Manila City, the capital city of the Philippines, is a dynamic metropolitan center that offers locals and travelers with lots of tourist spots and activities from museums, city parks, shopping centers, and food tours.
While you're in Manila and have extra time in your travel itinerary, don't miss the chance to explore other nearby destinations. Manila is strategically located nearby surrounding provinces that offer scenic views and enticing activities from beaches, mountains, to historical sites.
Whether you’re a first-time Manila visitor who wants to maximize your stay in the city or a local who’s aching for a quick break from the hustle and bustle of urban living, here are 10 of the best road trip destinations that you can easily visit from Manila by commuting, driving with a personal vehicle or car rental in Manila, or booking tours.
Photo by Inflatable Island
Head north from Manila and experience a fun waterpark adventure at Inflatable Island located in Subic. Known as Asia’s largest floating playground at 4,200 square meters, you will surely feel like a kid again with the waterpark’s inflatable slides and challenging activities.
Subic is also home to family-friendly tourist spots like Zoobic Safari where you can interact with different animals and Ocean Adventure where you can watch sea animals perform.
Subic is also a quick beach getaway for city dwellers since it has a number of beach resorts ranging from luxury to budget. It's also the jump-off point for those who want to explore the beaches and coves of Zambales like Nagsasa Cove and Anawangin Cove.
Subic can easily be accessed from Manila through public transportation. For a fuss-free trip, you can also opt to avail of a rent a car service or book Subic tours.
The province of Pampanga is known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines and is one of the most popular tourist spots near Manila.
It's a must-visit destination for foodies as it features many well-known restaurants that offer local Kapampangan dishes as well as famous iconic Filipino cuisine. Aside from food, Pampanga is also known for its many tourist spots and activities.
For thrill-seekers, Sandbox Pampanga is a must-visit during Pampanga tours because of its adventure-packed attractions and rides. Located in Porac, Pampanga, this 2-hectare outdoor park has a number of obstacle courses and attractions that you can try such as their zip line, aerial walk, and adventure tower.
Adults will definitely feel like a kid again at their famous Giant Swing. Sandbox also offers ATV rides, a mini-golf course, camping sites, and kiddie playgrounds.
For those seeking water activities, you can enjoy the wakeboarding activity in Pradera Verde, located in Lubao, Pampanga. They have three lakes for beginners to practice their skills and staff who will show you the right stance and basic moves. For experienced wakeboarders, a separate lake is available where you can hone your skills and learn new tricks.
Another go-to destination that you shouldn’t miss in Pampanga is the Aqua Planet in Clark City, Pampanga. It is one of the largest waterparks in Asia. Aqua Planet features over 38 slides and attractions such as Aqua Loop, the Tornado, and Superbowl that both adults and kids would surely enjoy.
From Manila, go down south and enjoy the fresh air of Laguna, the resort capital of the Philippines. This province is one of the must-visit places near Manila because of its lush scenery, historical sites, and variety of attractions. The province can easily be visited by commuting, renting a car from Manila, or booking Laguna tours.
One of the places that you can visit is Aquascape Lake Caliraya, a rustic lakeside resort in Cavinti. This picturesque lakeside resort features seven native-style rooms good for families or friends.
What stands out the most in this resort are their spacious floating cottages. Aside from their relaxing accommodations, Aquascape Lake Caliraya also offers water activities such as kayaking, electric bike, electric motorboat, and jetski. You can also swim in the lake, take a dip in their open-air tub or soak your feet at the doctor fish spa.
Another well-known destination in Laguna is San Pablo’s Seven Lakes. Situated in between two dormant volcanoes namely Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw, these lakes are actually low-profile craters formed through volcanic activity.
As time passed by, water eventually filled these craters and created the seven lakes of San Pablo namely Lakes Sampaloc, Bunot, Palakpakin, Mohikap, Pandin, Yambo, and Calibato.
Lake Pandin is popular for its lake tours where you can rent a water raft and hire a tour guide that will take you around the area. You may also swim in the lakes so don’t forget to bring your swimwear and sunblock to fully maximize your tour.
Laguna is also known for its waterfalls. You can visit more than one waterfall in a day, as these natural attractions are located near each other.
Pagsanjan Falls is a majestic natural attraction that features strong waters rushing down from a 90-meter drop. Another famous destination is the Hulugan Falls, also dubbed by the locals as the “social media waterfall” of the province because of its beautiful cascading waters over tiered boulders.
