12 Perfect Weekend Getaways for Escaping Philly This Summer
Take a road trip to sandy beaches or charming main streets.
‘Tis the season to skip town in search of ocean, mountains, and greener pastures. One of the great things about Philly is its proximity to so many different kinds of getaways—driving just an hour or two outside the city will transport you to new scenes and skylines that feel worlds away.
Whether you’re in the mood for charming main streets with antique shops to explore, buzzing beach towns where you can soak up the sun, or a woodsy spot where you can slow things down, pack up the car and go on an adventure to one of these great road trip destinations near Philly.
At just under an hour away from the city, you can take a quick day trip to Kennet Square or make it an extended visit. Longwood Gardens, the sprawling horticultural oasis that sits just a quick drive away from Philadelphia, is celebrating the warmer months with the Festival of Fountains, featuring eight indoor and outdoor light shows to enhance already vibrant summer blooms. You’ll also find live music and a beer garden as you wander through displays. After a day of strolling the gardens, pay a visit just down the road to Chaddsford Winery and sample local wines and cheeses while taking in the verdant Brandywine Valley.
Distance from Philly: 55 minutes
New Hope and neighboring Lambertville are two riverside towns straddling the line of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, positioned as a charming hideaway of quirky shops, riverside dining, and a biking trail that takes you on a tour of the town. There is always so much to explore here, from the chic waterfront views at the River House at Odette’s to the vendors at Ferry Market. Plus don’t forget to wander through the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve. For tons of summertime programming, the festivities at Peddler’s Village range from block parties and sand sculpture displays to a month-long celebration of peaches.
Distance from Philly: 1 hour
Slow things down and spend some time in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Soak up the warm weather with outdoor adventures like zip-lining at family-friendly Refreshing Mountain, where you can also check out the wildlife or stay over in a cabin. Soak in the scenery on one of the region’s gorgeous hiking or biking trails, or take a drive and discover the many covered bridges in the area. For a more culinary retreat, hit up Down on the Farm Creamery for ultra-fresh cheese and ice cream with farm animal ambiance. You can also get a seat at Lancaster Brewing Company to try some microbrews.
Distance from Philly: 75 minutes
Take a trip to the seven-mile isle. Avalon (to the north) and Stone Harbor (to the south) comprise a coveted stretch of the Jersey Shore, featuring white-sand beaches, cute shops, and nice restaurants that pack a lot of goodness into one little borough. The Water Star Grill at The Reeds is a gorgeous dining option on the bay, while Spiaggetta Restaurant is a welcoming spot for seafood and Italian favorites. Get a room at Icona Avalon for fresh digs and direct access to the beach.
Distance from Philly: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Head north for a beach town just outside the typical Philly shore circuit and explore Asbury Park, the eclectic seaside town known for Bruce Springsteen and eye-popping architecture. There’s a lot to love in Asbury, from outdoor concerts at the Stone Pony Summer Stage to great restaurants and boardwalk pizza from Maruca’s. Grab a picnic table outside of Asbury Park Brewery or snag the crispy cod tacos for lunch at Iron Whale. If you’re staying over, keep an eye out for seats at Salvation, the rooftop bar at the Asbury Hotel, where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city.
Distance from Philly: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Head to the Lehigh Valley for a bit of small-town air. The summer season is buzzing with events throughout the area, including the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (which has a lot more than just Shakespearan productions), the Kutztown Folk Festival, where you can get to know all things Dutch Country, and Bethlehem’s annual MusikFest, which kicks off August 4. Bethlehem is also home to SteelStacks, where you’ll find lots to do, including the chance to see new and classic films at Frank Bank Alehouse Cinemas. Round out your trip by trying out glassblowing at the Banana Factory.
Distance from Philly: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Cape May, the shore’s southernmost beach town, offers idyllic oceanfronts, architectural eye candy, and high-caliber restaurants that elevate down-the-shore dining. Have a lazy vineyard day at Willow Creek Winery or soak in the Brewtanical Garden at the Cape May Brewing Co. When it comes time for dinner, snag a table at The Ebbitt Room for scallops and strip steak. For a trendy place to stay, check out the digs at Lokal Cape May, or keep it classic at the iconic Congress Hall.
Distance from Philly: 1 hour and 35 minutes
If you’re more into the woods than the shore, heading to the Poconos is a no-brainer summer escape. There are festivals throughout the region all season long, like the month-long Honey & Blueberry Festival at Equestrian House, where you can also snag a nice vacation rental. Over at Skytop Lodge you’ll find treetop courses, paintball, archery, and other adventures in luxe accommodations. Make time for a visit to the teeny-tiny town of Jim Thorpe, featuring trails, waterways, and fancy old trains, along with a slew of cute Inns and B&Bs, or campgrounds if you’re into that.
Distance from Philly: 2 hours
For a quaint shoreside town just a short drive from Philly, Lewes is a hidden gem featuring welcoming Main Street shops and a quieter alternative to busy beach towns. Chill on the public Lewes Beach or wander over to Cape Henlopen State Park for more sand and a 360-degree view from atop a World War II observation tower. You’ll find a welcoming garden cafe and market at The Station on Kings, and traditional-meets-modern Mexican fare at Agave, right in the heart of Lewes’ historic district. Agave also has more than 70 tequilas to try, and an extra long happy “hour” that goes from 1 to 5 pm. And while you’re in the first state, don’t forget about the gift of no sales tax.
Distance from Philly: 2 hours
Trade your usual cityscape for another, this time with a lot more crab cakes and harbor views. You could always catch an Orioles game at Camden Yards, or better yet, check the Phillies schedule so you can take your fandom on tour when they play in Baltimore. Check out the Inner Harbor for the National Aquarium and a slew of other museums, plus you can find local entertainment and eclectic vendors at Power Plant Live! When it comes to trying that famous seafood, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Bertha’s or Nick’s Fish House, which overlooks the water.
Distance from Philly: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Soak in the New England magic with a visit to this seaside village. You might be quick to recognize the iconic Mystic Pizza sign, but if you’re actually in the mood for a pie, opt for Pizzetta or Mango’s for classic New Haven-style thin crust. You’ll find great seafood at Red 36, mind-boggling flavors at Young Buns Doughnuts, and the freshest pastries and sandwiches at Sift Bake Shop. For a place to stay, your best bet is to find a spot in the midst of the Main Street strip, like the classic boutique hotel Whaler’s Inn or the very nautical Steamboat Inn.
Distance from Philly: 4 hours
Something about being cooped up in the city definitely makes us eager to drink in the stars. Cherry Springs is known for precisely that, offering a dazzling panorama of the night sky. A one-time Galaxy Pass gets you access to the Overnight Astronomy Observation Field, or you can stick to the normal campgrounds. You also aren’t far from the so-called “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” Pine Creek Gorge, so make a pit stop to check out this 47-mile wonder in the Allegheny Plateau.
Distance from Philly: 4 hours and 25 minutes