Escape to your own backyard this summer

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After some serious Netflix-and-chilling (no really) all winter, now that warmer temps are here, all we want to do is get out!

Escaping to your own backyard doesn’t mean just walking out the backdoor, although for some of us, that might be just the escape we need/can get.

We’re talking about rediscovering places you forgot, finding new local faves, or introducing the gang to your go-to spots around the city.

This list isn’t breaking any new ground. Consider this a reminder, a to-do list for the summer, or — if you are new to the area — this can be a showcase of just some of what there is to do in the greater Harrisburg area.

Let’s dig in.


Living in and around the city, we have more than a few museums to spend an afternoon.

From art to history, if you’re looking something to fit your niche, it’s probably behind a glass case or hanging on a wall somewhere not too far away.

Yes, you’re indoors, but you can reserve these for those days where everyone says “you know, it’s the humidity that gets ya.”

National Civil War Museum

Many don’t know this, but I was a history minor in college. I LOVE history.

Recently, while running around like a madman during Little Big Beer Fest, I thought about how long it had been since I was at the National Civil War Museum at Reservoir Park. Short answer: TOO LONG!

I hope to change that this summer. If you’re in the same boat as me, it’s time you go back, too.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania

File our own State Museum under places I haven’t been to in ages, too.

Back when Intern Jimi was “Little Jimi,” my dad used to take us here all the time. I can still remember being terrified of the Native American burial at the end of the wigwam. *shudder*

Now, I think I’m brave enough to keep my head up throughout the whole thing.

Plus, I hear on good authority from the boss that they have a fun and entertaining space for the kiddos, too.

Explore Mount Gretna

Mount Gretna is just a hop skip away and offers a full day of activities.

I already know I’ll be there one time to see-off friends as they leave for Paris so I hope to parlay that into a full day of romping around.

Your Agenda

Float and kayak

I’m not sure if I want to admit this, but last year was the first time I did a float on the Yellow Breeches.

I know it’s a pretty regular activity for a lot of people during the summer, so last year I jumped at the chance when my friends wanted to go.

We did Yellow Breeches, which seems like the most popular route. We got in at Messiah College and were on the water for about two hours.

This year, I hope to not only at least get one float in, but want to rent a few kayaks and give that a try as well.

Grab some sunscreen, a few friends, your tube, and hit the water. Oh, don’t forget to grab some sort of secure water-safe shoes. It gets pretty rocky at points.

Check out this handy map for even more water trails!

Movies under the stars

We have a few solid options when looking to enjoy a movie al fresco.

Midtown Cinema

They’re back!

A Midtown summer staple, Midtown Cinema’s outdoor movies in partnership with Friends of Midtown feature family-friendly shows in their parking lot for FREE!

Admittedly, I’ve only been to one, but I’m definitely eyeing up the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles showing July 26.

If you go:

Harr’s Drive-In

Harr’s Drive-In is where you go to see the new flicks that are fresh out of Hollywood from the comfort of your car.

Every Friday through Sunday during the summer, you can enjoy two showings starting around 9 p.m. The first showing is usually more kid-friendly, while the second falls into the PG-13 category.

It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve been to the drive-in, and that needs to change. I’ll probably round up my gang of friends to hit up Big Bottom Brewery for pizza and beer beforehand, or if I ever find that elusive date, Greystone Brew House it is!

If you go:

  • Bring cash! – They ONLY accept cash at the door and at the snack bar
  • Bring snacks! – Yes, you can bring your own snacks to Harr’s
  • Bring your own radio! – You can also rent one at their snack bar

Parks & Rec!

We’re lucky in this area that we can both enjoy city living but also take short drives to get out of the hustle and bustle and into the open air.

I want to hit up the overlook at Negley Park, grill up some burgers at Rupley Park, and find another quiet place to read a book.

Beyond that, of course, a walk along Riverfront Park is always beautiful, Creekview Park has plenty to offer the kids, and Wildwood Park is ideal for a long walk on a sunny afternoon.

There is SO much to do around here, and this is just the start. I hope this list for exploring our backyard sparked some ideas and you’re already in your group text making plans to get out there and enjoy your summer.

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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