In the context of American history, Philadelphia is incredibly significant – in fact, some may go as far as saying that it’s the birthplace of the United States of America. Another reason the city is underrated is due to its close proximity to several other awesome attractions and popular destinations in the US. There really is no shortage of options when it comes to weekend trips from Philadelphia so here are 3 of our top suggestions!
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Here's what we're covering:
- The Top Places To Go On Weekend Trips From Philadelphia
- The Poconos, Pennsylvania
- Newport, Rhode Island
- Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
- Final Thoughts On Weekend Trips From Philadelphia
The Top Places To Go On Weekend Trips From Philadelphia
If you don’t know where to start when planning a trip, don’t fret – we’ve put together a list of the best weekend trips from Philadelphia. Including the best areas to visit, things to do, and recommended places to stay, we’ve got you covered – all you have to do is take your pick!
The Poconos, Pennsylvania
Visit the Poconos for a spectacular time in the mountains that you’re unlikely to forget. Teeming with gorgeous greenery, picturesque lakes, thundering waterfalls, and awe-inspiring peaks, a weekend getaway to the Poconos is sure to help you recharge, relax, and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you.
Distance from Philadelphia: 108 miles
Duration of Journey from Philadelphia to the Poconos: 1 hour and 45 minutes
If you’re looking for a scenic escape from Philly, you can travel for less than two hours and find yourself immersed in the most awe-inspiring landscape with lots to see and do.
Fun things to do in the Poconos
Whether you want to get outdoors and explore the mountains, learn about the history of the region, or relax alongside one of the many lakes, you’re sure to have more than enough to do. Here are a few fun things to do during your visit to the Poconos.
Visit the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway
One of the best ways to enjoy the surrounding scenery is to jump aboard the Lehigh Gorge train and enjoy a 70-minute journey through the mountains. Following the beautiful Lehigh River, you’ll be treated to the comfort of vintage coaches built as early as 1917.
During this narrated trip, you’ll be treated to gorgeous panoramas of majestic mountains, looming cliffs, and perhaps even some wildlife if you’re lucky. The train follows a forested route and travels over bridges, through Glen Onoko, and finally ending in the Lehigh Gorge State Park.
A trip on the Lehigh Gorge scenic railway is a fabulous way to sit back, relax and see some of the most gorgeous scenery the Poconos has to offer. While it offers delightful views all year round, if you’re a fan of a good old white Christmas, then wintertime is the best time to go – the coaches are delightfully cozy and the scenery is nothing short of magical. Not to mention the “Harry Potter” vibes!
Go Hiking at Big Pocono State Park
Made up of 1,306 acres of rugged terrain, the Big Pocono State Park covers land spanning the slopes and the summit of the Camelback Mountains. And boy, its name certainly doesn’t lie – the Big Pocono State Park sure is big. Boasting a plethora of adventurous hiking trails, you’ll be able to enjoy views of three different states all at once.
Here are a few of the best hiking trails in Big Pocono State Park:
- Camelback Mountain Loop Trail – Moderately difficult, 2.7 miles
- Wolf Swamp and Deep Lake Trails Loop – Moderately difficult, 5.8 miles
- Big Pocono South and North Trail Loop – Moderately difficult, 3.5 miles
The nice thing about hiking in the Camelback Mountains is that while most of the trails are around the same level of difficulty, they vary in distance. So whether you’re looking for a good, long walk to really get the blood flowing or just a short stroll for some fresh air, you’ll be able to find whatever it is you’re looking for.
Before you visit the park, however, make sure you check that the park is open. Generally speaking, you’ll be able to visit from May to November – the park closes from December to April during the height of winter due to accessibility and safety concerns, so plan accordingly!
Just down the road is the Poconos Raceway as well. If you feel the need for speed, book a 3 Lap Stock Car Ride
Learn about the history of the Poconos
Much like most of the United States, the Poconos has a rich history dating back many years. Today, there are several museums and educational sites for visitors to peruse and learn all about the area’s heritage. While the land was originally home to Native American inhabitants, it was later colonized by the Dutch, British, and Germans, starting in the 17th century, many of whom eventually became permanent residents.
