Weekend Getaways From Philadelphia: Top 15 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn
stargazing in Cherry Springs State Park, one of the best weekend escapes from philadelphia

Weekend Getaways from Philadelphia: 15 Idyllic Spots for Every Traveler

Beer garden under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, a nearby weekend getaway from Philadelphia

Are you feeling stuck in Philadelphia? You’re in luck! The Pocono Mountains, Atlantic beach towns, and Bethlehem are all within a 4-hour drive radius. These spots are perfect for weekend getaways from Philadelphia.

 

New York City, Washington D.C., and the Hudson Valley are within three hours by car or train for car-free getaways. And thanks to the city’s large international airport, you can also easily jet off to resort destinations. Much of the East Coast, plus Bermuda and the Caribbean, are within a three-hour flight.

 

Fancy a taste of Europe? You could be exploring the romantic streets of Old Montreal within two hours. If you’re a couple looking for a romantic escape, the Pennsylvania Dutch Country vies with Montreal.

 

Philadelphia, PA, is a fantastic starting point for your weekend adventure. The surrounding area offers a blend of excitement and serenity, all within a few hours’ drive.

 

Quick hits

  • The Philadelphia area teems with weekend getaway options. These include beachfront fun, historical explorations, nature escapes, and mountain retreats. All are within a two-hour drive.
  • Destinations such as Rehoboth Beach, Gettysburg National Military Park, and the Pocono Mountains cater to a variety of interests. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, history, or outdoor adventure, these places promise diverse experiences for every type of traveler.
  • Additional attractions within reach include cultural experiences in New Hope, maritime adventures in Annapolis, star gazing at Cherry Springs State Park, and exploring the unique coastal charm of Assateague Island National Seashore.

 

Exploring the Best Weekend Getaways from Philadelphia

Scenic view of a beach with ocean waves crashing, perfect for weekend getaways

Every traveler cherishes the thrill of exploring new landscapes. Whether you’re seeking a romantic retreat to a secluded resort or planning a family beachfront vacation, Philadelphia’s surrounding region offers a ton of weekend trips. The area, stretching from the sandy beaches of Ocean City to the serene beauty of the Pocono Mountains are an adventurer’s dream.

 

These weekend getaways from Philadelphia are both exceptional and accessible. Most destinations are just a two-hour drive from the city, a refreshing change of scenery at your doorstep.

 

Beachfront Bliss at Rehoboth Beach

Relaxation, recreation, and a vibrant boardwalk – welcome to the beachfront bliss of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The Nation’s Summer Capital offers:

  • Expansive sandy beaches
  • Lively boardwalk
  • Paradise for beach aficionados

 

The vibrant boardwalk of Rehoboth Beach is packed with restaurants and bars. It’s the heart of the town. You can indulge in unique dining experiences at places like the famous Dogfish Head Brewery. Additionally, you can enjoy tax-free shopping at the numerous stores along the boardwalk. For a comfortable stay, head to the local boutique hotel, The Bellmoor Inn and Spa.

 

It’s just a quick two-hour drive from Philadelphia, making it a tempting option for a weekend escape.

 

And yes, the water is as clean as it gets, so your beach experience will be an absolute delight!

 

Time Travel in Gettysburg National Military Park

Monument at Gettysburg National Military Park

Immerse yourself in the rich Civil War history at Gettysburg National Military Park. Site of the turning point of the Civil War, Gettysburg offers a unique blend of history and nature. The park’s preserved battlefield stretches over acres. It’s an ideal weekend getaway for history buffs. Make sure to visit the National Civil War Museum during your trip. It offers an in-depth look into this critical period of American history.

 

Experience the battlefield where President Abraham Lincoln gave his iconic address. Explore landmarks like the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station and various monuments within the park. Whether you’re a history buff or a casual visitor, a weekend trip to Gettysburg National Military Park is an immersive journey into America’s history. And the park is just about two hours from Philadelphia.

 

Nature’s Majesty at Pine Creek Gorge

For lovers of the great outdoors, a weekend trip to Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” is a must. This natural wonder offers:

  • Breathtaking views
  • Hiking trails
  • Camping sites
  • Fishing spots
  • Kayaking and canoeing opportunities

 

It’s a perfect escape from the city, about three hours away.

