6 Best Weekend Getaways From Philly
There’s always something to see or do in Philly. But sometimes, you want to step outside yourself and experience what other cities and towns have to offer. Thankfully, Philadelphia boasts one of the top-rated public transportation networks. Its location also makes it an excellent jump-off point toward other great destinations only 2-3 hours away.
Here are the top destinations of the best day trips from Philadelphia.
Distance from Philadelphia: 34 miles.
Perched in the scenic valley of the Delaware River in New Jersey, Lambertville is a serene town steeped in history and super-rich in culture. This is one of the best weekend road trips from Philadelphia if you’re looking for a destination that takes you close to the natural world. The drive to Lambertville from Philadelphia around takes 45-90 minutes, depending on the traffic.
Lambertville’s biggest charm is its laid-back atmosphere, as exuded by its historic Victorian architecture dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and tree-shaded streets. The streets are lined with nicely preserved federal townhouses and gardens, while the business center is chock full of antique shops, boutique hotels, restaurants, and economical B&B lodgings.
Among other attractions are the Howell Living History Farm and Holcombe –Jimison Farmstead museums. These, among others, are dedicated to documenting the history of agriculture dating back to the early 1700s by displaying early farming equipment and clothing and food preparation and preservation methods.
James Wilson Marshall’s house on 60 Bridge St. is another must-see landmark. This museum highlights the life of James Wilson, an American carpenter who first found gold in California. The museum also documents the history of Lambertville and how it came to be.
Lambertville Station Inn on 11 Bridge St. is a great place to dine and lodge. This inn is a restored 19th-century train station. Its location is adjacent to the Delaware River and along the original tracks and offers a quaint dining experience at its finest.
A day trip to Lambertville wouldn’t be complete without visiting New Hope, Lambertville’s sister river town on the other side of the Delaware River and in the state of Pennsylvania.
2. New Hope
The towns of Lambertville and New Hope are connected by the Lambert-New Hope bridge. This is a toll-free bridge that’s enjoyable to walk or drive across. If you plan on visiting both cities, the scenic views of the Delaware River valley make it more preferable to walk through. Park your car on either side and grab your camera. The view down from the old bridge and the halfway mark dividing the two states is simply irresistible.
One of the best weekend getaways from Philadelphia for outdoor enthusiasts, New Hope is a picturesque old town with the vibe of a mini-city. Like Lambertville, this town is known for its numerous cultural attractions, eclectic shopping, riverside dining experiences, and LGBTQ parades.
Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or as a family, it’s impossible to exhaust all there is to see and do in New Hope, PA. A stroll or bike ride along the 60-mile towpath that traverses the Delaware Canal State Park, sometimes paralleling the Delaware River, is a great way to start your tour of this town. After an exhausting bike ride or walk, Logan Inn, with its country charm and immense elegance, is a highly recommended place to refuel. Later on, browse for antiques and historical books from the numerous vintage shops, flea markets, and art galleries that dot Main Street.
For an overnight stay, Airbnb is a worthwhile option if you want to share in the life of the locals. The Mansion Inn (9 S Main St.), Ghost Light Inn (50 S Main St.), and Fox and Hound Bed and Breakfast (246 W Bridge St.) are excellent places to spend the night, too.
3. New York City, New York
Distance from Philadelphia: 95 miles.
The bustling metropolis of NYC can be notoriously expensive for travelers. But lucky for Philadelphians, New York is a 2.5-3 hour drive away. The distance between these two East Coast cities makes this a hot destination for easy weekend trips from Philadelphia, even when on a budget.
While driving from the City of Brotherly Love to New York is an option, the train from 30th Street Station will get you in the heart of Manhattan in under 90 minutes. This should leave you with more time for exploring.
A weekend is too little time to visit all the attractions in New York. However, a thoughtfully planned itinerary will allow you to experience more without rushing around. Remember you can always arrange other drivable weekend trips from Philadelphia to New York in the future.
Most New York attractions require paid tickets. But there are lots of other eye-catching areas of interest that are 100% free of charge.
Here are our top paid attractions recommendations in NYC:
- Marvel at the 360-degree panoramic views of NYC from the top of the Empire State Building.
- Soar 70 floors above NYC from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck.
- Experience the 9/11 Museum.
