From caverns and trails to riverboat rides and safari tours, we’ve put together an action-packed itinerary featuring the great outdoors and plenty of Instagram-worthy scenery.
Length of time: 3 days, 2 nights
Average Activity Cost: $7 to $50
Area: Harrisburg, Hershey, Halifax, Appalachian Trail
Best Place to Spend the Night: Harrisburg (to be most centrally located to activities)
Seasons Available: Spring, Summer, Fall (weather dependent)
Hit the ground running (or paddling). Take these two excursions before you check into your hotel room!
Head underground for a marvelous walking tour of Indian Echo Caverns, a natural geologic wonder. The limestone of the caverns is more than 440 million years old. Over time, water flow and geologic forces produced rock formations, an underground lake, and rooms plenty big enough to stand in. No matter the weather or time of year, the temperature inside the caverns is 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Guided tours last 45 minutes and include a history of the caverns, its ecology, and how its early inhabitants used the caverns for shelter and storage. Don’t miss the goats, alpacas, and other farm animals roaming around the free Petting Zoo!
Indian Echo Caverns is open daily. View current rates. Average Visit Duration: 1-2 hours.
Make your trip a splash with a relaxing kayaking adventure. Cocoa Kayak Rentals of Hershey provides guided (5 or more kayakers) and on-your-own floats along the gentle, tree-lined Swatara Creek, with average depths of one to three feet. Cocoa Kayaks has nine trip options spanning 45 miles of waterway. Float past the mouth of Indian Echo Caverns on the Cave Run (5 miles, 2 hours) or keep your eyes open for Bald Eagle sightings along the Bald Eagle Run (8 miles, 3 hours).
Cocoa Kayaks trips available daily from mid-April to mid-November, weather and creek conditions permitting. Price: $12 (B-Y-O-kayak) to $79 (two-person kayak), plus guide fees.
Celebrate an adventurous day at Tröegs, one of the top craft breweries in the nation, known for their bold and adventurous brews. If it’s your first visit, we recommend a sampler of three or six 4 oz. draft pours. Their most famous beer is Troegenator, a powerhouse doublebock with intense notes of caramel, chocolate, and dried fruit. Keep it light with their day-drinking Sunshine Pilsner or go hop-heavy with their Perpetual IPA. Munch on brown butter and rosemary hop salt popcorn or the oversized Oktoberfest Pretzel. Their Snack Bar menu also includes seasonal entrees, sandwiches, and grilled pizza with hand-pulled mozzarella! If you can swing it, book a guided production tour in advance, or just take a stroll through their production facility to see the brewing and bottling in action.
Tröegs is open daily. Seating is first-come, first-served.
Lace up your hiking boots and enjoy the fresh air!
Did you know you can trek the famous Appalachian Trail (AT) just 20 minutes north of Harrisburg? The Hawk Rock hike is a 2.7-mile out and back journey, featuring a breathtaking panoramic view of the Susquehanna River Valley at the Hawk Rock overlook. This hike is considered difficult due to its steep climbs and rocky terrain, so be sure to wear your sturdiest shoes. On a gorgeous day, you’ll find lots of fellow hikers seeking the overlook, making this a safe, well-trafficked stretch of the AT.
Access the AT from the trailhead in Duncannon. Price: Free, of course! Average Hike Duration: 2 hours.
Grab a bite to eat and a refreshing brew at the legendary Doyle Hotel in Duncannon. It’s nothing fancy, but they make mouthwatering burgers and homemade soups. The Doyle is a hiker haven and a popular stopover for thru-hikers (those super-adventurous folks who log thousands of miles on the AT). If you do see any fellow hikers, be sure to wish them safe travels!
The Doyle is open daily.
After a shower and maybe a nap, head to City Island in Harrisburg for a unique dining experience aboard The Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat. The Pride is one of the last remaining paddlewheel riverboats in America and has carried passengers up and down this stretch of the river for more than 30 years. You’ll want to book your table well in advance because their special dining events are known to sell out. The classic Dinner on the River event includes a 2-hour cruise and a 3-course meal with live music. Get a taste for local libations on a food and drink pairing cruise starring our craft beer or wine. Their food-forward floats feature Maryland Blue Crabs or finger-lickin’ hot wings. Before or after your meal, take a cocktail to the top deck for refreshing river breeze and 360-degree views of Harrisburg.
The Pride offers several dinner cruises a month, May through November. Price: $20-50 per person. Average Cruise Duration: 2 hours.
This attraction is wild, yet easy-going and makes for a perfect wind-down activity after an adventurous weekend.
Take a walk on the wild side right in our backyard. Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, rated as one of the top affordable attractions in PA, is home to hundreds of friendly and exotic animals, including giraffes, monkeys, tigers, and reptiles. Their signature activity is the Safari Tour, an open-air excursion across 150 acres of rolling hills where you can get up close to the freely roaming Watusi cattle, water buffalo, elk, bison, and alpacas. When you offer them a carrot, they have no problems coming right up to the bus! After your safari, explore dozens of outdoor habitats, including black bears, zebras, and lions. Inside the Reptile building, get up close to creatures you wouldn’t want to encounter in the wild like poison dart frogs, pythons, and alligators. Not all their critters are fearsome! Stock up on snacks and step inside the Petting Zoo, filled with friendly pygmy goats and sheep who aren’t shy about jumping up your leg for a nibble!
Lake Tobias is open daily May through Labor Day, weekends in September and October. Price: $8-15 per person. Average Visit Duration: 2-3 hours.
Head back down Peter’s Mountain for lunch at The Boro, whose award-winning wings and riverfront views keep locals coming back again and again. The trophy-winning Boro Wings come with generous sauces and/or zesty dry rubs, so get creative: Medium Old Bay, Honey and Hickory, Mango Habanero, just to name a few! They’ve also got a lineup of specialty Angus beef burgers like the Bo Schembechler burger with American cheese, bacon, and a fried egg and the Tom Brady with grilled ham, tomato, bacon, Cheddar cheese, and BBQ sauce.
The Boro is open daily. Reservations not required.