 

Stomping its hiking trails are the ideal weekend getaway to savor the beauty of the Pennsylvania wilderness. Visit the charming town of Wellsboro.

 

The ideal times to visit are during the summer for outdoor activities and in September and October to see stunning fall foliage.

 

Historic Charm in Bethlehem, PA

The “Christmas City” offers a great weekend getaway anytime of year. The town hosts the Banana Factory Arts Center and SteelStacks, a ten-acre campus for arts, culture, and education. Every year, the city’s Germanic roots come alive at the Christkindlmarkt. The Moravian Museum and Colonial Industrial Quarter offer glimpses into the city’s past.

 

The city’s parks and nearby Lehigh Valley offer numerous biking and hiking trails. Bethlehem shines particularly during the holidays, with Christmas markets and town festivities.

 

The town becomes a popular destination for weekend getaways leading up to the holidays. The magic starts in late November and continues through December. The town is less than 90 minutes away from Philadelphia, making it a convenient drive, even in snowy weather.

 

That said, it’s more than just a holiday destination. It also offers attractions like:

  • National Museum of Industrial History
  • Dutch Springs Aqua Park
  • The Hoover Mason Trestle
  • The Colonial Industrial Quarter
  • The Banana Factory
  • The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts

 

And Sayre Mansion is an ideal weekend getaway here, with a complimentary breakfast.

 

Historical Havens in Valley Forge Historical Park

Valley Forge Historical Park is a significant site in Pennsylvania. Anyone who completed schooling in America will recognize the name for its role in the Revolutionary War. Here, visitors can delve into history and enjoy the park’s beautiful landscapes. It’s a memorable place to be, especially for history buffs.

 

Close by are the towns of Valley Forge and King of Prussia. Both have deep roots in the American Revolution. They’re popular for families and older couples alike. King of Prussia is home to the iconic Justice Bell.

 

The best part? It’s just an hour’s drive from Philadelphia. The area makes it a perfect day trip. There’s no need for hotels or vacation rentals.

 

The main attraction is Valley Forge Historical Park. If you want a personal experience, you can arrange a self-guided tour. The best time to visit is in the fall, an ideal time to explore the Schuylkill River Trail. That said, spring and summer are also good times to explore.

 

Charming Seaside Towns Along the Jersey Shore

Family enjoying a sunny day on the boardwalk in Ocean City, ideal for weekend getaways

A TV show gave this area national recognition for all the wrong reasons. This stretch of coastline runs for 127 miles along New Jersey. It’s dotted with towns like Wildwood, Seaside Heights, Ventnor, Margate, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Sea Isle City, and Ocean City. Each town has its own unique charm and attracts different visitors. And each is just a short drive from Philadelphia.

 

Ocean City: Family Fun on the Boardwalk

Ocean City is a haven for family fun on the boardwalk! This place is a paradise for families.

 

Here, you can find amusement parks and beachside activities. You can ride the roller coaster at Playland’s Castaway Cove or build sandcastles on the beach. The city also offers a variety of family-friendly restaurants where you can sample delicious treats.

 

Cape May’s Historic Elegance

Many tourists who visit Cape May, New Jersey enjoy the old majestic Victorian Era homes that line the shore.

A town steeped in history, Cape May, NJ, is a sight to behold with its quaint Victorian houses. And the vibe is friendly for families. It’s a place where the city’s noise seems worlds away. You’re greeted by soft sand underfoot, and the scenic beaches are a sight for sore eyes. When the weather warms, you’ve got a host of places to explore:

 

  • Sunset Beach
  • Higbee Wildlife Management Area
  • Cape May Point
  • Historic Cold Spring Village
  • Cape May Point State Park and Sunset Beach

 

And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a dolphin or a whale. Best book a 3-hour whale and dolphin cruise, to increase your chances.

 

You don’t have to be lucky to sleep in one of those Victorian mansions. Two local bed and breakfasts:

 

Will happily host your beach trip, with a continental breakfast, besides.

