Bucks County, PA with Kids: 30 Top Things To Do as a Family
New and old collide in the pretty Bucks County, Pennsylvania, countryside where young families can play the day away at Sesame Place and older kids can enjoy Revolutionary War history at Washington Crossing Historic Park. From real castles to playground castles, ice cream shops to kayaking, Bucks County is a sweet spot for a family weekend getaway. Just an hour north of Philadelphia and less than two hours from NYC, it’s easy to access.
Ready to plan a trip? Read on for our list of 25 must-do places to play and see, as well as eat and stay in Bucks County. We divided it into four family-friendly mini itineraries. Choose one or get some ideas to mix and match an adventure of your own. Explore popular towns like New Hope and Doylestown, or arrive during the holidays for a special treat.
Bucks County Itinerary No. 1: Learn and Play
With Sesame Place on the list of things to do, this trip itinerary is great for preschool-age kids who want to play, need hands-on experiences, and want to go, go, go!
1. Fuel up at a local favorite restaurant.
As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Cross Keys Diner takes it seriously. This breakfast and lunch joint stays pretty busy, but locals will tell you they turn tables over quickly and you won't have too long of a wait to get a great meal. Prefer to linger? Consider The Hattery Stove & Still for a top-notch brunch underneath a fancy chandelier.
Kids Castle Park provided hours of heart-pounding entertainment.
Explore a castle. Doylestown is home to four different castles, well, five, if you count the famed Kids Castle Park. This one makes it onto many of our lists of top things to do with kids in the Philly area and for good reason. It's an eight-story wooden castle playground that's great for kids aged 12 and under. There is also a more modern toddler playground on-site, bathrooms, and plenty of park space to run around.
Step back in time at Fonthill Castle. Photo courtesy of Visit Bucks County
Or take a guided tour through a real castle. Fonthill Castle, built around 1908, was once home to Henry Chapman Mercer, a Doylestown anthropologist and scholar.
Play indoors at the Bucks County Children's Museum. Photo courtesy the museum
Learn hands-on at the Bucks County Children's Museum. From learning how factories work to digging for fossils, this museum is a great open play space for young ones, ages 7 and under, to explore through all their senses. NOTE: (Temporarily CLOSED due to COVID-19 concerns.)
Walk the New Hope-Lambertville Toll Supported Bridge that straddles two states. Photo courtesy of Bridgeton House
Stand in two states at once with a quick stroll across the New Hope-Lambertville bridge that straddles the Delaware River running between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Enjoy lunch on either side of the river, as both towns offer shops and restaurants aplenty.
6. Family-friendly Hotels
Turn in for the night at a family-friendly hotel within walking distance of Sesame Place. Several hotels are within a short distance from Sesame Place, setting you up for an easy start for the next day. The Springhill Suites Langhorne location, for example, has free parking, a free hot breakfast buffet, an indoor pool and hot tub, and a paved private path that leads you right to the amusement park.
After checking out the rides, cool off at the water park at Sesame Place. Photo courtesy of Sesame Place
7. Sesame Place
Play the day away with your toddlers and preschoolers at Sesame Place. Both an amusement park and water park, Sesame Place is an exciting spot for younger kids to visit and nostalgic for parents who grew up watching the public TV classic. Kids can meet their favorite characters, watch a parade, catch a show, and, of course, play.
Bucks County Itinerary No. 2: Discover Old and New
This trip includes some fun for both the history enthusiast and the video gamer. Enjoy learning some of our rich Pennsylvanian history and then finish the trip with an indoor obstacle course and ice cream.
Explore 18th and 19th-century life at the Mercer Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum
8. Scavenger Hunt at Mercer Museum
Families can choose from five scavenger hunts, ranging from the historic to the fantastic, completing the activity while exploring 18th and 19th-century life at this history museum.
Explore downtown Doylestown by bike.
Or, DIY your scavenger hunt by walking or biking the streets of downtown Doylestown hunting for nameplates, maybe even your own surname. You'll see these plaques with names and dates affixed to a number of homes in the historic district, listing the original owner dating back into the 1700s.
Grab a slice of exceptional thin crust at Jules Thin Crust Pizza before you head out of Doylestown. Insider tip: The slices are kind of large, but if you ask, you can get your pizza cut up into smaller kid-friendly pieces. We also like the popcorn chicken for kids at Lovebird downtown.
Washington Crossing Historic Park hosts thousands of visitors every year. Photo courtesy of the park
This 500-acre park preserves the site where General George Washington and his troops made their famed crossing of the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. The park contains restored 18th-century buildings and homes, Revolutionary War gravesites, picnic pavilions, and historic collections.
When the sun goes down, go in search of ghosts. With all that history, Bucks County is sure to have some otherworldly occurrences. Whether they're more myth than fact is something for you and your family to discover on one of the lantern-led ghost tours that happen nearly every week of the year.
Spend a rainy day at Giggleberry Fair's indoor play center. Photo courtesy the venue
14. Giggleberry Fair
Complete your travel from past to present with a visit to Giggleberry Fair. This entirely indoor facility, located within Peddler's Village, is perfect for kids who want to let loose. There's a three-story indoor obstacle course, a mini-carousel, and arcade games, which are all rated "E" for everyone.
