Escape the hustle and bustle of the big city with a quick trip to a small, quiet town near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Book a stay at one of many Philadelphia vacation rentals during the week to explore iconic attractions, then venture to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, or West Virginia for the weekend. Drink wine by a river, dive into a grape pie for dessert, or ride a boat through a cave. Check out the seven most exciting weekend getaway spots around Philly.
1. Ligonier, Pennsylvania
History comes alive at Fort Ligonier, giving your family a great way to spend a few hours in Ligonier learning about the French and Indian War. The museum features pistols that the Marquis de Lafayette presented to George Washington. It’s about a three-minute drive to Idlewild Park & SoakZone, which some call the best family amusement park in the world. Located only four hours from Philadelphia, Ligonier is close enough to return for winter sports at Laurel Mountain Ski Resort, which reopened in 2017 after an 11-year break, featuring a new lodge and new slopes designed to suit all skill levels.
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2. Spring Mills, Pennsylvania
It’s a mere three-hour drive from Philly to Spring Mills for a refreshing weekend getaway in the country. Check out Penn’s Cave, the only all-water cavern in America that you tour by boat. Besides the cavern tour, experience the farm-nature-wildlife bus tour through the site’s grazing pastures, trails, and forests. After your tours, browse the gift shop, or try a bison burger in the Cave Cafe. For a tamer menu, check out the pizzas and calzones at Pizza Heaven. It’s worth taking a detour off the beaten path for tastings and tours at Seven Mountains Wine Cellars.
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3. Shohola, Pennsylvania
Pack up your outdoors-loving family for a weekend getaway in Shohola, a mere three hours drive from Philadelphia. Before you even unpack, grab a bite to eat at the Fork at Twin Lakes, a quiet little family restaurant. Peter’s Europa House is a white-tablecloth establishment that serves upscale European cuisine. For your enjoyment, there’s also a bar and a lovely garden. A lot of water rushes over the Shohola Falls at Shohola Lake. Reach the falls by taking the trail that begins at the dam.
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4. Wyalusing, Pennsylvania
Add the Marie Antoinette Lookout in Wyalusing to your stops along historic Route 6 for beautiful views of the Endless Mountains and Susquehanna River. While you’re there, pop in for some American comfort food and adult beverages at the Marie Antoinette Bar and Restaurant. The Chamber of Commerce furnishes maps for the self-guided Quilted Corners of Wyalusing, a trail of about 200 wooden quilt squares displayed on area barns. With each square is a license plate containing a phone number with a unique code that lets you hear a short description about that design. Drop into Bob’s for a quick bite, or head over to the Ram Zone for some bar food and drinks.
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5. Barkhamsted, Connecticut
In Barkhamsted, Connecticut, the American Legion and Peoples State Forests feature picnic areas, hiking trails, and access to the river for wading or fishing. Take some time to check out the landscape around the man-made reservoir at Saville Dam, and read the historic information at the small castle-like structure on the dam. Take the kids to see a fading bit of Americana at the drive-in theater in this quiet little town just four hours from the big city. Experience cartoons, intermission, and the classic concession stand.
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6. Naples, New York
Your Naples, New York vacation rental positions your family in the beautiful hills around the Finger Lakes area, just five hours from Philadelphia, with vineyards sprawling out as far as the eye can see. Tour the local wineries, including Arbor Hill Grapery & Winery, Inspire Moore Winery & Vineyard, and Hazlitt’s Red Cat for tastings; be sure to pick out a special bottle for a picnic by the river. Get the most exquisite breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup at Wohlschlegel’s Naples Maple Farm, where you tour the farm to see the maple trees and the equipment used to make the syrup. Of all the unusual treats you find on a weekend getaway, put grape pie at Monica’s Pies on your bucket list. While you’re there, look over the jams, jellies, and other grape goodies. This town is so deeply into all things grape that they paint their fire hydrants purple.
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7. Davis, West Virginia
Surrounded by the Monongahela National Forest, Davis is your gateway to some of the most pristine areas of the state, including Blackwater Falls State Park and Canaan Valley State Park. Whether you want to hike, bike, go snow skiing, or stay close-in to explore this historic old lumber town, there’s always non-stop fun for your family. Your best bet for sightseeing is on horseback with Mountain Trail Rides. Your guide takes you by fields of wildflowers, through cool forests, and to scenic overlooks. For the little kids, take in the petting zoo or the adventure cave. Be sure to check out the food and craft beer at Hellbender Burritos and Blackwater Brewing Company. Soak up all of this ambiance after a five-hour drive from Philly.
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