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Explore Philadelphia's Countryside

Date February 15, 2024

Explore Philadelphia's Countryside

A trip to the Countryside of Philadelphia will reward you with picturesque gardens, charming towns, and abundant attractions. Just a short drive from Center City, Philadelphia’s Countryside offers an unforgettable journey worth the venture outside of the city. Experience the best of the Countryside of Philadelphia with these attractions and destinations.

Brandywine Valley

A short trip from Philadelphia, the Brandywine Valley flaunts a rustically sophisticated vibe with art, gardens, shopping, breweries, and vineyards.

Named “America’s Garden Capital,” the greater Philadelphia region offers over 37 horticultural attractions within 30 miles. The crown jewel of the area is the world-renowned Longwood Gardens. This arboretum combines the best of Italian, French, and English traditions to create one of America’s most memorable gardens. Featuring 20 outdoor gardens and a breathtaking conservatory, the estate encompasses 1,077 acres. Not to be outdone, it is home to the most significant fountain collection in North America.

An indoor garden is filled with lush green trees and plants lining a walkway. Windows on the sides and the ceiling are letting in natural light. A large floral arrangement hangs from the ceiling.

Longwood Gardens. Photo by K Huff for PHLCVB.

Chanticleer is another world-renowned garden in the Brandywine Valley. Spanning over 30 acres, this horticultural oasis features an impressive collection of gardens, ponds, and vibrant pathways.

See works of art by three generations of the Wyeth family on display at Brandywine Museum of Art. This Chadds Ford museum is known internationally for its collection of American illustrations, still lifes, and landscapes. While in the area, tour three pre-Revolutionary houses open to the public as museums with the Chadds Ford Historical Society. Later, sample wines at Penns Wood Winery, a family-run winery that hosts various mouthwatering events.

Four individuals stand looking at art. The woman appears to be looking at the painting on the wall, as the man holds his arm out, pointing to the piece. Two young boys stand in front of them, also looking at the piece on the wall.

Photo courtesy of Brandywine Museum of Art.

Wharton Esherick, the “Dean of American craftsmen,” was a sculptor who worked primarily in wood, molding furniture, interiors and buildings. His studio now is a National Historic Landmark known as the Wharton Esherick Museum. Founded in 1972, the museum features more than 200 pieces of his work.

For aviation enthusiasts, visit the American Helicopter Museum, in a 20,000-square-foot hangar in West Chester. You can check out restored historic helicopters, including military aircrafts like a V-22 Osprey. Then hop in the pilot’s seat and run the controls yourself for a memorable photoshoot.

Helicopters are set up inside of a warehouse. The one on the right is red, white, and blue. The one next to it, to the left, is navy blue with the word Navy written across it in white. In the background there are multiple helicopters. An American flag is hanging up against a wall.

Photo courtesy of American Helicopter Museum & Education Center.

Valley Forge

History buffs must take a trip to Valley Forge National Historical Park. The fields were the site of the encampment of George Washington and the Continental Army during the winter of 1777-1778. Visitors can join one of the many guided tours to learn about the Revolutionary War grounds. Be sure to stop by Washington’s headquarters to see where the general commanded his battalion.

A large white arch stands tall in the middle of a park. To the left, a woman walks her dog on a trail. To the right, there is a large tree with pink blossoms. Through the arch in the distance, there are numerous people shown walking around.

Valley Forge National Historical Park. Photo courtesy of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board.

The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove is a nature-based museum with 175 acres of landscape and outdoor trails. While at the center, families can discover the sounds, traits, and habits of the farm’s birds. Inside the museum, visitors will learn about the resident birds and environmental conservation.

Tax-free shopping for clothes and shoes in Philadelphia also extends into the Countryside. One of America’s most iconic and largest shopping malls, King of Prussia, attracts visitors from around the world. Shoppers can explore major department stores, a collection of luxury retailers, and over 450 shops and restaurants.

Visitors can also find unique shopping opportunities throughout the quaint and cozy small towns that populate the Countryside of Philadelphia. Popular downtowns include Ambler, Ardmore, Skippack, West Chester, Lansdale, Phoenixville, and the “Mushroom Capital of the World” – Kennett Square.

Bucks County

A large exhibit space is shown. Two women are standing admiring work on the wall off to the left. A man is shown sitting on a bench in the middle of the room as he admires a large work of art hanging on the wall in front of him. A woman appears walking off to the right. Two other works are hanging on the wall beside her.

James A. Michener Art Museum. Photo credit Visit Bucks County.

Enjoy Bucks County, where old and new combine in effortless fashion. The town of New Hope offers boutique shopping and sophisticated entertainment in a quaint setting. It also has many LGBTQ+-owned shops and restaurants. Art enthusiasts can find noteworthy art collections a short drive away at the nearby James A. Michener Art Museum.

Andalusia Historic House, Gardens and Arboretum is a 65-acre riverside estate in Bucks County. The ancestral home of the Biddle family, this sprawling property is home to formal gardens and native woodlands. Visitors will also find the “Big House” — a historic mansion and National Historic Landmark considered one of the nation’s finest and earliest examples of Greek Revival architecture. Guests can tour the house to learn about its past inhabitants and unique architectural style.

An outdoor garden is filled with lush green lawns and colorful flowers. A large bush with yellow flowers is shown in the bottom left-hand corner. To the right, there are beautiful purple flowers and red roses blooming. Along the left side, there are bushes with pink flowers blossoming. A sculpture is in the center.

Rose Garden at Andalusia Historic House, Gardens and Arboretum. Photo by Tom Crane Photography.

Lancaster County & Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Pennsylvania Dutch Country is 1.5 hours west of Philadelphia. Horse-drawn buggies on the side of the roads will signal your arrival. Visit the Amish Farm & House to learn about the traditional Amish lifestyle and take home a handmade quilt or apple butter. To easily explore the area, WeVenture offers a Lancaster and Amish custom driving tour that transports visitors from downtown Philadelphia to and from Lancaster County.

A horse and buggy carrying multiple people appears traveling on a road. The double yellow lines run down the middle of the street. The horse and buggy are off to the right of the lines. To the right, there is a sprawling open field with buildings shown off in the distance.

Photo by, Brian Evans.

For a great view of the rolling countryside landscape of Lancaster County, book a hot air balloon ride offered by the Lancaster Balloon Rides. These rides allow visitors to see the unforgettable beauty of the Countryside and fall in love with the region.

Ready to explore the outdoors in Philadelphia? Plan your next outdoor adventure today.