15 Best Places to See Fall Color in and around Philadelphia - Kid 101

15 Best Places to See Fall Color in and around Philadelphia

From convenient spots in downtown Philly to state parks a little further out, the variety of spots to view fall foliage is vast. We have looked at viewing from various vantage points – up high, in the air, or from the water, as well as directly under the canopy of leaves – try lying on the ground and gazing upward through the leaves with the sun shining behind them – it’s a sight to remember.

Morris Arboretum

About:  With 92-acres and 12,000 trees you will be spoilt for choice here as you can view them from the ground, or go on the Out–on-a-limb Tree Adventure 50 feet above the forest floor on a tree canopy walk. There are the flaming reds of Japanese maples and trees with hues ranging from light gold to deep oranges, and even purples. A number of activities have been arranged for October so if it’s a tour of the Springfield Mills, a Fall Family Weekend on October 6-7 with fall crafts and activities, or you want to enter the Scarecrow Design Contest then head over to their events page. Activities are included in the admission price.

When: Open Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Where: 100 E Northwestern Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118.

Contact: 215-247-5777.

Cost: $19 for adults, $10 for children aged 3-17, and kids under 3 free.


Benjamin Franklin Parkway

About:  The Parkway, stretching from the Logan Circle to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has been compared to the Champs Elysees in Paris. Sister Cities Park Imagination Playground provides a welcome stop for the kids to enjoy playtime and for the family to have a bite to eat at the café there. The tree-lined parkway provides great fall colour and a chance to visit some of the famous museums along the way.

When: Best from dawn to dusk.

Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway, central Philadelphia.

Contact: email inquiries to  info@parkwaycouncilfoundation.org.

Cost: Free.


Bartram’s Garden

About:  See the oldest gingko tree in North America here with its golden yellow foliage, and then look for the leaves of the Franklinia alatamaha that turn bright red in fall, making for pops of flaming colour. The garden covers 46 acres and provides access to the Lower Schuylkill River, the eight-mile stretch of tidal river from the Fairmount Dam at the Art Museum to the Delaware River confluence. Every Saturday from 11am–3pm (weather & river conditions permitting), the public can explore the Schuylkill River by rowboat or kayak. The 2018 season ends on October 27th so make a dash before the season is over – it’s great to view fall foliage from the water.

When: Open Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Where: 5400 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19143

Contact: 215-729-5281.

Cost: Free.

 Pennypack Park

About:  Pennypack Park, covering 1600 acres, stretches 9 miles northwest from the Delaware River to the city’s border with Montgomery County. With paved and unpaved trails suited to walking and bike riding this park provides a fall experience that includes checking out the various historic structure in the park when you need a respite from leaf peeping. There are also scenic picnic areas if the kids need a break to play and have some snacks. On Sunday, October 21 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm Roland’s Walk takes place. Meet at the playground parking lot on Verree Rd (at Tustin St.) to cover approximately 2 miles of rough paths to springhouses, Split Rock, Big Rock, Big Field, and Slater’s bridge, taking in the fall colour.

When: Open daily dawn to dusk.

Where: 8600 Veree Road, Philadelphia, PA 19111.

Contact: 215-685-0470.

Cost: Free.

Lehigh Gorge State Park

About: The Lehigh Gorge Trail, suited to hiking and cycling follows over 20 miles of abandoned railroad grade along the river, giving visitors some great vistas to photograph and abundant fall foliage in vivid hues. The river has carved a deep, steep-walled gorge that is characterized by abundant vegetation, rock outcrops, and waterfalls, providing points of interest along the way.

When: Open daily sunrise to sunset.

Where: S Lehigh Gorge Drive, Weatherly, PA 18255.

Contact: 570-443-0400.

Cost: Free.

Wissahickon Park – Forbidden Drive

About:  Wissahickon Valley Park sprawling over 2,042 acres of parkland in Northwest Philadelphia, including the Wissahickon Creek, has a path alongside the Creek suited to biking, walking and horseback riding (you need to get a permit first for riding) known as Forbidden Drive. If you check out the October calendar on the Friends of Wissahickon site you will see a number of activities including kid-friendly hikes and even a yoga session. The fall colour here ranges through the warm side of the colour wheel from light gold to flaming red.

When: Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.

Where: Valley Green Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19128.

Contact: 215-247-0417.

Cost: Free.


Kelly Drive

About:  Walk or take a bike ride along the four-mile stretch on the banks of the Schuylkill River to see the fall foliage. At Boathouse Row you’ll be able to stop and see the rowers out on the water. There is grass alongside the river so the kids can stop and play and there are picnic spots. Although there are plenty of people around it doesn’t get too crowded, unless a special event is taking place.

When: Daily dawn to dusk, for fall foliage viewing.

Where: The drive winds along the banks of the Schuylkill River, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA 19131.

Contact: 215-685-0000 – Fairmount Park.


Cost: Free.

Fall Foliage Train Ride –West Chester

About:  Enjoy a fall train ride along the picturesque Chester Creek Valley on a heated train. The 90-minute journey takes you back in time to the village of Glen Mills. All trains make a 20-minute stop at Glen Mills. Board the train at the Market Street Station in West Chester, and make sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before the departure time in order to get kids sorted – there is no restroom on the train so they may need to use the toilet before leaving on the 35 or so minute ride to Glen Mills where there is a restroom. At Glen Mills explore the historic station and perhaps take in a quick snack that you have brought along at the picnic area before the ride back, with stunning fall colour along the way.

