While living in the city provides plenty of things to do, sometimes your mind and body need a break from the concrete jungle. Being surrounded by nature clears your mind and allows you to breathe deeply. Philadelphia has its share of parks to enjoy, but if you crave getting outside of the city to explore nature, there are plenty of options that make excellent day trips.
Ridley Creek State Park is just 16 miles from center city Philadelphia and offers a variety of recreational activities year-round, including biking and horseback riding. Enjoy a peaceful stroll on any of the 13 miles of trail, and be sure to explore the historic buildings that were part of a small 18th century village.
Green Lane Reservoir Park is small, but here you’ll enjoy a quieter atmosphere and plenty of outdoor activities. The hiking trails range from easy to difficult and meander through the woods and around the water. There are concerts at the amphitheater throughout the summer and early fall, as well as plenty of nature activities throughout the year for the whole family. Bonus tip: In the mood for a great breakfast? Stop off at Shorty’s Sunflower Cafe in Pottstown for delicious local flavor!
French Creek State Park offers plenty of blazed trails around the lake and through the surrounding woods, as well as a large picnic area with a view of the lake. Spend the day hiking, biking, or boating (rentals available), or jump in the pool on a hot summer day to cool off. While you are there, stop off at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site and enjoy a stroll through the historical iron-making village. Hopewell can be accessed via Route 345, or simply take a detour while walking the loop around the lake. (Cross the bridge where the dam is, walk up the natural stairs, and walk toward the right on a short path through the woods. Hopewell is just a few minute walk from the dam.)
- Picnic lunch
- Plenty of water
- Bug spray and/or long pants to protect from ticks in the warmer months
- Bright, colorful clothing during the fall and winter months for you and your pets (French Creek allows hunting in certain parts during hunting season)
- Hiking boots or good sneakers
- Turn your phone off (enjoy nature today and keep it with you for emergencies)
Enjoy a quiet, leisurely walk or a rigorous hike at any of these beautiful parks within an hour of Philadelphia. Whatever your pace, you will be sure to enjoy a respite from daily grind of city life.