Free Things to Do in Cumberland Valley

Some of the best things in the Valley are free! From historical attractions and abundant outdoor activities to arts and entertainment, cost-conscious travelers can find plenty of free things to do in Cumberland Valley. 

Read more about suggestions for an Inexpensive Weekend Getaway in Cumberland Valley.


Free Historical Attractions

You'll find insightful glimpses of the past with a visit to one or more of Cumberland Valley's unique museums. From the story of the Appalachian Trail and its thru-hikers to the history of railroads in Cumberland Valley – and everything in between – you can interact with the past in new ways during your historical explorations. View a complete list of historical attractions in Cumberland Valley.

TIP: Some of these locations have limited hours or are open seasonally. Please check the hours of operation before planning a visit. 

U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center / USAHEC

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) is the premier facility for historical research on U.S. Army history and is dedicated to "Telling the Army Soldier at a time." The expansive campus includes the Visitor and Education Center, the U.S. Army War College Library, the U.S.... Read More 

Army Heritage Trail at USAHEC

The one-mile Army Heritage Trail is a self-guided, outdoor interactive trail loop, highlighted by a Huey helicopter and M-18 Tank Destroyer (nicknamed the "Hellcat") perched alongside Interstate 81. Walk along the trail, which interprets the history of the U.S. Army and discover full-scale exhibits... Read More 

Cumberland County Historical Society

Visit the Cumberland County Historical Society (CCHS), a premier history and education center, dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting the county‚Äôs history. The Society maintains a library, museum, photo archives, education center, museum shop and the Two Mile House on Walnut Bottom... Read More 

Appalachian Trail Museum

The Appalachian Trail Museum is the only museum in the country dedicated to hiking. It portrays and preserves the history and the physical, emotional and spiritual human experiences of the Appalachian Trail (A.T). Exhibits are devoted to early founders of the trail - Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery,... Read More 

Cumberland Valley Railroad Museum @ Shippensburg Station

The recently-opened Cumberland Valley Railroad Museum features artifacts representing the histories of the Cumberland Valley, Penn Central, and Conrail Railroads and exhibits that depict the ways in which these railroads affected the region. The museum is located inside a 1956 Penn Central 50-foot... Read More 

Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University

Established in 1980, the Shippensburg University Fashion Archives and Museum maintains, preserves, and exhibits apparel and accessories ranging from the 18th-century to the present. Its purpose is to enhance our understanding of society through the study of dress. The facility houses 35,000 to... Read More 

Mechanicsburg Museum Association

The Mechanicsburg Museum preserves four 1800s buildings from the Cumberland Valley Railroad, a log tavern that predates Mechanicsburg, and a collection of items and records important to Mechanicsburg's history and heritage. The association preserves the 1899 Washington Street Station, the 1866... Read More 

Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum

The Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum preserves the history and rich fly fishing heritage of Pennsylvania. The Museum has also completed many oral histories, maintains a research library containing many fly fishing books and reference materials, and hosts a number of yearly events. Read More 

Shippensburg Historical Society

The Shippensburg Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the town's history and heritage and seeks to generate interest in Shippensburg's past by providing historical information to the public. The museum contains a library of local books, photographs, maps, clothing, artifacts and more.... Read More 

Free Outdoor Adventure

Cumberland Valley's three state parks, two state forests, scenic waterways, and 200 miles of trails are all free to explore at your leisure. Challenge yourself to a difficult hike, take a leisurely stroll, seek out breathtaking views, or float along a creek. Your free outdoor adventure awaits. View a complete list of outdoor activities in Cumberland Valley.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Pine Grove Furnace State Park is located on 696 acres in Michaux State Forest. Activities include hiking, access to the Appalachian Trail Museum and midway point of the A.T., lakeside beaches at Laurel Lake and Fuller Lake, the Ironmaster's Mansion and more. Find details on all the things to see and... Read More 

Kings Gap Environmental Education Center

Kings Gap Environmental Education Center includes 2,531 acres to explore including 25 miles of trails, 3 day use areas, birding opportunities, biking trails and educational programming at the on-site mansion. Find more details on all the things to see and do at Kings Gap here. Weekend Stays at the... Read More 

Colonel Denning State Park

Colonel Denning State Park is located on 273 acres of woodland and offers a variety of hiking, biking, hunting and birding, as well as, boating and swimming at the 3.5-acre Doubling Gap Lake. Find more details on all the things to do at Colonel Denning State Park here. Read More 

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail

Wildlife viewers of all ages and experiences can hike, bike, walk, or horseback ride on the 13-mile Cumberland Valley Rail Trail that follows the abandoned Cumberland Valley railroad corridor from Shippensburg to Newville. Enjoy interpretative way-point signs on the agricultural and Civil War... Read More 

Opossum Lake

Opossum Lake is a 47-acre lake situated on a 274-acre commonwealth-owned recreation area. A dam that is located on Opossum Creek, a tributary of Conodoguinet Creek, creates the lake. Opossum Lake is very popular with outdoor recreation enthusiasts for hiking, boating, fishing and birdwatching. There... Read More 

Sunset Rocks Trail

Sunset Rocks Trail also known as Little Rocky Ridge is in the Michaux State Forest. This trail is one of the most popular hikes in the area because it offers great views and takes the hiker to the ruins of a top-secret World War II POW camp. It is very steep so watch your footing! If you feel up to... Read More 

Appalachian Trail

Cumberland Valley is home to 46 miles of the 2,189 famed Appalachian Trail. The Valley's section includes a 13-mile stretch that is the longest-flattest section of the entire trail. This portion of the trail allows for easy day hiking that the whole family can enjoy. Find area A.T. info, resources,... Read More 

Children's Lake

NOTE: Construction for a repair project at Children's Lake began in early April 2022 and the lake was drained in mid-September 2022. The expected completion date is spring/summer 2023. The scope of the project includes dam improvements (larger spillway, reconstructed embankments, and an upgraded... Read More 

Adams-Ricci Community Park

The park is 82 acres and includes baseball and soccer fields, tennis (3 lighted courts), basketball (2 full courts) volleyball (2 lighted courts), pickleball (4 courts), bocce ball (3 courts), a batting cage, food/vending, drinking fountain, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, pavilions, stage area, and... Read More 

Free Events

Many of Cumberland Valley's entertaining annual festivals and events are free to enjoy. With year-round options, you can pick your season and plan your getaway. Browse our events calendar to explore our unique collection of events for any passion.


Spring into action with the Cumberland Valley festivals and events highlighted below and start planning your ideal spring getaway with these fantastic trip ideas. Read More 


Foundry Day takes place annual the first Saturday in June along Children's Lake in Boiling Springs. Read More 


The winter air is cold but fun and adventure can still be found in Cumberland Valley. Read More 


The fall season in Cumberland Valley has no shortage of fun activities.  Read More 


Must-See in Cumberland Valley

Discover and explore all the possibilities