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Wissahickon Valley Park - Most Popular State, National, and Regional Park in Philadelphia

List of 9 Most Popular State, National, and Regional Parks in Philadelphia (2023)

Philadelphia is preached for its industrialization and fast pace, but have you ever heard about its share of Natural areas. Philadelphia, though it is a metropolitan city, it holds its fair share of Parks as well. This Pennsylvanian city is blessed with an array of state, national, and regional parks, all of which are worth exploring. Whether it is about the forested beauty of small rolling hills, creeks, natural views, or outdoor recreation, the parks in Philadelphia have stored it all.

Philadelphia is America’s World Heritage City and is reportedly one of the best places to live. While you are local in Philadelphia, you can spend your weekends hiking through the parks or indulging in some or the other outdoor recreations. A lot of Philadelphia parks hold high historical sentiments and opens up several doors to visit the top-rated landmarks. Want to learn more about this interesting city?

List of the 9 Most Popular State, National, and Regional Parks in Philadelphia

Have a look at our choicest picks below:

1. Independence National Historical Park

The greatest National Park in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, the Independence National Historical Park, is a must-visit for all travelers and nationalists. It represents the founding ideals of the nation as well as preserves the national and international symbols of freedom and democracy. The Park is known as the birthplace of American democracy. Here you can explore Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Liberty Bell, Independence Visitor Centre, National Constitution Center, Benjamin Franklin Museum, and several other notable tourist attractions of Pennsylvania. Entering and exploring the Park is absolutely free; however, one needs to grab a ticket from the entry counter.

2. Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site

The Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site is owned and operated by the National Park service. It is one popular Park in Philadelphia and notedly one of the oldest churches in North America. The Park is located between Benjamin Franklin and Walt Whitman bridges near the Delaware River. Gloria Dei is still an active church and an active religious congregation open for spiritual and tourism affairs. You can visit here from Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm (except Closures & seasonal exceptions). Walking past the pathways, you can dig the last historical link to a forgotten past. Try spending some time on the pastoral surroundings and burial grounds for soaking into the much-admired peace.

3. Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area

Owned and managed by the National Park System, Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area is a beautiful park system in Philadelphia. The area is known for the Schuylkill River and the Schuylkill River Trail, along with the abundance of natural beauty it hides. Travelers from all over the nation come here to admire nature, indulge in recreational activities, and learn about the incredible history. From the Revolutionary war to 19th-century industrial sites and acres of parkland, the Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area preserves and presents all of it in the most beautiful manner. One of the highlighted features here is the 112-mile guided paddling trip on the Schuylkill River sojourn.

4. Benjamin Rush State Park

The only State Park located inside the boundaries of Philadelphia; the Benjamin Rush State Park is immensely loved by the locals. The Park sits in the Northeast part of the city and provides several modes of relaxation and entertainment to the visitors. Here you can explore the Pennsylvania woodlands, hike and bike along the trails, or indulge in bird watching. Visitors often come here for bird watching, wildlife photography, and overnight camping. Benjamin Rush State Park is also home to one of the largest community gardens in the world. There’s a special area dedicated to flying radio-controlled model airplanes as well. On a bright winter day, there’s nothing better than spending a day at Benjamin Rush.

5. Neshaminy State Park

Neshaminy state park is located in Bucks County, approximately 18 miles from Philadelphia city. Spread over 330 acres, the Neshaminy park offers a glimpse of the Philadelphia skyline from the Logan Point. The views from here are incredible, and a lot of locals are found hiking their way up to the top. This gem of a state park is home to the only estuary in Pennsylvania and thus is special in its own way. Visitors and nature enthusiasts here can indulge in various activities. The Delaware river passes through the Park and allows for boating and warm water fishing opportunities. One can head towards the guarded swimming pools operational daily from 10 am to 5 or 6 pm for swimming. Neshaminy State Park is also one of the best places for photography near Philadelphia.

6. Fairmount Park

The largest municipal park in Philadelphia, Fairmount Park is a must-visit for all outdoor enthusiasts. The Park is divided by Schuylkill River into two sections, East Park and West Park, together encompassing 2,052 acres of land. There’s so much to explore inside the Park, including the Concourse Lake, Carousel House Farm, Horticultural center, Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, and Pavilion in the Trees. Do not miss to go near the 19th century Stone Arch Bridge, a unique architectural feature in Fairmount Park. Also, have a quick stroll near the century-old Giant Wooden Slide or spend some time at the Sedgley Woods, the second oldest disc golf course in the United States.

7. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

One of the popular natural regions in Philadelphia is undoubtedly the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. It is next to the Philadelphia international airport and works to preserve, restore, and develop the Tinicum Marsh. The region is popular for hiking and is home to over 10 miles of trails. A small 4.5 miles portion of Darby Creek also flows through the region, making it convenient for canoers to step down into the water. Anglers can also get into Fishing alongside the Trolley Bed trail and the main dike trail. The entire 145 acres of impoundment and Darby Creek attract several anglers all throughout the year. Make sure you read the signs beforehand as a few regions polluted with industrial chemicals are discouraged from Fishing (consumptions).

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, Philadelphia

Image Source Photo Courtesy- Jim, the Photographer

8. Wissahickon Valley Park

Located in north-western Philadelphia, the Wissahickon Valley Park is the second-largest parkland in the city. It conserves the wildlife and natural beauty of Wissahickon Valley and presents it to the explorers in a pleasant way. The Park is home to over 50 miles of hiking, biking, horseback riding, and equestrian trail. You can find some waterholes, streams, and waterfalls on the way, though they aren’t meant for swimming and strictly refrain from doing so. The Wissahickon Valley Park is strictly open for trail access, and any other recreational usage here can end you up with a hefty fine. Because the Park preserves the water supply for Philadelphia, it is also noted as the National Natural Landmark. Wissahickon Valley Park - Most Popular State, National, and Regional Park in PhiladelphiaImage Source:

9. Girard Fountain Park

Notedly the smallest regional Park in Philadelphia, the Girard Fountain Park is extremely popular amongst the locals. It is basically a 0.15-acre pocket park that welcomes visitors during daylight hours. The Park was established in the mid of 1900s, and after a few years, a Bronze bust sculpture of Benjamin Franklin was installed at the top of the front wall here. The sculpture is made up of more than 80,000 pennies collected from local schoolchildren and thus is also named Penny Franklin. Right beside the sculpture is a small fountain which altogether is the park highlights. A regular evening in Philadelphia is when the Girard fountain Park is full of locals enjoying their time.

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