Today, the Poconos Mountains area is a popular holiday destination, but before it became what it is now, it went through centuries of change and development. The heritage of the area is truly fascinating – if you’re keen to learn more about it during your weekend getaway from Philadelphia, here are a few of the best attractions to visit:
- The No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum: Visit the oldest continuously running anthracite coal mine in Pennsylvania and learn all about its dark and treacherous history. It was operational from 1855 until 2002 when it was converted into a museum. Today, visitors can take tours led by experienced guides who will teach you all about the dark history of mining and the people who worked in the mines.
- The Pocono Indian Museum: Having opened in 1976, the Poconos Indian Museum contains hundreds of important artifacts pertaining to the so-called “Delaware Indians” – or Native Americans, rather. This includes fascinating things such as tools, weapons, and articles of clothing, as well as oodles of information about how they lived.
- Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm: Covering a 114-acre area of farmland, the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm seeks to preserve the area’s rich German heritage. Guides are dressed in traditional German attire and guests will be able to watch re-enactments of scenes from daily farm life. Today, the farm is home to a plethora of animals and visitors can wander through the old farmhouse, cabin, smokehouse, and several little barns. Visiting the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm will really make you feel like you’re stepping back in time!
- Eckley Miners’ Village: A full-on village made up of a sports club, two churches, a little company store, and several houses, the Eckley Miners’ Village is a great place to immerse yourself in the history of the area. The village was operational and a hive of activity from the mid-1800s until the mid-1900s, and today, you can wander around the village and learn all about its history at the visitors’ center.
Observe the Poconos from above! This private sightseeing flight will take you on a trip over attractions
like Camelback Mountain, Delaware Water Gap, Mount Pocono, and more!
Where to stay in the Poconos
The Poconos is a popular area for weekend trips from Philadelphia, so, for that reason, it’s really not difficult to find accommodation options that suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for luxury or something that’s a little more budget-friendly, you have come to the right place. Here are a few options for in different price ranges.
This beautifully restored building, originally opened in 1880, features a true boutique hotel atmosphere. Complete with a highly rated spa, stylish room options, and two onsite dining options Hotel Fauchere is sure to provide the top quality stay you are looking for.
The Inn at Jim Thorpe
The Inn at Jim Thorpe is the ideal option for you if you don’t want to break the bank. This 19th-century-style inn is located in the historic district of Jim Thorpe and it simply oozes character and charm.
Newport, Rhode Island
Home to some of the most wealthy families in modern American history, Newport, Rhode Island has a lot more to offer than just fancy houses and rich people – although it has lots of those as well. In fact, Newport is teeming with a range of awesome things to do during weekend trips from Philadelphia.
Distance from Philadelphia: 273 miles
Duration of Journey from Philadelphia to Newport: 4 hours and 30 minutes
Whether you want to simply enjoy the gorgeous oceanside and stick to outdoor activities, such as an afternoon sightseeing cruise, or explore the town and learn all about its fascinating architectural and social history, you’re bound to have loads to do.
Fun things to do in Newport
Ranging from mansion tours to cliff walks, you’re bound to have a weekend jam-packed with fun and interesting activities when you take a drive out to Newport for a weekend trip from Philadelphia. Here are some of the best things to do during your weekend getaway.
Enjoy the scenery
There’s no wondering why Newport is home to so many wealthy people who, for all intents and purposes, could choose to live pretty much anywhere in the United States. This beachside town boasts not only fascinating architectural history, but its scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Best of all, there are a few ways in which you can view it, depending on the weather and your preference:
- Ocean Drive: Boasting 10 miles of open road and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, cruising along Newport’s Ocean Drive is an epic, relaxing way to enjoy your natural surroundings from the comfort of your own vehicle. Begin your drive just off Bellevue Avenue and enjoy the journey. Peer down at Newport’s southern coastal shoreline and you’re sure to feel as one with nature.
- Cliff Walk: If you’d like to stretch your legs and appreciate Newport’s natural beauty with the wind in your hair, take yourself out for a cliff walk. Open from sunrise to sunset all year round, this route is about 3.5-miles long, two thirds of which is easy walking and one third that requires a little more finesse and agility. Newport’s Cliff Walk is a National Recreational Trail and it allows you to appreciate the area’s history, wildflowers, birds, scenery, and geology – what more could you want? Perhaps, however, you should avoid doing this walk if the weather isn’t good (for obvious reasons), and in particular, avoid the more difficult section of this route for safety reasons.
