Home to the Appalachian Mountains, and some of the country's most unique and exciting amusement parks, Pennsylvania is a perfectly suited to day trips with children.
There's something here for everyone: nature lovers will be awed by the sparkling rock formations at Crystal Cave, thrill seekers will be swept off their feet by the rides at Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park, and kids with an interest in history will love the chance to tour the Amish Village or take a ride on one of the historic streetcars at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.
1. Pocono Mountains - 2 hours from Philadelphia
Boasting some of the most incredible natural beauty in Pennsylvania, the Pocono Mountains are a true outdoor playground.
There's something exciting to do here no matter what the time of year.
Summer is perfect for hiking the trails in Lehigh Gorge State Park and splashing around at the Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark, while the snowy winter season invites visitors to ski at the Jack Frost Big Boulder Ski Area.
No matter what the time of year, you can also stop by the Grey Towers in Glenside to snap a few photos and visit the Columns Museum in Pike County to learn about the area's history.
2. Peddler's Village in Lahaska - 1 hour from Philadelphia
Despite its tiny size, Lahaska is a great place to bring your kids for the day.
The best place to visit here is Peddler's Village, a 42-acre 18th-century-style shopping village dotted with lovely gardens and crisscrossed with charming brick walkways.
There are almost 70 shops selling everything from gourmet olive oil to locally made pottery, but if you're traveling with kids, be sure to stop at the nostalgic Skip's Candy Corner to pick up a few treats.
After you're done shopping, stop by the Giggleberry Fair so your kids can ride the carousel, clamber around on the three-story obstacle course, and play arcade-style games.
More Day Trips from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3. Blue Mountain Ski Resort - 2 hours from Philadelphia
Found just outside Palmerton, Blue Mountain Ski Resort is a wonderful destination for outdoor fun no matter what the time of year.
Visitors from all over the state flock here during the winter months to ski and snowboard, and there are approximately 40 slopes, with something for every ability level.
The resort also has a snow tubing hill, and it's one of the only mountains in the area that offers family-size tubes as well as individual tubes.
During the warmer months, visitors can also enjoy mountain biking, playing disc golf, and testing their limits on the resort's exciting high ropes course. More mountains in Pennsylvania
1660 Blue Mountain Dr, Palmerton, PA 18071, Phone: 610-826-7700
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4. Bushkill Falls
One of the most popular outdoor attractions in the state, Bushkill Falls is a remarkable series of eight waterfalls sometimes referred to as the "The Niagara of Pennsylvania".
A short 15-minute trail leads to a viewing platform overlooking the Main Falls, and there are several other longer trails that lead past the other waterfalls as well.
After admiring the falls, visitors can also play a round of mini golf, go for a paddle boat ride, or relax in the beautiful picnic area.
The park is only open to visitors between April and November, and an admission fee is charged.
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5. Camden, NJ
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Sitting right across the river from Philadelphia, Camden might not be as well-known as some of the other cities in New Jersey, but it's an excellent day trip to do with your kids.
The biggest attraction here is the Adventure Aquarium on the waterfront, which boasts a 4-D theater, interactive marine animal displays, and a 550,000-gallon shark aquarium.
Not far from the aquarium is the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, a historic U.S. Navy battleship that has been turned into a museum.
Lucky visitors might also have the opportunity to catch a show at the BB&T Pavilion, an amphitheater that operates year-round.
6. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
If you're looking for some good old-fashioned family fun, the Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is the perfect choice.
The 300-acre farm can be found in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and it features a five-acre corn maze, a petting zoo, wagon rides, and plenty of fun games and activities.
During the fall, visitors can also come pick pumpkins right off the vine.
The farm is open between the end of May and the beginning of November, and special events are often held in the summer and fall, including pig races, butter churning demonstrations, and live music performances.
150 Cherry Hill Rd, Ronks, PA 17572, Phone: 717-687-6843
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7. Crystal Cave
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Discovered in 1871 by two local farmers, Crystal Cave in Kutztown is a breathtaking underground cave known for its wondrous crystal-adorned rock formations.
The cave was opened to visitors only six months after being discovered, and it's been one of the state's most spectacular natural attractions ever since.
Visitors will be shown a short film before being led into the cave by a trained guide who will point out the cave's most impressive formations and explain how they were created.
The cave is equipped with concrete walkways and steel railings to keep visitors safe, but comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
963 Crystal Cave Rd, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-6765
As the home of the Crayola crayon factory, Easton is an excellent day trip destination for the young and the young at heart.
The factory is no longer open for tours, but crayon lovers certainly need to spend some time at the Crayola Experience, a 65,000-square-foot amusement center full of colorful interactive attractions.
