Top 20+ Free Things to Do in Valley Forge
Planning a trip to a new place can be one of the most exciting parts of traveling. You can sit back and imagine yourself walking along a scenic river trail, visiting an arboretum with rare and exotic plants, touring an 18th century mansion that housed George Washington, and finishing up the day at an art exhibit of a local artist. Until you snap out of it and think, “How much is that going to cost me?”. Well, in Montgomery County, you can do all of this and more for a grand total of $0! Check out our top free finds for adventures in Montgomery County here!
Parks range from historical to recreational here in Montco, and all of them are perfect for a free day out in nature.
1. Valley Forge National Historical Park
Visit Valley Forge National Historical Park to walk, hike, or bike 3,500 acres of land occupied by George Washington and the Continental Army during their six-month stay in 1777-78. Not only is park entrance free, but various programs and activities are too. Pick up a cell phone park guide, stop by the museum, listen to ranger talks, watch the park movie, enter recreation cabins, complete the junior ranger program, and more, all free of charge.
2. Fort Washington State Park
Fort Washington State Park is 493 acres of hiking, picnicking, and birding land. The park’s observation decks give visitors the perfect view to watch seasonal bird migrations. Stop by in the fall months to spot the iconic raptor migrations!
3. Green Lane Park
Green Lane Park is perfect for a family who wants all the best aspects of a park, without paying a cent. The park is pet-friendly and has two children’s playgrounds for the little ones to get out all their energy. It has 25 miles of trails, open fields for picnicking, and creeks and lakes to spend time by the water.
4. Norristown Farm Park
One of the most unique state parks, Norristown Farm Park is a working farm that has been in continuous use since colonial times. Its 15 buildings, the oldest dating back to 1764, include old mills, a tannery, farmhouses, and the Norristown State Hospital. Explore wetlands, woods, flood plains, and old farm fields for no entrance fee.
5. Evansburg State Park
Evansburg State Parks is a tranquil natural environment where you can go to escape the urban world. Skippack Creek, which runs through the park, has created ridges and valleys that provide scenic views and enclosures for you to explore.
Montco has 96 miles of trails open to pets, walkers, joggers, and bikers. Hit the trails for a free and scenic view of the county!
6. Schuylkill River Trail
The Schuylkill River Trail runs through Montgomery County from Philadelphia to Mont Clare as an 18-mile, multi-use trail. It parallels the Schuylkill River, providing scenic views as you pass through various townships and boroughs.
7. Perkiomen Trail
This trail is 20-miles and follows the route of the Perkiomen Creek from Oaks to Green Lane Borough. It connects to the Schuylkill River Trail and the Audubon Loop, making it an easily accessible spot for those seeing the county.
9. Wissahickon Trails
Explore the collection of trails throughout the Wissahickon watershed in Montco. Trails like Dodsworth Run Preserve, Crossways Preserve, and Camp Woods offer free, must-see natural scenery.
10. Pennypack Trail
The Pennypack Trail travels through wooded parks in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties along Pennypack Creek. History comes alive along the packed-cinder and asphalt trail as the route passes the remains of 19th-century mills and the site of a 1920s head-on train crash.
Home to Valley Forge, Montgomery County aims to preserve the history of our country, from its foundation to its expansion. Part of this goal of historical preservation includes ensuring everyone’s access to learn from our historical sites with free tours, museums, and experiences throughout the county.
11. Pottsgrove Manor
This 1752 home gives a glimpse into the lives of John and Ruth Potts, their 13 children, and the paid, indentured, and enslaved people who lived and labored here hundreds of years ago. Free guided tours tell the story of John Potts, politician and founder of Pottstown, while you explore the history furnishing and architecture.
12. Peter Wentz Farmstead
The Peter Wentz farmstead is a restored 18th century site and working farm first settled by Peter and Rosanna Wentz in 1744. It served as a temporary headquarters for General George Washington and his staff in 1777. Free guided tours are available year-round as well as annual events, including sheep-shearing demonstrations.
