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Road Trip Guide 2024

There’s no better time than summer to hit the road and explore the majestic East Coast. From scenic drives and rugged mountain hikes to decadent meals, historic landmarks and superb shopping, there’s plenty of things to do, see and experience in the region. So gather your friends or family, gas up your car and get ready to plan the perfect summer getaway. 

On the Road Again 

They say it’s not about the destination but the journey, and when you embark on a road trip, the journey starts as soon as you turn the ignition. Here are eight ways to make your next on-the-road vacation even more memorable. 

Ask a Local: Before traveling to a new destination, it’s always smart to check with a local about the area’s can’t miss highlights and maybe skip attractions. They can also provide you with tips on the best places to eat, local shops to visit and perfect spots to stay overnight. Even better: They can give you tips on when traffic is the worst and what time of day is best to be on the road. If you don’t know anyone from the region, no worries. Search for travel sites or subs on sites like Reddit to connect with locals online. 

Have an Itinerary: When visiting a new spot, it’s best to have a list of places you want to visit and activities you want to do so you don’t feel overwhelmed when you arrive in town. Do your research and come up with 3 to 5 things you want to accomplish each day, and then, while in the car, review your itinerary to make sure everyone is on board with what you’ve planned. You’ll have plenty of time to make any adjustments—and build excitement for your getaway.  

But Be Flexible: Still, as important as an itinerary is when providing a framework for your trip, you want to leave room for spontaneity—stops at local diners, scenic detours, photos in-front of an outrageous roadside attraction, and more. Plus, allow for adjustments for traffic, food and bathroom breaks, and poor weather patterns that may require a plan B for your route or itinerary. 

Play Games: Yes, we all have access to endless entertainment thanks to our smart phones, tablets and personal gaming systems, but to maximize the time in the car with your crew, play old-fashioned car games. Think: 20 Questions, the Name Game, the License Plate Game, Name That Tune, Would You Rather. Or make up your own game! 

Create a Playlist: Prior to leaving for your road trip, pull together a playlist that’s perfect for your trip. If you’re traveling with friends, teens or tweens, propose a theme and ask them to submit suggestions that will go on the list. Themes can include beach music, songs that highlight nature, best songs of summer or songs of the 70s. (Bonus: make a game out of guessing who added which song to the list.)  

Take Plenty of Photos: It may seem obvious to suggest taking photos while traveling, but it’s important to capture the small moments in addition to snapping pics of the landmarks and attractions. Remember to take car selfies, images of delectable desserts, and videos of spontaneous breaks and more. 

Eat & Shop Local: Find out in advance what foods the region is celebrated for, and then make a list of must-try specialties and where you can eat them. Same goes for shopping. Look for boutiques and specialty stores that showcase local goods and artisan wares—these often make perfect souvenirs and travel gifts for those back home. 

Take the Long Way: In this day and age, we typically plug our destination into a GPS for the fastest route—but is that route the prettiest way? Sometimes the road less traveled is the one with the best farmstand selling blueberry pies, off-the-beaten path attractions or scenic stops for unmatched natural vistas. And that can make all the difference. 

Resource Guide

Looking for travel inspirations? Check out these destinations, all an easy drive from the Greater Philadelphia region. 

Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, MD

Year-round adventure begins in Annapolis! From the shores of the Chesapeake to the excitement of Arundel Mills and everything in between, Annapolis is the ultimate weekend escape!
Just a stone’s throw from Philadelphia, when you arrive in Annapolis, you can’t help but be transported and charmed by the city’s waterfront, live music, entertainment and 18th-century architecture. Everywhere you look, the city welcomes you with warm smiles, a thriving culinary scene, and nautical adventures. Perfect for a romantic weekend in a luxury bed and breakfast or a family escape in search of sailboats, crabs and beaches!
Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, MD | 410-280-0445 | @VisitAnnapolis | visitannapolis.org

Crawford County, PA

Escape Your Normal In Crawford County, PA. The best vacations have something to make everyone happy, allowing you to spend quality time together while preventing anyone from being bored! Crawford County offers a variety of fun-filled things for all ages. Get some fresh air and take advantage of the area’s natural beauty by exploring dozens of hiking and biking trails or get out on the water and explore the region’s lakes and rivers. Enjoy swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking and boating. Relax and unwind or get active. Soak up some sun or chill indoors. Plan your visit today!

Meadville, PA | 814-333-1258 | @visit_crawfordcopa | visitcrawford.org

Frederick, MD

Stroll the quaint streets of Downtown Frederick, lined with historic buildings that house over 200 boutique shops and restaurants. Escape to five State Parks and four National Parks, bike country roads through three iconic covered bridges and paddle through scenic waterways. Sip, sample and unwind at dozens of wineries, breweries and distilleries. Experience Frederick’s storied past at Civil War battlefields and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Bring the kids and zip among the trees in an aerial adventure ropes course or indulge in farm fresh ice cream. Frederick is located less than one hour from Washington, DC and Baltimore and just 30 minutes from Gettysburg, PA.

Frederick, Maryland | 800-999-3613 | @visitfrederickmd | visitfrederick.org

Montgomery County, MD

Plan a weekend Getaway in Maryland’s Cultural Capital, just a short drive or train ride from Philly. Connect with nature along the C&O Canal National Historical Park, visit wineries and breweries along the Tastemakers Trail, indulge in great shopping and be inspired by the diverse local flavor. All this and more in Montgomery County, Maryland, next door to Washington, DC.
Rockville, Maryland | 240-641-6700 | @visitmoco | visitmontgomery.com

Sullivan Catskills

New York’s Sullivan Catskills—with its unique blend of small-town charm and big experiences—beckons visitors for unforgettable visits. From its picturesque landscapes to its vibrant local culture, a world of fun awaits. In a little over three hours from Philadelphia, visitors can enjoy concerts at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, live summer theater, the Dove Trail (a collection of over 70 hand-painted dove sculptures in honor of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock), the Good Taste Craft Beverage Trail, James Beard nominated restaurants, boutique inns, river trips, gaming, New York’s largest indoor waterpark, camping, glamping, resort hotels, and more.
Sullivan Catskills | Liberty, NY | 845-747-4449 | @sullivancatskills | sullivancatskills.com

York County, PA

Shake up your summer routine with a visit to beautiful York County, PA! You’re just a short trip away from charming walkable main streets and scenic outdoor spaces. Explore just what makes this region Pennsylvania’s best-kept secret— immerse yourself in the county’s historic roots of the American Revolution, take a ride on the Northern Central Railway, taste award-winning craft beverages, admire unique murals and urban art and stroll through aisles of local goods at the Central Market House. In York County, you’ll find the perfect blend of artsy downtowns and picturesque countryside primed for a weekend getaway.
York, PA | 888-858-9675 | @exploreyorkPA | yorkpa.org