9 Fun-Filled Day Trips from Pittsburgh

February 23, 2019
Culture & Art
jason wolfe
Image courtesy of Visit Erie

Sometimes you just want to get away from it all-- but still be home at the end of the day.

That’s why day trips are the perfect mini vacation. Luckily, Pittsburgh is surrounded by some pretty amazing places-- all accessible within a couple of hours of driving. Whether you want to do something outdoors-- or would rather stay inside-- there are tons of options available.

Take advantage of the destinations located so close to Pittsburgh-- grab some friends, pack up the car and head out to explore these great ideas!

If you’re in the mood to do some exploring, any of the options on this list are a great place to start. Be sure to pick up a GiftYa personalized gift card-- accepted at all these locations-- and many more in and around Pittsburgh. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting your GiftYa gift card when you’re out and about on a day trip outside of Pittsburgh. That’s because there is no physical card, instead, the gift gets transferred directly to a debit card. Don’t forget to personalize it with a text or photo for the perfect gift!

1. Fallingwater

An architectural wonder

Take in the splendor of this world-famous house, just a short drive from Pittsburgh. Image courtesy of Fallingwater.

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1491 Mill Run Rd.
Mill Run, PA 15464

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Closed January and February
Open March-December

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Mon-Sun 9am-3pm

Fallingwater is a must see for anyone, especially Pittsburghers since we’re so close.

This place is life changing. Truly!...

Fallingwater is a beautiful, historic home designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The home sits on top of a cascading waterfall and is surrounded by the woodland beauty of Western Pennsylvania.

You can tour the house-- which was built for the Kaufmann family-- and tour the surrounding property as well. This is an easily accessible day trip about 1.5 hours from Pittsburgh. When you’re there, be sure to check out the fun activities at Ohiopyle State Park as well!

“...The work that was done here will never be replicated in our lifetime. I could visit this place once a week and never get tired of it. The tours are very insightful and sheerly delightful.” - Yelp Review

2. Gravity Hill

Gravity Hill
Put physics to the test and this offbeat day trip idea! Image courtesy of Visit Bedford County

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Bedford County, PA

Located in mostly rural Bedford County, Gravity Hill has been quietly defying physics for years.

“It will have you scratching your head! Lol! Great day trip.” - Google Review

It’s only a two hour road trip from Pittsburgh, and completely worth the trip! According to legend, gravity acts differently here.

Once you arrive at the designated spot-- marked only with a start sign on the pavement-- put your car in neutral and wait for it to roll uphill. Some people have also taken water and put it on the very same road, only to watch it roll uphill. It’s something you certainly need to see for yourself.

While you’re in the area, check out all the other things Bedford County has to offer.

3. Erie, PA

A beach at Erie, PA
Pittsburghers love to spend the day on the shores of Lake Erie. Image courtesy of Visit Erie.

Since Pennsylvania is a landlocked state, when Pittsburghers want to see the beach, they head north up to Erie. Known for not only it’s beautiful lake and beach, Erie is also home to a wine region quickly growing in popularity. There are also a couple of craft breweries on the rise in the area too.

Located about two hours north of Pittsburgh, it is an easy day trip. The quaint town offers tons of shopping and nightlife-- you’ll have a hard time leaving. Make sure to also check out Presque Isle State Park located on a sandy peninsula that juts out into the lake-- the views are stunning!

4. Chautauqua, NY

A horse-drawn sled ride through picturesque Chautauqua
A cute little town that is definitely worth a visit. Make sure to catch a concert at the Chautauqua Institution! Image courtesy of Tour Chautauqua.

Not far from Erie, PA is Chautauqua located in just over the border in New York.

“Year round it is a beautiful place to live:  the colors in the fall are amazing, winter brings lots of ice fishing, skiing and such, spring and summer are big tourist times here.” - Yelp Review

This little lake town is a part of the same wine growing region as Erie, and has been producing stellar wine for decades. This would be a perfect day trip from Pittsburgh-- one where you can get out of the city and appreciate a town that moves at a slower pace.

Chautauqua is also home to the Chautauqua Institution that offers innovative classes for continued education throughout the year. It is also a wonderful place to go and see concerts and shows throughout the summer months.

