Summer weather is bright and beautiful, and you really should be out basking in it. Harrisburg offers a variety of outdoor activities, so it’s easy to find something everyone will enjoy. Use your vacation days or plan ahead for a weekend with these fun outdoor activities in Harrisburg.
City Island is located right across from the city of Harrisburg, and it’s full of fun activities to take advantage of. Not only is the island a great place to walk and socialize your furry friends, but you can also hit the batting cages, go paddle boarding or the most popular activity — play a round of water golf.
After that, take the family to see a Harrisburg City Islanders soccer game. The local team’s home field is located conveniently on the island. Pretty much everyone can have a good time on City Island, and the short walk from the city can be an activity in itself.
Harrisburg Senators Game
While you’re on City Island, take in a Harrisburg Senators baseball game. In addition to a minor league baseball viewing experience for sports fans, there are in-stadium games for the kids, food and adult beverages for the parents, and fireworks at the end of some of the games. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, it’s a great place to spend quality family time and enjoy the summer weather.
The HBG Flea
A recent addition to the Harrisburg area, this flea market has proven to be a popular weekend event for Harrisburg vendors and shoppers alike. Selling vintage items, handmade jewelry and a number of other treasures, it is sure to satisfy your shopping craving. Everything here is by locals, and the Flea’s mission is to help Harrisburg as a whole. Located at the Midtown Cinema, the Flea takes place every other Saturday in the city, but organizers also plan to hold other community events, so keep an eye out.
Greenbelt Biking Trail
Looking to torch some calories from your Friday night on the town? Harrisburg is home to one of the best biking trails around, the Greenbelt. Starting along Front Street and following the Susquehanna River, this trail will take you around the city of Harrisburg, with views ranging from city streets to wildlife parks and lakes. The twenty-mile loop is nothing to scoff at, though. This adventure is going to make you feel the burn.
Yellow Breeches Creek
If you’re looking to sit back, relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Central PA, a leisurely float down Yellow Breeches Creek may be just what you need. This tributary flows into the Susquehanna River and is only a short drive away from Harrisburg.
If you’re looking to get a bit more active on your creek adventure, Yellow Beeches Creek is a hot spot for fly fishing. It’s also a popular place for bird watching, so bring your binoculars along as you’re paddling down the creek!
Wildwood Nature Center
Located in Wildwood Park, the nature center is a great way to learn about all the species native to the Susquehanna Valley. It encourages hands-on learning, so the kids will have fun while also offering bird watching opportunities.
The park also has a lake with trails surrounding it if you’re looking to go on a nature walk. It’s the perfect place for a photography buff, with gorgeous scenery, wildflowers, and various birds and animals. If you want a picture to remember, head to the lake around sunset or sunrise to capture the gorgeous colors reflecting in the water.
Harrisburg is home to some of the best restaurants in Central PA. The Millworks is known for its fresh, farm-to-table selection as well as a beautiful building complete with outdoor seating and a rooftop biergarten. It’s got a great atmosphere, and all of its beer and spirits are locally sourced. As an added bonus, it houses a variety of local artists in the same building, so you can get a good dose of culture after you’re finished with your meal.
For the thrill seekers out there, Harrisburg is located a mere 14 miles from Hersheypark. This world-renown theme park is filled with wild rides for every age group. If you’re looking to cool off on a particularly hot day, it also has a water park with water slides, a wave pool and one of the tallest splash-down rides in the world.
After your fun in the sun, head on over to Chocolate World. Hershey’s Chocolate Tour is a nice, calm ride to soothe your stomach after being in Hersheypark. Chocolate World also features activities like a chocolate tasting, 4D show and the opportunity to make your own candy bar. Make sure to load up on treats in the shop before you head home.
Boyd Big Tree Preserve
While Harrisburg is primarily a city, head a few miles out and you’ll find some great hiking trails. One of the most popular groups of trails is located on Boyd Big Tree Preserve. The preserve offers a variety of environmental education and interpretive programs as well as guided walks. With 12 miles of trails, it offers the option to hike the whole thing or just do small segments ranging from half a mile to around three miles.
Another hot spot for bird watching, this preserve is filled with deep forest birds. The old field on the grounds becomes filled with wildflowers and also attracts many birds, as well as butterflies. This provides another great photo opportunity for budding photographers.
Third In The Burg
In order to experience some of the best food, art and shopping the area has to offer, make sure you’re in Harrisburg on the third Friday of every month. During these days, Harrisburg venues host special events ranging from music and theater to comedy, lectures and art exhibits. Take a stroll down any of the Harrisburg streets and find outdoor vendors, musicians and tons of food.
This is probably the best way to experience the culture of Harrisburg. Gather up your friends and head out for an awesome Friday evening or make it a planned date night.
Pennsylvania is known as the halfway point for all Appalachian Trail through-hikers. If you aren’t a hardcore hiker planning on hiking the entire thing, check out the sections of it that surround Harrisburg. It’s great exercise and a fun way to enjoy the outdoors, observe nature and burn some calories.
Pride of the Susquehanna
If you’re ready to get on the water on a nice day, plan a ride on the Pride Of The Susquehanna. This boat is one of the last six remaining paddle wheel riverboats in the country. The Pride uses only the paddle wheels for both propulsion and steering.
This boat also gives you a beautiful view of the city as you set sail on the Susquehanna River. You can board the boat on City Island and take the whole family on a leisurely ride to make the most of a summer day outdoors.
Regardless of the season, it’s always awesome to visit an orchard. Depending on what’s in season, you can take the liberty of picking your own fruits, like strawberries and apples. In addition, Strites provides community-supported agriculture, a bakery, locally sourced dairy, grass-fed beef and so much more. You could truly spend an entire day here exploring everything it has to offer.
Harrisburg has so much going on, especially outdoors. Take advantage of the great summer weather and take the time to explore the city and its surroundings.