Summer activities are endless -- and sometimes expensive. The price of summer fun doesn't have to add up in Cumberland Valley. Soak in the long nights and hot days with our list of things to do that are big on experience and low on cost.
1. Attend An Event
Cumberland Valley is bursting with special events and festivals. Many events are free to enter, while others may charge a nominal fee. Here are some summer highlights.
- June 15, 2022: Jubilee Day in Mechanicsburg
- June 16-17, 2023: Iron Bridge Music Festival, New Cumberland
- June 23-July 3, 2023: Carlisle Summerfair
- July 8, 2023: Bluegrass on the Grass, Dickinson Campus, Carlisle
- July 24-28, 2023: Shippensburg Community Fair
- August 15-19, 2023: Cumberland Ag Expo, Newville
- August 26, 2023: Shippensburg Corn Festival
2. Take A Hike
If you have a backpack, sturdy shoes and a water bottle, you're ready to hike in Cumberland Valley! Our trails vary in length and difficulty, making it easy to find a hike suited for you. Plus, parking and entrance is free at all hiking locations in the Valley.
3. Sprinkle On Some Fun
Cumberland Valley is a dream destination for ice cream lovers, and there are plenty of places to find this cooling treat! Sign up for the FREE Cumberland Valley Ice Cream Trail digital passport and indulge in every conceivable ice cream concoction as you sprinkle in some stops on your next visit. The passport is valid from May 18, 2023 through September 5, 2023.
4. Curate Your Instagram
The Cumberland Valley Photo Trail is a collection of public art, historic landmarks and beautiful natural backdrops perfect for your next Insta post. Take a photo of the fam, yourself or the scenery, and fill your camera roll with Cumberland Valley memories.
5. Make A Splash
Cumberland Valley is home to a number of streams and lakes that lend themselves to summer fun. Bring your boat, kayak, canoe, or tube and get out on the water. If you don't have your own, Creekside at Liberty Forge offers an inexpensive tube rental service. *Please be sure to abide by the laws for boater registration, launch permitting, and safety requirements. Get more information.
Anglers have a number of opportunities to fish and fly-fish in the Valley. Whether you're reeling in sunfish, panfish, bass, or trout, you'll be sure to catch a bucket of smiles. *Please be sure to abide by the laws for fishing registration and catch-and-release streams. Find more information.
On hot days take a dip in our state parks' lakes or local swimming pools. All you'll need is a suit and a towel to soak in the summer rays. If you have little ones, try the splash pads at LeTort Park or Middlesex Township Park. All parks in Cumberland Valley offer free admission. Many local swimming pools offer non-resident day rates.
6. Pick a Quart of Joy
Our local farms offer rich seasonal bounty and reasonably priced u-pick opportunities. Strawberry season may have passed, but you might still catch u-pick blackberry, blueberry, and herb fields. For a picture-perfect opportunity, visit a u-pick flower field and take home a stunning bouquet.
7. Shake Up Your Fitness Routine
Take some time away from the gym this summer and enjoy a change of scenery. Visit the one-mile Army Heritage Trail, the two-mile LeTort Springs Nature Trail, or the 2-mile Vincent DiFilippo Nature Preserve, where you'll find great opportunities for jogging or scenic evening strolls.
8. Feel the Beat
The music is always on in the Valley. Whether you're catching an acoustic set at a local brewery, attending a festival or catching an act in the park, there are plenty of free opportunities to feel the beat. Check the event calendar for more.
9. Plan A Picnic
No reservations are needed for the best seat! Take advantage of the summer weather and plan a picnic lunch or dinner! Grab a blanket and pick up your favorite take-out, or visit a local farmer's market or farm stand to purchase locally-grown produce.
10. Take A Swing
Summer nights are perfect for a round of mini-golf. Grab your friends and engage in some friendly competition - loser buys ice cream! Find courses at Rich Valley Golf, the Carlisle Sports Emporium, Liberty Forge, Trindle Bowl and City Island.
For a new adventure, try one of the Valley's 10 Disc Golf courses.
11. Catch A Movie Under the Stars
Enjoy a double (or triple on the holidays) feature at Cumberland Drive-In. Since 1952 this theatre has been showing blockbuster hits all summer long. Grab the popcorn, get comfy in your folding chair, and enjoy a movie under the stars.
12. Uncover Local History
Cumberland Valley served as the Great Road West, and the people that traveled through left their mark on the Valley through their interests. Find a quirky and unexpected blend of by-donation museums covering the Appalachian Trail, Cumberland Valley Railroad and Conrail, Rolls Royce & Bentley motor cars, fashion through the ages, fly fishing, and more. Or, download a free self-guided tour and explore our communities by foot or car.
If you brought your bike, pedal the 13-mile Cumberland Valley Rail Trail and stop to read the markers depicting agricultural and Civil War heritage. The 2-mile LeTort Spring Nature Trail has several markers depicting the stream's impact on Carlisle's development, industry, and quality of life.
The U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center is a not-to-be-missed, free location offering an indoor museum with interactive exhibits and a one-mile outdoor trail featuring full-sized exhibits.