A Civil War-era cannon points out over the battlefields of Gettysburg. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rachel E. Rakoff, July 2014)
Experience the beauty of the Appalachians, the Susquehanna River and more in Cumberland Valley. The area’s diverse offerings range from excellent fishing holes and the Appalachian Trail to an island bustling with recreational opportunities. Cumberland Valley also offers a wide array of cultural and entertainment options including museums, art galleries, theaters, historic sites and sport venues. And if you’re looking to explore life outside the valley, other Pennsylvania hot spots like Hershey, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York and Gettysburg are nearby.
For more information on Cumberland Valley, check out the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau’s website at www.visitcumberlandvalley.com or call 888-513-5130. The following is merely a sampling of the cultural and recreational opportunities in Cumberland Valley.
The Appalachian Trail is public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. The trail, which is more than a 2,180 miles long, is in one of the most biodiverse units of the National Park System. Visit www.nps.gov/appa.
Experience fine art of all mediums at one of the many local galleries. Visit www.visitcumberlandvalley.com/things-to-do/arts/art-galleries.
Carlisle Quest is a walking puzzle in Carlisle created by the Cumberland Conservation Collaboration. All you need to play is a piece of paper, a pencil or crayon, your mind and your feet! After solving each clue, you’ll find an engraved image. When you collect rubbings of all nine images, the pieces combine to form a single picture. A geocaching variation of the quest is available as well. Visit www.cumberlandconservationcollaborative.org/carlisle-quest.
Carlisle Sports Emporium
Carlisle Sports Emporium in Camp Hill features indoor and outdoor go-kart tracks, two 18-hole miniature golf courses, a 7,000-square-foot laser tag arena, batting cages, a roller skating rink, a café, an arcade and an indoor rock climbing wall. Visit www.carlislesportsemporium.com.
City Island, in the middle of the Susquehanna River, has something for everyone. The 63-acre island features a miniature train, a carousel, miniature golf, arcade games, batting cages, beach volleyball courts, picnic pavilions, beach fun and more. The island is also home to the Harrisburg Senators minor league baseball team. Visit www.visitcumberlandvalley.com/listing/city-island/1385.
Climbnasium Inc. in Mechanicsburg is an indoor rock climbing facility. The facility features extensive bouldering areas, 40-foot top rope climbs, first-time instruction, group climbing and a youth climbing team. Visit www.climbnasium.net.
The Coliseum in Camp Hill has food, fun, drinks and entertainment. The complex includes a 12-lane bowling alley, a 10,000-square-foot arcade, a sports bar, a restaurant and more. Visit www.coliseumfun.com.
Anglers of all skill levels will enjoy Cumberland Valley’s creaks, streams and lakes. The area is particularly known for its fly-fishing locales. For a full list of fishing hot spots, visit www.visitcumberlandvalley.com/things-to-do/outdoor/fishing.
Gettysburg was the Civil War’s bloodiest battle and was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address. Gettysburg National Military Park offers programs for visitors of all ages, including free ranger-led hikes, walks and talks that explore key moments on the battlefield. The park is south of Cumberland County, less than an hour from Carlisle Barracks. Visit www.nps.gov/gett.
H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center
The H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University offers a wide range of cultural programming, including full-scale Broadway performances, comedians, symphonies, pop and rock performances, children and family shows, and internationally known speakers. Visit www.luhrscenter.com.
Take a cruise on an authentic stern-driven paddle wheel riverboat. The Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat, in Harrisburg, has themed dinner cruises, murder mystery cruises, tours and more. The Harrisburg Area Riverboat Society also operates the Susquehanna River School. This floating classroom experience teaches all ages about the history, ecology and environmental issues of the Susquehanna River and the region. Visit http://harrisburgriverboat.com.
From malls and major department stores to unique boutiques and antiques, there’s something for every taste and budget in Cumberland Valley. Visit www.visitcumberlandvalley.com/things-to-do/shop.
Looking to beat the heat? Cumberland Valley is home to pools, waterslides, lakeside beaches and more. Visit www.visitcumberlandvalley.com/things-to-do/outdoor/swimming.
U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center
All of the exhibits at the USAHEC are self-guided with in-depth displays, historical photographs and articles based on primary source research from the archives. Exhibits highlight the passage of the 13th Amendment, World War I, Vietnam and the war on terror. The Soldier Experience Gallery allows visitors to experience the U.S. Army through the eyes of the men and women who lived its history, in war and peace, from the Spanish American War to current operations in Afghanistan.
The Army Heritage Trail at Carlisle Barracks serves as the USAHEC’s outdoor museum. The trail highlights nearly every era of Army history with different exhibits and large artifacts. The immersive experience allows you to walk into each period represented. The trail also serves as a stage for living history presentations by historians serving as interpreters. Visit https://ahec.armywarcollege.edu.
West Shore Symphony Orchestra
West Shore Symphony Orchestra performs throughout the greater Harrisburg area. Visit http://westshoresymphony.org.
Whitaker Center for Science and Arts
The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg hosts live concerts, movies, and theater and ballet performances. And three floors of interactive, hands-on exhibits allow you to explore the sciences in new and fun ways. Visit www.whitakercenter.org.