Explore the Mansions
As mentioned, Newport is perhaps best known for the history of its most wealthy inhabitants and the homes in which several generations of these families have lived – or vacationed, at the very least. A few of these Gilded Age mansions were owned by the likes of the Vanderbilts, the Astors, and even the Kennedys, making both their architecture and social history incredibly interesting.
Now, doing the Cliff Walk or cruising along Ocean Drive, as mentioned above, will allow you to see many such houses. However, the most famous mansion in Newport is, arguably, the Breakers. Built between 1893 and 1895, it was originally intended to be a “summer cottage for Cornelius Vanderbilt, but when you catch a glimpse of the building, you’ll quickly realize that the word “cottage” isn’t exactly universal – the Breakers is enormous. Visitors can enjoy self-guided tours any day during the week and explore this 125,000-square-foot house and its incredible 13-acre grounds.
To experience Breakers and more, check out this highly rated trolley tour of multiple Gilded Age mansions while also getting admission to the Breakers Mansion!
Learn about the history of Newport, Rhode Island
Having been frequented by wealthy Americans for hundreds of years, Newport has a rich and interesting history. Here are a few fun ways you can engage with it and learn a little bit about this Rhode Island town’s past:
- Sailing has always been a popular pass time in Newport – owing to the fact that sailing is a wealthy sport and hobby and Newport is a rather wealthy town. In fact, Newport is the American location for the world-famous America’s Cup, making it the country’s hub for competitive sailing, in the opinion of some. If you’re interested in learning more, visit the Newport Sailing Museum and learn all about different types of boats, designers, historians, Olympic sailors, and more.
- If you’re interested in history but would rather be a little more active, why not check out the International Tennis Hall of Fame? Back in 1881, the Tennis Hall of Fame was a social club and it hosted the first-ever US National Lawn Tennis Championships – what is known as the US Open today. Nowadays, the grass courts are open to the public, so if you’d like to get your tennis on, check the courts’ availability and book a slot.
- Visit the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, the United States’ first-ever purpose-built library – which means that at the time that it was built, the structure was intended on being a library from the very begin, it wasn’t repurposed from something else. It dates back to 1747 and is one of the oldest continuously operating libraries in the area. So if you’re a lover of literature, make sure you don’t miss out on perusing this century-old collection.
Where to stay in Newport, Rhode Island
Deciding on where to stay really comes down to how much you’re willing to spend. If you’re looking for luxury, there are plenty of options available. And, you may be surprised to hear that there are also several accommodation options if you’re on a tighter budget. Here are a few:
For a truly Gilded Age experience, check out Gilded. A luxury hotel that offer an experience that only Newport can offer. The atmosphere in this hotel is one that a Vanderbilt would appreciate. Serving fresh ingredient filled small plate dishes this one is sure to provide the most unrivaled trip!
Ocean Cliff Hotel & Resort
The Ocean Cliff Hotel & Resort is located right on the waterfront in the Fifth Ward. Close to many local hot spots and not far from the historic Ocean Drive while also including free breakfast and an onsite restaurant.
For most Americans, the first thing that springs to mind when they hear Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is the Civil War and the oodles of American history they most likely learned in high school. Well, if this is the case, you’re not wrong – Gettysburg was the location of the Battle of Gettysburg, the moment in time that is often revered as the turning point of the entire Civil War. Today, the battlefield is preserved as a National Military Park and tourists can visit and learn all about it.
Distance from Philadelphia: 141 miles
Duration of Journey from Philadelphia to Gettysburg: 2 hours and 20 minutes
Fun things to do in Gettysburg
Gettysburg has even more to offer than just its battlefield. In fact, as far as weekend trips from Philadelphia go, Gettysburg is actually a pretty cool destination with lots of things to do.
Visit Gettysburg Battlefield
We’ll start with the history because, as mentioned, it is what the area is most famous for after all. Gettysburg National Military Park, as it’s now known, was the location of the three-day battle that is widely known as the turning point of the American Civil War. It’s about six acres in size and boasts several really important sites – including several monuments as well as the site at which President Abraham Lincoln gave his infamous Gettysburg Address.
Visitors can wander around the park and view the monuments while learning all about the history of the battle and the Civil War as a whole. There are several options for guided tours – whether you prefer a horse-drawn carriage, horseback, or a bus tour that can be listened to while walking or driving.
While you’re at the park, also make sure to check out the museum, the Visitors’ Center, the national cemetery, Little Round Top, and the “Summer White House” of President Dwight E. Eisenhower.