5. Coopers Rock State Forest

Coopers Rock State Park
Take in the scenic views of Cheat River from the high canyon lookouts. Image courtesy of WV State Forests

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61 County Line Dr.
Bruceton Mill, WV 26525

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Mon-Fri 9am-3:30pm

Just a short 1.5 hour drive south of Pittsburgh-- and a little past Morgantown-- is Coopers Rock State Forest.

“...very pretty lookout that gives a stunning view of a deep valley and acres of woodland. There are some steep ridges so be careful when climbing around...” - Google Review

This beautiful forest offers some amazing views from its canyon section which overlooks Cheat River.

Breathtaking in any season, Coopers Rock is especially beautiful in the autumn-- the changing trees create an amazing backdrop for pictures. You can hike, camp, fish, and bike-- amongst many other activities in this state forest as well. Be sure to try out the geocaching as well!

6. Ohiopyle State Park

a scenic waterfall at Ohiopyle State Park
A beautiful place to do any outdoor activity you can think of! Image courtesy of Ohiopyle State Park

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124 Main St.
Ohiopyle, PA 15470

When Pittsburghers want to take a day trip and spend some time outdoors, Ohiopyle is a great option.

“...one of the best parks I've ever been to. There is always something to do or see in all times of the year. It has been really built up over years.” -Yelp Review

About 1.5 hours from Pittsburgh, this is the best place to do some hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, and swimming outside of Pittsburgh. Plus, you get to do all this amongst the beauty of the Laurel Highlands.

Spend some time in the town too, and you’ll immediately feel like a local. There are places to grab some lunch and a beer, and maybe even see some live music!

7. Penn’s Cave

Penn's Cave
Try your hand at exploring this cave-- the boat tour really gets you up close! Image courtesy of Penn’s Cave.

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222 Penn’s Cave Road
Centre Hall, PA 16828

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If you’re in the mood to really get outside the city and explore something new, then consider checking out Penn’s Cave.

“I've been here many times in my life and they all have been very enjoyable. The boat ride is very nice and all of the tour guides have been great!” - Yelp Review

About three hours east of Pittsburgh in Centre County, you can take a tour of this ancient limestone cave entirely by boat.

Viewing the stalagmites and stalactites as you float by is truly an awesome experience. There is also a nature and wildlife tour you can take as well-- above ground of course.

While you’re there, be sure to try you luck out gemstone panning as well! Who knows what you might find.

8. Seven Springs

a couple enjoying the day at Seven Springs
This is the perfect place for a day trip-- no matter what season it is! Image courtesy of Seven Springs.

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777 Waterwheel Dr.
Champion, PA 15622

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Looking for a place to day trip to in either the winter or the summer?

“Wonderful property. A week is not enough. Their is so much to see and do. The restaurants are simply yummy. You can go hungry to each and will be very satisfied.” - Yelp Review

Then look no further than Seven Springs, located only about 1.5 hours from Pittsburgh. This is a four seasons resort-- meaning in the winter Pittsburghers come for the skiing and tubing, and in the summer love to try the hiking and zip line courses.

This resort is in Western Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, and is a fantastic idea for those daytrippers who just want a change of scenery. The summer social calendar is packed full of events each month with something for everyone-- including wine festivals, to rib contests, to sporting clay shoots. You’re sure to find a reason to visit, regardless of the season!

9. Deep Creek State Park and Lake

Deep Creek
This beautiful lake and state park is just a short drive from Pittsburgh. Image courtesy of MD State Parks.

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898 State Park Road
Swanton, MD 21561

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Believe it or not, Deep Creek State Park in Maryland is only about two hours from Pittsburgh.

“A wonderful landscape This place is absolutely beautiful A nice family retreat or vacation.” - Yelp Review

The park is home to a beautiful lake, that is full of boaters, jet skiers, and canoeing all summer long.  While the lake is man-made, the surrounding forest most definitely is not.

Grab some friends and take advantage of the hiking trails, fishing, or even hunting opportunities here. If you’re looking to relax instead, just bring along a picnic lunch for a nice day on the beach.

Garrett County always has lots of events scheduled throughout the year, so make sure to check their calendar!

There are so many possibilities when it comes to day trips outside of Pittsburgh. Close to Maryland, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York-- not to mention other places in Pennsylvania-- it really is a prime location for lots of fun destinations!

What is your favorite place to day trip to? Let us know in the comments!