13. Washington Memorial Chapel
The Washington Memorial Chapel was built as a tribute to George Washington and the soldiers of Valley Forge in 1903. The chapel is still an active parish, and when the sanctuary is open, visitors can enter for free to see the historic stained-glass windows and the Justice Bell, an important artifact in the campaign for women’s voting rights.
14. Mennonite Heritage Center
The Mennonite Heritage Center is a free-to-enter museum and library dedicated to preserving and sharing the stories of the Mennonite faith and life in eastern Pennsylvania. Visit the exhibits to learn about life in central Perkiomen Valley, Mennonite faith and life, and Mennonite art.
15. Pennypacker Mills
Pennypacker Mills is a historic mansion fully furnished with antiques collected by former Pennsylvania governor Samuel W. Pennypacker. Visitors can experience free guided tours, exhibits, and special events for a glimpse into life in the early 1900s.
These educational spots offer fun nature experiences for visitors of all ages. Visit farm animals, go bird watching, and see rare flowers bloom without ever reaching for your wallet.
16. John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove
The John James Audubon Center is a natural oasis named in honor of the artist and writer who dedicated his life to studying and visually documenting the bird species in the Mill Grove area. While the visitor center has admission fees, the grounds are always free and filled with more than 175 species of birds. Activities like build-your-own nest, a discovery tree climb, playground zipline, sensory gardens, and Saturday morning guided bird walks are also among the free activities at the center.
17. Merrymead Farm
For animal lovers, Merrymead Farm has cows, sheep, bunnies, peacocks, goats, Franklin the pig, and Tootsie the donkey. Observe the cow milking from 3:30 to 6pm daily. You can also buy an ice cream cone made from the farm’s cow milk for a cheap addition to the fun.
18. Upper Schuylkill Valley Park
The Upper Schuylkill Valley Park is one of the many hidden gems in Montgomery County. Free for all ages, visitors can see animals native to the area including raccoons, foxes, wolves, rabbits, a bald eagle, a bobcat, frogs, turtles, and more.
19. Ott's Exotic Plants
Ott’s Exotic Plants is more than a spot to buy flowers and greenery. The landscaped greenhouse is a tropical oasis with exotic plants, bridges, and flowers bigger than you can believe!
20. Ambler Arboretum at Temple University
The Ambler Arboretum is run by Temple University and is open to the public for touring the 17 display gardens, horticultural displays, trees, and greenhouses. Take yourself on a self-guided tour of the campus to be wowed by the plants and gardens cared for by students and professionals.
Art and Museums
From art exhibits to car collections to studio tours, these off-the-beaten-path spots will inspire and excite you for no cost. Why wait it long lines to pay for expensive museums in Philly when you can find all you need in Montco for free?
22. Berman Museum
The Berman Museum of Art has art exhibitions open to the public and often features artists with pieces shown around the globe. This world-class level museum with no admission fee is a dream for art buffs.
24. Hatfield Auto Museum
This museum offers a unique and eclectic automotive collection. Stop by to check out an antique 1917 Buick D-45 Touring car, 1940 Model A Huckster and much more. On the second floor, you can stop by the Old Car Bar and chat with fellow automotive aficionados.
25. Montgomery County Community College Art Galleries
Montgomery County Community College has art galleries in Blue Bell and Pottstown, both of which showcase prints, drawings, paintings, photographs, ceramics, and sculptures and are free to the public.
Explore Montco and make your own fun in the unique villages and towns dotting the county.
26. Asher's Chocolate
Bring the kids to watch their favorite chocolate treats made right in front of their eyes. This delightful chocolate factory has been serving sweets to the people of Souderton since 1892. Though if you are looking for more than a sample, you'll have to fork up just a bit of cash.
27. King of Prussia Mall
The King of Prussia Mall is one of the best shopping experiences in the country and is bustling with people all year-round. And the best part is that you can have fun there even if you leave your credit card at home! Go window shopping and dream of buying that Gucci purse or people watch while sitting by the beautiful fountains. And when you get hungry, you are sure to find some friendly salesperson handing out free samples!