Waffles and ice cream. Need we say more? Once everyone has worked up an appetite, grab a waffle sundae, waffle cone, or just a waffle at, an ice cream shop within Peddler's Village that makes small-batch ice cream and Belgian Liege waffles hot and fresh.
Bucks County Itinerary No. 3: Things That Go
Okay, this is a fun one. From cars to horses to trains and boats, this trip will get you and your kids moving! Start with a relaxing drive and end up on your feet.
Kids will love exploring bridges on a Covered Bridges Tour. Photo of Perkasie Covered Bridge courtesy of Visit Bucks County
Explore some of the 10 remaining covered bridges in Bucks County with a scenic DIY drive. These bridges, romantically known as "kissing bridges," have been around since the 19th century and are great photo-ops. Plus, what kid doesn't like driving through something like these magical beauties?
17. Horseback Riding
Get out of the car and hitch a ride on a horse through beautiful Nockamixon State Park. Haycock Stables specializes in family outings and offers trail rides for kids ages 7 and up. Have littles who are too small? Take the family for a hike through the state park, which offers four "easy hiking" trails.
Hop on your bike and get ready to race at the Doylestown Pump Track.
Let your daredevils hit the jumps at the Doylestown pump track. It's FREE but bring your own bike. There's an adjacent playground for non-bikers, too.
Eat fresh food in someplace old. This restaurant opened in 1811, back when it was a welcome stop for weary travelers going between Philadelphia and New York. With outdoor seating, a rustic taproom, a nice sized kids' menu, and 18 rotating beer taps for the grown-ups, Spinnerstown would be a welcome stop during your own travels.
20. Wedgewood Inn
Delight in the rare find of a family-friendly B&B. It's not often bed-and-breakfast inns are the right fit for families, but the Wedgewood Inn in New Hope is rare indeed. Regardless of guests' ages, the proprietors give tours of the property, which includes secret passageways and stairwells, ample room sizes, and a yard to run around in.
Take a train ride through Bucks County with the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad. Photo courtesy of the railroad
Go back to the "Golden Age" of train travel. Board an early 20th century diesel train at the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad to take a 50-minute round-trip excursion through the hills and forests of Bucks County. This railroad also runs holiday trains: Halloween, Santa Express, Polar Express, and a fall foliage trip.
Take a stroll around Carousel Village at Indian Walk. There's also a vintage carousel, garden center, Italian restaurant, organic market, creamery, and shops. Just 15 minutes south of New Hope in Wrightstown, this would be a happy stop for the family looking to stretch their legs. (NOTE: The carousel and train ride are temporarily closed during the pandemic.)
Bucks County Itinerary No. 4: Outdoor Adventures
For families who like to be outside, Bucks County has plenty of hikes, water sports, and farms.
23. General Store
Fuel up for the day at an authentic general store. Parents and kids alike are sure to love the General Store at Homestead Coffee and Roastery. Pancakes for breakfast, right on the canal, and fresh coffee made at the roastery next store is a fun way to start your day and gather up supplies before heading out on your adventure.
Bring a hammer to the field of boulders at Ringing Rocks Park to "play" the rocks.
Listen to the beautiful sound of...rocks? Ringing Rocks Park contains eight acres of boulders that are truly a unique geographic phenomenon. Bang the rocks with a hammer and hear them ring. There's also a short trail that leads to Bucks County's largest waterfall. Catch it in the spring when the water really flows.
Pitch a tent, rent a cabin, or drive the RV and set up camp at the seasonal Ringing Rocks Family Campground (closes in October). Whether you're a camping aficionado or like to keep a firm boundary between you and bugs, this campground will make sure you have fun in the great outdoors. Plus, camping trips, whether they go according to plan or not, can produce some really fond memories.
Nockamixion State Park is a Bucks County favorite for a whole host of water sports, from fishing and swimming to tubing and rafting. And in the colder months, you can still play. Ice skating and sledding are available to visitors during the winter.
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve has several easy nature paths.
Head into the woods of New Hope to explore the beauty of wildflowers, butterflies, and bullfrogs at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. It's the perfect pick for families looking to enjoy the wonders of nature with a number of easy hikes and trails.
Get ready to jump at Shady Brook Farm. Photo courtesy of the farm
28. Shady Brook Farm
This popular Yardley farm has been around for over 100 years, offering pick-your-own crops, a playground, farmer's market, local pub, and a slew of fun family events throughout the year. Grab some homemade ice cream for the kids and a pint for the grown-ups, and savor the last bits of your weekend away in Bucks County.
Hellerick's Family Farm offers multiple playgrounds for kids.
Big kids can walk the aerial ropes course or zip-line from above, while younger kids enjoy the playgrounds, barnyard animals, and various seasonal activities, including a corn maze and pumpkin bowling in the fall.
Bike or walk along the Delaware River for a car-free outing, serving up pretty views on all sides.
Did we hit on all the best spots in Bucks County? Did we miss your favorite one? Head over to our Pennsylvania Facebook page and let us know.
This article first published in 2018. Additional reporting and photos by Rose Gordon Sala