Guide to Local Parks and Playgrounds in South Central PA


Spring is here, which means it’s the time of year when we finally start venturing outside again. The weather is perfect for being outdoors, and when you have kiddos, that means discovering local parks and playgrounds in the area!

Parks and playgrounds are great for family outings. They’re FREE, which is always nice, and its a great outlet to let your kids get all that excess energy out, running around in the sunshine. Whether you want to fly some kites as a family, let your kids climb all over the playground, or make some new friends, they’re exactly what parents need for a fun weekend activity without needing to spend a lot of money or do much planning.

But what if you’re tired of the same old playground down the street, or you want to try something new? Maybe you’re new to South Central PA and want to know what’s available. Whatever your situation, we’ve got you covered! Read on to find out the best parks and playgrounds around.


READ: Guide to State and National Parks in South Central PA

Parks and Playgrounds in Cumberland County

  • Adams Ricci Community Park, Enola: This massive 82-acre park has SO much to do. There’s a huge playground, pickleball, tennis, volleyball, and bocce ball courts, a batting cage, horseshoe pits, and even a butterfly garden — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! They also recently added Panther Station, a play area just for kids ages four and under.
    Adams-Ricci Community Park
  • Adventure Park, Mechanicsburg: This incredible park is an inclusive, accessible park… meaning kids of all abilities can play together, side-by-side. They also have an indoor playground, outdoor fitness equipment, and a disc golf course for a full day of family fun.
    Adventure Park
  • Biddle Mission Park, Carlisle: Bring your swimsuits for this park! In addition to a playground, there are basketball and volleyball courts… and a spray pad, perfect for kids to have some watery fun on those hot Pennsylvania days!
    Biddle Mission Park
  • Butcher Tot Lot, Carlisle: This park has a great playground for younger kids; if you’re looking for a place for your toddlers to play without having to worry about fighting off big kids, stop here!
    Butcher Tot Lot
  • Creekview Park, Mechanicsburg: There are THREE different playgrounds here, as well as lots of other fun — walking trails, an area for sledding in the winter, and lots of courts for different sports.
    Creekview Park
  • Fairground Avenue Linear Park & Skate Spot, Carlisle: This park isn’t open yet, but it’s estimated to be opening in June of 2023! It will have a playground, including a sensory play area, and of course, a large skate park with elements for both beginners and advanced skaters.
    Fairground Avenue Skate Spot
  • Friendship Park, Mechanicsburg: Another inclusive, accessible playground is available here, for kids with all different abilities to play and have fun together. There’s also musical equipment, expression swings, and a “tot town” area for littles.
    Friendship Park
  • Hampden Park, Mechanicsburg: In addition to lots of different playing courts for various sports, there are two playgrounds here — one for older kids, and one for younger kiddos. There’s also a walking trail, and the park is located right next to the Hampden Township pool!
    Hampden Park
  • Heberlig-Palmer Park, Carlisle: This park offers much more than a playground and tot lot. There’s also a community garden, and a Born Learning Trail, a series of 10 learning activities based on the latest early childhood research, using fun and games.
    Heberlig-Palmer Park
  • Historic Iron Works Park, Boiling Springs: Located across from Children’s Lake, you can take your kids fishing at Yellow Breeches Creek, or to see the historic Carlisle Iron Works Furnace, built in 1760. You can also take a little stroll on the famous Appalachian Trail!
    Historic Iron Works Park
  • Lower Allen Community Park, Mechanicsburg: Set on 110 acres, this park has tons of activities beyond just a playground — basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball, horse shoe pitching, fishing, biking trails, and more! There’s also the Fun Fort, also called the Field of Dreams, which is inclusive and accessible to kids of all abilities. AND you can take your kids down the nature trail or to tour the butterfly garden. Finally, bring your four-legged friends, too — there’s a free dog park, too!
    Lower Allen Community Park
  • Memorial Park, Carlisle: In addition to two basketball courts and a playground, this park has a spray pad for fun in the water on those hot spring and summer days!
    Memorial Park
  • Renfrew Museum & Park, Waynesboro: Walk back in time with this 200-year old farmstead and museum, located on 107 acres. In addition to the museum, there are hiking trails and catch-and-release fly fishing.
    Renfrew Museum & Park
  • Shippensburg Memorial Park, Shippensburg: This memorial park contains bronze tablets at the entrance with the names of World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War veterans engraved onto them. There’s a Peace Garden, baseball and softball fields, a soccer field, basketball, tennis, volleyball, and pickleball courts, and a public swimming pool. And, of course, there are playgrounds!
    Shippensburg Memorial Park
  • Siebert Park, Camp Hill: Not only can your kids play on the playground here, there are running trails, an arboretum, and a public pool!
    Siebert Park
  • Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch, Carlisle: For kiddos who love seeing wildlife, this is the place to be! Located on Kittatinny Ridge, it’s the best place to spot bald and golden eagles, and the fall hawk migration
    Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch
  • Winding Hills Park, Mechanicsburg: Several playgrounds are situated around a round picnic shelter. The playgrounds feature an accessible ramp, sun shades, a maze, spray poles in the summer, and more!
    Winding Hills Park

