Philadelphia is a historic city with many things to do… With Philly’s proximity to NY, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware, Philadelphia is a great base to see a bit of the East Coast. Keep reading for the best day trips from Philadelphia by a local.
This guest post is by Neha, a dreamer lives in Philadelphia. She is passionate about traveling to new destinations with her family and kids to create the anthology of memories. She hopes that her fernweh inspires others to explore. She writes at Travel Melodies.
The best day trips from Phildelphia
- Herr’s chip factory
- Longwood gardens
- Brandywine Valley
- Jim Thorpe
- Cape May
- Atlantic City / Ocean City
Herr’s chip factory
I loved taking the factory tour of Herr’s. It takes about an hour to reach Nottingham, Pennsylvania where you’ll find the factory!
Herr’s is a popular brand of potato chips and snacks based out of Nottingham, PA. Started as a small business done door to door, it is a major player in the chip industry now….
The 1 ½ hour tour winds through the journey from getting the potatoes to cooking to packing them. You even get fresh chips to taste straight out of the fyrer! (Never have I tasted such delicious chips and don’t hesitate to ask for seconds!) The tour ends on a sweet and salty note with free samples of chips for all. There is a shop to buy souvenirs and to fill your bag with variety of snacks.
Tours run between Monday and Thursday between 9am and 3pm. They are closed on certain days and chips aren’t produced every day, so you need to check the production schedule ahead. Book your tour in advance online or by calling.
Calling Longwood Gardens a paradise in PA won’t be exaggeration. It is a botanical garden spread across over 1000 acres consisting of fountains, flowers, exotic plants, lakes, treehouses, meadows, and much more.
The garden map helps to explore and unravel the gems. The conservatory is one of the world’s greatest greenhouses housing wide variety of flowers, plants, an exquisite flower decorations, an extensive bonsai display, and much more. This conservatory was founded by a member of the DuPont family, discussed below.
Coming out of the conservatory, you can view a massive fountain garden. The 30-minute show sound show is mesmerizing to watch. Taking food inside Longwood Garden is not permitted and there are few cafes nearby.
To make a weekend out of visiting the Longwood gardens and the Brandywine Valley, consider staying overnight at one of the beautiful farm house bed and breakfasts in the area.
Other attractions in the Brandywine region by Karen (editor of Wanderlustingk)
If you’re interested in art, be sure to visit the Brandywine region for wine and art tastings! This region bordering Delaware was home to some of America’s most famous families, including the DuPonts. The DuPonts amassed a fortune selling gunpowder to Union troops during the Civil War and you can still see their beautiful properties at Winterthur and Nemours Mansion.
Another reason to visit is the art on display here. Lovers of American art will want to visit the Brandywine Museum of Art, which showcases the best of the Brandywine School. This art movement inspired many American artists to paint scenic landscapes. You can visit the studios of many of the artists, including the Andrew Wyeth and N.C. Wyeth.
Wine lovers will enjoy the wine trail as the Brandywine region produces some of Pennsylvania’s best wine. Penns Wood Winery is a popular pick for those exploring the region!
Lancaster is known to be the home of Amish community, the traditional Christians with German origins. The Amish community leads a very simple life following strict rules. The Amish do not use electricity or drive. Instead, you’ll see horse buggies around this region.
The best way to understand the Amish is to visit for yourself. You can visit one of the many cute towns with interesting names and/or visit the Amish Village, a replica of an Amish village. This village has a school, barns, shops, and a market where you can purchase Amish-made products.
There are bus tours that take you through the Amish countryside although you can also go for yourself. Wanderlustingk editor recommends going to one of the Amish all-you-can-eat buffets for farm-fresh food. (She recommends Good-N-Plenty just outside of Lancaster.)
If you are interested in purchasing Amish homemade jams, jellies, salsas, and Amish quilts, head over to Kitchen Kettle Village. We were impressed by the variety of jams, salsas etc. It’s an experience in itself to go on a tasting tour.
The Poconos are a mountainous area perfect for outdoor adventures. You can see beautiful waterfalls and lakes. The most famous waterfall is Bushkill Falls. Hiking lovers will love hiking around the Poconos!
For those seeking more adrenaline, there are many options like car racing or skiing in winters. For a relaxing day, you can opt for berry picking at many local farms.
Wanderlustingk editor encourages you to consider visiting Jim Thorpe. Jim Thorpe is easily one of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful towns. This scenic town in Lehigh Valley is full of colorful Victorian houses that you’ll want to share all over social media. One of its most beautiful Victorian-era inns served as the inspiration for the Haunted House at Disneyworld in Orlando.
Lovers of small-town America will love the cute independent shops, including Sellers for secondhand books, and the stunning Episcopal church.
Day trips from Philly in Maryland
Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, is a beautiful quaint little city which you fall in love with instantly with beautiful historic buildings. Definitely consider taking a tour of this stunning American city with many colonial buildings and history.
Located by the bay, Annapolis is a great place to have a day out that is famous for the United States Naval Academy. You can stay just minutes away at a cozy historic bed and breakfast.
Nicknamed as the Midshipmen, there are tours available of the naval yard where you get a glimpse into the lives of the hard-working men that protect the country. The interesting stories, the photographs of grit, grandeur of the memorial hall, and beautiful chapel will keep you intrigued.
The guided walking tours begin (every hour for most of the days) from the Visitor center and walk you around the campus sharing interesting details. The fees for the 1 ½ hour tour is under $15. A valid Govt issued photo ID and passport for non-US citizens is required.
Day trips from Phildelphia in New Jersey
One of the best day trips Philly in the summertime is to the beaches in New Jersey to enjoy the sun, the festive boardwalk, and family-friendly atmosphere.
Cape May is the beach at southernmost tip of New Jersey’s coastline. It is one of the beautiful beaches in NJ, listed in America’s top 10. To top it off, the Cape May lighthouse has some breathtaking views of the ocean.
Wildwood is one of the top choices for family friendly beaches in NJ. The long beautiful boardwalk is bustling with cafes, souvenir shops, entertainment zones, water parks, rides, and attractions.
Parking: There are metered street parking and lot of parking lots available, but they tend to get pretty full during peak summer season.
Atlantic City / Ocean City
It won’t be wrong to call Atlantic city as the Las Vegas of East coast. Here, you’ll find glitzy hotels, a wide boardwalk, and lovely beaches. If you’re feeling lucky, you can try your luck at a casino!
There’s nothing like making sand castles, soaking your feet in the waves, walking along the boardwalk as the sun sunsets and sipping a cold beer with a view of the ocean!
Do you have any favorite day trips from Philly?
Other posts about Pennsylvania…