 

Now, if you’ve got young ones in tow, you’ve got the great outdoors and a charming downtown to go with the beach. And it’s only a 90-minute car ride away. The best time to visit? Late spring to September.

 

The Pocono Mountains: A Mountain Retreat Close to Home

Romantic evening at a luxurious mountain retreat in the Pocono Mountains, perfect for weekend getaways

Just a two-hour drive from Philadelphia, the Pocono Mountains is a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. This mountainous region is a haven for both adventure enthusiasts and a leisurely getaway. The area offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from water sports and racing to hiking and scenic railways. If you’re looking for a more relaxed pace, the tranquil beauty of the mountains provides a perfect setting to unwind and rejuvenate.

 

Adventure at Promised Land State Park

The night sky over a lake in Promised Lane State Park

If you’re passionate about the outdoors, a weekend excursion to Promised Land State Park in the Pocono Mountains is a necessity. With its pristine lakes and dense forests, this state park offers a wealth of outdoor activities for all ages.

 

Promised Land State Park provides an adventure-packed weekend with outdoor activities ranging from hiking and fly fishing to boating. Explore the park’s many trails, cast a line in the lake, or simply relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

 

Romantic Getaway at French Manor Inn

Whisk your loved one away for a romantic getaway at the French Manor Inn, nestled in the heart of the Pocono Mountains. This luxury hotel offers stunning mountain views, gourmet dining, and a full-service spa for a truly unforgettable experience.

 

Enjoy a candlelit dinner at the world-class restaurant at French Manor Inn, unwind with a massage at the spa, or simply relax in the comfort of your room.

 

Cultural and Culinary Delights in New Hope, PA

New Hope, Pennsylvania, is a trove of culture and cuisine. This town is a canvas for local and regional artists, with numerous galleries on display. Once you’ve feasted your eyes on the art, it’s time to satisfy your appetite. From farm-to-table eateries to gourmet dining experiences, there’s a culinary adventure waiting around every corner.

 

New Hope and its neighbor across the Delaware River, Lambertville, NJ, are charming riverside towns. They offer a variety of quirky shops and dining options. For the active traveler, there’s a biking trail to explore. River House at Odette’s offers chic waterfront views and Ferry Market is a must-visit for its unique vendors. Don’t miss the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, a natural beauty spot.

 

Peddler’s Village is a hub of activity, especially in the summer. Block parties, sand sculpture displays, and a month-long celebration of peaches are just a few of the events on offer. It’s a vibrant, lively place that’s well worth a visit.

 

Hudson Valley Escapade: Scenic Beauty and Artistic Flair

Scenic view of the Hudson Valley with colorful foliage, ideal for weekend escapes

The Hudson Valley, a famously scenic region of New York State, is just three hours from Philadelphia. It’s a world away from urban life, offering picturesque landscapes, charming river towns, and a gritty arts scene. Outdoor activities abound, and local art galleries invite exploration.

 

This region is a gem in the fall, with stunning vistas and cultural offerings. It’s an ideal destination, especially in September and October. There are popular hiking spots like the Breakneck Ridge hike and Minnewaska State Park Preserve. You can also scale Mount Beacon or explore Bear Mountain State Park.

 

In the evenings, visit the artistic river towns of Beacon, NY, and Hudson, New York. These towns offer a quaint, culture-filled nightlife. You’ll find art galleries, antique shops, and a variety of restaurants and performing arts venues.

 

Don’t miss the Mohonk Mountain House of New Paltz, NY. It’s a Victorian castle resort from 1869 and a must-visit destination.

 

History and Heritage in Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Two Amish men riding a horse and buggy

Take a trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, around Lancaster. Here, your car will be sharing the road with the horse-drawn buggies of the Amish. The name “Pennsylvania Dutch” is a bit of a misnomer. It was the German immigrants who settled here in the 17th and 18th century. The locals, they twisted the name to “Dutch”, and now we know the Amish as Pennsylvania Dutch.

 

The place is a haven if you have a penchant for antiquing. They’ve got mud sales in late winter and early spring and charity auctions at the local fire stations. Plus, Dutch Wonderland is a nostalgic amusement park for the young ones. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely an interesting place to visit.

