Written by Trisha Ries
The summer months are upon us and that can only mean one thing…Viva La Vacation! We could all use a little rest and relaxation after the year that we had. I know many have concerns over cost of travel, safety, and not having the time to spare. You’re in luck as there are a multitude of amazing places that you can go to, all within a few hours of travel and little to no cost. Travel solo or plan a safe family trip.
Does the beating hot sun have you searching for the nearest watering hole? Well, shoot on down to River Road and talk to Marty! Chiques Rock Outfitters is the perfect location to rent a kayak, whether you are a beginner or an expert. You can rent kayaks by the hour, half day, or full day. Want to cool off by taking a bike ride down the rail trail? You can do that, too! Rent a bike or a scooter, grab a snack at the Trailside Trolley, and enjoy the experience. Want to get your swim on but the dogs are hogging your kiddie pool? You can take a dip at Gretna Lake, Blue Marsh, or Beaver Dam Swimming Club. While small fees apply at some of these locations, there is genuinely nothing better than a float on the lake on a bright sunny day.
Are you traveling with the family, and looking for a fun educational experience? Lake Tobias is an hour drive away, and is a child favorite! For a small fee, you can choose to do a walk about experience or a drive thru safari. If you have time to spare on your way home, hit up Indian Echo Caverns. Indian Echo Caverns is a great place to visit with the family, because it really hits on everyone’s level; exploration, petting zoo, picnic area, and a playground. The cave stays a comfortable 52 degrees all year round!
All aboard the history train! Take a day trip down to Old City Philadelphia where you can learn about how this great nation got started. While you’re there, things might get a little spooktacular if you visit Eastern Penitentiary. The world’s first “true” penitentiary, which housed the likes of Al Capone, is a beast even during the day. You can take a self guided or guided tour all throughout the day. If you’re still not shaking in your boots, head over to Fort Mifflin. Fort Mifflin played vital roles during the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and even both World Wars.
Another favorite haunt of mine is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. You can go for a day trip, or dare to stay overnight in one of the many haunted inns like the Farnsworth House Inn. You can take a tour of the battlefields during the day, or dare to venture out at night.
Looking to just get out, and enjoy a nice hike? Experience Lancaster and all that she has to offer. Governor Dick was my favorite places as a kid, but there are so many hiking trails in Lancaster to experience. Check out https://www.discoverlancaster.com/blog/hiking-biking-lancaster-pa/ for some of the best hiking trails, nature preserves, and other outdoor utopias.
Speaking of outdoor utopias, why not enjoy a beautiful day walking through some of the prettiest gardens our great state has to offer. Longwood Gardens is an hour drive from Marietta, but absolutely worth the trip. Take a guided tour, or self guided tour, and then enjoy a refreshing beverage in the beer garden. Hershey Gardens is practically in our backyard, and worth the trip with the family. Take a walk through the Children’s Garden, get some planting tips in the Hoop House, and enjoy butterfly kisses at the Butterfly Atrium. Visiting the gardens is surely a trip to remember.
For the weird at heart like me, plan a day trip around some of Pennsylvania’s best kept secrets. One of my favorite table reads is “Weird Pennsylvania” by Matt Lake. Whether you crave ghost haunts, roadside oddities, or local legends let “Weird Pennsylvania” be your tour guide.
I can go on and on about places to go. It’s really up to you to make your own adventure. Life is too short. Take the trip.
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”– Jawaharial Nehru
Written by Trisha Ries