For travelers seeking a more relaxing trip, you can head to Hidden Valley Springs resort, a tropical oasis in the middle of a rainforest, located in Calauan, Laguna. Enjoy a refreshing dip in one of their six natural pools, including two kiddie pools and one natural jacuzzi.
Aside from swimming, you can also trek around the forest. The resort also offers a sumptuous buffet lunch featuring some of the best Filipino cuisine.
The province of Bataan is a popular go-to destination near Manila because of its many cultural and natural attractions. From beach resorts to historical sites and stunning mountain views, Bataan has it all.
You can easily visit Bataan by commuting. For a hassle-free trip, you can rent a car from Manila or book Bataan tours.
Travel back in time when your join tours to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, the first-ever heritage resort in the Philippines, located at Bagac, Bataan. This 400-hectare heritage site is home to Jose Acuzar’s collection of restored Spanish-Filipino Homes, most of which played a part in Philippine history.
The resort also features a replica of Manila’s Jones Bridge, a private beach, and a small church. You can book a day tour to fully explore and learn the interesting stories that come with each structure.
Bataan also has a variety of beaches to choose from if you’re looking for a more laid-back trip. Five Fingers in Mariveles, Bataan, is a known beach destination near Manila because of its breathtaking views.
You can book an island-hopping tour to explore the surrounding coves and islands. It is dubbed as the “Batanes of the West” because of its scenic views of the ocean and its surrounding mountains. You can also go snorkeling, cliff diving, and rock climbing here.
You can also hike up Mt. Samat, a historic mountain situated in the town of Pilar, Bataan. Standing at 545 meters, it was the site for one of the bloodiest battles during the start of World War II, between the Imperial Japanese Army and Allied Forces.
In remembrance of the heroic struggle and sacrifices of the fallen soldiers, the Mt. Samat National Shrine was erected. The shrine complex features a white memorial cross standing at 92 meters tall, an observation deck, and a war museum.
On a clear day, the city of Manila located at 50km from Bataan can be seen across Manila Bay from the summit.
Located on the east coast of Luzon, Cagbalete is a picturesque island that features a white-sand beach. This paradise in Mauban, Quezon Province is one of the best beaches near Manila that you can visit. Cagbalete Island can be accessed by commuting, renting a car, or booking Quezon tours.
There are 12 private beach resorts in Cagbalete Island, each offering a relaxing accommodation for travelers which ranges from budget-friendly camping tents to luxurious rooms.
During low tide, you’ll witness the expanse of creamy and powdery white-sand of Cagbalete Island. You can capture your best shots, walk along the shore, or just relax by reading a book under a tree while overlooking the sea. You can also book an island-hopping tour to fully maximize your trip.
Photo by the Philippine Department of Tourism
The province of Rizal, located just outside Metro Manila, offers a wide array of attractions and activities. It's the perfect go-to destination for those looking for a quick escape from the city.
Its capital city is Antipolo where you will find the famous Pinto Art Museum. This contemporary museum is popular for its Santorini-inspired architecture, lovely interiors, and a wide variety of artworks ranging from native arts to contemporary paintings and sculptures.
If you’re looking to relax and pamper yourself then you can head to Luljetta’s Hanging Garden and Spa. This little haven will give you a calming stay with its relaxation packages and amenities.
Take a dip in their pools, get a massage, or just enjoy the spectacular view of the Sierra Madre Mountains while chilling in their comfortable lounge chairs.
For adventure-seekers, Masungi Georeserve is the place to be. This conservation area is a sanctuary where guests can commune with nature, learn about natural conservation, and enjoy the many exciting activities and trails.
It became famous for its giant hammock and metal spiderweb on top of limestone cliffs. Have fun at the rope courses and go trekking where you will witness a picturesque view of the Sierra Madre Mountain range.
The mountainous province of Rizal is also one of the top hiking destinations near Manila. Some of Rizal’s famous mountains are Treasure Mountain, Mount Daraitan, Mount Pamitnian, Mount Batolusong, and more.
Each mountain offers a scenic trail and gorgeous views of lush greenery and surrounding areas. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned hiker, there’s a mountain for you to conquer in Rizal.
Baler is well-known as one of the top surfing destinations in the Philippines. It is one of the best beach destinations to visit near Manila.
