If you live in the Philadelphia area, you are surrounded by top vacation destinations, tourist attractions, and fun, family-friendly activities. From the mountains to the seashore, the Big Apple to our nation’s capital and everything in between, there is something for everyone. The best part is that all of it is within an easy drive of the City of Brotherly Love, so no need for the added expense of a costly hotel stay or flights. Want a great destination for that extra vacation day or looking for a last-minute adventure? Pack up the car and head out on a day trip to one of these top spots.
Camelback Mountain Adventures
243 Resort Drive
Tannersville, PA 18372
(570) 629-1663
www.camelbackmountainadventures.com

The Poconos, a mountainous region to the north of Philadelphia, is, for many, almost an extension of Philadelphia itself. One of the most popular attractions in the Poconos is CBK Mountain Adventures, an outdoor tree-top adventure course that is part of the Camelback Mountain Resort complex, also home to top ski slopes and a popular water park. Visitors to CBK Mountain Adventures can challenge themselves on the Treetops Adventure high ropes course, ride a mountain coaster, or enjoy a thrilling ride over the treetops on a variety of zip lines, including a 4000 foot-long tandem Zip-Flyer. The Poconos are known as the go-to spot for skiing and snowboarding in the winter and hiking, camping, vacationing in the summer. An easy 90 minute to two hour drive from the City of Brotherly Love, attractions, like CBK Mountain Adventures, are very popular day trip destinations.

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

Whether you drive or take the train or take a bus, New York City is an easy day trip for folks living in the Philly area. Easily accessed via the 42nd St./Port Authority Bus Terminal, Times Square is a popular port of entry to the Big Apple, and while it’s a destination in and of itself, it’s also a convenient starting point for exploring all that NYC has to offer. Popular things to do include strolling through Central Park, taking a Broadway show, visiting the Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty, or exploring one of the many museums. You can squeeze a lot into one day with a little planning and a basic understanding of the subway system, or you can sit back and relax as you take in the sites aboard one of the many bus or ferry boat tours.

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

Just 90 minutes from Philadelphia by car you’ll find Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the location of one of the Civil War’s most storied battles and the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” The town of Gettysburg holds many fascinating shops and interesting sites, but it’s Gettysburg Park that’s the main attraction, drawing thousands of tourists each year. The visitor center is a good starting point for exploring the park, and from there you’ll be able to choose from guided tours or explore the park on your own. The vast park, an expanse of rolling hills so picturesque it’s almost impossible to imagine as a battleground, is dotted with monuments and interactive displays, and there is also a museum with 22,000 square feet of exhibits and Civil War era relics on display.

Related: Top National Parks Near Philadelphia

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

The Smithsonian Institution, the largest museum and research complex in the world, is a must-visit destination. With Washington D.C. just a couple hours away by car or train from the City of Brotherly Love, Philly area families can visit with ease. Pay a visit to the Air and Space Museum, the American History Museum, or the National Zoo – it’s your choice, and the selection of exhibits, collections and interactive displays is endless. The best part about the Smithsonian, other than the fact that it’s smack dab in the middle of our nation’s capital, a destination in and of itself, is that most museums, and even the zoo, are free.

Ocean City Maryland
4001 Coastal Highway
Ocean City, MD 21842
(800) 626-2326
www.ococean.com

Philly families love going “down the shore,” and there are a number of popular beaches within an easy morning drive from Philly. While Jersey and Delaware beaches may be closer to home, there’s just something special about Ocean City, Maryland that makes it worth driving a little further. The popular boardwalk is famous, as are the gorgeous beaches hugging a shoreline that seems to stretch forever. Whether you’re there for the week or just visiting for the day, this family friendly resort town has something for everyone, from guarded beaches for swimming and sunbathing to the variety of food – a visit to one of the crab houses is a must – available from the eateries that dot the iconic boardwalk and tourist-friendly town.

Related: Top Spring Break 2015 Destinations Near Philadelphia For College Students

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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