Philadelphia, popularly known as Philly, is the largest and the most famous city in the US state of Pennsylvania. Famous for its impressive history that is on display at the Liberty Bell, the city is the birthplace of American Independence s declared on July 4, 1776. A vivid combination of ancient history exists here alongside modern office and residential towers. Venture a little south and you will stumble upon Philly’s original residential neighborhood dotted with 18th-century constructions.
List of Top Weekend Getaways from Philadelphia
If you are planning a quick weekend getaway in and around the city, below listed are our top 9 weekend getaways from Philadelphia.
1. Jim Thorpe
Lovingly called the “Switzerland of America”, Jim Thorpe is a beautiful city blessed with brilliant landscapes. Also called the “Gateway to the Poconos”, the city offers majestic mountains, stunning architecture, and remarkable sceneries. Named after the Native American sports legend Jim Thorpe, the quintessential town is home to several iconic attractions, interesting shops and restaurants, and unique inns. Some of the popular places to visit here include the Asa Packer Mansion, Old Jail Museum, Jim Thorpe Monument, and Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.
Best Time to Visit: Although you could visit Jim Thorpe anytime between May and October, the months of September and October are the most preferred.
How to Reach: The easiest and fastest means of public transportation between the two cities is a bus that departs from Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal and arrives at Jim Thorpe in under three hours.
A unique weekend destination, the borough of Ephrata is home to quite a few unique attractions. The Ephrata Cloister, also called the Ephrata Community, now owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was established by a group of folks from Germany. The Seiverling Museum, LLC Car and Pedal Car Museum is home to one of the largest assortments of toy pedal cars in the region. Don’t miss a chance to visit the breweries and vineyards during your visit here.
Best Time to Visit: The most popular months to visit Ephrata are between June to August. Due to the heavy number of footfalls, these are also the costliest ones.
How to Reach: While driving from Philly to Ephrata takes only under one and a half hours, the second-best option is to take a train to Lancaster and get a taxi to cover the last 23 km. This takes the same amount of time and costs between $61 to $81.
3. Pine Creek Gorge
Also known as the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania”, Pine Creek Gorge stretched over 47 miles with depths of approximately 1500 feet. The dynamic topography of the Gorge makes up for brilliant natural features such as waterfalls and steep canyon walls. The most popular attraction that the place has to offer is the Pine Creek Trail which is considered to be one of the top 10 places in the world to take a bike tour. And, of course, you can also enjoy running and hiking here.
Best Time to Visit: The most preferred time to visit here is between late September to the first couple of weeks in October when you could witness the color palette created by the fall foliage.
How to Reach: Getting a bus from the Philly Greyhound Terminal till Williamsport and then hopping on a taxi is your most convenient option. The journey will take under 6 hours and cost between $138 to $193.
Fogelsville is the perfect off-beat weekend destination for travelers who like to stay away from the crowd. A smaller but increasingly popular tourist destination, the town, along with Lehigh Valley is the perfect spot to unwind yourself. Explore the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, and National Canal Museum during the day and relax in the evening by venturing out on the famous Lehigh Valley Wine Trail as you pass through some of the top vineyards and wineries in the area.
Best Time to Visit: Fogelsville can be visited any time of the year depending on what you prefer, although you may want to avoid the rainy months from May to July and September.
How to Reach: The easiest way to get to Fogelsville from Philly without having to change multiple means of transportation is by driving which takes just over an hour.
Located a short distance from Philly and NYC, Bethlehem, a city in Lehigh Valley, is known for its vibrant history. Whether you are a history lover or simply looking to have some outdoor fun, the city has a lot to offer you. Undeniably one of the most prominent sights in Bethlehem, the massive gray and black Steel Stacks reflects the history of Bethlehem Iron Company which produced steel for ships and skyscrapers as well as heavy armor plating for the Navy during World War II. Hoover-Mason Trestle, Moravian Museum of Bethlehem and Moravian Historical Sites, and Wind Creek Bethlehem are some of the other popular attractions.
Best Time to Visit: The most favorable time to visit Bethlehem is between the end of April to the beginning of October.
How to Reach: The fastest and the most convenient way to travel between Philly and Bethlehem is by bus.
Tracing its roots to the German, Dutch, and English influences, Lancaster is among the most fascinating cities in the state. A thriving tourist town, Lancaster is swarmed with amusement parks, shopping malls, as well as a beautiful landscape. Some of the most famous things to explore here include Dutch Wonderland a.k.a. ‘kingdom for kids’ which offers amazing rides such as roller coasters and water rides, Choo Choo Barn which has around 1,700 square feet dedicated to displays of trains, trams, and other locomotives, and Long’s Park which is the perfect place for hiking, biking, and fishing.
Best Time to Visit: Although you could visit Lancaster at any time, the winter months are considered to be the most beautiful.
How to Reach: A train from Philadelphia to Lancaster takes under an hour and a half and costs between $25 to $40.
7. Wilmington, Delaware
Founded in the early 1600s, Wilmington is one of America’s oldest continually inhabited cities. The Nemours Mansion and Garden, built in a French chateau-style, was once one of the many homes of the famous DuPont family. If you are traveling with kids, a visit to the DuPont Environmental Education Center is a must as they also organize several hiking tours and children’s events. Last but not the least, Alapocas Run State Park offers 400 acres of the blissful, natural environment which is great for bird watching, hiking, and biking.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Wilmington is between the end of April to the beginning of July.
How to Reach: A train between Philadelphia and Wilmington takes under half an hour and costs around $5 to $60. Alternatively, you can also take a Greyhound that takes just under an hour and costs between $6 to $16.
8. New Hope
A striking country town located between Philly and New York City, New Hope is a melting pot of art, culture, music, culinary delights, as well as hiking and water activities. The 500-acre Washington Crossing Park is the iconic spot where the Continental Army launched a strike against the British under the supervision of George Washington. A stroll around the 4-5 block Main street would unveil top art galleries, supreme-quality craft shops, and a wide range of wine and cigar shops. And, of course, you can’t miss the music scene of ‘The live music Capital of Bucks County”.
Best Time to Visit: While you could visit New Hope during summers and spring, if you fancy enjoying the winter festival, the month of January is your safest bet.
How to Reach: Take a train from Jefferson to Doylestown and then a bus to New Hope. This will take around a couple of hours and cost between $24 to $33.
Easton’s unique setting between the heart of Delaware and Lehigh Rivers puts in right at the middle of rich history and culture. Established by Thomas Penn in 1739, the city has a wide diversity of activities on offer. Kids and adults love spending time at the Crayola Experience where they not only watch the production of actual crayons but also get to create their crayon wrappings to take back home. Nurture Nature Center and the National Canal Museum are also worth a visit.
Best Time to Visit: June to August are the most popular months to visit Easton but you could also plan your travel during the spring months from March to May as it may be slightly cheaper and calmer around this time.
How to Reach: The most recommended way to get from Philly to Easton is to get on a Greyhound bus that will take slightly over two hours and cost between $14 t $21.
As is evident from the above-mentioned information, Philadelphia has a lot to see in and around. Whether you come here with your family and loved ones or decide to go it alone, a weekend getaway around the city is every bit worthwhile your time and money.