State & Local Parks

The Hershey Harrisburg Region is home to lush local and state parks that offer no-cost scenic sights and outdoor activity for the entire family. Check out our list of top spots based on the type of adventure you’re seeking!


Top Parks for Scenic Vistas and Picnics

Enjoy fresh air, beautiful views and a good old-fashioned picnic meal at these sate and local parks!

Hawk Rock 

This moderately difficult hike along the Appalachian Trail offers an incredible scenic payoff from the summit! Enjoy the wildflowers along the way with fellow day hikers and those through hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

Hawk Rock Overlook State and Local Parks

Fort Hunter State and Local Parks

Fort Hunter 

Spectacularly located on a bluff overlooking the Susquehanna and Blue Mountain region, Fort Hunter Park includes walking trails, two picnic pavilions, and river overlooks with seating allowing guests to enjoy the scenic view. The park offers a variety of programs and festivals throughout the year, and the mansion is open seasonally for guided tours.

Italian Lake 

In this city park located in Uptown Harrisburg, the lake is surrounded by antique-style streetlights, textured walkways, and formal gardens maintained in the Italian Renaissance-style. It’s a beautiful setting for a mid-day stroll or picnic.

Italian Lake State and Local Parks

Fowler’s Hollow State Park 

This park serves as the trailhead for a variety of hiking trails in the Tuscarora State Forest, and provides seasonal trout fishing and picnicking with picnic tables and a limited number of grills in a wooded setting. A picnic pavilion can also be reserved in advance, or is free on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Top Parks for Exercise

Get your trek on and your heart rate up at these parks and trails!

Little Buffalo State Park 

Hike the trails and fish and boat in the large lake at Little Buffalo State Park. In the summer, there is also a pool for swimming and splashing. Additionally, the park offers a wide variety of environmental education and recreation programs throughout the year.

Little Buffalo State Park Local and State Parks

Wildwood Park State and Local Parks


Tucked away on the outskirts of Harrisburg, Wildwood Park provides wooded trails and a boardwalk for running, walking and biking. While there, be sure to check out the adjacent Olewine Nature Center to learn all about the plants and animals you may spot on the trails.

Detweiler Park

This park offers 400 acres and 7 miles of trails winding through various habitats. Deer are frequently seen, as well as a wide variety of birds including turkey, hawks, woodpeckers, and bluebirds.

Top Parks for the Kids

Nurture a love of nature and fun by checking out these parks with your kids!

Shank Park & Bullfrog Valley Pond

Located in Hershey, Shank Park is a great family location with a playground, swings, pavilions and barbeque grills. The park provides numerous fields for team sports and also offers a Disc Golf course. Head down the adjacent, shaded Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail to Bullfrog Valley Pond to check out the ducks and other water birds.

Cocoa Castle

For younger children, this popular Hershey playground and recreational park features a sprawling “castle” with play features made from modern playground materials, as well as a picnicking area. It’s perfect for young kids who want to explore, climb and swing.

Ned Smith Center

The arts and the natural world come together at the Ned Smith Center featuring the works of its namesake naturalist, artist and writer. The surrounding land and trails offer many opportunities for natural discovery and play including a giant tree fort, climbing wall, sensory pathway, a water feature and more! 

Ned Smith Local and State Parks

Boyd Big Tree State and Local Parks

Boyd Big Tree Preserve

For older children interested in learning about nature, check out this conservation area, habitat of numerous species of large trees in the Blue Mountain area. Ideal for bird watching, these trees are home to many deep forest birds, especially warblers. During the summer and fall, the old field area of the park attracts field birds and many varieties of butterflies.

There’s an outdoor adventure for everyone, with a number of stroller and wheelchair friendly trails. Set your own speed, get outside and explore!