Flying is the fastest option and can be quite affordable, though you will likely want to take an Uber or taxi to get to and from the airport in either city (public transportation is an option, but navigating airport transit may be daunting for some). Taking the Amtrak is more convenient, while the bus is the most affordable option. Both take you into right into the city center; however, the travel time is a good amount higher.
How you choose to travel from Boston to Philadelphia will depend on your personal preferences and where exactly you are coming from and heading to within each city. For most travel options, booking ahead will allow for cost savings. Here are the details on each to help you weigh the pros and cons and make a decision that best suits your trip.
How to Get from Boston to Philadelphia
- Train: 5-6 hours, one-way from $45
- Bus: 6 hours and 30 minutes, one-way from $11
- Car: 5 hours, 310 miles
- Plane: 1 hour and 40 minutes, one-way from $39
If you're looking for a low-stress way of traveling from Boston to Philadelphia and don't mind spending a bit more time than flying, the train may be your best bet. There are two Amtrak trains that leave from Boston's South Station, one of the city's busiest stations for MBTA trains, buses, and commuter rails. The fastest option is taking the Amtrak Acela, a higher-speed train that takes about five hours; the Northeast Regional train takes close to six hours. Amtrak trains between these cities are quite regular, running almost on the hour. The train will drop you off at 30th Street Station, which is connected to the SEPTA in Philadelphia.
Prices for one-way tickets are estimated to range from $45 to $160—and believe it or not, the faster train can be the less expensive option. Check out both options to ensure you're getting the best price-to-travel-time ratio. Amtrak tickets from Boston to Philadelphia can be purchased in advance on Amtrak.com or in-person at South Station.
There are plenty of affordable options for traveling by bus from Boston to Philadelphia. Of course, opting for the bus means your trip is going to take about six and a half hours, as there are stops along the way and traffic can be unpredictable.
Boston's South Station is a major hub for buses, and you'll find MegaBus, Greyhound, and BoltBus buses that go to 30th Street Station or the Philadelphia Bus Station here. Depending on the bus company you choose, one-way ticket prices tend to range from $11 to $50.
If you're willing to spend quite a few hours on a bus in exchange for low-cost tickets and frequent departures, look into taking the bus. Most buses have Wi-Fi, though you may want to bring a book just in case you're stuck on one that doesn't have a strong signal.
Some travelers prefer the freedom of driving themselves from one destination to another, while others simply need their car at their final destination. The route from Boston to Philadelphia is just over 300 miles and, not factoring in any traffic or stops, takes about five hours to drive. Given the length of this trip, renting a car or driver likely doesn't make sense.
In addition to affordability and flexibility, driving also allows for plenty of room to load up the car, whether it's with family members or luggage. The five-hour drive is doable in one stretch, but if you prefer to break it up, there are several cities along the way to visit. Be sure to plan ahead and ensure you have an affordable place to park once you arrive at your destination. With all that said, if you're the type that prefers to zone out or multi-task during long trips, you may want to opt for an alternate method of transportation.
Most major airlines fly direct from Boston Logan International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport, including JetBlue, American Airlines, and Delta. Nonstop flights take about one hour and 40 minutes and run nearly every hour. Prices will vary by airline, time of year, and when you book, but one-way tickets can cost as low as $39. Starting in May 2020, Frontier Airlines will start offering seasonal daily flights between the two cities at affordable prices.
To get to Logan Airport, you can take an Uber or taxi (which will take around 10 minutes without traffic), or use the MBTA, which has trains that run from downtown right to the airport. The Philadelphia airport is seven miles from downtown; when you arrive, you can use a ride-hailing service or opt to take the SEPTA Airport Line Regional Rail train.
Even when you factor in the time it takes to get to and from the airports and clearing security, flying is the fastest option. If the total travel time based on where you're coming from seems the same as the Amtrak, you may want to explore both options before deciding what works best for you.
What to See in Philadelphia
With Philadelphia being the birthplace of America, there's plenty to do and see in this historic city. You'll want to visit the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall, along with other historical sites and museums like the Betsy Ross House, Rosenbach Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It will come as no surprise that tourists should try a Philly cheesesteak, ideally at Pat's or Geno's in Passyunck Square. For more on activities, the best time of year to visit, where to stay and more, visit our comprehensive guide of Philadelphia.