4 Reasons Why Fall Is the Best Time to Visit Central Pennsylvania

When summer fades and the leaves begin to turn, the best place to enjoy the cooler temps and changing fall colors is Central Pennsylvania. Nature lovers from around the country flock to the Susquehanna River Valley for scenic hikes drives through the region’s forests. Trails.com named Central Pennsylvania the most scenic place to explore during this time of year. Here are four reasons why Central Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River Valley should be the first place you take a trip this fall.

1. Beautiful Fall Foliage

It’s a fact: Central Pennsylvania is home to some of the country’s most beautiful old-growth forests. During autumn, the forests turn dazzling shades of yellow, green, red and orange, making it a popular destination those who love nature—and photography. Both driving and bike tours can navigate you through some of the most scenic routes passing by the river valley. Central Pennsylvania is also home to a number of Amish farms with picturesque landscapes that enhance the tours.

Plan a Tour: You can explore Central Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River Valley by highway, byway or country road. Check out the fall foliage tour guide, which details tour routes in downtowns, university campuses, and by bike, hike, paddle or car!


2. Local Festivals and Corn Mazes


Every year, the number of fall events in Central Pennsylvania continues to grow. One of the most popular events is Warrior Run Fort Freeland Heritage Days, where participants re-enact early pioneer life, enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, learn to weave, make pottery, learn blacksmithing techniques and much more. Selingsgrove Market Street Festival is the area’s biggest community event where hundreds of artisans, food carts, craft vendors and live bands come to the town. Children can visit the petting zoo or join a drum circle. Pennsylvania is also home to dozens of wineries, and visitors can sample the best collections at Shade Mountain Harvest Festival each October. The festival features grape stomping, winery tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, homemade food and live music—and kids are welcome, too. Finally, for a seasonal celebration, visit our two favorite corn mazes:  Ard's Farm features their pumpkin patch and corn maze park, plus group packages for hayrides, corn maze tours and fun fall events on the farm; Kohl’s Stony Hill Farm opens its annual corn maze every September, along with fun scarecrow-building contests and dozens of life-sized lawn games.

Mark Your Calendar: Check out the online calendar of events for a complete list of all upcoming events in the Susquehanna River Valley.

3. Outdoor Recreation

R.B. Winter State Park is a 695-acre lush wilderness that rightfully earned its title as the second-best place to mountain bike in the state. Its rolling hills and pathways make it ideal for bikers, and the park is also home to Halfway Lake where visitors can fish, canoe or kayak. Within a half hour’s drive, the 132-acre Shikellamy State Park has a breathtaking view of the Susquehanna River. Hikers may view white-tailed deer and many songbirds while trekking the park on a fall foliage hike. Across the river, the park hosts a marina, which offers a picnic area, boat docks and takeouts for kayaks and canoes.  Southeast of the marina, you'll find the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, a 6,500 acre park that is home to extensive motorized and non-motorized trails for all levels of outdoor recreation. 

River Fun: Shikellamy State Park is one of the top 20 river spots along the Susquehanna River Valley. Read about all of the best places to explore along the river here.


4. Wineries

SMW Harvest Festival

Visitors driving through Central Pennsylvania won’t be able to ignore the various vineyards scattered throughout the region, begging you to come and sample some of the region’s best wines. The Susquehanna River Valley’s eleven family-owned wineries are located in the center of the Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail. Four Friends Vineyard is a popular, picturesque stop along the trail in Montgomery with a deck for wine tastings that overlooks the Susquehanna Valley. Shade Mountain Winery in Middleburg features more than 30 varieties of wine grown on the vineyard’s 65 acres.

Wine Note: Watch the video below to see why the Susquehanna River Valley is considered Central Pennsylvania’s Wine Land, and find out what three things wine lovers shouldn’t miss on a trip to the Susquehanna River Valley.

About the Susquehanna River Valley


Fall is an amazing and beautiful time for people to explore and discover the Susquehanna River Valley! Come enjoy the breathtaking fall foliage driving our scenic rural roads or hiking and cycling in our gorgeous State Parks and Forest. Grab that comfy jacket or sweater; jump in the car and explore our antique shopswine trailsbreweries and amazing restaurants.

What’s your Fall Fun?

Discover our arts and culturehistory and heritage.

Dine at one of the amazing restaurants in the Susquehanna River Valley.

Enjoy “Hallo-Fun” at Knoebels Amusement Resort where it transforms the park into a spooktacular place for ghosts and ghouls of all ages.

Attend our Fall Festivals and Fairs such as Selinsgrove Market Festival, Shade Mountain Winery Harvest Festival, Lake Augusta Wine Festival, and Mifflinburg’s Oktoberfest.

Trip Ideas and Itineraries

Experience our walking, bicycling and driving Fall Foliage Tours.

View our 12 Things Not To Miss This Fall in the Susquehanna River Valley.

Take amazing photos of our Fall Foliage using our Fall Foliage Photography Tips.

Sample, delight and compare the autumnal red wines at our 11 wineries.

Navigate the corn mazes as Ards Farm and Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm & Christmas Shoppe.

Closer Than You Think

Less than a 4-hour drive from:

  • Rochester
  • New York City
  • New Jersey
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Baltimore
  • Washington, DC
  • Northern Virginia
  • and a little longer from Toronto and Montreal but we love our northern neighbors!

The Susquehanna River Valley is easily accessible by Interstates 80 & 81 and Routes 15, 192, and 45.


Regional Map

Plan Your Trip

Discover a Treasure at Every Turn

Feel free to do as little – or as much as you like. Here in the Susquehanna River Valley go at your own pace where you are the captain of your adventure and where you will discover a treasure at every turn.