 

The closest parts of Pennsylvania Dutch Country are a short 90-minute drive from Philadelphia. While there, you can visit the smaller towns and Amish farms, check out the farmers’ markets, and even attend an antique auction. The best time to visit is during spring, summer, and fall. Fall is particularly popular for its rustic charm and the beauty of the changing seasons.

 

Maritime Adventures in Annapolis, MD

Walking down an aisle in Annapolis, MD, with lovely homes on both sides!

This coastal town brims with coastal charm. It has a deep-rooted nautical history and serves up seafood that’s as diverse as it is delicious. You can sail on the Chesapeake Bay or absorb the historic sites that line the streets. The downtown area? It’s a treasure, filled with unique shops and a food scene that’s sure to satisfy.

 

Annapolis is only a drive of about two hours from Philadelphia, making it a convenient day trip. Stay longer, though, as there’s so much to explore.

 

Don’t miss the city dock. It’s home to tall sailing ships and the Annapolis Maritime Museum, a haven for sea-related artifacts. And the US Naval Academy? It’s a sprawling waterfront campus on the Chesapeake Bay. You can take guided tours and watch the daily cadet formations. If you time it right, you might catch a parade day when the full brigade of midshipmen perform formations on Worden Field at 4pm.

 

Wilderness Escape to Cherry Springs State Park

Starry night sky over Cherry Springs State Park, a perfect wilderness escape

Nestled in Potter County, Pennsylvania, Cherry Springs State Park gained its name from a grove of black cherry trees. The park is famous for its stargazing opportunities. There’s a designated spot, the Overnight Astronomy Observation Field, for admiring the Milky Way. And each June, the park hosts the Cherry Springs Star Party. Stay in a cabin to enjoy a peaceful, rustic, weekend. There’s a campground that opens seasonally from April to October if you want really rustic.

 

It’s a 4.5-hour drive from Philadelphia. That said, it’s best to avoid Friday rush hour on the drive to Cherry Springs State Park. Hiking, biking, star watching, and birdwatching are popular choices. The park is far from the city lights of Philly and Pittsburgh. Hence, you can enjoy a clear view of the stars. The best time to visit is from late spring to mid-fall.

 

Urban Exploration in New York City, NY

New York City is a mere two-hour drive or a swift 90-minute ride on the Amtrak Acela train from Philadelphia. It’s teeming with endless attractions, exquisite dining, and a vivacious entertainment scene. It’s an ideal weekend escape for couples, especially if you book a bed and breakfast near NYC. The city offers romantic strolls through Central Park, fine dining experiences, and the captivating Broadway theater scene.

 

Families, too, will find a wealth of sights:

  • The towering Empire State Building
  • The majestic Statue of Liberty
  • And the historically rich Ellis Island

 

Of the best places to stay in New York, opt for a stay in Manhattan for easy exploration. The city’s subway system, taxis, and shared ride services like Uber, Via, and Lyft are all at your disposal.

 

While in Manhattan, don’t miss the chance to explore the many boroughs. There’s something for everyone, from the Botanical Gardens and Yankees games to the food scene in Astoria, Queens, and Dumbo in Brooklyn.

 

Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn, NY, is a destination in its own right. It boasts boutique hotels, a thriving restaurant scene, and a collection of museums. You can easily reach it by train from Philadelphia and navigate around the city by subway. And one of the best weekend trips here could be spent doing entirely free things to do in Brooklyn, NY. Except eating and hotels, of course.

 

Where Manhattan Meets New England: Greenwich, Connecticut

Of course, everyone and their mom has been to New York City. So, maybe something close enough to get to NYC, but far enough away to feel like a completely different destination?

 

The town of Greenwich, Connecticut blends Manhattan sophistication with New England charm. The combination creates a truly unique getaway.

 

Dive into Greenwich’s rich history and explore cultural attractions. Or savor the vibrant fine dining and shopping scene along Greenwich Avenue.

 

Greenwich is also one of the best weekend trips for more rustic activities, as well. Head to one of the best beaches near Greenwich, or meander through hiking trails throughout town.

 

Rustic Rendezvous in the North Atlantic Ocean Islands

Streetscape of Bermuda

Islands like the Azores and Iceland dot the horizon of the North Atlantic Ocean. These places are for the brave, the adventurous. They’re unique, offering experiences found nowhere else.

