How to Spend Your Labor Day in Central PA

labor day

Labor Day is soon upon us, and that means summer is nearly over. Luckily, we get an extra day to celebrate the end of the summer season! Whether you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing weekend or want a little more excitement, central Pennsylvania has something for everyone. Here are seven great Labor Day options you can plan with your family and friends.


Labor Day Kipona Festival

The 100th anniversary of Kipona will kick off on Saturday and continue through Monday evening this Labor Day weekend. There will be canoe races, a Native American pow wow, eating contests, live music and fireworks. If you’re looking for a relaxing way to enjoy the festival, follow the Centennial Kipona History Walk along the Walnut Street Bridge. Along the walk will be signs with interesting facts about the history of the festival.

Appalachian Trail

You don’t need to be a trail master to enjoy a hike along the Appalachian Trail. Within a 50-mile radius of Harrisburg, there are about 1,000 miles of this trail to explore. There are plenty of trails that are only a few miles long, so plan a day trip that includes a leisurely stroll and a picnic. Just make sure you pack lots of water, clean up all your garbage, and check the sunrise/sunset times for the trail.

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe

Flickr – David Wilson

What can’t you do in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania? From paintball to sidecar tours, concerts to wine tasting, there truly is a little bit of everything. If you happen to like living on the edge, the Pocono Whitewater Dam Release is where you’ll want to be. The best whitewater rafting experience in the tri-state area leads you through 12 miles of thrilling adventure and beautiful scenery. This event is also kid-friendly – ages 8 and older – and no previous rafting experience is necessary.

Produce Picking

If you’re looking for a more relaxing, quiet activity this Labor Day, take a trip to a pick-your-own orchard or farm. Children and adults alike can appreciate getting their hands a little dirty and then enjoy the fruits of their labor – pun intended – afterward with a tasty snack you can take home. It’s easy to find peaches, pears and raspberries ready for the picking on Labor Day weekend, though it’s important to call ahead or look at the farm’s website to make sure there is produce ready to be picked.

Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

PA Ren Faire

Flickr – Holly Higgans

Hear ye, hear ye! The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire will be open all Labor Day weekend long with a special discount available to the Heroes of the Realm, which includes all military, police, veterans, reserve, firefighters, medical technicians and their immediate families. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back in time to an age of merriment, chivalry and perhaps more than a little swashbuckling. Costumes are not required, but let’s face it – it’s much more fun when you dress up.

Hershey Park

The Sweetest Place on Earth will still be abuzz with wicked roller coaster rides and water slides at Hershey Park on Labor Day weekend. There are rides and shows that are fun for the whole family. You can even take a journey through ZooAmerica, which is home to North American locals such as bears, deer and wolves. Hershey Park is offering one free ticket if you buy two online, so make sure you take advantage of that before you go.

Indian Echo Caverns

Indian Echo Caverns is not your normal sunny destination for Labor Day. Instead of lawn volleyball or fireworks, take a journey down into the depths of this cave where you’ll discover a beautiful, surreal underground world that is very different from what we’re used to. There is also a friendly petting zoo and Gem Mill Junction, where kids can become prospectors and try their luck finding gold and gems.

Central Pennsylvania has so many wonderful events and sites to explore, even when it’s not a holiday. With so many options to enhance your Labor Day weekend, you may have trouble choosing which ones you’ll want to do this year! Luckily, many are not exclusive to Labor Day weekend and those that are will be back next year. The important thing is to experience these wonderful events in the company of your friends and family.

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