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Chasing Away the Sunday Scaries: Weekend Getaways With the Family, On Your Schedule

With options for all seasons there's a getaway for everyone!

After a long summer break for the kids and with the holidays fast-approaching, the word “vacation” is the last thing on anyone’s minds. That’s why this fall is the perfect time to look into weekend getaways in and around Philadelphia County. These quick and accessible family-friendly trips are perfect for keeping the adventurous spirits satisfied without taking you too far from home–and with gas prices fluctuating by the day and the new school year schedule kicking everybody into gear, that’s one thing we can all get behind. 


If the fall is still too soon for you, many locations on this list include activities for the winter, spring, and summer seasons. Make sure to check out the websites for more information before you start planning. 


Within Approximately 2 Hours


Spring Mountain Adventures

You don’t have to go very far to find an adventure–horizontally, that is. If you’re looking to embrace the cooler months ahead, there’s plenty of seasonal activities within your reach. The always-popular Spring Mountain Adventures can be found just 45 minutes from Center City, and this time you’re in for a scare with haunted chair lifts, hayrides, and visits from the ghosts of the mountain’s Quarrymen come to life. Make sure to check the website calendar for information on live music nights as well as family and group discounts.


All of this, of course, doesn’t even mention what this location is best known for: skiing. With or without the help of Mother Nature, Spring Mountain Adventures keeps their slopes up and running throughout the year with their highly-efficient snow guns. Between their 8 different trails, two tubing runs, and several chair lifts, there’s more than enough space for the family to hone their skills–or just master their trust falls. Located just to the west of Lansdale, there are plenty of options for lodging close by; Holiday Inn Lansdale and Hampton Inn Limerick are both within a 20 minute drive, giving you all the time you need to spend exploring the resort.


© Pennsylvania’s Americans Region

Lancaster County, PA

There’s no better time of the year to take a drive out to Amish country. Young kids, not-so-easily impressed teenagers, and parents alike will all find something to enjoy here. For a more hands-on family adventure, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is the place to be. Between hayrides, corn mazes, farm tours, pumpkin patches, and popcorn picking, the little ones have a variety of activities to keep them occupied. The adults aren’t being forgotten, either: every Saturday through November 5th, local winery Britain Hill Winery and craft breweries in the area are onsite. Covering all of the upcoming events and activities Cherry Crest has to offer would take up half this page, so do yourself a favor and take a look at the calendar on their website.


If none of the above strikes your fancy, Lancaster County has a lot more to see. The months of October and November herald the peak of apple-picking season, and there are tons of orchards in the area offering the opportunity to grab freshly-ripe apples directly from the trees. Cherry Hill Orchards is open from 9am-4pm each Saturday for pick-your-own apples, and on off days they have pre-picked varieties in their marketplace. 


For nearby lodging, Lancaster County has plenty to choose from, ranging from the quaint to the quirky. If family-friendly is what you’re after, there’s an obvious favorite to highlight: Fulton Steamboat Inn is a full-service hotel on a riverboat, boasting an indoor pool and an onsite restaurant. Little ones will be referred to by the staff as Junior Deck Mates, given their own sailor hats at check-in, and have the option to spend their stay with a real pet goldfish in the room. Little touches like that will make your kids the star of the show, even when you’re rewinding from all the day’s activities. 





Hershey, PA

Whether you’re looking for a rustic camping experience or lodging with a bit more elegance and style, Hershey, PA has something for everyone. For a stay at one of America’s Historic Hotels, take a look at the Halloween weekend packages available for reservation at The Hotel Hershey like Dark Knights, the immersive Halloween experience featuring scare zones and haunted houses. If you’re more interested in the great outdoors, Hershey Park Camping Resort has your back, offering its own Halloween-themed packages and stays at cozy cabins and campgrounds. Plus, if you’re not able to make it for the month of October, a holiday-themed winter weekend package is available for reservation starting November 11th through January. 


Both of these lodging options offer packages including admission to Hersheypark, deluxe accommodations, and breakfast each morning. There is no shortage of things to do in the area, whether you’re sticking to the resort or flocking to the coasters and seasonal festivities. 



© Cape May County Department & Tourism


Wildwood, NJ

Away from the noisiest of the parties, Wildwood is one of the best spots along the New Jersey coastline for families. Located to the south of Ocean City, this area boasts family-friendly resorts, clean beaches, water parks, and indoor arcades for those unexpected rainy days. Top on the list for lodging is Adventurer Oceanfront Inn, aptly-named for its prime spot right on the beach. Weekend packages for 2022 have all sold out, but it’s never too early to plan an all-inclusive getaway for the coming year. 


If you’re planning ahead for 2023, Morey’s Piers Beachfront & Beachfront Water Parks opens for the season in the spring, and its proximity to several hotels makes it the ideal spot for those days you’d rather not hop in the car. The boardwalk right on the beach has amusement park rides and a water park, and wristbands include access to the pier or the water parks at your choosing. There are four hotels at the pier, including the budget-friendly Starlux Hotel, offering free bike rentals, an onsite mini golf course, and a retro ice cream parlor.


The list of things to do would take up this entire page, but make sure to check out the Seaport Aquarium, kayaking, the nearby Cape May County Park & Zoo, and of course, the beautiful beaches all along the coastline. 


Within Approximately 4 Hours


© Woodloch

The Poconos – Woodloch Resort

When it comes to family-oriented weekend getaways, there are a few obvious choices within reach, and it would be pretty egregious to leave Woodloch Resort off of this list. Once voted the #1 family resort in the country by USA Today’s Readers’ Choice, this all-inclusive location in the Poconos offers meal plans, live entertainment (jugglers, cover bands, and magicians, oh my!), hotel-style accommodations boasting lakeviews, and a host of seasonal activities planned all throughout the year. Their website lays out tentative activity schedules for the coming months, and the month of October offers up weekends filled with scavenger hunts, trick-or-treating, and petting zoos, just to name a few. 


If you can’t make it in October, Woodloch Resorts still boasts amenities year-round like go-carts, escape rooms, paddle-boats, and archery lessons. If it sounds like I’m picking a bunch of things out of a hat, it’s kind of because I am–there are so many activities listed on their website that I had to select a few at random to just give a glimpse at the full scope of it all. Some of these are included in the accommodation packages, and others are a bit more a la carte. If you can’t make it for any of the Halloween weekend packages in October, November offers both Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving weekend packages, and December’s Family Holiday weekend options are open for reservations. 


© Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

The Poconos – Indoor Water Parks


Okay, but what if you aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to summer? 


Luckily, you aren’t alone. If fall activities and ski resorts aren’t on your radar yet, check out some of the indoor water parks open year-round in the Poconos. One of the more popular choices is Aquatopia at Camelback Resort. This location has a massive 125,000 sq. ft. water park, but it doesn’t stop there, as it also includes “dry” activities like minigolf and laser tag. Access to Aquatopia is included in any stay at Camelback Lodge, making it an ideal weekend stay for the family.


Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos boasts one of America’s largest indoor water parks. Whether you have a small unit that can fit snugly into one of the one-bedroom suites or you’re bringing along the whole extended family, there are lodging options for everyone, including a 5-bedroom suite easily accommodating up to 22 guests. The 220,000 sq. ft. water park is included in your stay, taking some of the headache out of planning your stay. If there’s one thing we can all get behind, it’s a one-stop, all-inclusive destination.

Philadelphia Family Contributing Writer.