Do you want to get away for a short retreat within the commonwealth? Pennsylvania is filled with opportunities for wonderful adventures that you and your family can enjoy within a single day. In fact, it would only take you roughly four hours to cross the state from Bradford Township, along the northern border of PA, to Bethel Township, right along the southern border.
A convenient way to traverse PA is to take the train. The railroad goes from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, with stops in cities big and small along the way, including Exton, Harrisburg, Huntingdon, Altoona, and Greensburg. Go exploring via railroad or in a car, and enjoy these fun day trips in PA.
You may have heard Bushkill referred to as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” thanks to the amazing views, observation decks, and walking trails that surround this gorgeous falls area. Several falls make up the Bushkill area, and explorers in the Pocono Mountain region will also find a fun new addition to this area — a maze that challenges your mental and physical skills.
- Cost: Entrance fees to the falls for adults, $14.50 on weekdays and $16.50 on weekends; for seniors, $13.50 on weekdays and $15.50 on weekends; for kids 4-10, $8.50 every day; for children 3 and younger, free. Call for the group rate. Maze and other activities cost extra.
Delaware Water Gap
While you’re at Bushkill Falls, take advantage of the proximity to the Delaware Water Gap to visit another scenic park. The 1,000-foot-deep Water Gap continues to form today with the flowing water from the waterfalls. You can also see part of the Appalachian Trail on the Kittatinny Ridge.
- Cost: None, though certain areas of the Delaware Water Gap are subject to expanded amenity fees in April through October. Check website for details.
Dorney Park and Crystal Cave
Is the temperature rising in your hometown, and you need some relief? Then make your day trip destination of Dorney Park and Crystal Cave. Dorney Park includes roller coasters, family rides, and kid rides to appeal to people of all ages. Dorney Park also features the Wildwater Kingdom with an assortment of water rides that will cool you down in even the hottest of weather, such as slides, pools, and lazy rivers.
After you enjoy the parks in Allentown, drive the roughly half hour to Crystal Cave in Kutztown, where you can take an educational tour of this natural underground formation. It was discovered in 1871 and almost immediately became a popular attraction.
- Cost: Dorney Park prices vary based on what package you purchase. Adult tickets start as low as $39.99.
- Crystal Cave, $16 for adults; $12 for children 4-11; free for kids 3 and under. Group rates for 15 or more people: $11 for adults, $8 for children.
Located in Kennett Square, this botanical garden has unique plants and horticulture. Feel like turning your day trip into an overnighter? Longwood also lights up its many fountains at night for a display both kids and adults will enjoy.
- Cost: During non-peak season, adults cost $23, seniors over age 62 cost $20, college students with a valid ID cost $20, kids 5-18 cost $12, and kids 4 and under are free. In peak season during the winter holidays, adults cost $30, seniors over age 62 cost $27, college students with a valid ID cost $27, and kids 5-18 cost $16. Find current pricing here.
Omni Bedford Springs
This resort sits just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the Cumberland Valley. You can walk the grounds of the resort and check out the gorgeous interior of the hotel, where presidents have stayed with their families. Take a hike on the grounds and then enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants you’ll find there. Finish off the day with shopping in downtown Bedford.
- Cost: Free to walk around.
Frick Art and Historical Center
Art lovers will adore the museum and accompanying gardens at the Frick in Pittsburgh. You can find everything from rare French tapestries to Chinese porcelain to Renaissance paintings on display.
- Cost: It’s free to visit the permanent collection, including the Frick grounds, Greenhouses, and Car and Carriage Museum. Check website for fees for special exhibitions. The Frick is closed on Mondays.
Ricketts Glen State Park
This gorgeous state park in Benton features a trail system that includes 22 different waterfalls. You can hike them while exploring the glen and seeing the rock-strewn clefts in the surrounding areas. Visiting in the summer? Take a swim at Lake Jean. Visiting in the winter? Go ice fishing.
- Cost: Admission to the park is free.
An all-water cavern, Penn’s Cave in Spring Mills can only be toured by boat. Your tour guide will point out famous shapes in the stalagmites and stalactites, such as Penn Cave’s very own “Statue of Liberty.”
- Cost: Cavern tour only, $18.99 for adults, $17.99 for seniors, $10.99 for kids 2-12, free for kids under 2.
Erie’s Asbury Woods feature a nature center and trails that provide excellent hiking, cross-country skiing, and biking. In the Little Woods Play Area, kids can balance on logs and dig to find bugs. The nature center includes a live honeybee hive and a turtle pond.
- Cost: The trails and nature center are free to access.
Allegheny National Forest
The commonwealth’s national forest is located in Northwestern PA and features intriguing wildlife habitats. You can get a great workout here by hiking all the way up plateaus measuring 2,300 feet above sea level.
- Cost: The national forest system requires a pass, but which one you buy will depend on a number of things, including your military status and age. Contact the Allegheny National Forest for information on pricing.
Whether you’re looking for budget-friendly day trips in PA for couples or families, you’ll enjoy every stop on this list. And if you live in Pennsylvania, consider becoming a member of PSECU. We offer Money Back Banking that will help you save for your day trips. Contact us today to learn more. You can also discover more money-saving tips on our WalletWorks page.