Looking for something to do with your kids? Pennsylvania has some great state parks and attractions all over the state to visit and explore. Whether it’s spring, summer, or fall, there are plenty of destinations to choose from to get your kids up, active, and out of the house for fun, memorable experiences.
Below, we’ll list our top 15 best outdoor kids activities in Pennsylvania.
1. Your First Mud Run
Are you looking to get out and be active with your kids? Look no further. At Your First Mud Run, we’ve created family-friendly mud runs that the whole family can enjoy! Our courses are entry-level and designed to be a fun afternoon activity that won’t take all day. Your kids will love taking on the obstacle course and getting dirty in the process! Contact us to learn about mud runs near you.
2. Hershey Park
What kid wouldn’t want to visit a candy-themed amusement park? Located just 25 minutes outside of Harrisburg, Hershey is the birthplace of many of your favorite chocolate brands, like KitKat and Reese’s. The park is split into three parts: an amusement park with rides and attractions, a water park, and Hershey’s Chocolate World. There’s plenty to do at the park, from roller coasters to carousel rides, to a diverse waterpark suitable for all ages. Your kids will love the opportunity to make their own candy bar too!
3. Pumpkin Patches
Carving pumpkins around Halloween is a staple American tradition. Heading out to a farm to pick pumpkins directly from the pumpkin patch is a memorable fall activity your kids will love. You’ll be able to snag some great pictures, and depending on where you go, there may be some other fall activities, like corn mazes, that you can experience!
4. Ohiopyle State Park
Located just over an hour from Pittsburgh is Ohiopyle State Park. Perched on the Youghiogheny River, this park has some great opportunities for you and your family to enjoy the great outdoors. It has some stunning views from bike and hiking trails, but the river itself may be the park’s best feature. The natural water slides at Meadow Run are fun for the whole family, and there are gentle parts of the river to go on a family rafting trip!
5. Sesame Place
If you have younger children, Sesame Place is a must and a day they’ll never forget. Located under an hour from Philadelphia, Sesame Place is a theme park and water park where your kids will be able to meet everyone from Elmo to Big Bird. There’s fun for the whole family at the park too, with rides and a water park that has attractions for everybody. In addition, your kids will love the opportunity to dine with friends like Bert and Ernie and Cookie Monster or see them on display in the parade.
6. Elk Country Visitors Center
Located under two hours from State College, the Elk Country Visitors Center is one of the best places to see wild elk in their natural habitat. There’s a variety of trails and viewing areas to see the herd of wild elk too, which will make this a great outdoor and learning experience for you and your kids.
7. Presque Isle State Park
Presque Isle State Park is a sandy peninsula located just off of Erie in Lake Erie. The isle has 13 different beaches, hiking trails, boat tours, fishing, and so much to do if you’re in the area. The area boasts a lot of fun for the whole family, especially from swimming in the lake, exploring the lighthouses on the isle, and experiencing the natural beauty of the peninsula.
8. Strasburg Rail Road
The next time you visit Lancaster County, we highly recommend you visit the Strasburg Rail Road. Located just 20 minutes from Lancaster proper, you and your family can experience an authentic steam train ride through the Lancaster countryside. In addition, your kids will get to see a life-size replica of Thomas the Tank Engine in addition to other steam trains on display.
9. Amos Herr Dream Park
Located just 20 minutes outside of Lancaster, Amos Herr Dream Park is a big playground space for your kids to enjoy. The park includes a kid-friendly zip line, climbing wall, slides, monkey bars, climbing nets, and so much more! Amos Herr Dream Park is a fun afternoon destination to get your kids out of the house.
10. Lake Tobias
If your kids love animals, Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is an awesome experience for the whole family. This interactive zoo is just a short half-hour drive from Harrisburg and boasts some incredible opportunities to get up close and personal with the animals. In addition to the petting zoo where your kids can feed the animals, there’s also a safari tour that’ll bring you up close to herds of wild animals from around the world.
11. Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
Taking your children to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire will transport them back to another time full of knights, queens, and castles. The Renaissance Faire is usually open to the public between August and October to experience and is full of fun activities for the whole family.
12. Swatara State Park
Swatara State Park is located under half an hour from Harrisburg. It’s a sprawling state park with over 3,520 acres of woodlands and fields to explore. Swatara State Park can be a great outdoor day for you and your family; the park has plenty of bike and walking trails, with plenty of natural beauty to experience along the way. From old log cabins to amazing waterfalls, this state park is great for a hike or even just a picnic.
13. Chambersburg Aquatic Center
If you’re looking for a fun summer activity to cool off on a hot day, the Chambersburg Aquatic Center is a great place to do so. Located under an hour south of Harrisburg, the aquatic center has everything you’ll want for a fun day at the pool. They have a lazy river, water slides, a toddler pool, and even a volleyball court and mini golf course that are included in the price of admission.
14. Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Pine Grove Furnace State Park is a fun year-round destination for families. Located under an hour from Harrisburg, the park is on the base of the Appalachian Trail with beautiful views, refreshing lakes to swim in, historic buildings to explore, and modern campgrounds. If you get to go in the fall around Halloween, you may get to experience the Fall Furnace Festival, which’ll let you see hundreds of jack-o-lanterns floating in Fuller Lake!
15. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
Located near Lancaster, PA, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is a fun outdoor farm that’s open from May thru November that boasts a huge amount of activities for kids. While they’re usually busiest in the fall for pick your own pumpkins and other farm products, they also have activities for the rest of the time they’re open. They have an award-winning corn maze, farm animals, hayrides, pedal karts, mazes, and so much more! You’ll be able to spend a whole day here easily, and your kids will have a blast jumping from one activity to the next.
Enjoy Outdoor Family Fun in Pennsylvania
These activities and many more like them are great ways to spend some time outside with your kids. No matter where you are in Pennsylvania, you’re never too far from a good outdoor kid-friendly activity that the whole family can enjoy.
At Your First Mud Run, we love seeing families take on our fun outdoor obstacle courses. If you’re interested in participating in one of our next events, or want more information about our mud runs, contact us today at (800) 563-0126 or send us a message on our contact page!