The Philadelphia suburbs are home to a variety of different nature spots and hiking trails that are fun for every member of the family. Along the Main Line specifically, parents can find several unique places to get their families outside to enjoy nature and fresh air.
The reasons to spend more time outside with your kids are endless. For one, our children have spent an unprecedented amount of time in front of screens and interacting with electronic devices. As a result, many families have found themselves spending more time indoors and less time discovering nature.
One of the great benefits of outdoor play is, of course, allowing kids to gain an appreciation for the environment. In addition, going for a walk through the woods is a great way to stay active and healthy throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
What are the best Main Line hiking spots for kids?
Here are 5 kid-friendly nature spots and hiking trails along the Philadelphia Main Line:
Haverford College welcomes visitors to its campus to enjoy the 2.2 mile nature trail encompassing the Haverford College Arboretum. The nature walk is a beautiful location in which kids and families can observe the different plant and birds in the area. Visitors can also take a stop at the Duck Pond for a quick break to take in the location’s natural scenery.
The trail does allow leashed dogs, but unfortunately is not ideal for bikes. The Nature Trail at Haverford College is a great opportunity for kids of any age to enjoy the outdoors; However, a stroller might be a challenge on some parts of the unpaved trail.
Just a few miles away from Haverford College is the Community Park at Haverford Reserve, which ecnompasses over five miles of walking and jogging trails. The hiking trails at the reserve have varying degrees of steepness, although the trails south of Parkview Drive are more level and are generally more suitable for smaller children.
Several of the Haverford Reserve trails border Freedom Playground, playing fields, and a dog park, making it a great place to bring the family for various activities.
Another popular nature spot on the Main Line is the McKaig Nature Education Center in Wayne, PA. The center features a total of 93 acres of undeveloped woods with multiple hiking trails throughout. The gorgeous scenery makes the park a fantastic place for children and families to get in touch with the outdoors.
The Nature Center’s mission is founded on three main pillars: enjoyment, education, and environment. As such, McKaig is dedicated to encouraging the discovery of nature and fiercely advocating for environmental and open space preservation.
Additionally, the McKaig Nature Education Center is dog friendly, so be sure to bring the four-legged members of the family along too!
Lower Merion Township is home to the Cynwyd Heritage Trail, a two mile recreational trail that traces the former route of Pennsylvania Railroad’s Schuylkill branch. The land was leased to Lower Merion Township and converted to a paved rail-trail in 2011. The wide paved path is great for both bikes and strollers and conveniently leads to the Bala Cynwyd Playground, making it a very kid-friendly option.
The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail is a group of volunteers dedicated to maintaining the trail. The group often organizes community events such as spring cleanup weekends and bike races.
5. Radnor Trail
Radnor Trail is a 2.4 mile paved walkway that runs from Radnor-Chester Road to Sugartown Road in Wayne, PA. The trail is also known as the P&W trail, due to its history as the former Philadelphia & Western Railroad line. The railway was paved and converted to a multi-purpose rail trail that was opened to the public in 2005.
In addition to its interesting history, Radnor Trail is a beautiful place to take in the fall foliage or the fresh blooms of spring. The paved walkway is ideal for multiple uses including walking, jogging, hiking, biking, and rollerblading. Free parking and restrooms are available the Conestoga Road entrance of the trail.
Fostering an Appreciation for Nature
Sure, playing outside can be a great way to keep your kids busy, but that’s not the only reason to get out in nature. There are many other benefits that the great outdoors has to offer.
In today’s world, things are changing rapidly—and not always for the better. If our children don’t get to discover what it means to breath in the fresh air, play in the soil, and observe the natural scenery that many species call home, they may not get the chance to understand what truly stands to be lost.
Taking a hike (or leisurely stroll) on one of these kid-friendly trails along the Main Line can be a great opportunity to teach children about the importance of sustainability, something that greatly informs the Friends’ Central School philosophy.