Between splashing in the pool, hanging out with friends, summer camp, and rushing off to baseball, soccer and swim practice, summertime flies. With the back-to-school season looming, your family may feel the urge to squeeze in one last trip. While a week at the shore or weekend camping trip to the mountains would be a nice way to end the summer, piling the kids in the car for a day trip adventure is a time-saving and budget-friendly alternative. Luckily for families who live in and around  the City of Brotherly Love, there are a number of fun family-friendly destinations within an easy drive that make them perfect for an end of summer day trip.
The Poconos
Camelback Mountain Adventures
243 Resort Drive
Tannersville, PA 18372
(570) 629-1663
www.camelbackmountainadventures.com

A haven for Philly-area ski and snowboard enthusiasts in the colder months, the Pocono Mountainous are just as popular in the summertime. Nestled in the rolling mountains and valleys just north of Philadelphia, the Poconos draw campers, hikers, anglers, boaters and vacationers. One of the most popular destinations, CBK Mountain Adventures, is an outdoor tree-top adventure course located in the Camelback Mountain Resort complex, which also holds some of the top ski slopes as well as a water park. Families can take on the Treetops Adventure high ropes course together, ride the unique mountain coaster or fly over the treetops on a variety of zip lines — truly an adventure to remember.

The Big Apple
Times Square
One Times Square
New York, NY 10036
(212) 768-1560
www.timessquarenyc.org

Because it’s so close to the City of Brotherly Love, New York City is an excellent destination for a family hoping to have one last hurrah before heading off to shop for school supplies. Crossing into Manhattan can be an adventure in and of itself if you cross the Hudson via the NY Waterway ferry, and the bonus is that you’ll have free access to the red, white and blue shuttle buses that will take you all over the island – and later, back to the boat. Times Square is good spot to head to first, if you’ve never been, and from there you can navigate your way to see the rest of the sites. Must-visit spots include the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and one of the many museums that dot the city. Wish you could take in a Broadway show but don’t have tickets? No worries! Simply take in the show (and lunch) at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, a retro eatery where the staff — all budding stars just waiting for that big break – will entertain the entire family.

Gettysburg National Military Park
1195 Baltimore Pike
Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-1124
www.nps.gov

Prime their minds for learning when you take your kids to Gettysburg, where one of the Civil War’s most famous battles took place and inspired President Lincoln to pen the “Gettysburg Address.” Your tour of this famous, well-maintained national park can easily be self-guided, but stop by the visitor center first for a map and additional information you’ll need to get the most out of your visit. There are also guided tours you can participate in, and a museum with over 22,000 square feet of interactive displays, relics and exhibits. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy as you take a break from touring, or head into the quaint downtown area of the town of Gettysburg to dine, shop and explore.

Related: Top National Parks Near Philadelphia

Washington D.C.
Smithsonian Institute
1000 Jefferson Drive SW
Washington DC 20560
(202) 633-1000
www.si.edu

A visit to Washington D.C. is something every parent should do with his or her children at least once before they’re grown. Philly families are lucky because our nation’s capital is just a couple hours away, making it easy to visit by car or train. Take in the sites as you explore on foot — check out the National Mall and Memorial Parks, stroll past the White House, or drop in on one of the many museums. The Smithsonian tops the list for many when it comes to D.C. destinations, and all the museums, even the National Zoo, are free of charge.


Lancaster County

Hershey’s Chocolate World
251 Park Blvd.
Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 534-4900
www.hersheys.com

Pile into the car and head west to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, located in Lancaster County. The scenic drive through the picturesque countryside will take you through quaint towns, past Amish farms and to the doorstep of two very different — but equally enticing  — amusement parks, Dutch Wonderland and Hershey Park theme park and water park. Both are great choices, and between the two you’re sure to find a package that will fit your needs and budget. You can also experience one of the area’s most famous attractions, chocolate, at Hershey’s Chocolate World. Located in neighboring Dauphing County in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the “sweetest place on Earth,” is where Hershey candy-themed shops and eateries abound, and the sweetest deal of all? It’s free — no admission fee is charged to visit!

Related: Top Weekend Getaways In The Philadelphia Area

Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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