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25 Best Day Trips from Pennsylvania

Relax on the beach in Cape May, stroll through the romantic Longwood Gardens, hike through the Susquehanna River Valley or take the kids to Hershey’s Chocolate World. Or plan a fun day trip from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and experience the allure of New York City, explore the heritage of Washington, D.C., or bask in the glamour of Atlantic City.

The 25 Best Day Trips from Pennsylvania near me today according to local experts are:

  • 1. Washington, D.C. (1 hour, 40 minutes)
  • 2. Chanticleer Garden (40 minutes)
  • 3. Doylestown (1 hour)
  • 4. Baltimore (1 hour)
  • 5. Longwood Gardens (50 minutes)
  • 6. Ricketts Glen State Park (2 hours, 35 minutes)
  • 7. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
  • 8. Lapp Valley Farm (1 hour, 20 minutes)
  • 9. Six Flags Great Adventure (1 hour)
  • 10. Gettysburg National Military Park (2 hours, 30 minutes)
  • 11. Knoebels Amusement Resort (2 hours, 35 mins)
  • 12. Atlantic City (1 hour, 10 minutes)
  • 13. Battleship New Jersey (20 minutes)
  • 14. Lambertville (50 minutes)
  • 15. New Hope and Ivyland Railroad (45 minutes)
  • 16. Winterthur Museum and Country Estate (50 minutes)
  • 17. Hershey’s Chocolate World (2 hours)
  • 18. New York City (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • 19. Susquehanna River Valley (2 hours, 40 minutes)
  • 20. Cape May (1 hour 40 minutes)
  • 21. Tuckahoe-Corbin City Fish and Wildlife Management Area (1 hour, 15 minutes)
  • 22. Belleplain State Forest (1 hour, 10 minutes)
  • 23. Wharton State Forest (50 minutes)
  • 24. Long Beach Island (1 hour, 30 minutes)

More Ideas: Knoebels Amusement Resort

Located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, Knoebels Amusement Resort is the largest free-admission amusement park in the United States, offering a variety of high and mild thrill rides, a pool and water park, an 18-hole championship golf course, and a picnic grove and campground area. The area that now encompasses Knoebels Amusement Resort was popularly called “Peggy’s Farm” in the early 20th century, known as a picnic and resort destination for its natural creek swimming hole and its scenic wooded valley.

History

As the area’s popularity as a tourist attraction grew, local farmer Henry Knoebel began selling concessions in the area and later leased a number of plots of area land for summer cottage use. Knoebel expanded the area’s attractions in 1926, building a restaurant and adding a steam-powered carousel and several amusement games, earning the area the nickname “Knoebel’s Grove.” The same year, he renovated the area’s swimming hole into a concrete swimming pool named the Crystal Pool, equipped with a modern filtration system.

Throughout the 20th century, the Knoebel family continued to develop the park, adding a variety of modern amusement rides and games. In 1962, a six-site campground was opened adjacent to the park, which has expanded to cover more than 160 acres. A number of park attractions have been replaced or renovated due to repeated flooding throughout the later part of the 20th century.

Permanent Attractions

Today, Knoebels Amusement Resort spans throughout Northumberland and Columbia Counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, located near South Branch Roaring Creek. More than 60 amusement rides are offered at the park, including several rides which have won awards from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions and Amusement Today. The park was ranked by the Travel Channel in 2014 as one of the top 10 family-friendly parks in America and has been featured on the Discovery Channel and other major television programs. As the largest free-admission park in the United States, visitors may purchase individual ride tickets, limited-access hand stamps, or all-day amusement wristbands.

A variety of high-thrill rides are offered at the park, including the classic Phoenix wooden coaster, which was opened at the park in 1985 after being rebuilt from San Antonio’s Rocket coaster, and the Twister wooden coaster, offering a dark tunnel and double helix. The Impulse steel coaster offers four inversions, including a zero-g roll and a cobra roll, and a 90-degree vertical lift hill, while the Flying Turns, the only wooden bobsled coaster in the world, offers hairpin turns along a gravity-controlled slope course. The park’s award-winning Haunted Mansion ride has been named a top American dark attraction by Dark Ride and Funhouse Enthusiasts for over a decade. Other thrill rides include the Fandango pendulum ride, the StratosFear drop tower, and the Cosmotron indoor dark Himalaya ride.

Several classic water rides are offered, including a Giant Flume and the Skloosh flatboat ride. Classic midway rides for families include a Looper rolling ride, a Paratrooper ride, an Italian Trapeze swing ride, a Giant Wheel, and a Scenic Skyway aerial skylift. Two carousels are located within the park, including the 63-horse Grand Carousel, one of the largest remaining classic carousels in the world, which was built in Brooklyn in 1913 and purchased by the park in 1942. Two miniature railways are also offered, including the Old Smokey Train, which is helmed by a 1960 Crown Metal Products steam locomotive. More than 20 children’s rides are offered, including miniature Himalaya, Ferris wheel, and bumper car rides.