When: Sunday Oct 7, 14, Sat and Sun Nov 3, 4, 10, 11 at 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm.

Where: 230 E. Market Street, West Chester, PA 19380.

Contact: 610-430-2233.

Cost: Adults – $15.00, children (2-12) – $13.00, kids under 2 ride free.


Franklin Square Park

About:  Franklin Square Park occupies 7.5 acres in Old City, and is conveniently located to enjoy the fall colours, attracting many families with children. During October, in addition to natures show of vivid fall hues, the park is transformed for Spooky Mini Golf with fog, lights, and some surprises from October 5-28. There will be a pumpkin patch on October 20th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm plus a few other fall activities and events.

When: Open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Where: 200 N 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Contact: 215-629-4026.

Cost: Free entry. Some events may attract a cost.

Schuylkill River Trail

About:  Although it is still near enough to the downtown area to avoid expensive travel costs, the trail provides fall colour and fresh air. The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk extends the trail past Locust Street and provides a scenic area for walking and biking alongside the river, taking in reflections of fall foliage. Sullivan’s Bridge is a 14-foot wide, 602-foot long bike/pedestrian bridge over the Schuylkill River, connecting the Schuylkill River Trail with Valley Forge National Historical Park. Crossing bridges is always exciting for younger kids.

When: Best to visit from dawn to dusk.

Where: Click on the various numbered sections of the map online to see where it would suit you to join the trail.

Contact: 484-945-0200 or email info@schuylkillriver.org.

Cost: Free.

University of Pennsylvania Campus

About:  Take the kids for a stroll on the University of Pennsylvania campus in West Philadelphia to see the canopies of trees emblazoned with the golden hues of fall, especially Locust Walk – that is the main thoroughfare crossing the campus There are well-manicured lawns to relax on and provide a point from which to admire the architecture that is offset by the warm tones of autumn leaves. The 300-acre campus is an urban forest with more than 6,500 trees in its collection, over 240 species of trees and shrubs, ten speciality gardens and five urban parks. If you want great photos to try to go early when the sun is making the trees glitter with light and there are not too many students around.

When: Best from dawn to dusk.

Where: University of Pennsylvania, West Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Contact: 215-898-5000.

Cost: Free.

Fall Foliage from a Hot Air Balloon

About:  Head out to Buck’s Country for the experience of a lifetime when you alter your perspective and look down on the fall colour from up high in a hot air balloon as you drift quietly over the countryside. The ride itself will take about an hour but beforehand you can get involved in inflating the balloon. To make the occasion a special one, champagne or a non-alcoholic beverage and snacks wrap up the flight experience.

When: Arrange for a dawn or sunset ride – this is when the colours are best with the slanting rays of the sun and the air is calmest for balloon rides.

Where: Launch site is at The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm, 5281 York Road, Holicong, PA 18928. Latitude: 40.335949  Longitude -75.044441

Contact: Office – 800763-5987; Confirm Launch Time  – 800-723-5884 or email info@ushotairballoon.com.

Cost: In the region of $300 -$350 per person. Check for special offers.

Bowman’s Hill

About: If a balloon ride isn’t quite within reach then another place to get up high is at Bowman’s Tower in Washington Crossing Historic Park, Bucks County. It will give magnificent views across the fall foliage way below – there is an elevator in the tower and you just have to climb the last 23 steps to the viewing platform. On Saturday, October 13, 2018, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm the park’s annual Autumn Encampment and Market takes place. Colonial townspeople gather at their marketplace in the historic village area of the park to sell their wares, while soldiers drill 18th-century military tactics. There will be crafts,

cooking demonstrations, tours of historic buildings, and music.

When: Open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Where: 1 Tower Rd, New Hope, PA 18938.

Contact: 215-493-4076 or email info@washingtoncrossingpark.org.

Cost: Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children age five to 11, and free for those under five. Attendees also receive free admission to the Thompson-Neely House and Bowman’s Hill Tower on October 13. On any other day, it costs $7 to climb to the top of Bowman’s Tower.

Delaware Canal State Park

About: The state park has 11 islands in the river and loads of hiking trails along the shoreline – a great place to see fall foliage and see the colour reflected in the water. There are numerous access points along the 60-mile length of Delaware Canal State Park as it follows the Delaware River from Easton to Bristol, paralleled by Pennsylvania Routes 611 and 32. See the map on the site to help decide where to enter the park. Take along a picnic and some games for the kids to play and make a day of it.

When: Open daily sunrise to sunset.

Where: 11 Lodi Hill Rd, Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972.

Contact: 610-982-5560.

Cost: $4 per day for a Delaware registered vehicle, $8 per day for an out of state registered vehicle.

Tyler State Park

About:  Tyler State Park sits on 1,711 acres in Newtown and Northampton Townships, Bucks County. Watercraft Concession Rentals are provided by Driftwood Water Adventures http://www.driftwoodwateradventures.com/cherry-services/company/ from

Thursday-Monday 10:00am – 6:00pm, last rental goes out at 5:00pm. They are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It’s a great way to see the fall foliage from the river. Head along the trail to the old covered bridge just follow the signs along the path and watch out for the hole in the trail – they are having it repaired soon, where you can take some iconic photographs with the bridge providing a focal point for the fall foliage.

When: Best from dawn to dusk.

Where: 101 Swamp Rd, Newtown, PA 18940.

Contact: 215-968-2021.

Cost: Free.

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