You will likely only spend part of a day driving from New York to Philadelphia. The fastest route takes less than 2 hours if traffic is light, or you can take a more roundabout way and see some of the area in between the two cities. We have mapped out a couple of routes for you, and also found some interesting places you can stop at between New York City and Philadelphia. You can also get tips to make your road trip a success and find out more about one-way rentals, whether your journey is ending in Philadelphia or just beginning.
The Fastest Route
The route from New York to Philadelphia is a popular one since the cities are a mere 95 miles away from each other. If you drive south on Interstate 95 you will reach Philadelphia in a bit more than 1.5 hours (under optimal traffic and driving conditions). That way you have plenty of time once you get there to eat a cheesesteak or go to one of the many tourist attractions.
The Most Scenic Route
One option for a scenic drive is to go out of your way to drive on highways along the New Jersey shore. But that would take several hours and is likely only appealing in the summer when the beaches beckon. Otherwise, the best option is to get off the I-95 for at least a bit by taking highways through New Jersey from Piscataway through Princeton and Trenton to Levittown, PA. It will only take you about 30 minutes more, depending on the traffic.
5 Places to Stop Along the Way
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Located in West Orange, NJ, this former home and laboratory of inventor Thomas Edison is a great place to stop at the start of your drive. Built in 1887, the home is worth a visit just for its architecture.
Asbury Park Boardwalk
If you choose to take a route that at least partially goes along the Jersey Shore, a stop in Asbury Park is worth it. Made famous as part of the title of a Bruce Springsteen album, its boardwalk is a great place to spend a day by the ocean.
Six Flags Amusement Park, New Jersey
If you have kids with you or are just a kid at heart, a detour to Six Flags Great Adventure outside Holmeson, NJ is a great option.
Washington’s Crossing National Historic Landmark
Just north of Trenton, NJ, is a spot on the Delaware River where George Washington famously crossed in 1776. Soon after he and his troops helped turn the tide of the Revolutionary War.
The Princeton University Campus
The fourth-oldest institution of higher learning in the US, Princeton University has a sprawling campus with buildings dating to the 1700s. If you are passing through Princeton, take a walk through the campus and marvel at the buildings.
Road Trip Tips
Even on the short drive from New York to Philadelphia, you can use some tips to make the trip feel like a breeze.
Have snacks handy: On a short drive such as this one, you might not want to stop if you don’t have to. Pack some snacks like nuts, granola bars, beef jerky or gummy bears that will do well in the car and not be too messy. And don’t forget bottles of water!
Fill up before you go: Although this can be a short drive, there is likely to be a lot of traffic coming out of New York and most of the way to Philadelphia. Having a full tank of gas (or a full charge if you’re going electric) ensures you won’t have to get across multiple lanes of traffic to stop at a gas station.
Have games at the ready: If there are kids in the car, have card games, or something like the license plate game or I Spy ready to go. It’s also a good idea to play at least one round as soon as the trip starts before everyone gets restless!