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6 Day Trip Ideas in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Since moving here over two years ago, I’ve learned that Southeastern Pennsylvania has a lot of cool attractions and towns to offer. Being new to the area meant relying on recommendations from others and searching where to check out next. So I wanted to compile those places into one, easily accessible list!

For newbies like me or you’re just someone looking for a new place to visit, check out these six day trip ideas in PA.

1. West Chester

View of downtown West Chester

If you’re going to plan a day trip in PA, it’s got to be West Chester first. This infamous college town isn’t just home to the students of West Chester University, but home to over 20,000 residents. It’s a place to work, live, and play and is only 36 miles outside of Center City, Philly. The downtown area alone has tons of cute shops, delicious eateries, barber shops/salons, and more.

Foodies rejoice – in the warmer months, you can dine al fresco at one of the 65 eateries downtown West Chester has to offer. From pizza to Greek food, there’s a restaurant ready to serve your favorite cuisine. It’s the kind of place where you can grab a craft coffee and head over to plates or grab dinner and drinks at night. You can also take advantage of First Fridays where you can enjoy complimentary refreshments and free parking after 5pm, on the first Friday of every month.

West Chester is a historic town which you’ll see by the homes and commercial spaces that surround the area. It’s a walkable town so you can enjoy the sights while getting your steps in. Make West Chester your next place to visit in Southeastern PA, you won’t regret it.

Things to Know

  • Dog Friendly: Yes in general outdoor areas; individual stores may vary
  • Parking: Downtown has metered parking along with large parking garages which will cost you a couple bucks. You may be able to find free parking on some of the side streets.

Worth Checking Out

  • Gryphon Café for some of the best nitro cold brew you’ll have + the food to match
  • Limoncello for an incredible Italian feast (Mike and I went here for our anniversary and it was DELICIOUS and give you complimentary limoncello shots when they bring you the bill)
Nitro cold brew and an egg sandwich from Gryphon Cafe

2. Phoenixville

Westbound Bridge Street between Main Street and Gay Street in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Image via Dough4872/Wikimedia

When I first moved to the area and started asking people places I should check out, Phoenixville was at the top of the list. When we finally checked it out, I could see why. Phoenixville has a vibe all its own, and that’s clear as soon as you drive in.

Phoenixville is a historic town, with many of the current establishments taking up shop in buildings that used to serve a different purpose. You’ll find a lot of the action on Bridge and Main Streets, both of which are populated with tons of shops, restaurants, breweries, and more.

Craft beer lovers rejoice – this town is home to some of the best craft breweries in the area including Root Down and Sly Fox (which is minutes away from downtown). But if craft beer isn’t your speed, there’s tons of other bars and eateries that decorate the area. Phoenixville is the perfect place for a romantic dinner and a night out, or a low-key lunch with some shopping. Either way, when you’re looking for fun day trips in PA, Phoenixville is the place to be.

Things to Know

  • Dog Friendly: Yes in general outdoor areas; individuals stores may vary
  • Parking: There’s metered street parking, along with a larger parking lot that offers low rates. You can also park along the residential streets and walk.

Worth Checking Out

  • The Foodery for custom sandwiches, specialty products, and a vast craft beer selection to create your own case
  • Bistro on Bridge for the best small plate of vegan general tso’s
vegan general tsos from bistro on bridge in phoenixville pa
Small plate of vegan general tso’s from Bistro on Bridge

3. King of Prussia

King of Prussia mall in king of prussia pa
Image via Ii2nmd/Wikimedia

Just 20 minutes outside of West Chester, King of Prussia is home to the second largest mall in the US. KOP mall has a diverse mix of 450 stores. You have stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes that also share their space with stores like Old Navy, Zara, and Primark.

Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll easily log your steps for the day (and getting lost is easy here so doing a couple laps is normal). If you get hungry, there’s three food courts to choose from plus other eateries like The Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s Little Italy.

King of Prussia outdoor town center in King of Prussia PA
Image via King of Prussia Town Center/Facebook

If you want to enjoy the nice weather outdoors, you can also visit the King of Prussia Town Center. It’s an outdoor retail and shopping destination and is home to places like Ulta and Fogo de Chao. It’s a nice way to get out for the day and to find a little something to treat yourself with. Plus, it’s less than two-miles from the Valley Forge Casino if you want to get your gamble on.

Things to Know

  • Dog Friendly: You’ll typically only see service dogs at KOP mall, but the King of Prussia Town Center is outdoors, so it’s generally dog friendly (individual stores may vary)
  • Parking: KOP mall has tons of parking and has a couple of lots. You may have to drive around longer than you’d like if you come during a busy hour, but you’ll find a spot. Same for KOP Town Center.

Worth Checking Out

  • Lolli & Pops (KOP mall) for gummy bears, chocolates and other treats when that sweet tooth hits
  • B. Good (KOP Town Center) for healthier “fast food” that includes vegan and vegetarian options (the coco crave smoothie is incredible)

4. Jim Thorpe

view of downtown jim thorpe

While it’s not technically in Southeastern PA, Jim Thorpe is such an incredible town and is less than two-hours from West Chester and totally worth the drive. As far as day trips around Pennsylvania go, Jim Thorpe takes the cake. It’s a charming town, bustling with history and tons of sights to see (and is my favorite place to visit). Located in the heart of Lehigh Gorge, this small town offers tons of shops, restaurants, and walkable fun. It makes the perfect day trip or a quick weekend getaway.

