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Exciting Family Getaways within 10 Hours’ Drive from Philadelphia

Taking a trip can pose challenges, especially when it involves traveling. Flying can be both stressful and costly, and for those who share my sentiments, it may not be the preferred mode of transportation, even more so when accompanied by children.

The journey itself can often be a significant part of the vacation experience, adding an element of fun and adventure. Road trips offer a wonderful opportunity to strengthen family bonds. To assist you in planning your next getaway, we have compiled a list of fantastic destinations that are within a 10-hour drive from the greater Philadelphia metro area. Additionally, some of these locations can be reached by train, providing an alternative travel option.

Portland, ME (408 miles – approximately 7 hours)

Portland, Maine provides a variety of activities suitable for the entire family. Explore the observatory, take a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride through the downtown area, or embark on a ferry excursion.

Assateague Island, MD / Chincoteague Island, VA (152 miles and 188 miles, respectively – approximately 3-4 hours)

For nature enthusiasts, Assateague Island and Chincoteague Island offer a perfect vacation spot. Witness diverse wildlife, including wild horses, during your visit. Both locations feature stunning beaches, abundant wildlife, and camping facilities. Don’t miss the unique pony swim at Chincoteague Island.

Myrtle Beach, SC (577 miles – approximately 9 hours)

A trip to the beach is always a hit with kids. Myrtle Beach provides a refreshing change of scenery from the urban landscape, offering a plethora of activities. Enjoy the sandy shores, embark on a pirate adventure tour, explore water parks, experience thrilling amusement rides, and more.

Williamsburg, VA (298 miles – approximately 5 hours)

Williamsburg boasts a wide range of attractions, from historical sites to theme parks like Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. There is something enjoyable for every member of the family.

Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH (479 miles – approximately 7-8 hours)

Known as the roller coaster capital of the world, Cedar Point is a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers. The amusement park features adrenaline-pumping rides and numerous family-friendly attractions.

Pocono Mountains, PA (110 miles – approximately 2 hours)

While skiing may be the first activity that comes to mind for Philadelphia families when thinking of the Pocono Mountains, the region offers much more. From horseback riding and festivals to picnicking and hiking, there are endless options for visitors.

Lancaster County, PA (66 miles – approximately 2 hours)

Lancaster County presents a variety of family-friendly activities, including science museums, living history museums, and delectable dining options. Explore the area or venture to nearby locations just a short drive from Philadelphia.

Elk County, PA (268 miles – approximately 5 hours)

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at Elk County, where you can witness majestic elk in their natural habitat. The region, including the Allegheny National Forest and Moshannon State Forest, offers excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, camping, and exploring natural wonders.

Outer Banks, NC (384 miles – approximately 7-8 hours)

For a tranquil beach getaway away from the bustling Jersey Shore, head to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Unplug and unwind on the serene beaches, where you may encounter wild horses. Explore nearby attractions such as lighthouses and nature reserves.

Virginia Beach, VA (276 miles – approximately 5-6 hours)

Virginia Beach is a family-friendly destination with a vibrant boardwalk, sandy beaches, fishing opportunities, an aquarium, and engaging museums. Consider exploring nearby attractions for additional fun-filled experiences.

Pittsburgh, PA (304 miles – approximately 5 hours)

Pittsburgh offers a plethora of activities for families, including imaginative play at the Children’s Museum, tours of the USS Requin submarine, and wildlife encounters at the zoo.

Adirondack Mountains, NY (357 miles – approximately 6 hours)

The Adirondack Mountains provide a year-round vacation destination. Whether you prefer swimming in the summer, leaf-peeping in the fall, or skiing in the winter, the region offers diverse recreational opportunities.

Finger Lakes, NY (263 miles – approximately 4-5 hours)

Explore the scenic Finger Lakes region, known for its 11 elongated lakes offering boating, swimming, and picturesque views. Discover historical sites like the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Taughannock Falls State Park.

Washington, DC (139 miles – approximately 2-3 hours)

Washington, DC, beckons with its iconic national monuments, cherry blossoms, Smithsonian museums, and renowned National Zoo. This budget-friendly destination allows visitors to enjoy many attractions free of charge. Opt for off-peak travel to save on parking fees by utilizing the Metro system.

Blue Ridge Parkway, VA/NC (400 miles – approximately 6 hours)

Embark on a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, spanning 469 miles and renowned as “America’s Favorite Drive.” Enjoy camping, canoeing, hiking, picnicking, biking, and capturing breathtaking views at various points of interest along the route.

Cape Cod, MA (348 miles – approximately 6 hours)

Cape Cod offers more than just pristine beaches. Engage in a variety of activities, including biking along picturesque trails, embarking on whale-watching excursions, and visiting the Woods Hole Science Aquarium for an educational experience.

Block Island, RI (278 miles – approximately 6 hours)

Escape to the charming Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island, where you can explore lighthouses, observe wildlife, and stroll along scenic beaches. Accessible only by ferry, this island destination promises a unique and memorable getaway for families.

Harper’s Ferry, WV (171 miles – approximately 3 hours)

Harper’s Ferry, known as the “Best Historic Town,” offers a blend of natural beauty and historical significance. Families can hike through varying trails, encounter diverse wildlife, and immerse themselves in the area’s rich history and lush vegetation.

Acadia National Park/Bar Harbor, ME (574 miles – approximately 9 hours)

Discover the splendor of Acadia National Park, often referred to as the Crown Jewel of the Atlantic Coast. Engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, whale watching, and sailing in this picturesque region, particularly enchanting in late August.

Indianapolis, IN (643 miles – approximately 10 hours)

Indianapolis boasts one of the country’s top children’s museums, along with the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Explore interactive exhibits at Conner Prairie, witness marine life at the Indianapolis Zoo, and delve into history at the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers.

Stowe, VT (425 miles – approximately 7 hours)

The enchanting Stowe region offers a plethora of activities for families, ranging from winter sports to summer adventures like fishing, hiking, biking, zip-lining, swimming, and golfing. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the renowned Trapp Family Lodge if you have the chance.

Writer Alyce Wilson contributed to the 2024 update.