I couldn’t help but share my hometown, Lehigh Valley, PA with you. The Lehigh Valley is the place I was born and raised for a part of my life and holds a special place in my heart. Home to Lehigh University, the Lehigh Valley is one of the most underrated cities in America. Friends that have visited me from other countries and cities have been blown away by everything the Lehigh Valley has to offer.
A pillar of the tristate area, the Lehigh Valley is an up and coming metropolitan region in eastern Pennsylvania. The Valley, as locals call it, is located between Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York. A once overlooked small city has since gained growing popularity drawing in people from all over the world for its festivals such as Musikfest, Celtic Fest, its rich history and naturally scenic and beautiful views, especially in the fall.
Having been both a local and a tourist here, I wanted to share some great October day trip ideas for those who want to stay close to the Valley but get away from the small city to explore and capture the beautiful fall foliage.
Lake Nockamixon State Park
Just a short 45-minute drive from the heart of the Lehigh Valley, Nockamixon State Park is the perfect place to come to unwind and soak up the beautiful lake. Unfortunately, swimming is prohibited but there’s a marina of boats you can rent for a day out on the lake to cruise. You can also bring your own boat and load it into the lake yourself. If you’re more landbound, you can take a stroll around the lake or sit back and relax on the many benches throughout. Some people even sit in their cars in the parking lot and take advantage of the beautiful view right from the inside of their car.
As a nature lover, I recommend the full immersion to get the best experience. Each and every time I’ve been, I’ve always met someone new. My most recent time, about a week and a half ago, I went with my camera and met a lovely couple who own a photography studio in a nearby city as well as another professional photographer. We all exchanged information and I’m excited to support them at the opening of an event they’re having next month.
Jacobsburg State Park
I only just found out that there are many trail options one can take. I decided to ignore the trail colors and just follow whichever trail appealed to me. I’ve linked the trail map here but per the reviews of others, they’ve found the map to be rather difficult to navigate. Hopefully, you find it useful.
You’ll encounter bikers, avid hikers, photographers, families, lake dwellers and many dog owners, all of who are incredibly friendly.
New Hope remains one of my most favorite getaways. It’s a mix of jovial, vibrant, historical and quirky. I highly recommend getting there early especially during the weekend as it’s bound to get packed. Named as one of “America’s Favorite Towns”, New Hope has it all. While I’ve personally never ridden the train at New Hope Railroad, I’ve heard mixed reviews about the experience. Personally, I think taking advantage of the small town with a big city feel by foot is your best bet. You can easily navigate the streets and shops as you please.
A tip for those commuting in is to park in the Union Square shopping center for cheaper parking. Most places charge around $10-20 dollars, but the shopping center charges $4.
If you’re in New Hope, you can walk or drive, the bridge that connects right into Lambertville. I encourage you to walk it not only for the view but so you can straddle two state lines at once as I did
Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the “Top 15 Prettiest Towns in America”, this quaint town felt like I was in a Disney Halloween movie. As I turned off the bridge and into the New Jersey town, I was welcomed by various galleries, shops, bars and Victorian architecture. Each street looked like it was right out of a movie.
The houses each had dramatic and unique decorations drawing in visitors from all over. This house, in particular, had cars stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures and crowds of people oohing and aahing over the handcrafted spooky figures sprawling across the yard.
Sitting at the border of New Jersey, this little town in the Poconos packs a punch when it comes to history. While I appreciate history, I admit I’m not a history buff. For those similar to me, Bushkill Falls is a great place to hike for a small fee. Similar to Jacobsburg State Park, there are different trail options. Bushkill is much more organized and distinct in identifying the trail levels. For $15, you can hike the trails and capture the views of eight waterfalls throughout your journey.
I’ve hiked Bushkill on numerous occasions growing up and it remains one of my favorite hiking spots close to the Valley. Since Milford lives on the banks of the Delaware River, you also have the option of visiting the Delaware Water Gap and the various waterfalls or spending the day exploring the eclectic village along the main street. If you’re a rebellious tourist like me, I recommend getting off the main street and touring the neighborhood streets. This is just a small tease of what you’ll come across
Off one of the side streets that turn to go up a steep hill, there’s a castle-like house tucked away and secluded from everything. It’s a fascinating catch if you happen to see it. You’ll see a grassy hill with columns and a pathway leading to somewhere unseen. You’ll notice the house is enclosed and hidden making it difficult to get a glimpse of what’s behind the walls and trees. It makes you think what’s happening behind the walls to keep it so hidden. hmm…
Have you visited any of these places? Which one was your favorite? Feel free to include pics!