Probably the most breathtaking part of Jim Thorpe is its impeccable scenery. Nature buffs rejoice – you have biking, hiking, and even white water rafting to take part in.

view of Leigh Gorge river running through Jim Thorpe
View of Leigh Gorge River that runs through Jim Thrope

Jim Thorpe offers a little something for everyone and it’s a great place to bring the whole family. You and the kiddos can take a ride on the Leigh Gorge train that runs through the town. For 70 minutes, hang in the vintage coaches which date back to as far as 1917 and see up close the high-rise cliffs and mountains. You can also pay a visit to the Asa Packer Mansion museum in the former home of Asa Packer himself. Consider this a day well-spent.

view of downtown Jim Thorpe near the Asa Packer Mansion
View of downtown Jim Thorpe from the grounds of the Asa Packer Mansion

Things to Know

  • Dog Friendly: Yes in general outdoor areas; individual stores may vary
  • Parking: There’s some street parking but it’s easiest to park in the giant lot in the heart of town (which at the time of writing this will cost you $10 for all-day parking)

Worth Checking Out

  • The Country Cottage for the BEST homemade pickles.
  • Rainbow’s End to bring back nostalgia through your favorite childhood candies (and so much more).

5. St. Peter’s Village

View of St. Pete’s Village on St. Peter’s Road

If you love Jim Thorpe but prefer to stay closer to home, St. Peter’s Village is your go-to. Nestled in Warwick Township, this historic town is built along the French Creek and has a charm all its own. Don’t expect to livestream your day here – you’ll have little to no cell service, but that’s okay because it allows you to disconnect and truly experience the town.

St. Peter’s Village mainly consists of one street, St. Peter’s Road, that’s home to a total of 70 buildings which consists of residential, eateries, commercial, and specialty shops. The soundtrack to your day is the rushing waters of the French Creek. You can grab a tasty meal at The Inn at St. Peter’s Village or grab a sweet treat at the St. Peter’s Bakery – both with the views to match. Bring out your inner child and hit up the arcade which is a blast from the past. I didn’t see an ATM there so it’s best to have cash prior.

st peters bakery in st peters pa
Views from the balcony at St. Peter’s Bakery
inside st peters arcade in st peters pa
Inside St. Peter’s Arcade

When you’re ready to get your hike on, head down to the massive boulders that decorate the creek and start exploring. Wear comfortable, hiking-appropriate shoes (and not flats like I did) since climbing up and down the boulders can be intense. You’ll find patches of rushing shallow waters and even a larger swimming area for people and pets to enjoy. St. Pete’s Village (as the locals call it) is a town that’s full of energy and is the perfect place to reconnect with yourself and to get a little closer to nature. It’s one of the best day trips in PA that you’ll take.

Closeup of the creek at St. Peter's Village
One area of the creek surrounded by boulders. This is entering near the bakery.
part of the french creek at St. Peter's Village
Shallow pool a little farther north

Things to Know

  • Dog Friendly: Yes, in general outdoor areas + doggies were seen swimming in the shallow water areas
  • Parking: There’s two lots once you get on St. Peter’s Road. We didn’t pay for parking nor did we see any signs for it.

Worth Checking Out

  • St. Peter’s Bakery for colossal cookies, coffee, and more + an awesome view of the creek
  • Healing Spirit Café to bring back a little piece of zen to your home, or to practice some self-care. I picked up a salt lamp here for only $15!

6. Media

dining under the stars in media pa
Image via Visit Media, PA/Facebook

Head 20 miles outside of Center City and you’ll find Media. Known as “Everybody’s Hometown,” there’s something for everyone here. Just downtown alone, you’ll find restaurants like Iron Hill Brewery plus local eateries, shops, and more. It’s the perfect place to grab a great meal, do a little shopping, and even stock up at Trader Joe’s.

It’s a walkable area, so you can park your car and tour around by foot. While you’re at it, stop by the Media Farmers Market, which is a year-round market open on Sundays. It’s a great way to get to know the local businesses in the area (and support them, too)! When you’re looking for an al fresco dinner, visit on a Wednesday from May – September to dine under the stars. Many people call Media home, and you can always find something going on. When you’re here, you’ll feel right at home.

Things to Know

  • Dog Friendly: Yes, in general outdoor areas; individual stores may vary.
  • Parking: There’s a lot of metered street parking but it can get congested quick here.

Worth Checking Out

  • Pompei’s State Street Sandwiches for some of the best homemade roast beef sandwiches this side of PA.
  • Kuta for jewelry, accessories, clothing, and more at all price ranges. I found a cute little energy bead bracelet for only $12!

It’s crazy to think how much there is to do near us, sometimes right in our backyards! For anyone looking for a day trip in Southeastern Pennsylvania, these six spots have you covered.

Is there a spot you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

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