Summer Bucket List: 18+ things to do this summer around Harrisburg

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Summer Bucket List | Things to do this summer around Harrisburg PA | Sara Bozich

What’s on your Summer Bucket List this year? Check out our picks for the top 18 things to do this summer.

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

My advice? Eat some good food, drink some good drinks, relax, plan a road trip, and soak up the warm weather.

Check out my top 20 picks to make the most of summer around Harrisburg:

1 | Get Grilling

R.G. Hummer Meat & Cheese – located at both the Broad Street and West Shore Farmers Markets – has everything you need for the grill. Whether you’re smoking prime rib on the Green Egg (ahem, my husband), making brisket burgers for the gang, or perfecting those ribeye grill marks, R.G. Hummer has beautiful, quality cuts of meat available. My rec: Also grab a couple of snack packs for the beach bag, and a cheese dip for afternoon Happy Hours.

2 | Mix Up a Summer Cocktail

The heat is on, and what better way to cool off than with some easy, refreshing cocktails on your patio — guests optional. Ranch Water is a southwest staple, and for good reason. The simple combination of blanco tequila and quality sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh citrus is the epitome of refreshment. In this recipe, I subbed Fresco (which I had on hand), but you can use your sparkling water of choice — Topo Chico is the traditional option. For a take on a skinny margarita, check out this recipe that uses Howie’s Spiked Lemonade in lieu of sugary sours mix. It’s easy and refreshing and lower in calories and sugar than what you’d find at a bar. We also love this Margarita-as-seltzer from Crook & Marker. Stay tuned (subscribe here) for some great vodka cocktails coming soon!

3 | Take a Road Trip

Make a plan, gas up the car, and hit the road this summer. One of the oft-mentioned benefits of living here is its proximity to so many big cities (Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., New York City), but we’re also close to great state parks and forests for camping, The Poconos, and beaches in New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Of course, you want to make sure you’re prepared before you head out — tuck that AAA card into your wallet. AAA’s Emergency Roadside Assistance is the club’s most popular program, and for good reason.

Not yet a member? Join AAA Central Penn and save 20% off a new membership, plus get an associate membership for a household member with code: SARA21.

4 | Indulge in the Ultimate Summer Dessert

One of summer’s most iconic treats is the S’more — the classic campfire treat layering graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow until melty and toasty. This year, sister stores Cocoa Creek Chocolates (Camp Hill) and Brittle Bark (Mechanicsburg) are celebrating the first two weeks of August with incredible Jumbo S’Mores. These massive beauties take this nostalgic treat to a whole new level with amazing flavors and toppings. Choose from Coffee Caramel, Bacon Caramel, Sea Salt Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Classic — then stuffed with marshmallow and hand-dipped in premium dark or milk chocolate.

These handmade sweets are available for a limited time only. Don’t miss out — pre-order through July 31 via phone (717-697-6950) or email. Pick-up between Aug. 3-14 (Aug. 10 is National S’mores Day!), and check out both shops’ array of fabulous truffles, caramels, brittles, chocolates, and artisan treats.

  • Cocoa Creek Chocolates – 18 S. 18th St., Camp Hill
  • Brittle Bark – 50 W. Main St., Mechanicsburg

5 | Two Words: Iced Coffees

Cornerstone Coffeehouse serves up featured seasonal bevs every month — in addition to an extensive list of classic coffee, espresso, and tea drinks (smoothies, milkshakes … I could go on). I highly recommend grabbing whatever sounds best to you and enjoying it on Cornerstone’s outside seating — including its covered deck — alongside a salad (I’m currently obsessed with the Brussels Sprouts + Blueberry Salad) or sandwich. Pro tip: grab a “Healthy Breakfast Cookie” to stash in your bag for the next morning. A must for any Summer Bucket List!

6 | Update Your Summer Kicks

It’s time to toss those $2 flip-flops and invest in your feet — they carry you everywhere! Stop by Plum Bottom to shop fun, beachy slides and travel-perfect totes for your vacation.

I recently picked up neutral leather slides in black and tan, which are perfect to elevate my summer looks without elevating me. However, I also recently splurged in a pair of fun platform sandals for those occasions that call for that hard-to-attain combo of comfort and height. Swipe through the photos above to see some of the cool sandals that Plum Bottom has in stock now.

Plum Bottom has two locations:

  • Shoppes at Susquehanna Marketplace, Harrisburg
  • Neighbors & Smith, downtown Camp Hill

7 | Go to an Outdoor Concert

Live music is back! Add an outdoor concert (or four) to your summer bucket list. Harrisburg University Presents the Summer Concert Series at Riverfront Park with four major recording artists, including Young The Giant on Aug. 27, Jason Isbell on Aug. 28, Cage The Elephant on Sept. 23, and PORTUGAL. The Man on Sept. 25.

All four of these concerts are sure to light up downtown Harrisburg. Plan an evening in the city with dinner and drinks before or after! Stay tuned (subscribe) here for concert ticket giveaways coming soon!

8 | Enjoy a Summer Picnic

Bump a trip to Talking Breads to the top of your list. And while bread (and other delicious local treats) are available most days, be sure to make a date for an outdoor picnic with one of Talking Breads picnic boxes and sandwiches. Set up outside at tables, under the new timber-framed pavilions, or make your own picnic spot nearly anywhere on their farm. Of course, don’t sleep on the grazing boards, which are loaded with slices of house-baked bread, local cheese, meats, and more.

