If you are a history lover, there are several historical parks that you should visit between Buffalo, New York, and Philadelphia. Additionally, many great state parks have outdoor activities that you may want to enjoy. You can also find other exciting attractions to see along the way, and there are interesting campgrounds where you can spend the night.
While there are no national parks on a Buffalo to Philadelphia road trip, there are plenty of national historical parks that showcase our nation's past. Here are some of the best.
Women’s Rights National Historical Park
From July 19-20, 1848, the first Women’s Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. You can learn the stories of the brave women who were delegates to that convention by visiting the Women’s Right National Historical Park. Start your visit at the visitor center by watching films showing reenactments of the events. Then, stroll to the Wesleyan Chapel to see where the convention was held before touring the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House. Stanton was instrumental in drafting the Declaration of Sentiments. Visitors can also tour the Thomas and Mary Ann M’Clintock House where the document was written.
Tubman National Historical Park
Harriet Tubman rescued about 70 enslaved people using the Underground Railroad system that she constructed. You can learn more about her heroic life when you visit the Tubman National Historical Park. This park is spread across three different sites that are closely grouped. Start by visiting the grounds of the Thompson Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and learn the important role that faith played in Tubman’s actions. Then, head to the Harriet Tubman Visitor Center, where you can arrange tours to see her home and the Tubman Home for the Aged. While not part of the park, you can also see where Tubman is buried at Fort Hill Cemetery.
Saratoga National Historical Park
At this site in 1777, during the American War of Independence, British forces were forced to surrender for the first time, and it marked a crucial turning point during the war. This park is divided into four parts. You can see the home of American Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler, view the Saratoga Monument, and race on a path through the woods where the British retreated. You can often see historical reenactments at this park.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Spread across 3,500-acres, Valley Forge National Historical Park is located at the spot that the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army occurred. Tour several buildings, including Washington’s headquarters, and view monuments at this park. Take the audio tour which allows you to see more of the area.
John Boyd Thacher State Park
The John Boyd Thacher State Park is located on the Helderberg Escarpment, one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world, and you will want to start your visit at the visitor center to learn more about the area. You can hike by yourself or on a guided tour along limestone cliffs, rock-strewn slopes and open fields, and through wooded areas offering amazing views of the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys and the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Children will love the play equipment. Fifteen zip lines, 60 aerial games, a climbing wall, and a 40-foot jump are available to test your skills at this state park.
Taughannock Falls State Park
See the 215-foot-tall waterfall where the water plunges into a 400-foot gorge below at Taughannock Falls State Park. Play on the sandy beach, or use the boat ramp to launch your vessel. The lake is also a great place to go paddle-boarding. Depending on the season, you can go hunting. The fun does not stop when the weather turns cold because you can go ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing at the park as well.
Watkins Glen State Park
Take a relaxing break by the creek that runs through Watkins Glen State Park. The water runs downhill over 400 feet, passing cliffs over 200 feet tall. In the process, it forms over 19 waterfalls. Cool off after your hike by taking a swim in this park’s accessible swimming pool. There are also areas where you can bike. Once the snow starts flying, try cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Letchworth State Park
You may find yourself spellbound by the natural beauty of Letchworth State Park, which is often called the Grand Canyon of the East. Hike along 66 miles of paths, including options where you can watch the power of the Genesee River roar over cliffs that are more than 600 feet tall. There is almost an endless number of ways to experience this park, including hot air ballooning, whitewater rafting, and swimming. Check out the special events calendar as it often includes musical performances and lectures. You can ride snowmobiles or go skiing here in the winter.
Worlds End State Park
When you visit Worlds End State Park, you'll find a paradise. You are likely to see a variety of wildlife, including deer and black bears, as you hike through the hemlock valleys and across hardwood tree-covered mountains. Over 200 species of birds call this state park home at least for part of the year. You can dine on a delicious picnic as you listen to the Loyalsack Creek babble along.
George Eastman Museum
From 1905 to 1932, George Eastman lived in the Colonial Revival home that now serves as the George Eastman Museum. This home that Eastman had constructed contains an electrical generator, a 21-station internal telephone system, a built-in vacuum-cleaning system, a multi-station central clock network, an elevator, and a pipe organ. You can tour the home and the surrounding gardens that have been turned into a photography and film museum when you go to Rochester, New York, on your road trip from Buffalo to Philadelphia.
Erie Canal Museum
The Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse is the only remaining weigh-lock building in the United States. As you stroll through the first floor of this museum, learn about how the canal was financed and built. See the weighmaster's office and a full-size replica of a line boat. Head upstairs to see several replica buildings that would have been found in an old canal town, and get introduced through exhibits to some of Syracuse’s most famous residents.
Step aboard a steam train at Steamtown in Scranton, Pennsylvania, for a ride. Feel the 1-ton drive rods turn the huge wheels as you start down the track. Hear the "chuff-chuff" as you ride across the Lackawanna River on a 30-to-45-minute ride. You can even opt to ride in the caboose. Check the calendar for special holiday train rides.
If you love amusement parks or chocolate, Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, needs to be on your road trip itinerary from Buffalo to Philadelphia. Ride over 50 attractions at this park that are spread across 121 acres. During the summer, play at the 11-acre water park. See over 200 animals at the zoo, or shop until you drop at Chocolatetown.
Rochester, New York
You will love the historic canal neighborhoods in this town that perfectly blends technology with old-fashion friendliness. Explore some of the 120 festivals that dot this community’s calendar annually. Consider staying at Hamlin Beach State Park, where you can play on the beaches or at Southwoods RV Resort, where you can swim in the pool and use the dump station.
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse, New York, is called the gateway to the Five Finger Lake region, and you can have a lot of fun exploring this city. Consider staying in a Syracuse campground, like Green Lakes State Park or Hejamada Campground & RV Park, with its disc golf course. Both these campgrounds have dump stations.
The Electric City Trolley Museum and the Houdini Museum are just a couple of the attractions in Scranton, Pennsylvania, that you can visit. The historic downtown area is a beautiful mixture of old and new. Consider staying at Lackawanna State Park or Secluded Acres Campground. Both of these Scranton campgrounds offer dump stations.
Allentown is one of the largest cities in eastern Pennsylvania. You can find a lot to do there, including visiting the Allentown Art Museum and the Da Vinci Science Center. Consider camping at the Allentown KOA or at Quakerswood as both have dump stations.
While you can go from Buffalo to Philadelphia in just a few hours, you will want to take a week or more because of all there is to do during a Buffalo to Philadelphia RV road trip. Consider starting by going from Buffalo to John Boyd Thatcher State Park, visiting the national historical parks, and the state parks along the way. After you're done, head south through Allentown, Pennsylvania, to reach Philadelphia. If you do not own an RV, then rent one from RVshare in Buffalo or Philadelphia.