We’re already deep into a pandemic summer, and at this point, some folks may be feeling the need to get out and try to relax a little.
Travel during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, of course, does carry some risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. But if you feel comfortable going out, and can follow directives like wearing a mask, washing your hands, and keeping up social distancing as best as possible, then perhaps a day trip is in order.
Here, we’ve rounded up ten offbeat spots in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that could serve as good destinations for a brief getaway. Whether that means a trip to an underground cave, or just a unique hike, all of these spots are within about 100 miles of Center City. Check out the list below:
Known as the only construction-themed amusement park in America, this West Berlin, N.J., spot recently reopened to visitors. There, you can play around on a variety of construction vehicles, hit up more traditional amusement park rides like bumper cars, or spend the day at the Water Main, Diggerland’s new water park.
Don’t miss: Looking to get in a game of disc golf with the family? The excellent Stafford Woods disc golf course is open and only about five miles from Diggerland.
For a more nature-y art museum experience, Jersey’s Grounds for Sculpture offers about 300 massive outdoor sculptures set on 42 beautiful acres of land (indoor exhibitions are currently closed). Right now, this spot is open to members only — and you can still join — but nonmember tickets are coming.
Don’t miss: If you need a beer break, this spot is about a 20-minute drive from River Horse Brewing Co., a classic Jersey craft beer producer that currently offers limited outdoor seating.
You can get a taste of the Old West without ever leaving the tristate area at Cowtown Rodeo, which is considered the longest-running weekly professional rodeo in the country. Running on Saturdays, the rodeo, now in its 66th consecutive season, features events like bull riding, steer wrestling, bareback riding, and barrel racing.
Don’t miss: Bargain hunters can hit the nearby Cowtown Farmers Market, where vendors ply their wares on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Out in bucolic Bucks County, there is a field of boulders that will ring like bells when struck, but why they do it is something of a scientific mystery. If that sounds weird, try experiencing it firsthand — and don’t forget to bring a hammer. And, as a bonus, High Falls, the tallest waterfall in Bucks, is in the same park.
Don’t miss: Trying to take home some beer following your outdoor excursion? Four miles away from the park, Great Barn Brewing is offering order-ahead pickups straight from their farm.
About 125 feet underground, you can get a glimpse of the massive calcium crystal formations that have entranced visitors at Crystal Cave for nearly 150 years. The attraction’s one-hour guided tour takes you through the cave, where it is a constant 54 degrees, to see ancient stalactites, stalagmites, and other formations, many of which have names.
963 Crystal Cave Rd., Kutztown, 75 miles from Center City, 610-683-6765, crystalcavepa.com
Out in Lancaster County, there is an 80-acre tract of natural woodland that is a refuge for dozens of displaced wolves and wolf hybrids collectively known as the Wolves of Speedwell. After a break due to COVID-19, the sanctuary recently began offering guided tours again, though reservations are required for a visit.
Don’t miss: Take a hike at the Rannels Kettle Run Nature Preserve, which offers trails on 92 acres of land just about three miles from the sanctuary.
This Celtic-inspired outdoor sanctuary is known for its massive rock formations, which are situated in a peaceful spot in the Appalachian Mountains. Featuring about 90 stone settings, the park is intended to be used for spiritual, meditative purposes, so feel free to quietly reconnect with nature here.
Don’t miss: Looking for some excitement after all that tranquillity? About 25 minutes away at Camelback Mountain Adventures, you can soar over the Poconos on a 4,000-foot zip line.
Sure, Cape May Point State Park is a 244-acre outdoor getaway down the Shore, complete with a popular lighthouse. But one of the more offbeat sites there is a massive, World War II-era concrete bunker constructed as part of the Harbor Defense Project of 1942, the remains of which you can still see today.
Don’t miss: The bunker isn’t the only piece of aging concrete history in the area. About a mile away at Sunset Beach, you can see the wreck of the S.S. Atlantus — a concrete ship built during World War I.
305 Lighthouse Ave., Cape May Point, 96 miles from Center City, 609-884-2159, facebook.com/capemaypointstatepark
Fans of Jason Voorhees will appreciate a visit to Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, where the original Friday the 13th was filmed in 1979. But don’t try to go visit the property, which is still an active northwestern Jersey Boy Scout camp, yourself — instead, sign up for a tour with Crystal Lake Tours, which offers guided tours of filming locations used in the flick.
Don’t miss: If you passed on visiting Pa.’s own wolf sanctuary, take a tour of the Lakota Wolf Preserve, located about 20 minutes from the camp.
11 Sand Pond Rd., Hardwick Township, 97 miles from Center City, crystallaketours.com
Spanning Pennsylvania and New Jersey, this 70,000-acre park offers more than 100 miles of hiking trails and scenic roadways, and plenty of wildlife and waterfalls. But due to what is known as the Tocks Island Dam controversy, during which some 15,000 area residents were reportedly displaced, there is also no shortage of abandoned buildings to see.
Don’t miss: Down for a full day of hiking? The nearby Bushkill Falls, known as “the Niagara of Pennsylvania,” offers gorgeous views of eight waterfalls.