The Best Day Trips for Bucks County Families
Discover the best that the East Coast has to offer with these day trip destinations for Bucks County Families.
For lots of families, the word summer means one thing…vacation! For some, that may look like jet-setting across the globe to exotic places, while for others a simple day at the beach will suffice. There’s certainly no right or wrong way to do summer break. Whatever you do, a day spent connecting with your family is always a win in our book.
So, whether you’re looking to save on gas with a 30 minute drive or less (which we totally get, by the way), or you want to get out and explore a little further, we have some incredible day trip ideas that range in travel time from 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and 90 minutes plus! Check them out!
30 Minutes or Less
Quick trips for those days where you need to get everyone out of the house ASAP but definitely need to be back by nap time.
Upper Black Eddy, PA
Ringing Rocks Park is a 128 acre park nestled in the woods in Upper Black Eddy. Located within the park is a field of boulders, about 7-8 acres in size, that have an unusual property–when the rocks are struck (pack a hammer) they ring as if hollow. A short hike further down takes you to High Falls, Bucks County’s largest waterfall (although to be honest, it’s not that large and it only flows after heavy rain… a lovely hike nonetheless). Pair all that with a nice picnic lunch and you’re good to go. An important note for families with little ones though–anyone under 6 will certainly need a hand to hold while scrambling over the rocks so if going with more than one child, consider bringing an extra pair of hands.
Take a trip back in time to the 1900s when horse-drawn buggies populated the roads. At Howell Living History Farm you’ll find engaging, educational programs for students and families that reflect the real-life, seasonal activities of a working farm. Help around the farm, enjoy the gorgeous views, and shop their homemade delights for a fun-filled day with kids of all ages.
- Have a little extra time? The town of Lambertville, has a walkable downtown with lots of interesting shops and great places to eat. We especially love More Than Q for their low-key, family-friendly vibe and their incredible brisket and mac and cheese.
New Hope, PA
This 10,000 square-foot facility is home to several, hands-on exhibits that encourage learning through pretend-play for children 12 months through approximately 7 years old. While food is not allowed in the galleries, a packed lunch can be enjoyed in their multi-purpose room or their outdoor picnic area. While certainly a fun trip for any day of the week, it should be noted that reservations are required on weekends as it is their busiest time.
- For some extra fun, consider strolling through New Hope to check out their unique shops and family-friendly attractions. Check out our Guide to New Hope here, for all the best insider tips.
This 5,286 acre state park in the rolling hills of Bucks County offers popular activities such as picnicking, swimming, hiking, biking, disc golfing, boating, and more. A lovely place to spend an afternoon or early summer morning with the family. The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk.
New Hope, PA
As the nation’s one-and-only living museum specifically devoted to native plants, the Preserve has something to offer everyone regardless of age. In one trip you can take an “I-Spy” hike, meander the spiral-shaped labyrinth nestled among the trees, or look for turtles at Founder’s Pond. A beautiful place to visit no matter the season.
- Be sure to check out our Best Places to Cool Off Guide and our Indoor Activities post for even more hyper-local, kid-friendly destinations.
For when you’re willing to drive…but maybe not too far.
Discover the magic of color at Crayola Experience! Learn how crayons are made, star in your own coloring page, and more within their four floors of hands-on, colorful fun. There’s bound to be something for every member of your family to enjoy.
Featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s largest model railroad, Northlandz has been recently updated for even more family-friendly, railroad fun. With over 100 trains running on approximately 8 miles of track and a full-sized, outdoor train ride (weekends only), this place is an absolute must for any railway enthusiasts.
Riverbend’s 30-acre preserve is an island of green surrounded by a bustling, suburban community not far from Philadelphia. Open and free to the public from dawn to dusk every day of the year, Riverbend invites visitors to walk the trails and explore the grounds. In addition to the trails, the preserve boasts meadow, woodland, stream and pond habitats.
Get up close and personal with dozens of wild and endangered species at this 16-acre zoo. With tons of family-friendly activities scheduled throughout the week and a bar for guests over 21, this local zoo has plenty to offer families of all ages and stages.
Enjoy a fun-filled day with Elmo and all his friends at the only park on the east coast based entirely on the award-winning show Sesame Street®. With it’s own water park and weekly special events hosted year-round, not to mention all the shows, parades, rides, and games, Sesame Place is probably one of the most family-friendly theme parks there is.
Another great Pennsylvania park is Dorney Park. Nestled in the middle of the Lehigh Valley, it features more than 60 rides, shows, attractions, an area just for kids, and a waterpark, making it a great choice for families with children of varying ages.
In all honesty, there’s just no way we could ever summarize Philadelphia. There’s SO MUCH TO DO! From its historical venues to its bustling art scene (and everything in between), Philadelphia is just jam-packed with fun and entertainment for families of all kinds. So do yourself a favor and check out our sister-sites Philadelphia Family and Main Line Parent for all the Philly-based day trip ideas and special events you’ll ever need.
“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Or should we say, Bucks County. These day trips are not too far, but they’re not that close either, so plan accordingly (especially if your group is made up of the tiny-tyrant variety).
This New Jersey amusement park boasts having short lines, affordable prices, a wholesome atmosphere, and the best french fries and fudge NJ has to offer and we’re inclined to agree. So gather the family, swimsuits, and sunscreen for a full day of family-fun at this awesome NJ attraction.
