August 06, 2015
Most of us spend all year looking forward to the summer months, so when they finally come around, it's best to make the most of the beautiful weather, extended sunlight and flexibility to plan for rewarding outings.
In lieu of lengthy vacations, which are not always practical, there are plenty of sights and activities to enjoy that are little more than a road trip away. If you're finding yourself in need of a good escape that won't require a huge investment of time or money, here are six fun and gratifying day trips that will keep you energized to tackle the rest of your busy schedule.
1400 North Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia
Cabins at Valley Forge National Historic Park (Wikimedia Commons)
Sometimes the best way to think things through or spark a great conversation is to take a long hike, complete with birdsong and the crunch of foliage and twigs beneath your feet. With 19.5 miles of designated, marked hiking trails and 21 miles of authorized bike trails, if that's more your speed, Valley Forge is nature's gift to the Delaware Valley with a decorated history to observe and photograph.
Take the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail to weave through historic and interpretive sites, or if you want to see George Washington's Headquarters, the Horseshoe Trail will begin there and take you to the Appalachian Trail. If you're looking for water, the River and Valley Creek trails are another option, while those seeking a challenge can tackle the hilly trails on Mount Joy and Mount Misery.
222 Penn's Cave Road
Tour through Penn's Cave on a guided boat tour (Penn's Cave)
Maybe it's a scorcher and you need to take shelter in the shade. In that case, a long road trip to Penn's Cave will give you a fascinating look at the geological vaults hidden in the landscape of Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, out near Happy Valley.
During 45-50-minute boat tours, you can check out all kinds of rock formations including stalactites, stalagmites, pillars, columns and the flowstone created by thousands of years of flowing water. You can also go gemstone panning or enjoy the educational farm, nature and wildlife tour, where you'll get within shouting distance of bears, wolves, elks, longhorn sheep, bobcats and a mountain lion. You don't have to shout at them, though.
1121 Route 109
Go parasailing 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May (East Coast Watersports)
Put a smile on your face and swing your legs while gliding 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May. East Coast Watersports offers parasailing adventures by reservation with U.S. Coast Guard Master Licensed Captains.
Single, tandem and triple passenger flights on 12-passenger boats make this a great day trip with your extended family. If you're not in the mood to get wet, the whole trip from boat to sky can be completed with barely a droplet, but there's no extra cost if you want to take a dip. Children must be 6 years and up to participate.
465 South Bethlehem Pike
Sharpen your aim and accuracy with a trip to Wapiti Archers, a nonprofit organization located in Fort Washington State Park with an outdoor practice range and two outdoor roving courses. Open year-round, you can apply for a seasonal membership and make this a regular getaway that will hone your ability to focus in on a target.
The practice range has nine bag targets set up in five-yard increments from 10-50 yards while those who are more adventurous can take on the roving course of 3D targets that vary throughout the year.
30 Centre Square
Take your kids to see the 26 attractions at Crayola Experience in Easton (Crayola Experience)
The weather doesn't always accommodate outdoor plans, and if you have antsy kids, you're going to wish you had a backup scenario firmly in place. Take a trip out to Easton, Pennsylvania, to visit Crayola Experience, where the barrage of colorful fun will make you forget it's gray, dismal and bumper-to-bumper on the roads.
Featuring 26 attractions, Crayola experience allows kids to get engaged with art and technology on and off the page. The four-floor facility includes an activity studio, an 'Art Alive!' digital studio where colorful drawings are rendered on the walls, a factory tour led by a resident Crayonologist, and a Water Works room with an 85-foot water table attraction.
242 Gap Road
Ride a scooter through the Amish countryside. (Strasburg Scooters)
There are plenty of traditional ways to enjoy the rustic roots of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, but why not get the experience in a day while riding around on a scooter?
Strasburg Scooters offers 3-hour guided bridge tours of the countryside on single and double seat scooters or in a Scoot Coupe that allows you to sit side-by-side with a companion. Sites along the way of more than 40 miles of roads will include Amish farms, schoolhouses and covered bridges that date among the oldest in Lancaster County. Maybe it's not an activity particularly aligned with the Amish way of life, but it's a fun way to experience the area from a more modern vantage point. A valid driver's license is required.