Outside the City of Brotherly Love, Pennsylvania’s lush forested landscapes provide picturesque settings for charming small towns. Here we give you our top five that make excellent day trips from Philadelphia. Pennsylvania borders on the great Lake Erie and contains more than 120 state parks, giving its small towns easy access to a huge diversity of outdoor activities and scenery.
1. New Hope
New Hope is situated on the Delaware River that draws the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is a quirky little town with a fabulous coffee shop and an excellent bookshop with quaint riverside architecture. You can also easily cross the river via the bridge into Lambertville, New Jersey, also a cute town but with a completely different character. You can reach New Hope from Philadelphia in around 50 minutes on Interstate 95 and 295 heading east.
2. Chadds Ford
Chadds Ford was the hometown of one of America’s most beloved painters, Andrew Wyeth. The Andrew Wyeth Studio, now part of the River Museum of Art that also features works by his father N.C Wyeth, will thrill fans of the painter. Andrew Wyeth used many locations in Chadds Ford and the surrounding landscapes for his paintings. From Philadelphia, it is a 30-mile drive on I-95 south for about 45 minutes.
Just a quick drive west out of Philadelphia brings you to the suburb of Ardmore, a great destination for its fine dining, excellent breweries and live music venues. The town also boasts more than 250 independent retailers, making for fantastic shopping trips. Check out the Tired Hands Brewery if you are into craft beer and be sure to check for upcoming events at the Ardmore Music Hall.
Doylestown is a great destination for history buffs with some fascinating museums and historical buildings. The Mercers Museum is particularly interesting and eccentric. Housed in a concrete castle is the collection of Henry Chapman Mercer who collected items he thought should be preserved prior to the coming industrial revolution, the bizarre items range from a vampire killing kit to early electricity generating devices. Also worth a visit are the Fonthill Museum, Mercer’s home, the Moravian Pottery, and Tile Works and the James A. Michener Art Museum. If you need some nature, go to the Peace Valley Park and you can relax by the serene Lake Galena. Doylestown is only 1 hour’s drive north of Philadelphia.
Be sure to check out the 1928 movie palace in downtown Ambler. Its stunning architecture has been recently renovated. Ambler is buzzing with shops, galleries, and excellent restaurants, while also offering hiking or biking opportunities in the southeast of the town on the Wissahickon Trail. The trail runs for almost 20 miles and reaches into the scenic Fairmount Park with its historic houses and outdoor sculptures. Ambler is an easy day trip from Philadelphia at just 16 miles north.