Known as “The Niagara of Pennsylvania,” Bushkill Falls is among the Keystone State’s most famous scenic attractions. This unique series of eight waterfalls, nestled deep in the wooded Pocono Mountains, is accessible through an excellent network of hiking trails and bridges which afford fabulous views of the falls and the surrounding forest. For extra family-fun, be sure to check out their maze and mining for gemstones attractions.
Located in the heart of the Trexler Nature Preserve, the Lehigh Valley Zoo is home to more than 325 animal ambassadors representing over 125 species. You can learn about the Zoo’s conservation efforts by visiting the Zoo’s Reptile & Amphibian Discover Center, watching a daily African Penguin feeding, and observing a real life wolf feed throughout the year.
Based on 1880s Dodge City, Kansas, Wild West City is an interactive experience bringing tales of the wild west to life through historical characters, live action dramatizations and demonstrations by period craftsmen. Learn how to pan for gold at Egan’s Gold Mine, defend an authentic stagecoach from the local bandits, or mosey on over to the barnyard and meet real live animals found on a typical frontier farm. When you’re done, be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Golden Nugget Saloon. You won’t be sorry!
This incredible underground cave, located near Kutztown, PA, is known for its abundance of milky white formations that give it its name. During your visit, courteous guides will lead you 125 feet underground on a one hour tour and features a movie in the Crystal Cave Theater, presenting the history of Pennsylvania’s First Show Cave. While the cave temperature is a comfortable 54 degrees, a light sweater or jacket and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is a unique place where fun, family, and farming come together. This family-owned farm has more than 300 acres of different crops and 50+ farm fun activities, including the Hay Chute Slide and Straw Bale Racer, Jump Pillow, Farm Tour Wagon Ride, Petting Zoo and Farm Experience Center, Corny’s Ball-cade, and more!
Voted one of the top Aquariums in the U.S., Adventure Aquarium is home to the largest collection of sharks in the Northeast and the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos. Located just minutes from Center City Philadelphia on the Camden Waterfront, it’s super easy to get to and definitely worth the trip.
West Berlin, NJ
A construction themed amusement park! What’s not to love? Watch your kids as they drive a real tractor and scoop up dirt with a mini-digger. Heck, try it yourself! These big machines really do offer BIG fun. Have a little extra time? Check out The Water Main, their new construction themed water park.
Ok, now we’re headed into some serious road trip territory. These out-of-town destinations provide just enough escape-from-the-norm feels without being so far that you have to stay the night. For the full road trip experience (and to make the drive bearable), be sure to prep that playlist and pack all the snacks before heading out!
The Turkey Hill Experience is an educational celebration of the famous Lancaster County ice cream and iced-tea company. Learn how their famous ice cream is made, sit in a milk truck, create your own virtual ice cream flavor, milk a mechanical cow and so much more. This is one “experience” you don’t want to miss!
- If you’re heading to the Lancaster neighborhood, be sure to check out our Main Line Parent Guide here for even more fun things to do and some wonderful places to eat.
America’s largest free-admission amusement park offering free parking, free daily entertainment and free picnic facilities. The park has more than 60 rides including three wooden roller coasters, three steel roller coasters, a 1913 carousel, and a haunted house dark ride. Simply pay per ride or game. While you’re there, be sure to take a dip in their 900,000 gallon Crystal Pool filled with refreshing mountain stream water. The pool area also includes watersides, diving boards and a play area for young children.
East Rutherford, NJ
If you’re traveling with little ones, this trip may require a little planning ahead. With SO MANY OPTIONS under one roof, it’s an easy day out…until it isn’t, because there are SO MANY OPTIONS and your kids will want to do it ALL. With a water park, theme park, ferris wheel, Legoland Discovery Center, 3D museum, indoor wave pool, ice skating rink, shopping, dining, and just about everything else you can think of, you’ll be hard-pressed to fit it all in (let alone afford it). So maybe just have a chat ahead of time about what you are going to do and what you aren’t. It might make things a little bit easier for you when it’s time to leave. Having said all that, definitely check it out if you can…it’s really quite impressive.
Bring your young pirates aboard the Sea Gypsy II for a swashbuckling Pirate Adventure on the Metedeconk River in Brick NJ. Mini mates will have the opportunity to dress-up like pirates, get face painted with pirate “tattoos”, and learn some pirate lingo before setting sail on an hour and fifteen minute long action packed adventure. Once on board, the mates will participate in an interactive treasure hunt on the high seas, learn the rules of the Sea Gypsy II pirate ship, read a treasure map, discover a secret message in a bottle, and work as a team to defeat the enemy pirate who has stolen the keys to their treasure. A perfect adventure for families of all sizes!
Ok, this is an obvious one, but we couldn’t do a list of day trips without including “the shore.” New Jersey may not be the most popular state, but there’s no denying that their shore’s got charm. They have something for everyone in the quiet beaches of Sandy Hook, the always popular Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant, The Casino Pier attractions of Seaside Heights, Wildwood, and beyond! Whichever beach you choose, your trip will not be complete unless you stop for boardwalk pizza (3 Brothers is the best) and an ice cream or funnel cake after.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Big Apple–New York City. With five boroughs covering over 300 square miles, there’s no limit to the amount of fun you can have. Spot a snow leopard at the Bronx Zoo, catch a foul ball at Citi Field or take a ride on the wooden tracks of the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island, and so much more. A day trip to NY is an absolute must for anyone living within 100 miles.
Lead Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®