Free Things to Do in Cumberland Valley

Laurel Lake

Some of the best things in the Valley are free! Enjoy these free activities with the whole family in Cumberland Valley PA.

Free Historical Attractions
  • U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center - This primary facility for U.S. Army research is also home to the world's largest collection of Civil War photographs and over 15 million military items.
  • Army Heritage Trail - The outdoor interpretive mile-long trail, features a massive Huey helicopter and full-scale exhibits from the Revolutionary War through modern times.
  • Cumberland County Historical Society - This museum breathes life into the products and people that have shaped the Cumberland Valley over the past 250 years.
  • Union Fire Company No. 1 Museum - Historical museum of the oldest, continuously operating volunteer fire company in Pennsylvania.
  • Mechanicsburg Museum Association - The museum collects items of Mechanicsburg history and presents educational programs, exhibits and restored antiques. Historic buildings include The Passenger Station, The Stationmaster's House, The Frankeberger Tavern, Freight Station and the Union Church.
  • Rolls Royce Museum - Restored and preserved Rolls Royce and Bentley automobiles are researched and on display.
Free Outdoor Adventure
  • Pine Grove Furnace State Park - Two lakes allow for swimming and fishing, the Pole Steeple Trail overlooks the whole park. This state park is also home to the Appalachian Trail Museum, Ironmaster's Mansion and the midway point of the A.T.
  • Kings Gap Environmental Education Center - Well known for the four-mile road that winds through its 2,531 acres to the historic stone mansion atop South Mountain. Kings Gap features educational programming, retreats, mansion, garden and beautiful hiking trails.
  • Colonel Denning State Park - This state park features a lakeside beach for summer relaxing. A rocky climb leads to a 180-degree view of the Valley and is an outstanding fall hawk migration lookout.
  • Cumberland Valley Rail Trail - Once a stretch of railroad tracks, the 11-mile Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, from Shippensburg to Newville, features a two-tread trail for equestrians and hikers/bikers. The trail now includes interpretive history and agriculture signage telling the story of the area.
  • Susquehanna River Birding & Wildlife Trail - Use the interactive, online trail guide for a list of birding and wildlife sites available, most locations in the guide are free. 
  • Sunset Rocks Trail - Beautiful view of the Valley and keep an eye out for ruins of a top-secret WWII POW camp.
  • Appalachian Trail - This famous trail runs right through Cumberland Valley, the midway point is located in the area and hikers stop and honor tradition by eating a half-gallon of ice cream in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Start your journey with the suggested daytrips.
  • Self-Guided Walking Tours - Take a stroll around one of the charming downtowns that make up the Cumberland Valley. The historic districts of Boiling Springs, Carlisle, Mechanicsburg and Shippensburg are registered on the National Register of Historic Places. 
  • Children's Lake - Charming and scenic seven-acre, man-made lake with perfectly clear water that literally bubbles. The lake features boating, fishing, biking, picnic areas and walking trails.
  • Adams-Ricci Community Park - 82-acre park including a massive Imagination Station children's play structure, access to the Conodoguinet Creek, sports fields, batting cages, trails, and a Butterfly Garden.
Free Arts & Entertainment
  • The Trout Gallery - Permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art and changing exhibits.
  • Village Artisans Gallery "Artist in Action" - On select Saturday afternoons stop by and watch artists first-hand create their works of art.
Free Annual Events

Many Cumberland Valley events for you and your family are free of charge. Find fun and affordable weekend plans on the Official Cumberland Valley Events Calendar.