Parks and Playgrounds in Dauphin County

  • Cocoa Castle, Derry Township: No visit to the Hershey area would be complete without a trip to this amazing play area! There are two playgrounds — one for bigger kids, and one for littles, so everyone can have fun.
    Cocoa Castle
  • Fairville Park, West Hanover Township: Let your kiddos inner circus stars come out here! In addition to a playground and gaga ball pit, there are zip lines and tightropes for your little thrill seekers to enjoy.
    Fairville Park
  • Founders Park, Hershey: This park not only has a playground and tons of athletic fields, but your kids can have fun running crazy in the large, open fields, too.
    Founders Park
  • Fort Hunter Mansion and Park, Harrisburg: Explore the historic Fort Hunter mansion, built on a bluff overlooking the Susquehanna River. There are ten historic buildings, two playgrounds, a non-motorized boat launch, and much more to see and do! You can also bring your dog with you on the walking trails or as you play on the open fields.
    Fort Hunter Mansion and Park
  • Gelder Park, Hummelstown: Not only is there a huge playground here, but there are also nature trails, a fitness walk, and athletic fields.
    Gelder Park
  • George Park, Lower Paxton Township: This park has numerous ball fields, an in-line hockey rink, and Possibility Place — an inclusive, accessible playground able to be enjoyed by children of all abilities.
    George Park
  • Hoffer Park, Middletown: This super fun playground has tons of themed equipment, like air traffic control towers, fire engines, and trains.
    Hoffer Park
  • Lenker Park, West Hanover Township: Lots of athletic courts and a fitness area with exercise equipment here, as well as two playgrounds for bigs and littles. There’s also a multi-purpose court available.
    Lenker Park
  • Lykens Glen Park, Lykens: Take in the beautiful Pennsylvania outdoors with hiking trails through the mountains and along Rattling Creek. There’s also a playground and a sand volleyball court for more fun.
    Lykens Glen Park
  • Oasis Playground, Swatara Township: This playground was created as part of a community partnership, and is a great place to check out for kids of all ages.
    Oasis Playground
  • Patriot Park, South Hanover Township: This unique playground overlooks Hersheypark. One side is themed like a pirate ship, with the other jungle-themed, making for fun imaginative play! There’s also a gaga ball pit that older kids will love.
    Patriot Park
  • Skyline Commons Park, West Hanover Township: This two-level park has two playgrounds, soccer fields, and walking trails. Make sure to stop by in the summer, when they show free movies!
    Skyline Commons Park
  • Wiconisco Creek Park, Millersburg: Enjoy the beautiful view of Berry Mountain and Wiconisco Creek as your kids play. There is a playground, a volleyball court, as well as walking trails, soccer and softball fields, and even archery targets!
    Wiconisco Creek Park

Parks and Playgrounds in Lancaster County

  • Amos Herr Park, Landisville: This brand new, reimagined park is inclusive and accessible for kids of all abilities. The Tot Lot includes teeny houses with itty bitty slides, and the larger playground has a huge barn with a twisting slide. There’s also spinning features, a climbing wall, and a zip line.
    Amos Herr Park
  • Daniel’s Den Playground, Lancaster: A fully accessible, inclusive playground, this playground welcomes all kids, of all abilities! There is a Tot Lot for younger kids, separate from the bigger playground, which features climbing walls, towers, tunnels, and water misters, for fun water play!
    parks and playgrounds
    Daniel’s Den Playground
  • Lititz Springs Park, Lititz: A cute little creek runs through this park, which has two playgrounds; the first has a brightly colored train theme, while the second is bigger, with monkey bars and slides. Because of the creek, there are often ducks here, which kids love — bring snacks to feed them! (Just remember… no bread!)
    Lititz Springs Park
  • Long’s Park, Lancaster: The old wooden playground has been replaced by a wheelchair-accessible new playground, with tons of climbing structures, zip lines, and more. There’s also a petting farm and a fitness trail.
    Long’s Park
  • Muddy Run Park, Holtwood: Located on a campground, there are community playgrounds, as well as a FREE splash pad kids can take advantage of whenever the weather gets hot!
    Muddy Run Park
  • Overlook Community Park, Manheim Township: This gigantic park has tons of walking trails and athletic fields, as well as fun for the WHOLE family. There’s a miniature golf course, an ice skating rink, a pool, multiple playgrounds — including one with an “interactive gaming system” — and a dog park, for your four-legged friends, too! There’s a skate park, too, so even your teenagers will have fun.
    Overlook Community Park
  • Rapho Community Park, Mount Joy: Lots of unique features on this playground! There’s a tot lot, a ninja course, climbing features, and much more.
    Rapho Community Park
  • Strasburg Jaycee Park, Strasburg: Good news for parents of kids who like to run off… this playground is almost completely fenced in! There are separate swings and playgrounds for big kids and for toddlers, with benches interspersed throughout, making it super convenient for parents.
    Strasburg Jaycee Park
  • The Tree House, Lititz: Enter this themed playground through a tree trunk, with a toddler playground on one side and a big kid playground on the other. In addition to your typical playground equipment, there is a merry-go-ground and zip lines. One amazing bonus: it’s accessible to all kids, including a wheelchair-friendly Liberty Swing!
    The Tree House

