Philadelphia Day Trips

Mercer Museum, Doylestown
Mercer Museum, Doylestown © Jared Kofsky

Doylestown

About 25 miles (40km) north of Philadelphia, the city of Doylestown sits in the centre of Bucks County. Also serving as the county capital and renowned for its historic district, containing more than 1,0000 structures dating from 1851 and 1910.

This treasure-trove of architectural heritage draws hundreds of visitors to the city, named as one of a 'Dozen Distinctive Destinations' by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The city also offers antique and handcraft shops, numerous restaurants, and vast recreational possibilities in the surrounding Bucks County countryside.

One may discover the 300-year-old Fallsington Village, go fishing and boating on the wide Delaware River, or hike scenic nature trails. Also nearby is the site where George Washington crossed the Delaware River and changed the course of the American Revolution.

Amish Buggy, Lancaster
Amish Buggy, Lancaster © David Wilson

Dutch Country

Rated as one of the most popular summer drives in America, a tour of Pennsylvania's Dutch Country is a relaxing and rewarding experience enjoyed by millions of visitors every year. Central to the area is Pennsylvania's scenic Lancaster County, just one and a half hour's drive west of Philadelphia.

The main drawcard is the fascinating lifestyle of the local Amish farming communities. They live according to age-old traditions and values without making use of any modern conveniences, even eschewing electricity and telephones.

The area abounds with interesting historic and rural attractions, including 28 picturesque covered bridges on quiet country roads, the oldest Mennonite meeting house in America, and the home of a former US president.

Many visitors opt to tour the area in a horse and buggy or hire a bicycle. A big attraction in the region is food, benefiting from the local agriculture mantra of being 'fresh from the farm'. This homestyle cooking makes its way onto the menus of many local restaurants and markets. Be sure to try the area's famous Shoofly Pie, an open pie made with molasses and sweet crumbs. To wash down the farm fare there are wineries and breweries open for tours and tastings. Shopping for local crafts and antiques is another popular pastime.

Website: www.padutchcountry.com



Gettysburg National Military Park
Gettysburg National Military Park © Muhranoff

Gettysburg National Military Park

The small town of Gettysburg in Adam's County, south central Pennsylvania, was the site of the largest battle in the American Civil War. It was the inspiration for Abraham Lincoln's celebrated Gettysburg Address. The Battle of Gettysburg started on 1 July 1863, lasting two days and resulting in a Union victory. The Gettysburg National Military Park stands testimony to the battle, incorporating about 6,000 acres of land, 26 miles of park roads, and more than 1,400 monuments, markers, and memorials. One of the most famous military encounters in US history, the Battle of Gettysburg has been immortalised in many books, paintings, poems, and movies. The town is now a pilgrimage of a sort for military history buffs and anybody interested in the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln.

Address: 97 Taneytown Road, Gettysburg, PA; Website: www.nps.gov/gett



Hershey's Chocolate World
Hershey's Chocolate World © Jim, the Photographer

Hershey’s Chocolate World

No chocolate lover should miss out on the treat of visiting Hershey's Chocolate World in the town where chocolate making has become an art. Billed as 'The Sweetest Place on Earth', it's about 90 miles (145km) from Philadelphia via Lancaster. The official visitors centre of the Hershey Foods Corporation offers free-of-charge factory tours. The Chocolate Tour begins in a tropical rainforest where the chocolate beans grow, following the journey as the beans make their way to the Hershey's factories. People can attend a 20-minute presentation on how Hershey's Chocolate is made, run every half hour in the 3D Theater Lobby. There are also gift and souvenir shops and a food court.

Address: 251 Park Boulevard, Hershey; Website: www.hersheyschocolateworld.com



Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens © Jill Constantine

Brandywine Valley

The cultural and historical hub of Brandywine Valley sits about 35 miles (63km) west of Philadelphia, on US 1 which is accessibly by both bus and train. It has magical landscapes, country inns, fascinating museums, and beautiful gardens, all found in the heart of Chester County. Visitors can enjoy Longwood Gardens, the Brandywine River Museum with its unique art collection in a grist mill, the Chaddsford Winery, the Simon Pearce glassblowing studio, and shopping in historic Kennett Square.

Website: www.thebrandywine.com


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