PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Summer is quickly approaching and who doesn’t love a good vacation? While weeklong vacations are great for traveling far, there are plenty of vacation spots in the Philadelphia area perfect for weekend getaways or day trips.
While everyone enjoys taking a vacation, not all enjoy spending their vacation the same way. In the Philadelphia area, we have access to close-by mountains for hiking and camping, amusement parks to keep the children busy, historic sites if you’re looking to learn something, and plenty of beaches to sit in a chair with your feet in the sand.
There are plenty of top vacation spots within a few hours of the Philadelphia area and we broke them down by category.
For those adventure seekers, here are some of the top hiking trails:
1. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary – Hawk Mountain is located 82 miles from Philadelphia and offers five different trails that lead to a beautiful view of the mountain valley. Along the hike you may see rare birds and over 20 different breeds of hawks, making it the perfect hiking spot.
2. Delaware Water Gap – Is hiking part of the Appalachian Trail on your bucket list? If so, the Delaware Water Gap has the perfect scenery along a 28-mile trek of the trail. The hike includes breathtaking views of the valley and river and also gives visitors a taste of history with roads and structures that show you the previous way of life. Located just two hours from Philadelphia, the hiking trails range from easy to difficult and is fun for all ages.
3. Wissahickon Creek Park – This is an all around perfect day trip. Located less than 30 minutes from Philadelphia, the Wissahickon Creek Park is full of adventure for those looking for a quick day trip. Start your day at Valley Green feeding the ducks, then pick a trail and start your adventure. The Tedyuscung Statue and Devil’s Pool are two popular sites to see. Click here for a full list of landmarks and structures.
If you’re looking for some amusement parks other than the Jersey Shore boardwalk, there are plenty in the area, including a free one.
1. Knoebels Amusement Park Resort – It’s America’s largest free-admission amusement park and has rides for all ages. The family-friendly park is located about two-and-a-half hours from Philadelphia in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, and offers plenty of things to do, including classic roller coasters, swimming, camping, and golf.
2. Coney Island– Located in Brooklyn, New York, Coney Island is the original amusement park offering visitors historic and new things to do — and it’s only 95 miles from Philadelphia. Attractions at Coney Island include an aquarium, action-packed rides, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, shops and sideshows.
3. Six Flags Great Adventure – The adventure park located in Jackson, New Jersey has the ultimate trio combination — rides, waterpark and an animal safari. Just 50 miles from Philadelphia, it’s the perfect way to spend your day off with or without the kids.
4. Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom – The Lehigh County attraction offers two parks for the price of one. Wildwater Kingdom is the perfect way to cool off before heading to the amusement park to tackle all the roller coasters.
From the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the Battle at Gettysburg, the Philadelphia area is full of historical landmarks.
1. Philadelphia’s Historic District — The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Betsy Ross house are just a few sites to see if you plan on spending a day in Old City. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, these sites are perfect for a nice summer day. You can finish the day relaxing in a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park or ride the carousel at Franklin Square.
2. Valley Forge National Park — The location for the 1777-78 encampment of the Continental Army during the American Revolution is located just 21 miles from Center City. The national park is the perfect place to spend the afternoon and finish with a picnic. From the interactive historic trails to the 30 miles of hiking trails and paths, the park has something to offer for everyone. You can tour the log cabins military members stayed and Washington’s headquarters, or learn about General Knox and the artillery units, but your first stop should be the visitors center.
3. Jamestown/Williamsburg, Virginia — This one is definitely not a day trip, but if you are looking for a good weekend getaway to learn about American history, this area of Virginia is calling your name. From watching glass blowers create works of art to learning about the American Revolution, Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestowne offer visitors the ultimate experience to learn about the American Revolution and the trades of those who live there. Historic Jamestowne was once James Fort in 1607. The Jamestown Island is located along the James River and the picture perfect views speak for themselves. Williamsburg was the capital of Virginia during the revolution. It’s just about a six-hour drive from Philadelphia and it’s worth the trip.