Winter Adventure Day Trips in the Philly Area

Fight cabin fever with Patch’s picks for places to visit this winter, all close enough to get to with a tank of gas or less.

Photo courtesy of Spring Mountain
Photo courtesy of Spring Mountain
Written by Sarah Cocchimiglio

Bundle up and hit the road: These local winter wonderlands are full of adventure--and are less than a tank of gas away.

Longwood Gardens

Why Go? World famous for its seasonal horticultural displays, Longwood Gardens has a breathtaking slate of upcoming displays and exhibits, as well asmusical and theatrical performancesclasses and workshopsfamily events, and, of course, insider garden tours.

Insider Tip: Come early and beat the evening rush during the holidays. Then stay awhile, as the outdoor holiday lights and fountain theatre shows begin at 3:30 p.m. 

Must Do: “See the Topiary Garden’s geometrically trimmed yews, especially beautiful when dusted with a light snow,” said Patricia Evans, Longwood Gardens communications manager. “Stroll Peirce’s Woods to see some of the most majestic and historic trees at Longwood.”

Fine Print: Ticket prices vary, and are available online, in person or by phone. Click here for detailed hours. Parking is free. 

Blue Cross River Rink

Why Go? It’s the only outdoor Olympic-sized skating rink in Philadelphia and offers open skating, lessons, and pond hockey.

Insider Tip: “Reserve your tickets for sessions online,” said Jodie Milkman, vice president for communications and programming at Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. “This is especially important during the holiday week and New Year’s Eve, when some of the sessions sell out.”

Must Do: In honor of its 20th anniversary, River Rink is hostingWaterfront Winterfest, with a holiday light show, seasonal winter garden, holiday market and daily entertainment.

Fine Print: Bring your own skates and get in for just $3. (If you have to rent skates, admission is $3 and rental is $10.) Parking is $12 Monday-Thursday, and $15 Friday and Saturday. Bring your Independence Blue Cross card for a discount. 

Arnold’s Family Fun Center

Why Go? Enjoy go karts, bowling, laser tag, black light mini golf, arcade games, a rock wall and more. 

Insider Tip: Check out the specials and 4U-PONS for savings and deals.

Must Do: Race your friends on the super-fast quarter-mile indoor go kart track. Afterwards, grab some snacks or drinks at Arnold’s Bistro and Bar.

Fine Print: Games and activities are priced on the Points System. Kids eat free on Tuesdays in the Bistro & Bar. Happy hour there is 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Spring Mountain

Why Go? Located minutes from the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike, Spring Mount is one of the closest ski areas to Philadelphia, offering skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, as well as a variety of other seasonal activities.

Insider Tip: Before you hit the slopes, check the weather conditions at Spring Mount live via webcam. If you’re a novice skier, be prepared with some handy first-timer tips.

Must Do: Take a lesson. Spring Mount offers a variety of training sessions for all levels.

Fine Print: Fourth graders in participating school districts can get a free season passClick here for hours, activities, rates and season passes.


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