Philadelphia is the fifth biggest city in America, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love nature. For those who are on the lookout for an excursion that may satisfy their love for nature a bit more than a municipal park, there is an exciting variety of destinations to explore within arm’s reach of the city. As a part of our Philadelphia Blooming series, check out our guide for the best day trips for nature lovers in Philadelphia.
Just under thirty miles from the city, Ridley Creek State Park is among the more accessible and beautiful day trip destinations near Philadelphia. If you’re traveling by car, you can get there in a little over a half-hour. Those who traveled to our city without automotive transportation handy can utilize our train system and get there in just under an hour.
Once you arrive at Ridley Creek State Park, you’ll have over 2,600 acres of Pennsylvania wilderness to explore. Among the many things to do at Ridley Creek State Park: hiking, biking, and fishing. There’s a historic plantation as well, plus gorgeous waterfalls, and events throughout the spring and summer including yoga classes and educational workshops.
Ridley Creek State Park. 1023 Sycamore Mills Rd. Media, PA
Wharton State Forest is also just under thirty-miles from Philadelphia, and another excellent destination for day trips from the city. The best way to get there is by car, which usually takes just under an hour. Train trips are a bit more difficult from Philly to Wharton, so we recommend splurging for a taxicab or rideshare for those who are interested and without a car of their own.
Wharton State Forest is the biggest park of its kind in the state of New Jersey, and it occupies a whopping 122,880 acres of Pineland forest. Needless to say, there’s plenty here you can enjoy including hiking and swimming. There’s a great abundance of wildlife to view here including bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, ospreys, great blue herons, turkeys, deer, and a whole lot more.
Wharton State Forest. Hammonton, NJ
When the summer sun is beating down hard, there are few destinations better to visit from Philadelphia than good old Cape May. This southern Jersey Shore destination is worlds away from the debauchery portrayed in MTV’s infamous reality show covering a different area of the same coastline. Cape May is a small beach town with historic Victorian homes and museums to visit, shops selling beachwear and art, as well as a fantastic collection of restaurants. The beaches here are pristine and beautiful, and the intercoastal canals often host boaters and summer vacationers on paddleboards. Just under a two-hour drive from the city of Philadelphia, makes for a true daytrip, that’s still totally worth it. Trains run upwards of four hours, making it tough to use for a single-day trip, but still a worthy option for those who want to visit before or after staying at The Independent Hotel.
Cape May. Cape May, NJ
Our last recommendation for day trips from Philadelphia for nature lovers is the gorgeous Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge on the Delaware River. Located around 75 miles south of Philadelphia, it’s an easy drive that usually clocks in at just under an hour and a half.
The 15,000-plus acre park has been preserved as a breeding ground for migratory and wintering waterfowl since the 1930s. Visitors coming to check out Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge can partake in hunting, wildlife viewing, environmental education events, and more. Some of the animals you may catch here include herons, egrets, Canada geese, and various birds of prey.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. 2591 Whitehall Neck Rd. Smyrna, DE
Planning a visit to the City of Brotherly Love? Check out The Independent Hotel’s blog for our favorite recommendations of what to see and experience in Philadelphia.