Your time here will likely be the highlight of your visit, but it's far from being the only thing there is to do in the city.
Cycle along the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, stop by the National Canal Museum, or visit one of the city's beautiful waterfront parks.
Named for its location on the southern shore of the beautiful Lake Erie, the city of Erie is the best place in Pennsylvania to go if you want access to one of the Great Lakes.
The pedestrian-friendly downtown boasts beautiful parks, excellent restaurants, and all sorts of family-friendly attractions, including the Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Waldameer Park & Water World, and the ExpERIEnce Children's Museum.
If you want to get out of the city, you'll also be right next to Presque Isle State Park, a sandy peninsula that offers plenty of opportunities to swim, fish, boat, and hike.
More destinations: Malvern, PA
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Best known as the site of one of the most iconic battles in American history, Gettysburg is an excellent destination for anyone who wants to learn more about the nation's heritage.
Many of the city's top attractions revolve around this history, and visitors can take a guided tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park, visit the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln is buried, and even ride through the battlefield on horseback.
However, there are plenty of other things to do if you don't have an interest in history, including an apple museum, several state parks, and a special petting zoo with performing animals.
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If you or your kids have a special place in your hearts for chocolate, you need to pay a visit to the town of Hershey.
Learn about the process of making chocolate and the history of the iconic chocolate company at the Hershey Story Museum, and when you're ready for something more exhilarating, head to the chocolate themed Hersheypark to ride the roller coasters and enjoy the waterslides.
If you have some extra time, visit the animals at the ZooAmerica next door or check out the butterfly house and the beautiful landscaped grounds at the Hershey Gardens. Best Water Parks in Pennsylvania
Where to stay: Hotel Hershey
12. Trips from Philadelphia with Kids: Baltimore, MD
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Known as the Crab Cake Capital of the World, Baltimore, MD is a charming seaport city with a rich history.
Start your visit by strolling along the brick walkways of the Inner Harbor, where you'll find an excellent array of shops, restaurants, museums, and other attractions.
Kids will particularly love the National Aquarium, which is home to everything from sting rays to sharks to alligators.
Other notable attractions in the city include the B&O Railroad Museum, the historic Fort McHenry, and the Maryland Science Center, and of course, you have to make sure you try a crab cake or two before heading back to Pennsylvania.
Also known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster has endless things for visitors to see and do.
Life moves at a slower pace here, and plenty of visitors enjoy simply driving around the country roads to admire the wooden covered bridges, the rolling green fields, and the charming farmhouses with colorful quilts hung outside to dry.
You can also visit a working Amish farm to see the animals and take a buggy ride, learn about the people who settled the area at the Hans Herr House, or hop aboard the Strasburg Railroad for a 45-minute ride through the countryside.
14. Laurel Highlands
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Encompassing approximately 3,000 square miles on the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, the Laurel Highlands are known for their spectacular natural beauty and their rich history.
Visitors can explore the hiking and biking trails along the Great Allegheny Passage, fish and white-water raft in the rushing rivers, and drive along the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway to see some of the park's most magnificent waterfalls.
If you're interested in the history of the area, the byway also provides access to the Historic National Road, where you can see a beautiful castle, the Fort Necessity National Battlefield, and two tollhouses from the early 19th century. More Day Trips from Pittsburgh
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15. Lehigh Valley
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Home to the towns of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, the Lehigh Valley is packed with attractions that cater to visitors of all ages and interests. Music enthusiasts can tour the Martin Guitar Factory, animal lovers can feed the giraffes at the Lehigh Valley Zoo, and history buffs can visit the Museum of Indian Culture. The Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is an excellent place to go during the summer, and if you happen to be visiting in the fall, you can try timing your visit to coincide with the Great Allentown Fair.
16. Lost River Caverns
Open to the public since 1930, the Lost River Caverns are part of a limestone cave system filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and beautiful crystal formations.
Guided walking tours of the caves are offered all throughout the year. Tours take between 30 and 45 minutes, and they require navigating paved walkways and a handful of stairs.
After exploring the cave, make sure to leave some time to mine for gems at the Gem Mill, stroll along the property's 1800-foot nature trail, and enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the tables in the shady picnic grove. More things to do in Lehigh Valley
726 Durham St #1908, Hellertown, PA 18055, Phone: 610-838-8767
17. Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
No matter how old you are, museums are more fun when you can interact with the exhibits, and this is exactly the kind of experience offered by the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.
The collection contains approximately 50 historic trolley cars that were built between the 1870s and the 1950s, many of which can be seen in the Trolley Display Building, and visitors will even have the chance to take a scenic four-mile ride on one of the museum's restored streetcars.
