Discover the Natural Charms of Philadelphia’s Countryside

September 16, 2020

Content provided by the Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau and Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board.

The Countryside of Philadelphia offers wide-open spaces, outdoor adventure and more public gardens than anywhere on the continent. From rivers and lakes to historic parks and gardens galore, The Countryside of Philadelphia is an outdoor paradise year-round.

The Brandywine River winds throughout the picturesque countryside and offers both lovely vistas and water-based activities. Northbrook Canoe Company provides canoe, kayak and tubing trips along the beautiful Brandywine River. Enjoy fresh air and scenic landscapes while relaxing on the water.

Almost 100 miles of trails loop through the countryside, many along the Schuylkill River where visitors can rent boats, and learn to kayak with certified tour guides.

Marsh Creek State Park. Photo by C. Neu.

An abundance of outdoor activities can be found at Marsh Creek State Park including hiking, boating and horseback riding. Stroll or ride miles of trails and paths; swim or take a boat out on the 535 -acre Marsh Creek Lake.

While exploring the sprawling landscape of Valley Forge National Historical Park, you'll encounter several reconstructed soldier cabins that are thought to have been what was used during George Washington's encampment from 1777-78. Photo courtesy of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board.

The countryside is also home to dozens of parks and historic sites, including Valley Forge National Historical Park, the site where General George Washington and the Continental Army encamped during the harsh winter of 1777-78.

Throughout the park, and countryside, are also plenty of trails, and road paths for walking, running, hiking, and biking, including previously vetted routes already mapped out for free online.

In addition to its expertly maintained gardens and gorgeous tree-lined pathways, Longwood Gardens is also home to an impressive series of fountains, most notably its Main Fountain Garden which features breathtaking performances throughout the day and night. Photo by B. Mathias.

Did you know that The Countryside of Philadelphia is in the heart of America’s Garden Capital? There are over 34 extraordinary public gardens concentrated within a 30- mile radius. Nature is truly at its finest along the gardens and arboretums in the countryside including spectacular Longwood Gardens. Situated on 1,077 acres, Longwood features 20 indoor as well as 20 outdoor gardens. The expansive 86-acre Meadow Garden features miles of walking and hiking trails filled with native plants and all the colors of nature.

The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. Photo by L. Franke.

The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove is now open Wednesday through Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and offers a brand-new 18,000-square-foot museum and nature-based facility, as well as 175 acres of landscape and outdoor trails. Enjoy interactive and family-friendly ways to explore the famed ornithologist, two galleries for art and conservation, birding exhibits, interpretive demonstrations with live great horned owls, and red-tailed hawks. While onsite, it’s easy to see how Mill Grove fed Audubon’s interest in ornithology, especially when gliding in a canoe on the placid Perkiomen Creek.

Jeffersonville Golf Club Hole 8. Photo courtesy of Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board.

The countryside also includes more than 70 of the most historic, and top-ranked, golf courses – one of the largest concentrations in the country.

Visit for more inspiring stories.

Cover photo of Longwood Gardens’ 86-acre Meadow Garden by L. Albee.

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