• Photo: Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock

Plan Your Bucks County Vacation

Bucks County, about an hour's drive northeast of Philadelphia, could have remained 625 square mi of sleepy countryside full of old stone farmhouses, lush hills, and covered bridges if it hadn't been "discovered." First, New York artists and intelligentsia bought country homes here in the '30s. More recently, suburbanites and exurbanites bought or built year-round houses, eager to live in an

area of relative peace and quiet within a long commute of New York and Philly.

Over the years Bucks County has been known for art colonies and antiques, summer theater, and country inns. Cookie-cutter housing developments are now planted where grain once grew, however. It's not unusual to find suburban sprawl and hyper-development adjacent to an old clapboard farmhouse or ancient stone barn. Yet many areas of Central and Upper Bucks County remain as bucolic as ever—a feast of lyrical landscapes, with canal and river vistas, rolling hills, and fertile fields. Driving back roads is one of the county's pleasures, and making your way through quiet little towns, stopping at historic sites, checking out antiques shops, and staying overnight in an appealing inn make for a classic weekend getaway.

That a river runs through it—or, more accurately, alongside it—has long left its imprint on the county. The Delaware has provided its share of challenges, from the ice-choked seeming impassibility that made General Washington's nighttime crossing such a surprise to floods that have forced some businesses to close and some buildings to be razed. But the river also provides outdoor opportunities. Canals carved into both its banks are now popular recreation arteries, and the river itself is great for fishing, floating, or gazing at as it rolls along.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Country drives Bring your GPS and sense of adventure on the winding back roads of Central and Upper Bucks. Getting a little lost is part of the experience as you pass old farms, new estates, and perhaps even a covered bridge.
  2. The towpath Biking, strolling, jogging, or even cross-country skiing along the relatively flat Delaware Canal towpath are safe, scenic, and soothing ways to get a little exercise.
  3. R&R at B&Bs As if rural settings, 18th- and 19th-century buildings, indulgent breakfasts, and whirlpool tubs in tasteful, antiques-filled rooms weren't enough, local inns have been adding massage and other spa treatments to their reasons to unwind here.
  4. Contemporary and vintage shopping The corridor between Lahaska and Lambertville is peppered with enough flea markets and antiques shops as well as stores and galleries selling new art and crafts, clothing, jewelry, housewares, tchotchkes, and outlet "bargains" to fill your car and empty your wallet.
  5. Tour the wineries The nine wineries of the Bucks County Wine Trail offer tastings of the local vintages.

When To Go

When to Go

There truly is no bad time to visit Bucks County, though most visitors come April through December, bringing with them higher lodging prices...

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