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4 months ago

10 Fun Family Road Trips from Philadelphia

Being an old and historically rich city in the U.S., Philadelphia is more of a destination for road trips than an origin. 

So today, we’ll be looking at big-city getaways, natural destinations, and scenic drives near Philadelphia that will reset your routine and help you take a break from things.

If you’re looking for a list of summer road trip ideas? We’ve put together a list that is suitable for vacationing families and couples from Philadelphia.

1. New York City, New York 

Distance from Philadelphia: 98 miles.

Who does not like to go to NYC? It doesn’t matter if it’s your children or their granny, NYC is a destination everyone loves to visit. 

Just pack your bags, hop onto your car, and after two hours on Interstate 95 N, you’ll find yourself in NYC. 

Though it will take a comprehensive travel guide to list them all, here are some of the family attractions in this city: 

  • Time Out Market
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Grand Central  Terminal
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • New York Public Library
  • Empire State Building
  • Bronx Zoo 

As NYC is well under a 3-hour drive from Philly, you can easily go in the morning and come back home at night. However, to do justice with all that NYC has to offer, even a week won’t be enough.

2. Baltimore, Maryland 

Distance from Philadelphia: 100 miles. Baltimore can be accessed in well under 3 hours. 

If you don’t want to go to the east towards NYC, Baltimore to the west is there to welcome you. 

While NYC offers many cool places to visit, Baltimore can let you indulge in numerous fun activities with your family. Some of these include: 

  • Stay and play at the inner harbor.
  • Watch stingrays at the National Aquarium.
  • Try some German food at the Christmas markets.
  • Have fun at Port Discovery Children’s Museum.
  • Witness the sheer size of dino bones at the Maryland Science Museum.
  • Watch a baseball game at Oriole Park.

3. Richmond, Virginia

Distance from Philadelphia: 250 miles. Richmond is a 5-hour drive total. 

If you want to have a long drive with your kids where you can talk to them for hours before reaching the destination, Richmond is the city you need to go to. 

This city is also called the “Best City for Families” – and it does live up to its name. Some of the coolest places to take your children in Richmond include: 

  • The Science Museum of Virginia
  • William Byrd Park
  • Black History Museum and Cultural Center
  • G-Force Karts
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
  • Children’s Museum of Richmond
  • The Poe Museum
  • The Virginia Museum of History and Culture

4. Virginia Beach, Virginia, via Washington, D.C.

Distance from Philadelphia: 280 miles.

If sunbathing on the beach and watching the sunsets is what your family loves as a vacation, a road trip from Philadelphia to Virginia Beach is all that you want. 

It is a relatively longer drive that will take just under 6 hours. A great idea would be to split it into two. Stop in Washington, D.C. on your way, so your children can see the capital of the U.S.

Other than the government buildings in this city that make America what it is, you can take your children to: 

  • Clemyjontri Park
  • Glen Echo Park
  • Georgetown Waterfront Park 
  • Rock Creek Park 
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Once you’ve seen the things in D.C. that you are interested in, then your next destination is Virginia Beach. There, your kids can enjoy the following: 

  • Stroll the Boardwalk.
  • Explore Grommet Island Park.
  • Party on Beach Street USA.
  • Go fishing.
  • Enjoy aquatic adventures.
  • Play miniature golf.

While on the journey back home, you can use the long-distance from Virginia Beach to Philadelphia to teach your kids a thing or two about life on a lighter note.

5. Maine

Distance from Philadelphia: 540 miles.

If your family enjoys traveling more than the destination itself, you can go on a road trip from Philly to Maine. The distance here will take 9 hours of continuous driving to get to Maine from Philly. 

On the way, you’ll pass through New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. If you can spare a week or two for the road trip, you can see a number of iconic sites in these states. 

Once in Maine, you’ll have a lot of options to have a good time with your family. These include: 

  • Acadia National Park 
  • The Old Port and Portland Head Lighthouse
  • Marginal Way and Ogunquit Beaches; boats in Perkins Cove
  • Pemaquid Point Light
  • Old Orchard Beach
  • Farnsworth Art Museum
  • Nubble Lighthouse
  • Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Boothbay Harbor

6. Orlando, Florida

Distance from Philadelphia: 1000 miles.

What can be better for kids than taking them to Disney World? 

You can catch a flight and land in Orlando in under four hours, but where’s the fun in that? 

If you can manage enough time to drive, you can visit the important locations in the states of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia before you enter Florida and make your way to Orlando.

This makes it one of the best road trips from Philly. Once you are in Orlando, well, there are other attractions for your kids behind Disney Land itself.

However, keep in mind that you’re going to cover a lot of miles. So you better choose a comfortable car for that.

7. Atlantic City, New Jersey 

Distance from Philadelphia: 65 miles.

If you want to go to a destination that is under a 2-hour drive from Philadelphia, Atlantic City is one of the best options. The city offers numerous attractions to kids, such as:

  • Playcade Arcade
  • Steel Pier with its amusement parks
  • Playland’s Castaway Cove
  • Gillian’s Wonderland Pier
  • Ocean City
  • Storybook Land

8. Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania 

Distance from Philadelphia: 200 miles.

Often dubbed “the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania”, Pine Creek Gorge is a 46-mile stretch of sheer slopes covered by pines. 

For those who want a vacation away from the hassle of cities, and in the lap of nature, this is one of the best weekend road trip ideas.

You can camp on the edge of the gorge which is up to 1,460 feet in depth at points, have a barbecue in the forest, and live a couple of days like our distant ancestors lived. 

Such getaways help reset your biological clock, correcting your sleep-wake cycle. 

The best thing about this destination is that all you have to pay for is gas and food and you can camp anywhere on the forest floor. 

9. Ocean City, New Jersey

Distance from Philadelphia: 66 miles.

This town from New Jersey is probably the ultimate destination for families looking for a calm and quiet town to spend a weekend in. 

It is mainly because of the family-friendly laws that are still in place here. Alcohol sales within the city area are banned, public alcohol consumption is prohibited, and businesses are required to close on Sundays.

Ocean City has a pleasantly wide boardwalk that is around 3-mile long. There are small family-owned businesses and amusement parks on the boardwalk, perfect for shopping as well as giving your kids a good time.

Other than that, the city also has an 8-mile long beach. This beach is well-protected as it has been kept in a pretty pristine condition, unlike many big-city beaches.

10. The Poconos, Pennsylvania 

Distance from Philadelphia: 100 miles.

The Poconos is a system of mountains that serves as a perfect vacation spot around the year. 

It is great for skiing and winter sports during the winter. If you visit this destination in the summer, you can take part in hiking and other outdoor activities.

The mountainous area, spanning over four counties, has more than 150 lakes where you can swim, fish, and boat. It also has many rivers with numerous rafting-ready points.

Before You Go

As the United States is so vast and Philadelphia is situated just next to the East Coast, there cannot be a single list of all the places you can go with your family on a road trip. This is just a list of ideas to get you started.

As a matter of fact, you can select any city or area with a road leading to it and you will have a good time. It is because road trips are inherently fun. 

But before you embark on any of the road trips from Philadelphia, do remember one thing.

We are living in an unprecedented time, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. So wherever you go, you have to follow the local rules and guidelines.