Winter is out, and summer is in (finally)! For many Americans, the rising temperatures also bring vacations, day trips, and more time for activities with the kids. It’s the perfect time to take an afternoon or weekend to explore some of the hidden treasures in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
If you want to dip your toes into adventure this summer, check out these 9 seasonal activities:
3-Day Keystone Country Tour, PA
For those who love road trips, beautiful scenery, and lots and lots of local foods, the Keystone Country tour is a dream come true. This three day, self guided tour takes the culinarily curious through the Pennsylvania countryside. The official VisitPAwebsite outlines a suggested routethat starts in Chester County, in the town of Honey Brook, PA with a cheese tour at September Farms. From there, you’ll head over to the Mushroom Cap in Kennett Square, a historic neighborhood known for its walkability and restaurant scene.
Day Two will bring you into Philadelphia to experience some of the oldest and most recognized urban farming and gardening establishments in the nation. These farms offer tours, tastings, and historical architecture unique to the area. Bartram’s Garden is a wonderful combination of botany and historic urban architecture. You’ll want to bring money and an empty stomach to take full advantage of the culinary scene in Philadelphia.
Day Three will take you through the Snipes Farm and Education Center, Rose Banks Winery, and the cleverly named None Such Farm and Farmer’s Market. While you’re in New Hope, PA, take some time to smell the roses and stretch your legs, because you’re going to be feeling pretty fat and happy by time you leave!
Brandywine Battlefield Park, PA
The Brandywine Battlefield Parkis notable for being the site of the longest single-day battle in the Revolutionary War. The Park is now home to a museum, visitor’s center, and a self-guided tour, making it an entertaining and educational addition to any Revolutionary War tour in Pennsylvania. George Washington and his troops actually lost the battle at Brandywine, but the historical site is no less enjoyable for the loss. In fact, it is one of only a handful of places in America where you can observe the remains of one of Washington’s few defeats.
This is a great summer vacation outing with the kids, combining a hands-on historical experience with the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beautiful summer weather.
This 35-acre pleasure garden is a work of art with wood, metal, and stone pieces creatively worked into the landscape. Chanticleer is located at the old Rosengarten Estate in Wayne, PA, and has been described as an “adventure for the senses.” The historic grounds create an ideal backdrop for one of the region’s most spectacular gardens, and once you enter, you’ll understand why Garden Design Magazine described Chanticleer as “America’s most inspiring garden.”
You’ll want to take the time to explore every corner of the gardens to full appreciate the beauty and design of the space. While families and children are encouraged at the gardens, it is also meant to be a quiet, serene place. Bring a picnic basket and share a meal with family or friends in one of the designated picnic areas, or bring your easel and paints to capture the landscape. Don’t forget to check out the Teacup Garden, full of tropical plants arranged for maximum visual pop.
Chanticleeris open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10:00am to 5:00pm, and painting is allowed Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Holt’s Landing, DE
If you’re looking for sun, sand, and a built in distraction for the kids, then Holt’s Landing has everything you need. Holt’s Landing State Park, once Holt Family Farms, is a 200-acre park northwest of Bethany Beach in Sussex County. In addition to sand and shore, Holt’s Landing has the only pier in all of Delaware that was built specifically for crabbing. In fact, you can plan a whole seafood menu based on your catches; wade through shallow waters to catch mussels and clams, take the boat out into the bay to catch some fresh fresh, or drop your line over the pier to catch some of those delicious Delaware Blue Crabs.
The park also has picnic tables, forests, beautiful hiking trails, and kayaking. There are regular events and live music hosted at the park, so check out their website for more information. If you plan on fishing or crabbing, you will need a state fishing permit. You can learn more about Holt’s Landing and how to apply for a permit on their website, here.
Nockamixon State Park, PA
Home to Southeast Pennsylvania’s largest lake, this 5,000-acre park has something for everyone this summer. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources websiteaptly describes the park as being “close enough to Philadelphia for a day trip, but far enough away for a vacation.” In addition to boating and fishing on the lake, there are 25 miles of trails for hiking, running, and biking. You can have a barbecue with friends and family, go horseback riding, or spend some time hunting. Bird enthusiasts will enjoy bird watching on Lake Nockamixon, a rest stop for migrating waterfowl.
If you’d like to make a weekend out of your trip, you can stay overnight in a cabin. Fishing and boating is allowed 24 hours a day, but the main park is open sunrise to sunset. Reservations for the park can be made online.
Elmwood Park Zoo, PA
The zoo is always a must-do summer activity. It’s the perfect way to get some sunshine, let the kids run around, and provide engaging and educational material in a way the kids genuinely enjoy. And Elmwood Park Zoo is an especially great example of that. Located in Norristown, PA, the zoo houses over 100 species of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles. One unique feature of Elmwood Park Zoo is their giraffe feeding program, which is both magical and educational for children and adults alike.
The zoo has a strong emphasis on education and runs a conservation-focused education program. Their education department uses live animals during their programming, and offers spring and summer camps. Learn more about the zoo and their various summer programs on the website.
4th of July at Fonthill Castle, PA
The Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle was built as a home in 1912 for Henry Chapman Mercer. Mercer was a veritable renaissance man, known as an archeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, and antiquarian. Today, the castle showcases many of his tiles and prints, and the house itself boasts 44 rooms, over 200 windows, and 18 fireplaces. You can participate in an hour-long tour of the home, or simply show up for one of the many events regularly hosted at Fonthill Castle.
The event you absolutely won’t want to miss this summer is the Old Fashioned Fourth of July celebration at Fonthill Castle. Taking place from 12:00pm to 4:00pm, there will be a decorated bicycle parade, watermelon eating contest, wheelbarrow and sac races, tug-of-war contest, live music, and an excellent selection of food vendors. You can purchase your tickets to this family friendly event at the door with cash or check. Learn more about Old Fashioned Fourth of July at the Fonthill Castle website.
Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library, DE
Just outside of Wilmington, Delaware, is a history goldmine. Winterthur (pronounced winter-tour) was founded by Henry Francis du Pont and is considered one of the most beautiful historic homes in the entire country, on par with Monticello. The home contains 175 bedrooms and has a 60 acre garden. Many have said this is one of the nation’s greatest gardens. Winterthur is also home to a scholarly library that is as functional as it is beautiful; scholars regularly seek out texts located at this library.
In addition to touring the home, gardens, and library, you can also show up for one of the many events hosted at Winterthur. Every Wednesday in June, for example, you can attend the Garden Insider Walk, Talks, and Demos at 11:00am. There are also wellness hikes, design workshops, and historical talks. Check out the Winterthur websitefor a full list of events this summer.
Sesame Place, PA
Sesame Place is a must do for everyone who grew up on Sesame Street. Philadelphia is lucky enough to host the nation’s only themed park based on the long-running children’s television show. Sesame Place closes every winter and re-opens in the spring (and remains open through the holidays), so summer break is the perfect time to grabs the kids and go.
In addition to daily parades, your family will also enjoy frollicing in the splash parks and playing carnival games. Inside the Sesame Street neighborhoods, kids can see Big Bird’s nest and visit Snuffy in Abby’s Paradise Theater. Special events include dining with Elmo & Friends, and riding Oscar’s Wacky Taxi Coaster.
True to the mission and values of Sesame Street, Sesame Place is a Certified Autism Center. In fact, they are the first theme park in the world to obtain this certification. Learn more about this status and the park activities on their website.
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