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Our bustling region has much for travelers to see and do, but we are also fortunate to have a softer, more serene side, marked by an abundance of outdoor activities! The Hershey Harrisburg Region has scenic trails for hiking, on- and off-road bike trails, a mighty river for kayaking and secret spots for throwing out a line. Whether you’re a rugged outdoor enthusiast or just someone who wants to get outdoorsy, there’s something here for you to explore!
If you’re looking for some refreshing outdoor adventure, the Hershey Harrisburg Region has a variety of trails to try including primitive paths for day hikes and paved, accessible routes for refreshing nature walks.
Wildwood Park is a beautiful nature preserve in Harrisburg that has paved and boardwalk paths, mostly shaded by a mature green canopy. Try the 3.1-mile loop around the serene lake and stop by the Nature Center with interactive and educational exhibits on nature and conservation of national resources.
Situated in the middle of the Susquehanna River, City Island is a bustling family fun spot, especially when there’s a Harrisburg Senators Baseball game. From Harrisburg, trek across the Walnut Street walking bridge and stroll the one-mile flat loop with beautiful panoramic views of Harrisburg!
Boyd Big Tree Preserve has an extensive 12-mile trail system made up of pathways ranging from easy to difficult. Map out a trek that meets your skill level and enjoy a pristine nature walk in a park that’s done little to alter the natural landscape.
Little Buffalo State Park has hiking trails as well as an abundance of outdoor recreation including swimming, picnicking, fishing, hunting, and boating. Little Buffalo has eight miles of trails ranging from easy (stroller accessible) to difficult (steep climbs).
Just a 20-minute drive north of Harrisburg and you can hop on a portion of the famous Appalachian Trail. The Hawk Rock hike is a 2.7-mile in/out journey with some steep and rocky terrain. Bring your camera because the payoff is a breathtaking vista of Susquehanna River valley.
Take a bike ride around town or blaze a mountain biking trail. Harrisburg’s Capital Area Greenbelt is a 20-mile path that can be tackled as a whole or in shorter rides.
Paxtang Parkway is a 2.8-mile roundtrip easy ride with a few off-road trails for mountain biking that take you deeper into the oasis feel of the Greenbelt then bring you right back onto the Parkway.
The breezy 3.9-mile section in Riverfront Park offers scenic views of the Susquehanna River and lots of art, culture, and gardens to see along the way. You can start anywhere between Shipoke and the Jewish Community Center, and there’re lots of places to stop for lunch in Harrisburg before heading back to the start.
Add a little splash to your getaway with a kayaking adventure on the Susquehanna River, whose calm waters are ideal for kayaks and canoes. And you can’t beat the 360-degree views of nature and the Harrisburg city skyline! You can even paddle up to one of the river’s primitive islands for a rustic picnic. Blue Mountain Outfitters can get you set with boat rentals, a detailed trip plan, and a shuttle back to your car or to a launch site. Try the 3- to 5-hour, 8-mile paddle from Duncannon to their shop in Marysville.
For timid travelers who are semi-outdoorsy, opt for a peaceful creek course. Cocoa Kayak Rentals of Hershey provides guided and unguided floats along the Swatara Creek that’s gentle, scenic, and tree-lined with an average depth of 1-3 feet, making it perfect for families and novices.
Looking for places to fish? Let us throw you a line! The Susquehanna River’s calm, shallow waters are ideal for catching smallies (smallmouth bass), catfish, walleyes, and muskies. You can cast a line from the banks at Fort Hunter Park, Harrisburg’s City Island, or just outside the city in New Cumberland, Duncannon, and York Haven. Koinonia Fishing Guide Service is an excellent resource for those looking to charter a fishing trip on the Susquehanna. North of Harrisburg, Little Buffalo State Park offers year-round fishing and boating its 88-acre Holman Lake.
Before you bait your hook, you’ll need to have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license (age 16 and up). Visit the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission for details on how and where to obtain a 1-day or 3-day Tourist License.