Great Road Trips You Can Make from Philadelphia

Philadelphia | © BruceEmmerling / Pixabay
Nina Starner

Even though Philadelphia is a great place to live and explore, sometimes you just need to get out of town to recharge, relax, or discover a new city. Here are the best road trips you can easily take from Philadelphia, some of which you can do in one day and others that require a stay.

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The Jersey Shore, NJ

Natural Feature

Visit picturesque beaches along the Jersey Shore

Distance: 54 miles (86.9 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 10 minutes | No matter which shore town you choose to visit when you take a trip to the Jersey Shore, you’ll be able to find fun for the whole family. On a hot summer day, there’s no better feeling than digging your toes into the sand and relaxing by the ocean. After the sun goes down, depending on which town you pick, you can explore Avalon & Stone Harbor’s boutique stores, check out one of Cape May’s great restaurants, walk the boardwalk in Atlantic City, and more.

Bethlehem, PA

Architectural Landmark

Bethlehem is an old industrial town

Distance: 70 miles (112.6 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 21 minutes | Known for its colonial history and industrial backbone, Bethlehem isn’t far from the City of Brotherly Love and is home to tons of festivals throughout the year, beautiful parks, and a great collection of museums. While you’re there, see who’s headlining the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, which regularly attracts big-name comedians and musicians.

New York City, NY

Building, Museum, Park
Distance: 96 miles (154.4 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 42 minutes | What can be said about New York City that hasn’t already been said? It’s only a quick drive from Philadelphia to the Big Apple. So, head through New Jersey and the Lincoln Tunnel, and spend a day (or two) wandering Central Park, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, taking in a Broadway show, wining and dining, and so much more.

Baltimore, MD

Aquarium, Museum

Explore Baltimore on a day trip

Distance: 100 miles (160.9 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 44 minutes | Another big city close to Philadelphia, Baltimore is a great option for a short trip. While you’re there, check out the National Aquarium, visit Fort McHenry, wander through an art museum or Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, and walk by the waterfront—and, of course, eat as much fresh crab as you can.

The Pocono Mountains, PA

Natural Feature

The sunset in the Poconos is breathtaking

Distance: 103 miles (165.7 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 45 minutes | The Pocono Mountains are a popular year-round destination for many Philadelphians. In the winter, you can hike, ski, and experience a huge number of snow activities at ski resorts such as Blue Mountain, and stay at any number of romantic, cozy bed & breakfasts at the end of the day. In the summer, take a visit to Lake Wallenpaupack or the Delaware River Water Gap with the whole family, and enjoy the abundant sunshine and scenic views of nature.

Hershey, PA

Brewery, Park

Ride the ferris wheel at Hershey’s Chocolate World

Distance: 95 miles (152.8 kilometers) | Travel time: 1 hour, 47 minutes | Hershey truly is fun for the whole family. If you have kids, take them to Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World—after all, this is where Hershey’s Chocolate itself was founded—and let them see how their favorite treats are made before riding a chocolate-inspired roller coaster at the park. If you’re all of age, head to a local brewery like Troëgs for a tour and a few of their excellent craft beers, such as the Solid Sender or Nugget Nectar.

Washington, D.C.

Historical Landmark

A visit to Washington would not be complete without a trip to the Washington Monument

Distance: 138 miles (222 kilometers) | Travel time: 2 hours, 33 minutes | The nation’s capital is a bit of a drive from Philadelphia, but it’s well worth the trek. Head south and explore D.C.’s Smithsonian museum collection (which are free to the public), and see the White House and the Capitol building. Also, gaze up at the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, and then hit Dupont Circle or U Street to visit one of their many restaurants for a drink and an excellent meal.

Gettysburg, PA


Learn some US history in Gettysburg

Distance: 140 miles (225.3 kilometers) | Travel time: 2 hours, 22 minutes | Historic Gettysburg is quite far, but for Civil War buffs, it’s an absolute must. Start by visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield and the Gettysburg National Military Park. Then, stop by Eisenhower’s former home, and explore the Jenny Wade House while you’re there.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

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