Dear Visitor, we’ve given you a primer on York’s history, a reason to use York as the hub for your next family vacation, an overview of York’s factory tours, and a few places to feed your face. In fact, we’ve given you more than a few places if you count the snack-food tours. So, it only seems fit that we now give you a few recommendations on working off all that food: it’s time to York-A-Cise!

It’s time to what?

York-A-Cise is the act of visiting one of the many outdoor attractions in order to, well, work-off all that chocolate and chips and cheese steaks you’ve been eating.

No, York doesn’t have a "little" something for everyone. On the contrary: York has a LOT of something for everyone.


For starters, how about Heritage Rail-Trail County Park? One of the longest non-motorized rail-trails with active rails in the country, this county park is a regional destination. In fact, last year almost a quarter million people biked, jogged, or walked along the 21-mile trail, which runs between the Mason-Dixon Line and downtown York. There are a number of interesting stops along the trail, including the quaint town of Glen Rock, Hanover Junction Rail Station (Abe Lincoln waz Here!), historic York City, and the Howard Tunnel, the oldest continually-operating rail tunnel in North America!


The Heritage Rail-Trail is operated by York County Parks, which operates a total of eight county parks, each with their own persona and activities. In East York, 750-acre Rocky Ridge County Park provides miles of hiking trails, beautiful views from observation decks, athletic fields, and prime picnic space. Of note, every December the park hosts "Christmas Magic – A Festival of Lights," a 1.5-mile trail decorated with over 200,000 lights. Nearby John Rudy County Park comprises 143 acres, including a stone home dating from 1798 and a barn from 1810. In addition to sporting fields and a multi-purpose trail, the park is home to a BMX track, 5K cross country course, and an observatory of the York County Astronomical Society.


South of York City you’ll find William H. Kain County Park, home to 1,275 acres including Lake Williams and Lake Redman, Big Bass Lakes owned by the York Water Company. Only non-motorized boats are permitted on these scenic lakes, and the park also contains multi-use trails, sports areas, and pavilions. Apollo County Park, southeast of Red Lion, is the most rural of the parks. The 149-acre park borders the Susquehanna River and is home to a portion of the 175-mile Mason-Dixon Trail.


Near Glen Rock, in southern York County, Spring Valley County Park comprises over 860 acres, with trails, pavilions, fishing area, and two horse show rings. P. Joseph Raab County Park is undeveloped and closed to the public. However, staff-led walks of the park can be scheduled. Of note, the property includes an ore mine dating from the 1800s; today, the mine is home to four species of bats. Finally, 157-acre Richard M. Nixon County Park near Jacobus contains over six miles of hiking trails, including special nature and geology trails. Also of note, the park is home to a very unique Environmental Education Center containing bird observation area, live snakes, library, and three dioramas with over 180 game mounts from all over the world. A gift shop is also housed here.

Now Dear Visitor, we know what you must be thinking: "So much to do…where do I get started?" Alas, we have some bad news for you: we’ve only just begun to tell you of all York County’s outdoor offerings!


The County is also home to three State Parks. The smallest of these is Samuel S. Lewis State Park, home to 885-foot Mt. Pisgah. Here you’ll fine breathtaking views of the Susquehanna River and "River Towns" of Wrightsville, Columbia, and Marietta (see You’ll also find pavilions, a hiking trail, and a great place to observe the galaxies!

Gifford Pinchot State Park is located in northern York County. This park comprises over 2,300 acres, including the 340-acre Lake Pinchot. Within the park there are numerous activities, including camping (in a tent or a cabin), boating (electric motors permitted), fishing, hiking, swimming, biking, and environmental education.

The largest State Park within York County is Codorus State Park, located near Hanover. The primary attraction within this 3,326-acre park is the popular Lake Marburg. At 1,275 acres, the lake is an ideal spot for fishing, boating, and swimming. Of course, the park also contains one of the largest swimming pools in the state as well as plenty of opportunities for tenting, hiking, and picnicking.

But we promised more – much more. So grab your clubs and head with me to one of York County’s beautiful 21 golf courses. Central Pennsylvania is known far and wide for our gentle sloping hills – hills which provide the ideal setting for a leisurely – or extremely challenging – round of golf. The newest of our courses is actually one of the oldest of our courses. Known for decades as the Yorktowne Golf Club, the course was closed for a year and totally redesigned. Today, Hawk Lake – redesigned by James Ganley – is the latest addition to York County’s quality courses. 


Springwood Golf Club (Ault, Clark Assocs.) was recognized by Golf Digest ("1998 Best New Golf Course") and Golf Magazine ("Top Ten New Courses You Can Play"), and Heritage Hills Golf Resort and Conference Center – designed by Russell Roberts – is the region’s only full-service golf resort. Famed designers Ault, Clark Assocs. were also involved with Briarwood Golf Club and South Hills Golf Club. The Arthur Hills-designed Regents’ Glen County Club (open to the public) is located just outside York City and offers one of the more challenging courses in the County. Several local golf courses have teamed with a number of out-of-county golf courses to create a simplified stay and play opportunity: Capital Region Golf.  


The mighty Susquehanna River constitutes the entire eastern border of York County, providing a multitude of water recreation opportunities, including boating, fishing, water skiing, and more. Check out Shank’s Mare Outfitters for classes on kayaking and other water activities.

Ya know, earlier we stated that you haven’t lived until you’ve been to a York County Farmers Market. We’d now like to amend that statement. You haven’t lived until you’ve been to a York County Farmers Market AND a York County Corn Maze. So head over to Maize Quest and get lost in an aMAIZEing corn maze!

Another place to visit is Ski Roundtop, home to sixteen slopes for skiing and snowboarding, as well as snowtubing. During the warmer months, visit Ski Roundtop for a game of paintball.

And new for 2003, Heritage Hills Golf Resort is constructing a snow tube park.

While we promised that this section would be filled with outdoor activities, we’d be remiss if we didn’t clue you in about some indoor activities, too. For starters, how about the York City Ice Arena, the newly-constructed facility housing two ice rinks? Or SoccerBlast, the indoor soccer field?

Ah yes…so much to do…so little time….


A Revolutionary Getaway!The Crossroads of PennsylvaniaYork Manufacturers Great Escapes!The History of IndustryCulinary DelightsGateway to the OutdoorsSpecial EventsLove the NightlifeShopping Off the Beaten PathA Romantic Interlude

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© 2002 by Scott D. Butcher

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