Written by Sarah Cocchimiglio
It’s Saturday morning, and there’s not much to do. Your wallet’s a little light these days, so you’re looking for something fun, not too far away, and not requiring you to sell your firstborn for a ticket. Well, get ready to hit the road for some of Patch’s picks for budget-friendly day trips. The best part? These destinations are only a tank of gas (or less) away.
1 Awbury Rd.
Why Go? This 55-acre historic home and arboretum in the Germantown section of Philadelphia offers free admission and access to the grounds 365 days a year. Its goal is to connect “an urban community with nature and history.”
Insider Tip: Use the self-guided map to navigate the grounds and learn a little bit about each section of the gardens.
Must Do: Check out the arboretum’s offerings of classes and events, including programs for adults and children, summer camp, arts and crafts classes and more.
Fine Print: Arboretum grounds are open every day, dawn to dusk. The Francis Cope House is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
P.O. Box 311
Why Go? Take a hike or a bike on this 20-mile trail, running along Perkiomen Creek, from Green Lane to Oaks, where it connects with the Schuylkill River Trail and Audubon Loop. It also links a number of public parks and historic sites.
Insider Tip: Print a copy of the trail map before hitting the "Perky," as many call it. You’ll want to be able to locate the numerous trailheads and parking areas, as well as restrooms and water fountains.
Fine Print: The trail is open from dawn until dusk, but not to motor vehicles. Dogs on a leash are welcome; owners are required to clean up after them.
515 Meetinghouse Rd.
Why Go? Take a hands-on approach to experiencing the arts: see it, touch it, create it. Situated on the 27-acre Alverthorpe Manor cultural campus, Abington Art Center presents exhibits, programs, classes, workshops, concerts on the lawn, coffee talks with artists and park tours.
Insider Tip: “The shows are posted on the website, so get an idea of what is on the walls before coming,” said Andrea Sachs Otto, the center’s director of marketing and development.
Must Do: Visit the nationally recognized outdoor Sculpture Park. It takes about an hour to see all the sculptures.
Fine Print: Admission is $5, but free for members. Gallery and shop hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Wednesday through Friday, with a 7 p.m. close on Thursday; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday, Tuesday and some holidays.
525 Market St.
Why Go? See 20 historic buildings from the American Revolution and the birth of the United States, all within one square mile.
Insider Tip: “Stop at the Independence Visitor Center to obtain free tickets to Independence Hall,” said spokesperson Adam Duncan.
Must Do: The Liberty Bell, of course. The Portrait Gallery in Second Bank is also worth a visit.
Fine Print: Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center and Congress Hall are open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free. Through December, Independence Hall requires free timed tickets. Other buildings may have hours and fees that vary, so check ahead.