Parks and Playgrounds in Lebanon County

  • George H. Kaufman Jonestown Community Park, Jonestown: In addition to a large playground and lots of athletic fields, there is a long walking trail, as well as a band shell and concession stand.
    parks and playgrounds
    George H. Kaufman Jonestown Community Park
  • Governor Dick Park, Mt. Gretna: The highlight of this park is the 66-foot-tall tower, built in 1954, that you can climb to the top of and look out over FIVE counties. There are also tons of different trails to explore, and the environmental center for more learning opportunities.
    Governor Dick Park
  • Myerstown Recreation Area, Myerstown: There is tons to do here, from a playground and athletic courts, to the swimming and wading pool. There’s also the historic Isaac Meier house to explore!
    Myerstown Recreation Park
  • South Hills Park, Lebanon: This massive park has a great playground, with lots of climbing equipment, as well as tons of athletic fields, open grass areas to run and play, and paths to walk, bike, and run on. There’s also a sandpit area that kids will love to play in.
    South Hills Park
  • Union Canal Tunnel Park, Lebanon: Designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1970, little future engineers will love to explore this tunnel — the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the United States. Hike on one of their trails, or take a narrated boat ride through the tunnel during their Union Canal Days in May!
    parks and playgrounds
    Union Canal Tunnel Park

Parks and Playgrounds in York County

  • Codorus Township Park, Codorus Township: The two playgrounds at this park are flanked by a large covered pavilion, giving parents the chance to watch their kiddos play in the shade. The two playgrounds are separated by age, with the big kid playground featuring fun climbing elements and a zip line. There’s also a disc golf course and some nice walking trails.
    Codorus Township Park
  • Cousler Park, Manchester Township: In addition to tons of athletic fields and pavilions, this park has two playgrounds. One, the Inspiring Hope playground, is huge and has separate play areas by age, as well as an accessible play area. There are also water spray features to use in the summer, and the other playground has a lot of climbing features, including a curved rock wall. There’s also a stage where local movie nights and concerts are held!
    Cousler Park
  • Marge Goodfellow Park, New Freedom: This relatively new playground has two play areas. The larger one is for big kids, while the smaller one — consisting of a dinosaur they can climb and slide on — is for younger kids. There’s also a really neat four-seater see-saw, and several climbing structures. Bonus: it’s right next to the Northern Central Railway, so your train-loving kiddos will love seeing the trains!
    Marge Goodfellow Park
  • Rocky Ridge Park, York: Nature-lovers will love this park, with its hawk watch program, observation decks, and walking trails. For kids, there are open fields where they can run, play, fly kites, throw frisbees, and more, or they can go on the playground. There’s also their Nature Fun Zone, in the Hidden Laurel picnic area, with different zones kids can explore, like a digging zone, a climbing zone, a building zone and more.
    Rocky Ridge Park
  • Springettsbury Park, York: This playground was renovated within the past several years, and includes lot of accessible features. There are also a ton of adventurous offerings, like zip lines, spinning seats, and a “stunt jump!”

    Springettsbury Park
  • Kids Kingdom, York: Located within York Township Park, this playground has been newly renovated. It’s now fully fenced-in, with several playgrounds available and lots of seating for you to watch the kiddos play.
    Kids Kingdom Playground
  • Windsor Wonderland, Red Lion: There are playgrounds here, as well as several sports fields, and lessons like pickleball, tennis, basketball, and more! This is another park that has recently been updated.
    Windsor Wonderland

    Did we miss your favorite local parks and playgrounds? Let us know in the comments!


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