Your Guide to Central Pennsylvania

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

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It's finally warm out and the next few months leave plenty of time to be enjoyed as you enjoy the outdoors or just enjoy running around town. 

Central Pennsylvania is a great place and whether you're just visiting or you've lived here all your life, there are plenty of things to do.  Sometimes we forget about places that are local simply because we don't see local stuff as "fun".  So if you need staycation ideas, day dates for you and your friends, or just something to do on your own, here are 25 things to do in Central Pennsylvania this Summer.

(1) Plant Nite
That's right you get to make a terrarium while drinking at a local restaurant.  How fun is that? You can create all types of terrariums that have real succulents inside!   It's a great way to enjoy a day out with friends, or if you just go alone to make an awesome decorative terrarium for your home or desk. Visit their website for dates and times.

(2) Paint & Create
Sort of like plant nite but Paint & Create is where you actually paint your own artwork on a piece of canvas. You bring your own booze and snacks and you are guided along by the instructor.  I've done several paint events and honestly, they make it so easy that anyone can do it. They even have some special events like one where you can paint your own pet.  Visit their website for more info. They have a location in Harrisburg and one in Lemoyne.

(3) Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat
While this is a great activity for families, there are plenty of adult only cruises on the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat.  There are moonlight cruises, dinner cruises, and mystery cruises. You can purchase drinks and appetizers on the boat for each cruise.  It's a great way to get out on the river and enjoy the beautiful view of the city.  The boat is docked on City Island in Harrisburg and you can see the schedule and purchase tickets on their website.

(4) The Vineyard at Hershey
The Vineyard (and Brewery!) at Hershey are a great time for all.  Not only can you go for a simple wine tasting but they have large events to celebrate their anniversary and a Merlot release party.  This place has grown so much over the past few years and I am so proud of them.  The owners are great guys and always do their best to keep the crowd happy.  In the Summer months you can enjoy free live entertainment on their deck every Saturday and Sunday.  On Fridays you can enjoy the Decked Out Live series and even purchase a season pass. They have great live music, food trucks, and the scenery is beautiful.  Bring snacks and a blanket or chairs in case you don't get a seat at a table on the deck.  The grass is just as comfy I promise! They even have a lovely little pond that makes for a nice walk!  Find more information on their website.

(5) Drive In Movies
Dillsburg has a great drive in movie theatre (Harr's) which is perfect for those nights when you want to be outdoors but you still wanna watch a movie. It's like the best of both worlds! Find more information on their website.

(6) The Lake at Mount Gretna
The Lake at Mount Gretna in Lebanon is a great way to getaway without having to go the whole way to the beach. They have their own little beach and even an overwater swing. You can also rent kayaks and canoes and either lay in the grass or play some volleyball.  It's a great activity for a few friends, a couple, or even the whole family. Find more information on their website.

(7) Indian Echo Caverns
When you want to be outside in the middle of summer but the heat is unbearable, you can always enjoy the coolness of Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown.  If you have kids they will enjoy some of the activities like panning for gemstones and the gift shop but if it's an adult-only date, you'll be amazed at the gorgeous rock formations in the cavern.  It's a great way to stay cool and out of the sun! You can check out their website for more information.

(8) Spring Gate Vineyard
Spring Gate Vineyard in Harrisburg has a lovely atmosphere with beautiful courtyard seating as well as some friendly farm animals that will scurry amongst the crowd.  They have plenty of regular events and live entertainment.  It's a nice place to go to relax and find some quiet time to chat with friends and loved ones.  Check out their events and plan your visit on their website.

(9) Fishing
You can't go wrong with fishing.  Go purchase a fishing license and a rod and use the PA Fish & Game website to determine where the closest place is for you to fish.

(10) Hershey Gardens
Located right in Hershey, the Hershey Gardens offer a scenic and enjoyable escape from reality.  So spacious and plenty of places to sit and enjoy your favorite parts, you can enjoy a day of taking beautiful photos or just observe the Koi fish in the pond.  If you're looking for fun under $15 a person, look no further. You can purchase tickets on their website.

(11) Horseback Riding
Guided trail rides on horseback are so fun.   There are plenty of places around Central PA that offer them but one I really like is Nookside Stables.  They are in Manheim, Pennsylvania and you can find more information about how to reserve a date and time for a trail ride on their website.

(12) AutoBahn Indoor Speedway
That's right, no matter what the weather's like, you can enjoy go cart racing on an indoor speedway in the new AutoBahn in Lemoyne.  There's no speed limit so it's great for adults and groups of people that are looking for excitement. See prices and get more information on their website.

(13) Hiking
You can hike and walk the trails at any Pennsylvania State Park. Not only is it great scenery but it's excellent excerise.  Check out DCNR's website for more info.

(14) Paulus Orchard
Always budget friendly, this is a favorite place of mine in the Fall but in the Summer you can really enjoy picking your own produce and getting some beautiful flowers.  You can visit their website to find out what produce is available for picking and when.

(15) Zip Lining
Now this is totally not my thing because I have a debilitating fear of heights but Ski Roundtop in Lewisberry offers zip lining! You'll get great views and you can go in a small or large group. You can make reservations and learn more on their website.

(16) Nature Watching
Head over to Waggoner's Gap and see if you can spot the hawks, or any other wildlife. It'll give you somewhat of a workout and the rewarding view will make it that much more worth it. Find out more information on their website.

(17) Lakeside Fun
Enjoy fishing or feeding the ducks at Children's Lake in Boiling Springs.  It's a nice place to get out and enjoy the sun and the nice weather without having to spend any money. For directions, go here.

(18) Meadowbrook Gourds
Year round things to see and buy, Meadowbrook Gourds in Carlisle is a great place to go to learn about how they make the gourds.  You can even shop for some to add to your own home. For more information, visit their website.

(19) Alpaca Farm
Alpaca's are very interesting creatures and if you want to learn more about them, stop out at Bent Pine Alpaca Farm in Carlisle. Visit their website to find out how to arrange a trip to their farm.

(20) Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
If you can stomach the height, consider going for a ride in a hot air balloon through US Hot Air Balloon in Lancaster. Visit their website to make an appointment.

(21) Learn About the Amish
Even though most of us that grew up around here went on Amish field trips in grade school, it's really interesting to go back as an adult. The Amish Experience in Lancaster lets you tour and explore how the Amish live. Visit their website for more information.

(22) Water Golf on City Island
Located on the Susquehanna River, you can enjoy an hour or so of water golf at City Island.  It's a cheap way for you to enjoy the weather and hang with friends.  Visit their website for more information.

(23) Old Fashioned Burgers & Ice Cream
Make your way into Enola right along the river and pull into Kristy's Whistle Stop to get some ice cream or a burger and fries.  Nice atmosphere and outside seating and you can't beat the price. Visit their website here for more information.

(24) Wildwood Park
Enjoy a nice scenic nature walk in Harrisburg's Wildwood Park.  It's great for couples and families.  Learn more and get directions on their website.

(25) Antique Automobile Museum
Head down to the Antique Auto Museum in Hershey to see some antique cars and partake in their yearly events. You can learn about the events on their website.

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