

Our activity recommendations:

One of the best landmarks to visit is the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station, where Abraham Lincoln arrived in town at his iconic address at Cemetery Hill. The Gettysburg National Military Park is another important place to visit. Culturally, you’ll find a charming small-town main street with restaurants, breweries, and shops. 

Best season to visit Gettysburg: 

Weekend trips to Gettysburg are most enjoyable when the weather cooperates, but it doesn’t necessarily mean summer. Fall is ideal when the leaves change, but the town and historical landmarks are beautiful in spring. 

Pennsylvania Dutch Country

While visiting a region defined by its antiquated culture may not be the ideal weekend getaway for some, a trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country is one of the most interesting travel experiences one can have. Experience the unique way of life of the Dutch and German communities living apart from society without modern technology. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

While it’s a large swath of land, the closest parts of Pennsylvania Dutch Country can be reached in as little as 90 minutes from Philly. 

Our activity recommendations:

Visiting the smaller towns and Amish farms and exploring this unique way of life is the main draw. There are also farmers' markets (like the Green Dragon held every Saturday) and antique auctions. 

Best season to visit Pennsylvania Dutch Country: 

Weekend trips to Pennsylvania Dutch Country are great during spring, summer, and fall. Fall is especially popular for enjoying the rustic charm and seasonal beauty. 

Weekend trip to Rehoboth Beach from Philly

Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania 

Philadelphians are shocked when they learn that all of their outdoor dreams can come true just by driving 100 miles from downtown. The Poconos are Pennsylvania’s most popular outdoor recreation area, with acres of skiing and hiking terrain along with hundreds of iconic resorts. The 80’s ski-town vibes have become popular with nostalgic millennials looking for a bit of nightlife after hiring the slopes. The town of Hamlin is a hotspot for restaurants and bars, with a few hotels clustered around its main stretch. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

The Pocono Mountains are a two-hour drive from Philadelphia. 

Our activity recommendations:

Promised Land State Park, along with the Pocono's numerous ski resorts, are the main draws of the Poconos depending on the time of year.

Best season to visit the Pocono Mountains: 

For a weekend trip full of hiking, it’s ideal to visit the Poconos during summer, fall, and summer. Winter is the high season, given the numerous ski resorts. 

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Coastal Delaware enjoys warmer waters than the North Atlantic Ocean and, when paired with a sunny summer afternoon, boasts some of the best beach conditions outside of Florida or California. This makes Rehoboth Beach and surrounding towns extremely popular for weekend trips from Philadelphia and Baltimore. The town has a boardwalk with restaurants and bars, along with a few landmarks to visit. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

It will take about two and a half hours to drive to coastal Delaware from Philadelphia. 

Our activity recommendations:

Swimming, surfing, sunbathing, paddle boarding, hiking, and everything in between are popular activities. It’s all about spending time outside and on the water at Rehoboth Beach. There are also a few culinary attractions, like the iconic Dogfish Head Brewery, which is one of the most important craft beer producers in the country. Their headquarters and restaurants are all in town and have become something of a pilgrimage for craft beer aficionados. The restaurant serves delicious wood-fired pizza with its beer and is perfect for the whole family.

Best season to visit Rehoboth Beach: 

Summer is the best time of year to visit Rehoboth Beach, but that means higher prices for lodging. A weekend getaway before Memorial Day or after Labor Day can possibly provide a solid bang for your buck. 

Weekend trips to Valley Forge from Philadelphia

Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

Another amazing quick trip for history enthusiasts, Valley Forge and King of Prussia are both charming towns with significant importance dating back to the American Revolution. Booking a room at a bed and breakfast and touring the Valley Forge Historical park, as well as hiking through the Schuylkill River trail, is a popular itinerary for older couples and young families. 

Distance from Philadelphia: 

Valley Forge is a swift hour's drive from Philly, making it a possible day trip if you don’t want to pay for a hotel or vacation rental. 

Our activity recommendations:

Touring the historic towns of King of Prussia and Valley Forge is great for older travelers and families with young children. You can see the iconic Justice Bell in historic downtown King of Prussia. The Valley Forge Historical Park will be the main draw; touring this monument is an amazing experience, given the town’s historical importance. Look into a self-guided tour to go at your own pace.

Best season to visit Valley Forge: 

Fall is the best time of year to visit Valley Forge. Spring and summer are decent as well. 


With so many cultural and historical offerings, you may feel you’ll never have to leave Philadelphia. But city life can be exhausting, so getting away for a quick weekend or day trip from Philadelphia can really be restorative and, in the long run, help you appreciate Philly even more. Whether it’s weekend trips to the Jersey Shore or maybe even a three-day staycation in Philly, getting out of the city or just your regular routine is massively beneficial. It gives you perspective, even a new hope for how you want to live in your day-to-day life. Luckily, Philadelphia has plenty of amazing travel destinations (in and outside the city) worth exploring. 

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