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 - Interactive exhibits tell the story of U.S. Army soldiers through their personal accounts, journals, and records -- from the Spanish-American War to current operations.
  • 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.
  • Appalachian Trail Museum - Located in a 200-year-old grist mill, the only museum in the country dedicated to hiking offers exhibits that portray the experiences along the Appalachian Trail. The ground floor features a children's version of the A.T. where children's can learn about each state along the trail.
  • 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 - A unique museum displaying restored and preserved Rolls Royce and Bentley motorcars -- from older models to modern versions -- that represent the design evolution and history of the company.
Free Outdoor Adventure
  • Pine Grove Furnace State Park - Two lakes allow for swimming and fishing and the Pole Steeple Trail provides a vigorous hiking opportunity that rewards you with views of 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, the mansion garden, and 20 miles of 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 includes interpretive history and agriculture signage telling the story of the area.
  • Opossum Lake - This 59-acre lake has it all, including a 4-mile hiking and mountain biking trail, boating, fishing and bird watching.
  • Sunset Rocks Trail - Enjoy beautiful views of the Valley from this trail and keep an eye out for ruins of a top-secret WWII POW camp.
  • Appalachian Trail - You can find the midway point of this famous trail in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, where hikers stop and honor tradition by eating a half-gallon of ice cream to celebrate their achievement. Start your journey with the suggested day trips.
  • 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 - The charming and scenic seven-acre, man-made lake features boating, fishing, biking, picnic areas, and walking trails. 
  • Adams-Ricci Community Park - The 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. Click here to see a complete list of Cumberland Valley's parks.
Free Arts & Entertainment
  • The Trout Gallery - This hidden gem houses Dickinson College's impressive collection of art -- from ancient through contemporary -- and features rotating exhibits. The gallery hosts special events throughout the year and a variety of children's programming.
  • Village Artisans Gallery The "Artist in Action" series allows guests to stop by (on select Saturday afternoons) and watch craftsmen first-hand create their works of art.
  • Dickinson College -- In addition to art exhibits at The Trout Gallery, the college hosts numerous musical performances -- including jazz, chamber music, and orchestral presentations -- as well as lectures that are free and open to the public.


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.