9 Places to Move and Connect with Nature in Philadelphia, PA
It’s 2023 y’all. Who here enjoys the reflection and intention setting that comes with a new year?
Hand raised over here. One of my main intentions in 2023 is to connect with nature in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.
In the past few years, I’ve come to really enjoy setting personal and work intentions at the beginning of a year or quarter. Nothing complicated or even very specific, but something to act as a compass for my year.
One of my intentions for the new year is to continue to integrate movement into my day. Being an EMDR therapist entails a lot of sitting still which means that I have to be really intentional about moving my body.
One of the ways I fulfill this intention is to take walks – some days they’re only around the block and other days I plan on longer walks in a green space.
Here are some of my favorite spots to walk and connect with nature in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
The Woodlands Cemetery
Every time I walk past the gates into the cemetery grounds I feel a smile on my face and my body relaxes as I take in the trees, flowers and birds. Stepping away from the street and on to the grounds, I find myself frequently saying, “Hello Trees.” In the Spring, the flowers are beautiful and the place is full of life.
This is another favorite spot of mine. There’s a path to walk along the river and plenty of native plants to enjoy. If you haven’t taken a ride on the swing – it’s a definite “must do” if you can be patient and wait for a turn!
Back in the days when my knees allowed me to run, I trained for the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia here. Nowadays I walk the loop and enjoy the trees, the water, the blue herons and the turtles. This is a great place to ride your bike too. There’s a great boardwalk over the water where you can sit and bask in the sun like the turtles! If you’re a photographer, you’ll be in good company with the other nature loving photographers.
The Wissahickon Valley Park
This is such a gem in Philadelphia. When I was first taken here over 20 years ago, I was taken aback that we were still in the city. When all the trees have their leaves, it’s a green oasis in the gorge. There are so many trails here that you can explore. If you want some hills to get your heart rate up, you can find one here. I also really enjoy walking the wide, relatively flat trail next to the creek, especially if I’m with a friend and catching up.
Schuylkill River Trail
Walking, running, biking, rowing, scooting – you’ll see all kinds of activities happening along the Schuylkill. You can rent bikes at Lloyd Hall or just walk along the river. You can pick the trail up at different points along the city and beyond. I’m looking forward to when they connect the trail to Bartram Gardens.
Fairmount Park Trails
I just walked the Lemon Hill Rim Trail recently and it felt good to seek out and explore new trails in Fairmount Park. This is one of my intentions – to seek out new walking paths in and around the city.
These last three places are walks that I plan to take, but haven’t been on yet. One of my children explores this canal regularly with friends and I’ve been meaning to walk along the canal as well. The Google reviews have some lovely photos and there are plenty of restaurants on Main Street to grab a bite before or after your walk!
This was a former estate of a Quaker family which is now open to the public and free to explore from dawn to dusk. It’s located in Germantown, Philadelphia. I’m looking forward to exploring the farm and Adventure Woods!
This park is located in Northeast Philadelphia and is the only state park located within the city boundary. I used to live in this section of the city and am embarrassed to say that I’ve never been here. The longest trail here is 3.2 miles, perfect for a longer walk and I’m looking forward to visiting it soon!
Walking and spending time in nature is a great way to improve or sustain your mental health and physical health. If you walk with a friend, that’s adding the connection piece which has also been shown to be essential for a happy life. However, if human relationships feel too unsafe or complicated at any point, connect with nature and feel the sustenance from that relationship. It’s the perfect way to start 2023.
Start EMDR Therapy in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware
If walking in nature isn’t enough to maintain a sense of wellbeing, you might be interested in EMDR Therapy. It is proven to be highly successful in processing and healing past distressing events. If you are struggling to live your best life because you are stuck in the cycle of reliving the past, we can help. At Prosper Counseling our therapists are here to guide you on your journey to healing. Follow the steps below to get started.
Angela Sim-Laramee, LCSW
Angela is a Certified EMDR Therapist who loves working with adults who want to clear any unfinished business with their childhood trauma and other distressing life events.
She is able to provide therapy to individuals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. When she’s not walking outside in nature, you can find her reading, drinking fair trade French Roast coffee, or engrossed in a Kdrama series.