The time of year is upon us again. The time to figure out which trips to take this summer. It is overwhelming to plan, we know. The economic events of this year may have taken a toll on your wallet. You may not be willing to shell out loads of cash on a huge vacation.

Airfare is impossibly expensive. Long road trips are time-consuming and pricey on gas. Sometimes, you just can’t do a large holiday. For whatever reason it may be. But, you want to get away somehow.

It’s a totally relatable feeling. You are very much not alone. It isn’t always in the cards to jet off to Europe or the Caribbean. Or to pack up the car and drive to the Grand Canyon. Don’t fret, though. A huge to-do is not the only way to vacation.

There are plenty of places near (but not too near) here that offer superb vacation opportunities. These locations work for both long and short stays. They burn significantly less of a hole in your pocket. And, they’re not ALL shore towns.

The natural thought of any person in this area is: short, kind of cheap trip = Jersey Shore. Sure, that is totally valid. But it may become super boring if it becomes a yearly thing for you and your family. Just to reiterate. The Jersey Shore is great, but if you’re looking to mix things up without going broke, the destinations on this list may be for you.

These places can be accessed using just one full tank of gas (leaving from Philly, of course). There are things to do there that don’t cost money, which always helps. For a low-cost getaway near Philadelphia, these are easy, accessible, inexpensive destinations.

Here is our list of 7 unique one-tank trips from Philadelphia to take this summer:

  • Pine Creek Gorge, PA

    Known as the “PA Grand Canyon,” this awe-inspiring natural formation is a must-see. Surrounded by the Tioga State Forest, there is no shortage of hiking around here.  At Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks, you can visit the most amazing scenic overlooks. With over 10 hotels within 25 miles of the canyon, you’re sure to find a place to stay within your budget. Now, if hiking isn’t your thing, this may not be the destination for you. Don’t worry, though. There are other places on this list that are more your thing.

  • Ocean City, Maryland

    Check this out! A shore town…that isn’t in Jersey. You may have been to Ocean City in NJ, but have you been to Ocean City in MD? It’s bigger, with 10 miles of well-maintained beach for you to peruse. There is fun beyond the beach, too. The surrounding town is your typical shore town, boardwalk and all. It’s still a break from the hum-drum, though. There are plenty of places to stay, tons of things to do, and it can be a really low-cost vacay.

  • Washington, DC

    Truly cannot recommend this enough. If you’re looking for inexpensive fun, DC is an underrated choice. The bustling city south of us is rich with history. The metropolis has plenty of museums and tourist-y attractions. Outside of those, though, there are monuments and memorials that can be visited to 100% free. Looking to infuse some education into your getaway? This is the place for you. The city is really walkable, and again, there are many places to stay in a wide price range.

  • Hudson Valley, NY

    Hudson Valley is well-known for its historic landmarks and outdoor sculpture parks. But, did you know that they are also a leader in the farm-to-table movement? Meaning their food is as fresh as can be. Just over a three-hour trek out of Philly, Hudson Valley offers beauty and fun. Try to time your trip with one of their many festivals or events.

  • New Hope, PA

    New Hope is so close to Philly, it almost feels like cheating to put it here. But there is just so much to do and see there. The relaxing destination boasts stunning views of the Delaware. You can watch river-rafters float by as you sip wine at one of their many pretty restaurants. The Main Street (that is also one walkable bridge-crossing away from the main street of Lambertville, NJ) has plenty to offer for everyone in the family. Stay at one of their quaint Bed & Breakfasts, and be sure to check out what the Bucks County Playhouse has going on.

  • Williamsburg, VA

    Williamsburg is the furthest destination we’ll recommend. The five-hour drive is so worth it, though. Williamsburg, much like DC, is chock-full of history and educational activities for all. Colonial Williamsburg is a must-see. The 18th-century city offers beautiful gardens, art museums, and delicious meals. If spooky is your thing, take a Haunted Williamsburg ghost tour. There are things to do outside of the colonial part. Busch Gardens is really only a stones-throw away. Whatever your vibe, Williamsburg can bring it to you.

  • Rehoboth Beach, DE

    Slightly closer than Ocean City, MD, Rehoboth has everything you’re looking for in a shore town. The best thing about any Delaware trip? The tax-free shopping of course. This town is only a little over two hours away and is fun all. The boardwalk in Rehoboth is super nice.  It shakes up what you’d expect, with the boardwalk actually having off-shoots onto actual streets with even more shops (plus some decent parking). Not to mention, the beaches there are quite nice.

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