9 | Get to a Ball Game

In our private Facebook group, we asked folks what local place is on their own summer bucket list each year, and several people mentioned Harrisburg Senators Baseball. If you’re new to the area, a night at FNB Field on City Island is a rite of passage and is a great family activity. Plus, on AAA Tuesday, outfield and box tickets are BOGO when you show your AAA Central Penn membership card.

10 | Refresh with Local Craft Beer

You don’t need your own backyard to enjoy this variety case from Lancaster Brewing Co. LBC’s Backyard 16-Pack is loaded with four different but equally refreshing local, seasonal brews, including a Mexican-style lager, a blood orange tart ale, a lemon-blueberry shandy, and a session IPA. Yuengling also has a new beer perfect for summer. Screaming Eagle is a mango pilsner (yes, you read all of that correctly), and it is flavor-forward. I like pairing this one with food, like shrimp tacos, chips and salsa, or veggie burgers.

11 | See an Outdoor Movie

There is something special about watching a movie outdoors. Thankfully, there are more than seven places where you can catch an outdoor flick this summer — from traditional drive-in theatres to community parks. Movies vary from family-friendly to date-worthy double-features. Pack up the lawn chairs and snacks, and check the list here.

12 | Explore Cumberland Valley’s Ice Cream Trail

Summer memories are made with pool days and ice cream cones. Revisit your youth — and make your family happy — as you explore ice cream shops throughout the area. Take it up a notch and sign-up for the FREE Cumberland Valley Ice Cream Trail passport, and explore more than 15 locations.

Sign-up here (no app download needed), and check off your visits as you go. Every five check-ins, you’ll be entered into a $10 gift card drawing.

Cumberland Valley Ice Cream Trail Passport fun runs through Labor Day.

13 | Update Your Decor

It’s time for a summer refresh, and that goes for your home, too. You’ll want to check out Live in Color Boutique, newly expanded and located in the lower level of Neighbors & Smith in downtown Camp Hill. Live in Color Boutique has loads of affordable locally handmade items, new home decor, and refinished furniture. Feel good purchasing sustainably and locally! They also have a variety of gifts and accessories. On a recent trip, I scored locally made oversized scrunchie and hair clips – also perfect for summer!

14 |  Don’t forget the self care

Whether your tresses need some TLC or your body does, I highly recommend Moxy Salon in Camp Hill. Located on the lower level of Neighbors & Smith in downtown Camp Hill (conveniently accessible from the parking lot), Moxy offers a range of hair care services, as well as skincare and wellness. I’ve been seeing Tara Cooper, Moxy’s in-house esthetician for a few months, and I just love her. She provides the best facials, and I even scored a preview of her new Anti-Aging Treatment that is set to launch this summer — stay tuned (subscribe here) for details! She also offers a terrific Tension Remedy Treatment perfect for anyone. Follow Moxy Salon on IG for more.

15 | Sip Local Wine in the Courtyard

Check out Cristiano Winery, located in downtown Mechanicsburg, and kick back during their Summer Music in the Courtyard Saturdays. The local winery is family-owned and veteran-operated, offering award-winning wines, cocktails, and wine slushies at their Mechanicsburg tasting room. Stop in for a wine tasting and a Smoke & Pickles charcuterie board. On Saturday evenings enjoy live music in their courtyard from local musicians.

16 | Try New-to-You RTDs

That’s “Ready to Drink” some bev jargon for y’all. Refreshing, sparkling, spiked — we have some favorites, and here are some go-to cans to try:

  • PRESS Seltzer – woman-founded and actually good-tasting. The best seltzer I’ve had, hands-down. (Bud Light Seltzer actually comes in second, no lie.)
  • Flying Embers Seltzer and Kombucha – these are good too. Both PRESS and Flying Embers excel in the “interesting flavor combo” department, which is always going to draw me in more than “peach” or “mango.” Not sorry, sorry. The Kombucha is good, too, really tasty — a much healthier soda sub.
  • Howie’s Spiked is *not* a seltzer, and that’s what makes it so good. For full flavor with decidedly less sugar (and no gross ingredients), Spiked Teas and Lemonades are a must. Bonus: check #2 for fun cocktail recipe.
  • Weekend Water is a spritzer, not a seltzer, but it is refreshing AF and so delicious. We’re basically obsessed with these cans (though I like to pour them into a stemless wine glass).
  • Bonus: How to elevate your seltzer

17 | Plan a Party

There is much to celebrate this summer, and if you’re going to go big, you may as well get professional help. We often order bulk BBQ from MoMo BBQ Co. They are incredibly easy to work with, and orders can be customized to meet your food needs!

The JDK Group Catering & Events offers everything you need no matter what you’re looking to plan. Bonus: Check out JDK at Home for a variety of smaller-scale party fun, family meals, and more.

18 | Celebrate PA Food Culture

PA Eats is a food blog with a dual purpose: elevate Pa. food culture and help to feed Pennsylvania’s food insecure. The blog – – is loaded with incredible statewide food content, from recipes and cooking how-tos, to features on Pennsylvania makers and producers. Through its unique partnership with Feeding PA, PA Eats supports food banks by providing nutritionist-led and cost-conscious recipes and guides that empower clients to create healthy meals for their families.

You can support PA Eats and its mission by becoming a member! Membership starts as low as $30 annually for individuals. Sign-up to become a Friend of PA Eats today.

Follow PA Eats on IG & FB.

And that’s our 18+ things to do this summer around Harrisburg! What’s on your summer bucket list this year?

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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