11 Summer Fun Activities Within An Easy Drive of Lancaster County

One thing that is so great about living in Lancaster County is that you are a short drive to fun attractions in neighboring counties! There are so many places to visit you could fill up every weekend trying something new. Some of these are my favorites, while others are on my bucket list. I would love to know your favorites!

Hershey Park – If you’re looking for the thrill of big roller coasters, you’ll find them here! There is something for everyone, from kiddie rides to water features to the calm spin of the Ferris Wheel. There are also special rides only found here like the Kissing Tower. Spend an adventurous day at the largest amusement park in PA. https://www.hersheypark.com

Hershey Chocolate World & Trolly Tour – By far one of my favorite places to visit anytime of the year (but especially around Christmas). Take a fun tour of the “chocolate factory” to find out how all this delicious Hershey chocolate is made. Get your free sample, shop for your favorites, then take the trolly tour to learn the fascinating story of Milton Hershey. https://www.chocolateworld.com

Mt Gretna Lake & Beach – Take this easy day trip “to the beach” and experience eight acres of lake and beach. Enjoy swimming, picnicking, playing in the sand, and sunbathing. There is a diving board and high dive, lifeguards on duty, a snack bar and bathhouse, and a picnic area. Enjoy this family owned and operated local attraction. https://mtgretnalake.com/

Mt Gretna Playhouse & Theater – this1927 open-air theater is only open during the summertime. It’s nestled in the quaint town of Mt Gretna among historic homes, winding walkways, and lush trees. Arrive early to explore the town, take in a show, and do not miss getting ice cream at the iconic Jigger Shop! (Mt Gretna is one of my favorites.) https://www.gretnatheatre.org

Historic Schaefferstown – tour the historic Alexander Schaeffer House and farm to learn history and attend festivals, such as the Early American Craft show. Visit the Brendle Museum and listen to lectures on German folklore, and stop by the old tavern across the street known as the Gemberling-Rex House. This town is steeped in history, and don’t miss lunch at the Franklin House Tavern! https://visitlebanonvalley.com/business/historic-schaefferstown

Blue Marsh Lake – want to hike, kayak, swim and picnic all in the same day? This 1,150-acre lake offers a great Day Use area with a bathhouse and snack bar, a beach and swim area, a picnic area, boating, and mountain bike and hiking trails. It’s the perfect outing for nature lovers. https://www.recreation.gov/camping/gateways/195

Plum Creek Farm Market & Creamery – Whether you’re hungry for a soft pretzel and ice cream, or a delicious homemade breakfast, you can find it here. Indoor and outdoor seating, a kid’s playground, and all kinds of fresh produce make this a stop on your summer list. (Great spot to hit after swimming at Blue Marsh!) https://www.plumcreekfarmmarket.com

Daniel Boone Homestead – If you’re a history buff, you will enjoy learning about the colonial lifestyle and times of Daniel Boone. Exhibits allow hands-on learning on this 579-acre farm. Tour the Boone house and six other eighteenth-century structures. Explore nature trails and follow an orienteering course if you like. And pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds. https://www.thedanielboonehomestead.org

Nolde Forest – Need to de-stress? Take a “forest bathing walk” among the giant trees of the 725-acre Nolde Forest. A network of trails wind you along streams and ponds, and through luscious trees and greenery. The Nolde Mansion is open for seasonal tours to learn about the family who once lived here. https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/NoldeForestEnvironmentalEducationCenter/Pages/default.aspx

Highpoint Scenic Vista & Recreation Area – Follow a gently sloping climb to a beautiful scenic view overlooking miles and miles of meadows and the winding Susquehanna River, as well as views of Wrightsville and Columbia. The wind is often blowing and can be a great place to fly a kite. Drone use is allowed and prepare for some great photos even if you’re just snapping a few with your phone! https://yorkcountypa.gov/678/Highpoint-Scenic-Vista-Recreation-Area

American Rail Bike Adventures – The Howard Tunnel Tour takes you seven miles on rail bikes where trains for Northern Central Railroad used to run. Pass through the tunnel that carried Abraham Lincoln’s coffin in 1865, cross bridges, and pass towns from the 1700s. The track is flat and the ride is 1 ½ to 2 hours long. https://americanrailbike.com/howard-tunnel/

Our area is rich with historical places, fun attractions, and beautiful nature areas. There is no shortage of adventures to be enjoyed in and around Lancaster County! If you have a favorite place, please comment so we can all add it to our list!

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