5 of the Best Day Trips from Philadelphia

Philadelphia holds many charms—from top historical attractions and museums to innovative cuisine and great bars, it’s easy to love this East Coast city. Sometimes, however, it can be fun to get out of town for a while and explore new terrain. 

Make the most of your vacation time and enjoy a quick getaway to any of these top five nearby locations. They’re our picks for the best day trips from Philadelphia. Check out our top day trips from Philadelphia, including…

  • New York City
  • Washington, DC
  • Baltimore
  • Atlantic City
  • Wilmington

New York City

the metropolitan museum of art upper east side new york city

New York City can’t possibly be conquered in one day, but it is the ideal destination for repeated quick trips. Organized your day trip around a theme, like art museums (hit up the Met first) or must-do attractions (the 9/11 Memorial is important).

You could also do things like compare Top of the Rock vs. the Empire State Building, take a cruise to get those perfect Instagram photos of the skyline, or just enjoy a culinary adventure with the help of a few reliable Yelp reviews.

Getting there: New York City is a two-hour drive or a one and a half-hour train ride from Philadelphia.

Washington, DC 

Washington DC go city pass

The capital city has a lot to recommend itself to day-trippers. You can explore loads of free and inexpensive museums (the newly reopened International Spy Museum is popular, as is the Air & Space Museum), take a tour of the city, or ride a bike through the cherry blossom (in season).

We also like their sports scene: DC United has a shiny new stadium, the Washington Nationals are always a good time, and the Capital One Arena is usually rocking. Don’t forget about their dining scene, either—there’s always a hot new restaurant or three opening in the DMV.

Getting there: Washington DC is a two and a half-hour drive or a two-hour train ride from Philadelphia.

Baltimore 

baltimore day trip from Philadelphia

An energetic and vibrant cultural scene gives Baltimore an uncontested place on our best day trips from the Philadelphia list. The National Aquarium is located here, as are two delightful art museums—the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

Sports fans will enjoy an afternoon spent at Camden Yards, and history buffs will also get a lot out of spots like the Fort McHenry National Monument. Be sure to devote some time to the Inner Harbor, which features a cutting-edge science center, an observation deck, and plenty of trendy restaurants and bars. 

Getting there: Baltimore is a two-hour drive or a one-hour train ride from Philadelphia.

Atlantic City

atlantic city day trip from philadelphia

This New Jersey resort city combines the high-roller excitement of casinos with the relaxing beach vibes. If you want to steer your day trip into a more active direction, check out the Steel Pier amusement park or the iconic Atlantic City Boardwalk.

The Absecon lighthouse is also here, boasting the title of NJ’s tallest lighthouse. It also contains a museum and several historical exhibits. Other great attractions include the Atlantic City Aquarium, Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, and multiple historical memorials. 

Getting there: Atlantic City is a one-hour drive from Philadelphia.

Wilmington 

wilmington day trip from philadelphia

Quite the easy journey from Philadelphia, this Delaware city offers plenty to do in and around the downtown core. We love the engaging Delaware Art Museum and the Brandywine Zoo, and the Delaware Children’s Museum is also great for families.  

You’ll also find several historical sites like the Revolutionary War-era Brandywine Creek and the Hagley Museum. If you’re interested in art and grand old mansions, check out the Nemours Estate or the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. It’s one of the most unique attractions in the region.

Getting there: Wilmington is a 45-minute drive from Philadelphia.

Save on the Best Day Trips from Philadelphia

You can save on a few of these day-trip ideas with a Go City pass. Save up to 55% on top activities and attractions in NYC, Washington, DC, and of course, Philadelphia. Explore these and many other cities with these convenient digital passes. Pay less for the best day trips from Philadelphia.

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The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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