There's so much to see and do in Philadelphia, but sometimes you just need to get away from the usual and explore the world around you. Luckily, Philadelphia is a conveniently located city — so convenient that you have access to five states in under a three-hour drive, not including Washington D.C.

So whether you choose to go urban exploring in one of the neighboring big cities or prefer to spend a day seashell picking along the Atlantic coastline, you're truly spoiled for choice living in Philly. I won't keep you waiting, here is our picks of 14 spontaneous day trips less than three hours from Philadelphia. 

Dodge the tram cars at the Wildwood Boardwalk, NJ

Distance: 1 hour, 23 min

When to visit: Summer

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"Watch the tram cars, please." Besides the slightly annoying but totally necessary tram car warning that will ring through your ears for the rest of your life, this is one of New Jerseys top tourist traps, and it's pretty obvious why. Sunbathe on the beach, buy an "I <3 NJ" shirt from one of the 8 blocks worth of shops, grab a slice of cheap-but-delicious pizza and hop on one of the several amusement-park rides at Morey’s Piers and Waterparks. Wildwood is like a never-ending summer carnival with fantastic ocean views. Oh and, did I mention there are a ton of bars and clubs around for the nightlife enthusiast?

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Play tourist for the day in Downtown New York City, NY

Distance: 1 hour, 30 min

When to visit: Year-round

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Where do I even start with this? There are so many things to do in New York City. From watching a show on Broadway to a walk through Central Park, viewing the city from the top of the Empire State Building, or simply going through the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum in Times Square, New York is the perfect spontaneous day trip destination any day of the year. I suggest taking public transport though because parking (and driving) in the city can be rough, not to mention, expensive — you'll probably pay more to park than what it cost you to drive there.

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Be a real-life museum caper in Washington D.C.

Distance: 1 hour, 45 min

When to visit: Year-round

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If you didn't get the Clue reference we can't be friends. Just kidding, but it is a good game that you should totally play after your day trip to DC. Besides all of the popular sightseeing historical and political buildings in DC, there is a multitude of museums that should be on your day-trip bucket list. I mean, for starters, who doesn't want to see the cursed Hope Diamond in real life? Check out the list of Washington D.C. museums here.

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Explore the abandoned town of Centralia, PA

Distance: 2 hours, 30 min

When to visit: Year-round

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As previously mentioned in another article, Centralia is a decaying town with an eerie and sad past. There is not much left of the town and most of what is left is crumbling away or is set to be demolished. While some areas of the town are still fine to visit and drive around on, but the main attraction, Graffiti Highway, is off limits due to safety concerns. Obviously, the warnings and possibility of being fined by state police are not very effective at deterring visitors because there are always new photos of the highway popping up on social media.

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Experience the simplicity of Amish living at The Amish Village, PA

Distance: 1 hour, 30 min

When to visit: Year-round

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Admit it, you're absolutely astonished at how the Amish can live without internet, and if that impresses you, imagine what other cool things you will learn about the Amish society while touring The Amish Village.

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As part of your guided tour you will get to check out an 1840 Amish farmhouse, then you will be free to explore the 12-acre Village Grounds that includes: a one-room Amish schoolhouse, barn with farm animals; smokehouse market for Amish-made jams, apple butter, whoopie pies, and more; blacksmith shop; Amish-made crafts and souvenir; and buggies, plows, and tools on display.

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Unwrap your chocolate adventure at Hershey Park, PA

Distance: 1 hour, 55 min

When to visit: Summer

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Hershey Park is fun — and delicious — for all ages. Whether you prefer to ride the eye-popping rollercoasters or take photos of the adorable fluffy critters at their zoo, one thing needs to be certain — you get your complimentary sample of Hershey's chocolate.

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photography by @dessiekenna

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Get spooked by the ghosts of Gettysburg, PA

Distance: 2 hours, 23 min

When to visit: Summer

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Unsurprisingly, Gettysburg is considered one of America's most haunted locations. Many people believe that the restless souls of the soldiers and townspeople who lost their lives during the bloody battle still haunt the battlefield and several of the town's buildings. With Halloween coming up you should totally put this on your list of spooky things to do. You can choose to do a guided tour or self-guided. Oh and for all the skeptics out there, try to debunk this Ghost Adventures episode at Gettysburg. I still get the chills when I see watch that episode.

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Be awestruck by the 100ft waterfall at Bushkill Falls, PA

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Often hailed as the Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania, Bushkill Falls is certainly a site to see. While the 100ft waterfall might be the main attraction, there are several other things to do at the park. My personal favorite thing — the "gold" panning station.

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Stroll through the quaint coastal town of Lewes, DE

Distance: 2 hours, 5 min

When to visit: Year-round

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Maybe the hustle and bustle of the Wildwood Boardwalk and Pier doesn't sound appealing, but a nice stroll through a small beach town does. Lewes is a beautiful seaside town with a lot of history and a small population. Within a half-square mile, you will find the historic district, museums, fine restaurants, shops and for the nature lovers there are plenty of beaches, trails, and nature reserves around.

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Spend a day in Baltimore, MD

Distance: 1 hour, 5 min

When to visit: Year-round

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Much like Philadelphia, Baltimore is a city full of historic sites, museums, parks, places to eat, and things to see. I wouldn't be doing the city much justice by trying to condense the number of great places there are to visit here, so just click the link below for a full view of what you can do while in Baltimore.

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Sample the wines of half-a-dozen wineries and vineyards during a Brandywine Valley Wine Tour, PA

Distance: 1 hour, 10 min

When to visit: Scheduled tour hours

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Wine lovers unite. This is the ultimate day trip for anyone who enjoys wine and would like to learn more about where it is grown and how it's made. There are 6 different wineries and vineyards on the Brandywine Valley Tour to sample products at, so don't get too tipsy at the first stop. Click the website link below to schedule your winery tour.

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Let all of your stress melt away at the Crystal Springs Resort, NJ

Distance: 2 hours, 54 min

When to visit: Year-round

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It doesn't matter if you spend a day, a weekend, or an entire week here, after your visit you will feel so relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world again. With rolling acres of golf courses, two spas, dining, swimming pools, and nearly endless hours of entertainment for the entire family, the resort offers so much and is acclaimed as the New York Metro area's most unique four-season resort.

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Try some authentic UK foods in Ryes, NY

Distance: 2 hours, 30 min

When to visit: Year-round

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Okay so maybe the UK isn't known for their mouth-watering food, but you can make that decision on your own. From mince pies to fresh baked Irish bread, Jerry's Post Road Market will make anyone feel like they're in the Motherland. This town is located only a short 25-mile drive north of Manhattan and has a higher-than-normal population of UK residents, meaning there is bound to be some authentic culturalism going on 'round these parts.

So go ahead, order some fish and chips and drink your tea with your pinky out, you fancy thing, you.

Go sea glass hunting along the Atlantic coast, NJ

Distance: 1 hour, 30 min

When to visit: Summer

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There are several beaches along the New Jersey coast where you can collect sea glass. Two areas that people have had the most luck finding sea glass at has been along the beaches of Long Beach Island and Cape May, although you should be able to find sea glass here-and-there throughout that whole coastline.

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From places perfect for chocolate lovers and wine drinkers, relaxing destinations to exciting and spooky, this is a pretty well-rounded list of spontaneous day trips to take within a short drive of the City of Brotherly Love. So, be honest, which day trip will you be planning first, and who will you be taking with you?