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Philadelphia is a vibrant city with plenty of culture, history, and entertainment. But sometimes, you might want to escape the urban hustle and bustle and enjoy some fresh air and natural beauty. Luckily, there are many amazing destinations within a short drive from Philly that offer just that. Whether you are looking for hiking, biking, kayaking, wildlife watching, or simply relaxing in a scenic setting, you will find something to suit your taste.

Here are some of the best day trips from Philly for nature lovers, along with what makes them great and what you can expect to see and do there.

Ringing Rocks Park – Bucks County, PA

Distance from Philly: 60 miles, 1 hour and 15 minutes

Ringing Rocks Park is a unique geological wonder that will delight nature lovers of all ages. The park features a large field of boulders that produce a metallic sound when struck with a hammer or another rock. The reason for this phenomenon is still a mystery, but it is fun to experiment with different rocks and hear the different tones they make. The park also has a beautiful waterfall, a hiking trail, and a picnic area. You can bring your own hammer or borrow one from the park office. Just be careful not to damage the rocks or yourself while exploring this fascinating place.

Marsh Creek State Park – Downingtown, PA

Distance from Philly: 35 miles, 45 minutes

Marsh Creek State Park is a great destination for water lovers, as it features a 535-acre lake that offers boating, fishing, swimming, and windsurfing. You can rent a kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or sailboat from the park’s concession stand, or bring your own. The lake is also home to a variety of fish, such as bass, walleye, catfish, and trout. If you prefer to stay on land, you can enjoy the park’s 18 miles of trails that wind through forests, fields, and wetlands. You can also spot wildlife such as deer, foxes, birds, and turtles. The park has a beach, a playground, and a picnic area for your convenience.

Longwood Gardens – Kennett Square, PA

a gazebo and flowering bush at longwood gardens, pa.

Distance from Philly: 30 miles, 45 minutes

Longwood Gardens is a botanical paradise that showcases the beauty and diversity of plants from around the world. The gardens span over 1,000 acres and feature more than 11,000 types of plants, flowers, and trees. You can admire the stunning displays of color, fragrance, and texture in the outdoor gardens, the historic conservatory, the meadow garden, and the water garden. You can also enjoy the musical fountains, the children’s garden, the bonsai collection, and the seasonal exhibits. The gardens also host events, classes, and performances throughout the year. Longwood Gardens is a must-see for anyone who appreciates nature and art.

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Distance from Philly: 10 miles, 20 minutes

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place to enjoy nature without leaving the city. The refuge is located near the Philadelphia International Airport and protects the largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania. You can explore the refuge’s 10 miles of trails that offer views of the marsh, the Darby Creek, and the wildlife that inhabits them. You can also go fishing, boating, or birdwatching at the refuge. The refuge is home to over 300 species of birds, as well as mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. You can visit the visitor center to learn more about the refuge’s history, ecology, and conservation efforts.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Distance from Philly: 80 miles, 1 hour and 30 minutes

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a stunning natural area that spans the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The recreation area encompasses 70,000 acres of forests, mountains, rivers, and waterfalls along the Delaware River. You can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities at the recreation area, such as hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, swimming, fishing, and hunting. You can also visit historic sites, such as old villages, farms, mills, and bridges. Some of the highlights of the recreation area include the 40-mile Delaware Water Gap, the 100-foot Raymondskill Falls, and the 28-mile McDade Recreational Trail.

Wissahickon Valley Park

The sun over the water at Wissahickon Valley Park in autumn

Distance from Philly: 10 miles, 20 minutes

Wissahickon Valley Park is a hidden gem in Philadelphia that offers a peaceful escape from the city noise. The park covers 1,800 acres of woodlands, meadows, and streams along the Wissahickon Creek. You can hike, bike, or horseback ride on the park’s 50 miles of trails that range from easy to challenging. You can also enjoy the scenic views of the creek, the cliffs, and the historic structures, such as the covered bridge, the mill, and the statue of William Penn. The park is also a great place for birdwatching, as it hosts over 200 species of birds throughout the year.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art and Nature – Chadds Ford, PA

Distance from Philly: 25 miles, 40 minutes

The Brandywine River Museum of Art and Nature is a unique museum that celebrates the art and the environment of the Brandywine Valley. The museum is housed in a converted 19th-century mill on the banks of the Brandywine River and features a collection of American art, with a focus on the works of the Wyeth family. You can also explore the museum’s nature trails, which offer views of the river, the wildlife, and the historic buildings. The museum also offers tours of the nearby studios and homes of N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth.

Tyler Arboretum – Media, PA

Distance from Philly: 20 miles, 30 minutes

Tyler Arboretum is one of the oldest and largest arboreta in the United States, with a history dating back to 1681. The arboretum covers 650 acres of woodlands, meadows, wetlands, and gardens, and features over 1,000 species of plants and trees. You can wander through the arboretum’s 17 miles of trails, which offer opportunities for hiking, biking, birdwatching, and photography. You can also visit the arboretum’s historic buildings, such as the Painter House, the Barn, and the Lachford Hall. The arboretum also has a butterfly house, a tree house, and a fairy garden for children.

Valley Forge National Historical Park

A cabin in an open field at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Distance from Philly: 25 miles, 30 minutes

Valley Forge National Historical Park is a place where you can learn about the history and the heroism of the American Revolution. The park preserves the site where George Washington and his army spent the winter of 1777-1778, enduring harsh conditions and low morale. You can explore the park’s 3,500 acres of trails, monuments, and historic buildings, such as the Washington’s Headquarters, the Muhlenberg Brigade Huts, and the National Memorial Arch. You can also visit the visitor center, the museum, and the theater to learn more about the park’s significance and the stories of the people who fought for independence.

French Creek State Park

Distance from Philly: 50 miles, 1 hour

French Creek State Park is a natural oasis that offers a variety of outdoor activities and recreation. The park features two lakes, Hopewell and Scotts Run, that are ideal for fishing, boating, and swimming. You can also hike, bike, or horseback ride on the park’s 35 miles of trails that traverse through forests, fields, and hills. You can also enjoy camping, picnicking, disc golfing, and orienteering at the park. The park is also home to diverse wildlife, such as deer, foxes, beavers, and birds. You can also visit the nearby Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, which showcases the history of iron production in the region.