In nearly every city’s top guidebooks on “best things to do” comes a section where they will inevitably tell you that you should leave the city to visit a smaller neighborhood or park nearby. It’s unavoidable: sometimes the best things in life are in nature, not a bustling city.
Philadelphia is one of those rare cities that is nestled right in between a whole load of state parks. And when we say in between, we mean like under an hour away. It’s rather magnificent to have so many different options so close to your city.
Below we will help you understand what each state park offers so you can make the best choice about which park you prefer to visit if you choose to get out of The City of Brotherly Love for some alone time with Mother Nature.
The following chart lists the 6 state parks near Philadelphia based on distance and time to arrive there. You can click the name of each park to skip to the section describing the park.
|Time To Arrive
|Benjamin Rush State Park
|Fort Washington State Park
|Ridley Creek State Park
|Alapocas Run State Park
|Evansburg State Park
Benjamin Rush State Park
Benjamin Rush State Park is the only state park on our list within the actual boundaries of Philadelphia. A whopping 275 acres makes this park large enough to have some trails for visitors to explore.
Outside of hiking, Benjamin Rush State Park is uniquely home to the Northeast Radio Controlled Airplane Club, which means there’s a huge community of radio controlled airplane enthusiasts floating around. You can also find your share of fishing spots, but beware as you need a valid Pennsylvania license to fish here.
As it’s a smaller city park, there are currently no options for camping.
Estimated Distance: 18 miles
Address: 15001 Roosevelt Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19154
Fort Washington State Park
Sprawling 493 acres across eastern Montgomery County is Fort Washington State Park. As you can imagine, it takes its name from George Washington, and was the site of a temporary fort built by Washington’s troops back in 1777 on their way to Valley Forge.
In modern day, it’s very popular for birders and history buffs alike. There are ample picnic tables, making it a great place to relax and enjoy lunch. Outside of hiking and biking trails, Fort Washington State Park also offers a butterfly garden and a scenic overlook.
There are 7 sites available for campers looking to stay overnight at Fort Washington State Park.
Estimated Distance: 20 miles
Address: 500 South Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034
Ridley Creek State Park
Ridley Creek State Park is one of the richest and densest forests anyone in Philadelphia has access to. Just a 30 minute drive from Old City, Ridley Creek is a haven for those looking to escape into nature and catch up on life.
With over 12 miles of trails, Ridley Creek State Park has plenty to offer it’s visitors: from fishing to horseback riding to cross-country skiing, there’s something for everyone here.
Ridley Creek State Park offers 8 campsites for visitors to stay in.
Estimated Distance: 25 miles
Address: 351 Gradyville Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073
Alapocas Run State Park
Right over the border in Delaware is Alapocas Run State Park. This quaint little park stretches nearly 415 acres and has earned a reputation as the state of Delaware’s only park with a natural rock-climbing wall. Alapocas Run State Park is also well known for their Blue Ball Barn, which is a barn that has been host to national galleries, weddings, and conferences.
Outside of a constant stream of rock climbers in the area, Alapocas Run State Park also greets many children with their Can-Do-Playground, a barrier free play area for children. There are also lots of hiking and biking trails throughout the park.
There is 1 site available for camping at Alapocas Run State Park
Estimated Distance: 30 miles
Address: 1914 W. Park Drive, Wilmington, DE 19803
Evansburg State Park
Purchased from the Lenape, Evansburg State Park’s trails have been welcoming visitors since 1979. As one of the least developed state parks in the region, Evansburg is great for those who really want to get lost in nature.
Offering the usual bits of hiking and bike riding, Evansburg also has robust fishing, hunting, horseback riding, skiing, and even golfing in their bounds.
There are 4 sites available for camping at Evansburg State Park
Estimated Distance: 30 miles
Address: 851 May Hall Rd., Collegeville, PA 19426
Washington’s Crossing State Park
The site of George Washington’s boat crossing of the Delaware River. Packed with historic buildings, environmental education programs, walking paths, fishing areas, and bike paths, Washington’s Crossing State Park is a must visit if you are in the area.
Outside of usual recreational activities, there is a 125 foot Bowman’s Hill Tower, providing a fantastic view of the surrounding area. If you are brave enough to enter in the colder months, they host an annual Christmas Day Re-enactment of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River.
There are 4 sites available for camping at Washington’s Crossing State Park
Estimated Distance: 35 miles
Address: 355 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, Titusville, NJ 08560