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Beer Trails, Music Festivals and More: Why This PA Spot Is Now a Summer Vacation Destination

Courtesy of Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau

Summer is a magical time. The days are longer, the weather’s warmer and the possibilities feel endless. It’s why the season is the perfect time to explore outside Philadelphia city limits. If you’re looking for a summer getaway, look no further than Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania, which has plenty of opportunities to explore the outdoors, savor local flavor and celebrate seasonal festivals.

In Cumberland Valley, your perfect weekend is waiting for you, so here are some suggestions to create lasting memories during your trip and take in all the scenic beauty of the area. Better yet, Cumberland Valley is only a short two-hour drive from Philadelphia, meaning that you can get in the car, hit the highway and start your adventure through its charming small towns by lunchtime.

Celebrate at a Summer Festival in Cumberland Valley

Courtesy of Cumberland Valley Visitor’s Bureau

Cumberland Valley hosts a number of free and fun festivals throughout the summer months. At Kings Gap Environmental Education Center in Carlisle, Music on the Mountain brings summer concerts ranging from bluegrass to classic rock on the first Sunday of every month from June to September. Kings Gap is a great spot for hiking too, so make a day of it on its 25 miles of trails, grab a bite to eat at the festival’s on-site food trucks or enjoy ice cream from the Kings Gap General Store located at the park’s entrance.

Elsewhere, in Boiling Springs, the 2nd Annual Fly Fishing and Outdoor Festival returns in mid-August to celebrate all things outdoors. Over two days, you’ll find live music, giveaways, and educational seminars. If you want to stay for both days, Allenberry Resort is a great choice for lodging — it’s long been a local- and visitor-favorite and is itself a great site for some fly-fishing.

Last but not least, the Shippensburg Corn Festival in late August brings together more than 250 crafters, vendors and corn-centric food merchants. Bring the whole family and pick a favorite in the corn-eating contest, or gaze in wonder at the antique cars on display throughout the day. After a long day under the sun, head to The Inside Scoop, where you can choose from 20 ice cream flavors. The shop is part of the Cumberland Valley Ice Cream Trail, so download the free digital passport and your scoops can earn you prizes.

Take a Hike

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When was the last time you saw a raptor? Carlisle’s Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch is known for having one of the largest raptor concentrations in America. Mid-August is the best time to begin spotting these stunning birds of prey. The rock outcrop at the top of Blue Mountain also offers panoramic vistas of Cumberland Valley.

Courtesy of Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau

Just a 10-minute drive away is the 59-acre Opossum Lake. There are plenty of opportunities to snap a pic with scenic lake views as you take an easy 4-mile hike around the lake’s perimeter. The lake itself is also a great spot for bird watching — more than 140 species have been spotted. For further scenic views, White Rocks Trail in Boiling Springs is a more challenging hike that intersects with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and leads to a view of the vast valley below. It’s one of the many great overlooks you’ll find during a Cumberland Valley hike.

Courtesy of Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau

After working up a sweat, head over to the The Winery at The Long Shot Farm minutes from downtown Carlisle to sample more than 10 wines made entirely onsite, or sample a beer from several local breweries. Purchase a glass or bottle and relax while sitting on the deck which overlooks a large pond and vineyards and offers amazing views of the North Mountain. Inside, the cozy tasting room is warm and inviting.

Meanwhile, in Shippensburg, check out the beginning of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, which features 13 miles of hiking along the Cumberland Valley Railroad Corridor. Be sure not to miss the nearby Cumberland Valley Railroad Museum, spotlighting artifacts from Cumberland Valley area railroads and how they shaped the region.

And if you’d like to mix in some fun with your hiking, the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail is the perfect pairing. With more than 25 breweries, wineries, and distilleries spread across Cumberland Valley, you can discover a new favorite craft beverage location during your weekend adventure.

Over in Mechanicsburg, you can create your own mini-trail by taking a mile-long jaunt around the Vincent DiFilippo Nature Preserve full of wildflowers and bird species. After that, head to Mellow Mink Brewing, which allows outside food, so you can bring in a bite from one of the great downtown restaurants. Be sure to also stop by Lovedraft’s Brewing Co., which hosts local live music in an adults-only setting. Before you leave, check out Ever Grain Brewing Co. in nearby Camp Hill (try the Joose Juicy IPA).

Check Out the Downtown Delights

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Cumberland Valley’s towns are as gorgeous as the outdoors that surround them. In order to see them properly, you should try to hit a little bit of everything. In Carlisle, that means grabbing a souvenir at Whistlestop Bookshop, trying on the latest fashion at The Clothesvine, or making something of your own at Create-a-Palooza. Carlisle is also home to many great restaurants — grab a bite to eat at 1794 Whiskey Rebellion, which was named for the early American rebellion that President George Washington quelled by leading a group of militiamen at Carlisle Barracks, or continue your Cumberland Valley Beer Trail travels at Desperate Times Brewing.

Courtesy of Cumberland Valley Visitor’s Bureau

Over in Mechanicsburg, shopping is the name of the game, as its Market and Main streets are full of knick-knacks waiting for you to discover. On Market Street, Civil War and More is a unique store with historic merchandise and knowledgeable staff, while RecordSmith has a vast collection of vinyl and CDs to add to your collection. Be sure not to miss The Rosemary House, one of America’s oldest herb shops, and Glitz Soap Co. for small-batch soaps and soap bars and beauty products.

Courtesy of Cumberland Valley Visitor’s Bureau

In Camp Hill, women-run boutiques are the spotlight — highlights include shopping for tea at One Good Woman, jewelry at Meeka Fine Jewelry, home décor and upcycled furniture at Live in Color Boutique and the latest clothing styles from Little Black Dress. To satisfy your appetite after some shopping, get a cupcake or pastry at Pennsylvania Bakery or choose from 20 flavors of French macarons at Sweet Velvet Macarons — or pick up delicious handmade confections at nearby Cocoa Creek Chocolates. For something more substantial, grab a sandwich and a cup of coffee at Cornerstone Coffeehouse.

While exploring Cumberland Valley’s towns, don’t forget to follow the Cumberland Valley Photo Trail to find some hidden gems and fully experience the area’s unique locations. Share your images using #FoundItinCV to share everything you discover during your travels.

For more information about planning your Weekend Easy getaway to Cumberland Valley, click here.