A guided tour is include in the admission fee, and there's plenty of information about the history of trolleys in the Visitor's Center as well.
1 Museum Rd, Washington, PA 15301
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Philadelphia is famous for being the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence, and while the city has a rich and fascinating history, there are plenty of other things to see and do here as well.
You'll likely want to start your visit off with a stop by the iconic Liberty Bell or Independence Hall, but once you've crossed that off the list, you'll still have plenty of time to go to the Philadelphia Zoo and explore the interactive exhibits at the Franklin Institute.
If your kids are younger, you can also pay a visit to the interactive Please Touch Museum.
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Although it has a bit of a reputation for being a drab, industrial city, Pittsburgh has changed dramatically in recent years, and it's now a welcoming destination with plenty of family-friendly attractions for visitors to enjoy.
Admire the beautiful flowers and flitting butterflies at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, give your kids a chance to indulge their curiosity at the Carnegie Science Center or the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, or spend the afternoon with the animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
You can also take advantage of the city's waterfront location and rent a kayak or visit the Sandcastle water park.
20. Allegheny National Forest
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the Allegheny National Forest offers plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature, whether you'd prefer hiking, fishing, or swimming in its beautiful reservoir.
The forest is crisscrossed with hiking trails suitable for people of almost all ages and abilities, and many of these trails can also be used for mountain biking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter.
If you're looking to do something a bit more sedate, you can simply drive along the spectacular Longhouse National Scenic Byway and stop at the many viewpoints along the way. More family-friendly Things to Do in Pennsylvania
Marienville, PA 16239, Phone: 814-927-5700
21. Sesame Place
© Sesame Place
Located just outside Philadelphia, Sesame Place is a unique amusement park full of rides and attractions based on the Sesame Street TV show. There are rides for visitors of all ages, with popular options including a teacup ride, a spinning balloon ride, and an exhilarating roller coaster. Visitors can also enjoy the waterpark, which features a small wave pool, a multi-level splash castle, and a lazy river. When not on the rides, kids can get their photos taken with the Sesame Street characters found throughout the park, watch one of the park's three live shows, or enjoy a snack from one of the vendors. More day trips from Pennsylvania
100 Sesame Rd, Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047
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22. Seven Springs Mountain Resort
As the largest four-season resort in the state, Seven Springs Mountain Resort is an obvious choice for anyone looking to get outside and enjoy nature.
There are more than 280 acres of skiable terrain for visitors to enjoy during the winter, but if you're not much of a skier or snowboarder, you can opt to go shoe shoeing, zip down the snow tube slope, or take a snowmobile tour of the mountain.
During the summer, the trails are excellent for hiking and mountain biking, and visitors can also go ziplining, mountain biking, golfing, or paintball. Best Pennsylvania Train Trips
777 Water Wheel Dr, Champion, PA 15622, Phone: 814-352-7777
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23. Six Flags Great Adventure
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Tucked in between New York and Philadelphia, the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park is a must-visit attraction for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. There are plenty of rides for visitors of all ages.
Younger kids will love the Daffy Duck hot air balloon ride and the junior roller coaster, while those in search of a bigger thrill can test their nerves on the 7-story anti-gravity Cyber Spin or the Superman roller coaster.
Aside from the rides, the park also boasts a unique 30-acre Safari Off Road Adventure, exciting character meet and greets, and plenty of restaurants and snack shacks.
1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson Township, NJ 08527
24. The Amish Village
Amish culture and traditions are a fundamental part of Lancaster County, and there's no better place to learn about this heritage than at the Amish Village.
Set on a charming 12-acre property, the village offers the opportunity to tour a genuine Amish farmhouse from the 1840s, see a working windmill and water wheel in action, and peek inside a traditional blacksmith shop filled with tools that the Amish have been using for more than three centuries.
Visitors are also welcome to say hello to the farm animals, and if you want a souvenir, handmade Amish goods can be purchased at the village store.
199 Hartman Bridge Rd, Ronks, PA 17572, Phone: 717-687-8511
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25. Wilmington, DE
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Only half an hour away from Philadelphia, Wilmington, DE is a charming city known for its historic buildings and its welcoming atmosphere.
It also offers plenty of family-friendly attractions, including the interactive Delaware Children’s Museum, the exciting Stratosphere Trampoline Park, and a three-acre children's garden known as the Enchanted Woods.
If your kids love animals, you should also think about visiting Brandywine Zoo or stopping by the Museum of Natural History to see the life-size dinosaurs on display.
Before leaving the city, stroll along the river walk and stop to play a game at the mini golf course.
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