In addition to amusement rides, a variety of family attractions are offered throughout the park, including a Carousel and History Museum, which showcases the park’s history and development along with its collection of classic carousel horses and figures. A Mining Museum also features local mining artifacts from the collection of area resident Clarence “Mooch” Kashner. A Bald Eagle Habitat offers educational sessions with resident birds of prey and their handlers, and an Americana craft and trade area provides demonstrations of classic steam-powered tools. A miniature golf course, laser tag arena, children’s play area, and several arcades are also located throughout the park.

The park’s Crystal Pool is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, offering a variety of slides and water rides surrounding its 900,000-gallon central pool area. Adjacent to the park, Knoebels Three Ponds Golf Club offers a regulation 18-hole championship par-71 golf course and casual dining at the Nickel Plate Bar and Grill. The park is noted for its dining options, which have been the recipient of multiple Best Food Golden Ticket Awards from Amusement Today and include the full-service Alamo Restaurant, the counter-service Cesari’s Pizza, and an International Food Court. Overnight accommodations at the park include the 600-site Knoebels Campground, the nearby Lake Glory Campground, 16 summer-use cottage rentals, and the five-room Latorre House Bed and Breakfast, located near the entrance to the park.

More Things to Do in Pennsylvania

More Ideas: DelGrosso’s Amusement Park

DelGrosso’s Amusement Park and Laguna Splash is located in Tipton, Pennsylvania, approximately midway between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The family oriented park offers over 30 rides and attractions. Children’s rides include Kid’s Kingdom, designed specifically for young guests. Kiddie Rides include boat rides, and rides on two-seater elephants, helicopters, turtles, fire trucks and whales.

A children’s carousel is a miniature version of the park’s antique carousel. The last remaining of the park’s original rides, the antique carousel has been operating since 1947. Thirty-two hand carved horses in jumping stances represent several different breeds. The carousel was built by the Herschell-Spillman Company of New York, who began designing carousels, roller coasters and other amusement park rides in 1915.

Family rides include Casino, which resembles a giant roulette wheel and spins guests at a 45-degree angle, and traditional park rides such as the Yo-Yo swing, bumper cars, Super Spiral and Tilt-a-Whirl. A miniature train takes families on rides through the park’s Tipton Creek area. Midway games include classics such as Speed Pitch, the Water Race, Balloon Bust and Lucky Duck.

Thrill rides at the park include Crazy Mouse, a roller coaster with mouse shaped cars that spin as they turn corners. Rock Star takes 22 riders on the swinging arm of a giant guitar to height of fifty five feet. The park’s newest attraction, Rock Star cost upwards of one half million dollars. X-Scream Tower is a vertical drop ride, which reaches speeds of over 55 miles per hour as it drops guests from a 120-foot tall tower.

Laguna Splash is an Italian themed water park complete with a Leaning Tower of Pisa that dumps water on those enjoying the pool below. Bambini Cove offers a safe, quiet swim area for the youngest park guests, while Gravity Groove, the Great White and the Twin Twister offer more thrilling giant water slides. A Wave Oceano wave pool simulates the waves of the ocean.

Food at the park continues along the Italian theme. Concessions offer hoagies, pizza and pasta, as well as famous Philly Cheesesteaks and a special DelGrosso Italian-themed cheesesteak.

History: Originally known as Bland’s Park, for the family farm on which it was founded, DelGrosso’s Amusement Park dates back to the early 1900s. Mafalda and Ferdinand DelGrosso met in 1936 when Mafalda was waiting tables at a local restaurant, and Ferdinand, a railroader, came in for a meal. They married in 1943 and established their own small restaurant, called DelGrosso’s Café. The restaurant soon became famous for its spaghetti dinners, thanks to a family sauce that Marfalda’s mother brought with her to the United States in 1911. Ferdinand, or Fred, began packaging the sauce for sale when he noticed customers always asked for a small batch to take home.

In 1946, Fred and Mafalda sold their restaurant to purchase Bland’s Amusement Park next door, and they set up shop to sell their famous sauce on site. The sauce brand grew over the next 65 years, and moved towards successively larger warehouses, always adjacent to the park. In 2000, the DelGrosso’s put their family name on the amusement park, and it continues to be family owned and operated, along with the pasta sauce business.

Ongoing Programs and Education: DelGrosso’s Amusement Park offers a packed schedule of events each month they are open, from May through September. Free days are offered throughout the summer for Mother’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparent’s Day.

A Summer Thunder Fireworks Show takes place each Fourth of July and celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017. Other annual events include the Memorial Day Weekend Celebration, the Italian Food and Heritage Festival, and Harvestfest, a weekend event in September with a variety show, circus performers and stunt shows, live music, a car show, and Italian food.

Spaghetti Wednesdays take place throughout the summer, offering a pasta lunch and dinner that features DelGrosso’s Sauces. A staple at the park since the 1940’s, the sauce is still cooked and packaged just a few feet away from the park, albeit in a larger, new modern facility.

Groups may receive discounted ride tickets, and can take advantage of the park’s picnic catering services. Birthday packages are available at Buddy Bear’s Birthday Roundhouse. Guests may rent cabanas at the water park that include tables and chairs, electricity and WiFi, and a mini fridge.

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