Once a sleepy town in Aurora, Baler has flourished into a surf town with a wide variety of beach resorts, restaurants, bars, and surf shops. Its main attractions is Sabang Beach which is frequented by surfers.
Aside from surfing, other destinations you can in Baler is the century-old Balete Tree. Baler Museum and Aurora Quezon House are near the Sabang Beach. Here, you will see bits and pieces of Baler’s history.
Another top surfing destination in the Philippines is La Union, a well-loved beach weekend destination among locals, especially city dwellers.
La Union can easily be accessed through public transportation. However, for a hassle-free trip, you can also opt to rent a car or drive your personal vehicle to this popular surf town.
Thunderbird Poro Resort is one of the most popular La Union beach resorts located in San Fernando. This Santorini-inspired resort is nestled on top of a scenic 100ft cliff, the highest point in the Poro Peninsula. Aside from its picturesque views and lovely Greece-inspired exteriors, this resort also offers a variety of activities and amenities for guests to enjoy.
For budget-travelers and adventure seekers, many hostels and hotel accommodations are available in San Juan, the surf capital of La Union. This is also the most visited town compared to the other towns in La Union because of its active nightlife and wide array of restaurants, cafes, and surf shops.
Travelers will surely enjoy surfing, hanging out by the beach, and café-hopping in this hip surf town. Don’t forget to watch the sunset by the beach as San Juan offers the best sunset views that would surely leave you in awe.
Batangas, just a few hours away south of Manila, is known for its many beach resorts, diving destinations, and mountains for hiking. It can easily be accessed by public or private transportation, car rental, or booking Batangas tours.
Whether you want to stay in a luxurious resort or you prefer a budget-friendly accommodation by the beach, you'll have plenty of options in Batangas.
Nasugbu, situated in the northwestern part of Batangas, houses some of the most popular beach resorts in the province such as Canyon Cove Hotel & Spa, Pico Sands Hotel, Amara Residences, and Club Punta Fuego.
In Lipa, you can visit The Farm at San Benito, in Talisay, there’s Club Balai Isabel, and further south in Laiya, you can visit Acuatico Beach resort.
Batangas has also gained popularity as the nearest diving spot from Manila. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional diver, Anilao in Batangas has over 20 diving sites for you to explore. You can expect to see different varieties of fishes, sea creatures, and majestic corals.
Batangas is also home to several mountain ranges and lush forests that's why it's one of the top destinations for hiking in the Philippines.
Some of the province’s renowned mountains for hiking tours are Mt. Batulao, Mt. Maculot, Mt. Gulugod-Baboy, and Mt. Daguldol. Each mountain offers scenic views of either the beach or Taal Lake and Volcano, and the lush greenery of the surrounding areas.
The chilly weather and scenic views of Tagaytay have made it the quick go-to weekend tourist spot near Manila. This family-friendly destination just a few hours away from Metro Manila offers many activities and attractions for travelers to choose from.
When doing Tagaytay tours, it is highly recommended to try their famous bulalo, a Filipino soup dish made with beef shanks and vegetables. It is the perfect dish for the city’s cool weather!
While most restaurants in Tagaytay offer bulalo, most travelers flock to Mahogany Market for bulalo where multiple stalls offer the hot dish with free local Philippine coffee called Kapeng Barako.
Photo by Bag of Beans Tagaytay
Tagaytay is also home to many restaurants and cafes, some of which offer the best views of the famous Taal Lake and Volcano. You can check out Bag of Beans, Josephine’s, Balay Dako, Antonio's and the many other dining options available.
If you're traveling with kids or kids at heart, visit Sky Ranch, a theme park in Tagaytay. Perched on a cliff, this theme park offers a beautiful view of Taal Lake and Volcano. You can enjoy the rides and activities such as the Carousel, Super Viking, Drop Tower, and the famous 63-meter Ferris Wheel.
For a much more relaxed sightseeing trip, you can visit the Tagaytay picnic grove, a favorite among families. The place features picnic areas set on a hilltop, overlooking the Taal Lake and Volcano.
You can choose any table to set up your picnic, and enjoy the view while eating a sumptuous meal. Activities are also offered in the picnic grove such as horse-back riding, zipline, and trekking a short eco-trail.
Buckle Up and Explore Destinations Near Manila
Make the most of your stay in Manila by visiting the many nearby road trip destinations from the city. Whether you are looking for an adventurous trip or a relaxing activity, you won’t run out of choices to add to your itinerary.