Dobbin House Tavern
Grab a bite to eat and drink at Dobbin House Tavern and you can rest assured that you’ve tried an establishment that is quintessentially Gettysburg. Boasting a fun, old-timey atmosphere, historic charm, and a lively ambiance, you can enjoy delicious food and a good old pint after a long day of wandering around and learning about history.
Get a real feel for this quaint and historic down when to take a trip downtown (downtown Gettysburg, that is) during your weekend trip from Philadelphia.
Here, you’ll be able to wander the streets and peruse some of the local stores and charming little eateries, some of which have been owned by the same families for several generations.
Also in Downtown Gettysburg you’ll be able to see Lincoln Square, the center of the town, which includes a famous statue of the former president himself. You’ll also find the David Willis House and its interactive exhibits nearby, as well as several other museums, exhibits, and art galleries.
Into the spooky side of history? Gettysburg has what you are looking for on this after dark history and haunts tour!
Learn about the history of Gettysburg
“Four score and seven years ago…” Ring a bell? The borough of Gettysburg is most notably known as the location of the Battle of Gettysburg as well as Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to commemorate the lives lost during the battle. The battle took place July 1-3, 1863 and was a pivotal point in the Civil War while Lincoln’s speech actually took place four months later.
This borough has a rich history even beyond this historic battle as well! The Eisenhower National Historic Site is also located here. Check out some other attractions to experience more of Gettysburg:
- Gettysburg Beyond The Battle Museum: this immersive 12 exhibit museum captures the full history of the borough. You can experience what is was like to be a local family during the onset of the battle in a reconstructed farmhouse. As well as learn about the prehistoric times of Adams County through the Eisenhower years.
- Strawberry Hill: Leader in environmental stewardship, this educational center offers hands-on educational programs where you can meet their animal ambassadors as well as guided hikes in Michaux State Forest. Unique nature experiences include a restored mineral quarry, Mount Hope Maple Madness, and an annual festival
- The Maryland Sutler: Find all you need to jump back in time at this Civil War re-enactment shop. Whether you are looking to suit up in a period frock coat and trousers or want to own a replica a-frame tent! This shop is the place to check out the items that really make history come to life.
Where to stay in Gettysburg
Finding somewhere to stay in Gettysburg isn’t very difficult, with many different options to choose from. Here are a few.
The Brickhouse Inn B&B
Charming and quaint, the Brickhouse Inn B&B is the perfect place to stay while you’re in Gettysburg. It fully encapsulates the historic charm of the town and provides you with all the comfort and facilities you’ll need, including breakfast so you can start your day the right way.
The Lodges at Gettysburg
This 63 acre resort has stunning views of the Gettysburg battlefield and Hunter Lake. The Lodges of Gettysburg offers 28 lodges as well as 45 rooms fulling decorated with period artwork and fireplaces. Amenities include continental breakfast, hiking trails, free fishing pole rental, and more!
Final Thoughts On Weekend Trips From Philadelphia
If you’re looking for weekend trips from Philadelphia, it’s pretty clear that finding an option that suits you won’t be difficult at all! With so many wonderful and beautiful places within such close proximity to Philadelphia, you’ll find it difficult to take your pick.
So better get packing, because your weekend getaway awaits!
If you would like to stay in the Vanderbilt family, check out the Marble House. Rosecliff looks over the Atlantic Ocean and is the location of many famous movies. The Elms boast exquisite and unique architecture and holds a deep history. Including being one of the first homes in Newport to get electricity.
Depends on the tour you take. Bus and horseback tours can take anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours. Carriage tours look to be a little shorter at about an hour. Or take as much time as you would like on a self guided car tour using the Civil War Gettysburg app!
Enjoy top notch burgers and brews at Boulder View Tavern while overlooking the Big Boulder Lake. Van Gilder’s Jubilee Restaurant is considered “the breakfast king of the Poconos” as well as serving up delicious food for the other meals of the day. If you consider yourself a “hophead,” check out Wallenpaupack Brewing Co. If you are looking for a unique bistro setting, Sango Kura is the Poconos only sake bar offering delicious poke bowls, sushi, and ramen!
Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.
Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.
Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.
Vacation Rentals: Airbnb is the market leader but you’d be surprised how you can find cheaper deals on the lesser-known VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.
- Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
- RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
- SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
- Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
- InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.
If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.