Six Must-See Sights #OnTheCircuit

a woman standing in a yoga pose on a boat launch during the sunset

Historical landmarks, public art, waterfront views and activities–you name it, the Greater Philadelphia and southern New Jersey region has it all! 

The region is also home to the Circuit Trails, a network of 411 miles (and growing!) of trails that weave through cities, neighborhoods, and rural parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, connecting you to outdoor spaces for recreation, relaxation and access to incredible destinations. 

Let the Circuit Trails take you on your next adventure, and tour town and country by trail. Before your next outing, add these must-see sights #OnTheCircuit to your itinerary.

Spruce Street Harbor Park. Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Spruce Street Harbor Park

A popular spring and summer gathering spot, Spruce Street Harbor Park is the place to be on a hot day or a cool evening. Just steps off the Delaware River Trail, you’ll experience colorful hammocks, floating gardens, trees adorned in technicolored lights, local craft beers, and food from some of Philadelphia’s most popular restaurants. 

A significant portion of the Delaware River Trail, from Washington Avenue and Spring Garden Street, was completed in Spring 2022. This section allows for seamless trail access to other piers and attractions along Columbus Boulevard, including Penns Landing, Independence Seaport Museum, Washington Avenue Pier, Cherry Street Pier, Race Street Pier, Penn Treaty Park and more. 

Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB

Ben Franklin Bridge 

There’s nothing quite like getting a birds-eye view of two major cities, across two states! Use the entrance off the Delaware River Trail in Philadelphia or at the intersection of 4th and Pearl Street in Camden, New Jersey, to access the Ben Franklin Bridge Pedestrian Walkway, a small but mighty segment #OnTheCircuit. Walk or ride across the iconic bridge, and stop at one of the lookouts to experience breathtaking panoramic views of Philadelphia and Camden. The walkway is open daily, weather permitting, from 6 a.m–8 p.m. from Oct. 1–April 30 and 6 a.m.–9 p.m. from May 1–Sept. 30. While it boasts beautiful views regardless of the time of day, we recommend watching the sunset from this special spot!

Photo by Thom Carroll

Valley Forge National Park 

History buffs, this one’s for you! Retrace the steps of the nation’s first president and the Continental Army within Valley Forge’s expansive 3,500 acres in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Explore the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail, an 8.7-mile paved segment of the Circuit Trails network located at the site of the 1777-1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army. The trail forms a loop, along which you’ll find several monuments, recreated military structures and historic buildings. For those wishing to extend their adventures, the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail also offers a connection to the more than 70-mile Schuylkill River Trail

Photo by Adventure Aquarium

Adventure Aquarium 

After exploring the outdoors on land by way of the 1.3-mile Ulysses Wiggins Waterfront Park Promenade along the Delaware Riverfront in Camden, venture inside to discover what lies beneath the watery surface of our world at the Adventure Aquarium. At this must-stop spot, there are more than 15,000 aquatic animals–including some of the ocean’s rarest and most fascinating species–to see and learn about through up-close animal encounters and interactive touch exhibits.

Photo by Steve Weinik

Mosaics and Murals in Manayunk 

Art is all around, especially on the Circuit Trails. One of the many art installations to check out is “Water Under the Bridge” on the Manayunk Towpath,which is part of the Schuylkill River Trail. The piece, created by muralist Paul Santoleri and mosaic artist Beth Clevenstine, features colorful glass pieces on the Fountain Street Steps and a painted mural under the overpass connecting the Manayunk Canal Towpath and the Schuylkill River together. 

Photo of the Watershed Institute. Photo by the Alliance for Watershed Education.

Environmental Education Centers

This is definitely more than one destination, but we couldn’t pick just one center to highlight! There are 23 Alliance for Watershed Education environmental centers #OnTheCircuit. On the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, you can check out Bartram’s Garden, Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum by trail. And on the New Jersey side of the river, you can plan visits to the Center for Aquatic Sciences, New Jersey Conservation Foundation at Gateway ParkThe Watershed Institute and others. Each center is different and offers a wide array of activities and programming with the goal of increasing and enhancing our appreciation, knowledge and stewardship of the Delaware River watershed. Find a center near you here.

There’s so much to go, do, and discover #OnTheCircuit! If you’re searching for even more destinations to explore in the region, be sure to check out these hidden gems located right along the trails. 

While you’re out there, be sure to snap pictures and videos from the sights you see on the trails and share them using the hashtag #OnTheCircuit and tagging us on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter) Instagram and TikTok.

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