Local Family Activities That Won’t Break the Bank


Looking for some fun family activity ideas around Central PA? If so, the Harrisburg region is full of parks, museums and other kid-focused amusements that won’t break the bank. Fire up your car’s GPS and head out to some of these great locations!


Hershey’s Chocolate World

Hershey Park is terrific, but it’s also expensive. You can go to Hershey’s Chocolate World for free, as long as you stick to the Chocolate Tour. Pile into a family-sized gondola and let Hershey’s take you on a magical journey to discover how their chocolate is made. Kids will like the singing cows, but they’ll love the free piece of chocolate you get after the ride!

City Island

Harrisburg offers many engaging, low-priced activities on this mile-long island on the Susquehanna River. The playground provides hours of enjoyment for kids with big imaginations. You can bring bikes and ride around the island, passing such landmarks as the Harrisburg Senators’ stadium and the boat dock.

If you have a couple bucks to spare, your kids will adore riding the City Island carousel or the railroad, which takes you around the perimeter of the island. Play a couple games at the arcade to top off a day of mostly free family activities!

Wildwood Park

One of the Harrisburg area’s most beautiful and largest parks, Wildwood Park has loads of things to explore, including:

  • Lake
  • Nature Center
  • Trails

The park also hosts a range of family outdoor activities, many of them available for free when you sign up in advance. Recent options include a preschool story time and a flower walk.

Italian Lake

During the summer, come to Harrisburg’s Italian Lake to enjoy a free concert. Walk your family around the park grounds before the music starts, visiting the fountain and the Japanese-style bridge. If you bring a blanket, you can picnic while you listen to the concert, allowing you to doze afterward while the kids run around.

Take a Factory Tour in York, PA

York County is home to a wide range of companies, from Harley Davidson to Martin’s Potato Chips. Many of the factories offer free or low-priced tours. Your kids will love seeing how all the different products are made — and some even hand out a tasty sample at the end!

Whatever type of family activities you enjoy, you can find them for the right price in Central PA. Enjoy your time with your kids while you help them learn something, too!