There’s so much to see and do in Philly, but we get it: Sometimes you just need to get away.
Good thing there are plenty of charming small towns scattered within two hours of the city that make for easy day trips or overnight stays.
No matter where you choose to explore, these 22 small Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey towns—listed in alphabetical order—all offer much to see, eat, and do.
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The tiny borough of Ambler manages to squeeze in plenty of history, curb appeal, restaurants, and retail into less than a square mile.
Named after a civic do-gooder by the name of Mary Ambler, the borough features historic buildings dating back to the early 1900s.
Most recently, the Ambler Boiler House, once a sign of blight in the small community, was brought back to life as an office complex, revitalizing the neighborhood.
Fun fact: This small town on the Main Line featured the first suburb location of Strawbridge and Clothier department store.
Today, Ardmore features big box stores plus smaller, eclectic shops along the town’s main street of Lancaster Avenue.
It’s also home to Tired Hands Brewing Company and the independently-owned Ardmore Music Hall, which has featured big acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
If you find yourself in the Lehigh Valley, follow the gleaming star on top of South Mountain to Bethlehem.
Originally founded in 1741 as a Moravian community, it has a rich history within the Lehigh Valley. The former Bethlehem Steel Corp.—which produced the steel for the Golden Gate Bridge—it’s now the Steel Stacks, a popular music venue.
Fun fact: Bethlehem also has ties to the Peeps Factory—every December 31, a gigantic Peeps chick descends to ring in the new year.
Come here for the history, stay for the architecture.
This National Historic Landmark was established as a religious community in the late 19th century, and is now home to architecturally significant estates and churches such as John Pitcairn’s Beaux Arts mansion Cairnwood and the stunning Bryn Athyn Cathedral.
This beautiful town just 25 miles west of Philadelphia is a mix of rolling hills dotted with wineries and historic sites like the Brandywine Bbattlefield.
Don’t miss a stroll along the picturesque Brandywine River or a trip to the Brandywine Museum of Art.
Up until 2015, Collingswood in Camden County was a dry town, given its Quaker roots.
Today, it has a mix of historic homes and a great retail and arts district along Haddon Avenue, which was once named one of the 10 Great Streets by the American Planning Association.
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Downingtown has made a name for itself as a charming small town in recent years.
It’s the home base of Victory Brewing Company, but even smaller retailers have set up shop here, such as Pyknic.
There are lots of antique shops to get lost in all day, too.
This town is about 27 miles from Philadelphia and is known for being home to multiple works of Henry Chapman Mercer, including the epic Mercer Museum.
But there are also opportunities to really enjoy the small-town vibe at the County Theatre, or wander among the corn fields where M. Night Shyamalan filmed the movie Signs.
George Nakashima’s workshop is also well-worth a visit.
This town of about 27,000 people is about 1.5 hours from Philly, but it’s drawn the attention of New York transplants for its burgeoning artists’ community.
Easton dates to the 1750s and was a booming industrial and manufacturing town throughout the mid-1800s.
In recent years, the town has experienced an artistic renaissance, and its location right on the edge of where the Lehigh and Delaware rivers meet makes it an incredibly picturesque place to spend the day.
The borough of Haddonfield in New Jersey was established in 1713, but it actually dates to 1682.
It’s brimming with history, from its preserved buildings and charming colonial homes to its many shops that are filled with antiques and locally-made arts and crafts.
It’s right off the PATCO, too.
This quaint town is about 1.5 hours from Philly, and has become popular as a so-called “gateway to the Poconos.”
Named after the Native American sports legend who is buried there, hikers and nature-lovers flock here thanks to its proximity to the Appalachian Trail, and the picturesque Glen Onoko Falls, a 7.4-mile loop that takes you past waterfall after waterfall.
If you like mushrooms, this is your stop: Kennett Square has earned the nickname Mushroom Capital of the World for the massive amount of ‘shrooms it produces each week.
Besides the good food, it’s also home to the always gorgeous Longwood Gardens.
Lambertville is another small town located across the Delaware River in New Jersey.
It’s rich in history—George Washington set up an encampment here during the Revolutionary War—and today it’s another haven for artists and artisans.
It’s also considered the best place to go antique-hunting—it’s known as the Antique Capital of New Jersey.
Lancaster is an incredibly scenic county in Pennsylvania that features a large Amish population in the surrounding countryside.
In Lancaster City, spend a day feasting on tasty Amish baked goods from Central Market and enjoying the burgeoning restaurant, shopping, and arts scene downtown.
Or simply drive through the farm country—there’s a high likelihood you’ll get stuck behind a horse buggy.
This adorable town in Lancaster County has been around since 1742.
A Curbed reader suggested we add it to the list given its incredible selection of local shops, history, and charm—we couldn’t agree more.
It’s just 8 miles north of downtown Lancaster (#15), so you can definitely knock out two visits in one day.
This Delaware County town dates back to the late 17th century during the William Penn era.
So, like Collingswood, New Jersey, it has strong Quaker roots. That may explain its friendly atmosphere and plethora of community events such as Dining Under the Stars.
Media Theater is also known to put on some great professional theater shows featuring the likes of resident and comedian Wanda Sykes.
New Hope has become a hot spot for artists and other creatives—Travel + Leisure once named it one of the coolest suburbs to visit.
In addition to the eclectic shops and galleries, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a walk along the Delaware Canal Towpath or meander through the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve.
For lovers of stone homes, you’ll want to check out this driving tour of historic stone homes—it starts in New Hope and ends in Doylestown (#8).
St. Peter’s Village in Chester County runs along French Creek and has managed to maintain its original charm from its heyday as a 19th-century industrial village.
Today, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places and offers lots of hiking (check out the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site) and local artisans’ shops to peruse.
Want to stay the night? The quaint Inn at St. Peter’s Village is also on the National Register of Historic Places and dates to 1881.
This borough was originally settled in 1732 and called Manavon.
During its peak, it was an industrial iron and steel mill boomtown.
Today, it’s experienced a renaissance and is home to quirky festivals such as Blobfest. Why? The marquee of the Colonial Theater was featured in the hit movie the Blob.
This cute town is in the heart of the Brandywine Valley.
It was established in 1712 and now has a popular restaurant, retail, and arts scene.
In addition to its historic homes, the National Register of Historic Places district also features an impressive amount of Greek revival architecture.
Come here for the history, stay for the breweries.
After experiencing a brewery boom throughout the 1850s and into early 1900s (Helb’s Keystone Brewery was founded here), downtown York went through a period of decay.
No longer: Today, the town has a bustling Main Street that Travel+Leisure named one of the best in America, and it’s home to a growing microbrewery scene.
If you’re in Kennett Square, you might as well make the short drive across the PA border to Greenville, Delaware.
This small town is home to the epic Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library, once the home of the DuPonts, the family behind the chemical engineering giant.
If the beautiful mansion isn’t enough, there are 60 acres of gardens to stroll through.