- Explore the 19 grand buildings that make up the Rockefeller Center.
- Visit the Statue of Liberty via the Ellis Island ferry.
Here are top free attractions in New York:
- Walk the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Soak in pure oxygen at Central Park.
- Experience one of the many free museums.
- Explore lower Manhattan while riding the Staten Island Ferry free of charge.
4. Hamanassett Bed and Breakfast
Distance from Philadelphia: 18 miles.
Are you dreaming of restorative weekend getaways in Pennsylvania for couples? Hamanassett Bed and Breakfast- just 30 minutes away by car from Philly- is worth checking out.
This pet-friendly establishment is nestled amid the rolling hills and lush countryside that make up the Brandywine Valley of Chester County, PA. This inn is set up in a 19th-century six-room farmhouse that has been renovated into the breathtaking Federalist mansion that it is today.
In addition to bed and breakfast, other amenities offered on the property include free Wi-Fi, free parking, and a free electric car charging station. The latter means that you’ll worry less if you’re planning to travel with a Tesla or any other electric car model.
The location of this property- on a gentle slope surrounded by beautiful flower gardens and pastures – makes it a special place to say, “Yes, I will.” It also makes it a quick start-off point to other weekend family getaways in PA.
Some of the renowned Brandywine valley attractions accessible from Hamanassett include Longwood Gardens, Nemours Estate (former home of American Industrialist Alfred I. du Pont), and several museums.
Tip: A Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport (available for purchase at Hamanassett B&B) will let you experience these and other attractions at discounted prices.
5. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Distance from Philadelphia: 140 miles.
Gettysburg consistently gets a nod from most adventure-seekers as one of the most fun road trips from Philadelphia. Gettysburg is the place where one of the most significant battles in the American Civil War took place. The battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) led to over 55,000 casualties leading to the end of slavery nationwide. It also boosted the Union’s morale toward its final victory in 1865.
Almost every corner of this town is drenched in the rich history of the bloody years of the conflict. The Gettysburg National Military Park preserves the actual battlefield where the historical clash took place. The Shriver House Museum, a restored pre-Civil War house, takes you back in time and lets you experience how life was for the civilians before, during, and after the Civil War. Jennie Wade House Museum is another must-visit if you want to learn about the only civilian who died during the three-day battle in Gettysburg. Don’t forget to visit David Wills House Museum if you want to see where Abraham Lincoln polished what would later be his greatest speech.
To quench your thirst for the paranormal even further, consider spending a night in the Gettysburg Hotel. This hotel served as a makeshift hospital during the battle, and it’s thought to be haunted by Civil War ghosts.
Gettysburg’s assortment of pubs, restaurants, quaint shops and ice cream shops also make it a trove of delights for those who’re not so much into history.
6. Baltimore, Maryland
Distance from Philadelphia: 305 miles.
Baltimore has had many nicknames throughout its life, such as the City that Reads to the City that Believes; most of these slogans have come and gone, but Charm City seems to have stuck in the mind of most residents and travelers and for good reason.
Back in the day, Baltimore wasn’t the Charm City that it is today. Actually, this slogan was coined during a 1974 campaign to spruce up the city’s image when it faced criticism due to its lack of major attractions.
While the campaigns were termed unsuccessful, most people embraced the name. Fifty years down the line, Baltimore has risen to boast the most monuments and public statues per capita among all U.S. cities. This wealth is what makes it one of the most exciting driving vacations from Philadelphia.
Around three hours after leaving Philly, you’ll probably be climbing the 99 steps of Federal Hill Park. This 10-acre elevated park offers an excellent viewing point for other must-see attractions surrounding the waterfront. Or you could be experiencing Fort McHenry National Monument. This historic shrine is revered as the place that inspired the U.S. national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner.
For art lovers, Walters Art Museum has over 36,000 objects from around the world waiting for you to explore. Don’t forget to visit the American Visionary Art Museum and see how self-taught artists tell stories across different subjects using the power of art.
While there’s the prospect of resuming travels, particularly domestically, remember we’re not out of the woods yet concerning the pandemic. Diligently follow Covid-19 safe travel precautions to remain safe and to protect others. If you or your companion has been exposed, we suggest adding these destinations to your bucket list for consideration in the future.