 

Bermuda is closer to Philadelphia by plane than Miami. Bermuda combines the tropical warmth of an island with cool British culture. This tropical paradise boasts pink-sand beaches and luxury resorts. Golf courses stretch out under the sun. And while it’s a British Overseas Territory, Bermuda is a fusion of cultures. You’ll find a mix of British traditions and island influences.

 

Outdoor activities like hiking trails and hang gliding add to the classic menu of golf.

 

Montreal, Canada

Montreal from the summit of Mont Royal

Montreal, Canada’s captivating French city, is a mere 100-minute flight from Philadelphia. The city’s cobblestone streets, bustling food and flower markets, and unique cuisine offer a distinctly European feel.

 

French is the predominant language, making Montreal particularly appealing for summer visitors. Beaches like Plage de L’Horloge dot the river, and BIXI Montreal provides a public bike-share system. Bota Bota, a popular floating spa, invites relaxation.

 

For winter visitors, a range of winter sports are available. The city’s underground passageways allow exploration of downtown areas without braving the cold. A rewarding hike up Mount Royal takes about an hour. It offers fresh air, a chance to explore beautiful neighborhoods, and a stunning city view from the summit. A visit to the Mount Royal Cemetery, meanwhile, reveals Victorian monuments and architectural details.

 

Downtown Philadelphia

Downtown Philadelphia

Have you considered that one of the best weekend getaways could be right under your nose? Plenty of people descend on your hometown on their own weekend trips.

 

This city is a melting pot of history, culture, and the hustle and bustle of urban life. It’s home to iconic historical sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. If you’re an art lover, you’ll appreciate the rich arts scene at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation.

 

The city’s diverse culinary offerings thrill foodies. From traditional Philly cheesesteaks to international cuisines, there’s something to satisfy every palate. For shoppers, the city’s numerous boutiques and markets offer a trove of new discoveries. And if you’re a nature lover, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Schuylkill River or unwind in the beautiful Fairmount Park.

 

A staycation not only avoids travel stress, it also lets you enjoy the luxuries of a vacation from the comfort of home. So why not take a break from your routine? Rediscover your city’s charm and enjoy a memorable staycation in downtown Philadelphia.

 

And spoken from experience, if you don’t play tourist in your own town once in a while, you’ll be stuck either:

  • Rushing to visit everything as you’re planning a move
  • Coming back after you move away as a real tourist

 

Which, the second option never sounds too terrible, now that I’ve said it.

 

Tl;dr

Exploring these diverse destinations hops from Delaware’s sandy shores to New York City’s vigorous cityscape. Philadelphia’s surrounding area offers a weekend getaway for every type of traveler. Each location, bursting with unique charm and attractions, is a chance to create unforgettable memories.

 

So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on your next adventure. With so many weekend trips just a short drive from Philadelphia, the only question is: where will you go first?

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is Philly a good weekend trip?

Yes, Philly makes for a good weekend trip with its historic attractions, food scene, and cultural offerings. Two to three days will give you a good introduction to the city, but there’s so much more to explore.

 

Is 2 days enough to see Philadelphia?

Indeed, spending two full days in Philadelphia allows you to immerse yourself in American history and the American Revolution on one day. On the next day, you can explore modern attractions like art museums and parks. Have a great trip!

 

How many days should I spend in Philly?

You should spend 3 to 5 days in Philadelphia to see the main sights and explore nearby attractions. This timeframe allows for a comprehensive experience of the city and its surroundings.

 

What is the number one tourist destination in Philadelphia?

The top tourist attraction in Philadelphia is undoubtedly the Independence National Historical Park. This park houses Independence Hall and is often referred to as America’s most historic square mile. It’s the very place where the Declaration of Independence was adopted back in 1776.

 

What are some weekend getaway options from Philadelphia?

From Philadelphia, you have a plethora of options for a weekend getaway. You could visit beach destinations or explore historical sites. Alternatively, you might prefer experiencing the hustle and bustle of nearby cities like New York City. Enjoy your weekend adventure!

 

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