I took my BSA Troop 32 scouts to the Philly area twice. The first time for a few days and the second for a weeks worth of adventures. There is so much history and so much to see. It was an 8 day trip with the first and last as travel days for us and the 6 in the middle as activity days.
The Philadelphia/West Chester KOA is a great camp ground tucked into the back country of West Chester, PA. It’s right along a narrow river and barely used train tracks. The campground is quiet, clean and enjoyable and makes for a great base camp for all activities in the eastern PA area. https://koa.com/campgrounds/philadelphia/
Hikes & Walking Tours
- Valley Forge has a over 30 miles of hiking trails for you. The main one is 10 miles and scouts can earn a patch for completing it. The visitor center offers very interesting information about the park. You can also drive around the park and stop at different areas. https://www.nps.gov/vafo/index.htm
- Spend the morning learning and touring historic Lancaster: https://www.discoverlancaster.com/members/historic_lancaster_walking_tour.asp
- Learn about how the Amish live and work on their own farms with a tour of one: https://www.amishfarmandhouse.com/
It’s very easy to spend 2 to 3 days touring downtown Philly. Wear comfy walking shoes. Parking can be a challenge. Bring quarters for meters or cash for parking lots.
- Start with the very interesting Fairmount Water Works and Fishway. It’s fascinating how this old city got fresh water to it’s citizens. http://fairmountwaterworks.org/
- The Mutter Museum at the The College of Physicians. This is an absolutely fascinating museum. Be prepared to be disturbingly informed. www.muttermuseum.org
- Eastern State Penitentiary from the outside looks like a castle in the middle of the city. It’s actually a prison. The tours are amazing as you walk around and learn how prisoners lived their lives. They also offer ghost tours and Terror Behind The Walls if you’re brave enough. It once held “Scarface” Al Capone. The tour is real cool. https://www.easternstate.org/
- Fort Mifflin is one of my favorite places. It was featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters. The sunset haunted tour is awesome. Scouts can do a sleep over and sleep in the under ground bunkers or enlisted men’s quarters. Venture into the underground haunted chamber. It’s a very interesting place to walk around and explore. http://www.fortmifflin.us/
- Little known is Philly’s Mural Mile which covers about 5 km/2.3 miles of walking and viewing. The murals are beautiful and some are amazing. It’s worth every step. http://talesandtours.com/guide/969/the-mural-mile.html
- Philly’s Historic District has:
- The Liberty Bell Center https://www.nps.gov/inde/learn/historyculture/stories-libertybell.htm
- Independence Hall, birthplace of the United States https://www.nps.gov/inde/planyourvisit/independencehall.htm
- Independence Visitor Center https://www.phlvisitorcenter.com/
- Benjamin Franklin Museum – fascinating place where you will learn things you didn’t know about Mr. Franklin https://www.nps.gov/inde/planyourvisit/benjaminfranklinmuseum.htm
- Carpenters Hall where the first Continental Congress met https://www.carpentershall.org/
- How is pocket change made? Tour the U.S. Mint https://www.usmint.gov/about/mint-tours-facilities/philadelphia/tour-information
- Firemans Hall with antique fire fighting gear https://www.firemanshallmuseum.org/
- Walk the boardwalk at Spruce Street Harbor Park along the waterfront https://www.delawareriverwaterfront.com/places/spruce-street-harbor-park
- Taste a famous Philly Cheese Steak
- Tour the Betsy Ross House http://historicphiladelphia.org/what-to-see/
- Museum of the American Revolution http://www.amrevmuseum.org/
- National Constitution Center https://constitutioncenter.org/
- National Museum of American Jewish History https://www.nmajh.org/
- Christ Church Burial Ground where Ben Franklin is buried https://www.christchurchphila.org/about-the-burial-grounds/
- and even more, if you can believe it!
- The Grand Masons Lodge in Philadelphia is imply amazing. I consider this a must see stop. The building from the outside doesn’t give you any idea of what is inside. Your must take the tour. It will take your breath away with how amazing it is inside. Pictures do not do it justice at all. https://pamasonictemple.org/temple/
- The Rocky Statue and Steps are located at the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Try running up the steps. Pose with the statue. Tour the museum. https://www.visitphilly.com/things-to-do/attractions/the-rocky-statue-and-the-rocky-steps/ and https://www.philamuseum.org/
Want More History?
- Visit the Brandywine Battlefield. The Brandywine Battlefield is where the largest land battle of the American revolution took place. http://brandywinebattlefield.org/
- Paioli Battlefield Historic Site http://pbpfinc.org/