When the spring thaws give way to summer heat, it's time to find some cool fun. York's local parks and water attractions offer something for everyone. From river tours in a kayak to thrilling water slides, beat the heat with these cool places to enjoy fun water activities in and around York, Pennsylvania.

Susquehanna Riverlands

Susquehanna Riverlands York, PA

West Branch Susquehanna River (2) by Nicholas_T under CC BY 2.0

Cool off in the river that winds through Pennsylvania just east of York. The name Susquehanna Riverlands denotes a broad area on either side of the Susquehanna, offering plenty of parks, boat launches, and marinas to help you explore the river. Riverside businesses like Shank's Mare Outfitters offer stand-up paddleboard or kayak rentals so you can enjoy the water even if you don't have the gear. The river offers three water trails, including the historic Captain John Smith trail. With over a dozen water access areas, you can find plenty of places to launch your boat or swim.

Susquehanna River Water Trail

While the entire trail covers 400 miles of the river, the lower section is closest to York and is managed by the Susquehanna National Heritage Area. The 53-mile portion of the Susquehanna River Water Trail starts near Harrisburg at the New Market boat access facility and ends just past the Maryland state line.

Bring your kayak or canoe to paddle along the banks of this mighty river, enjoying the wildlife and vegetation along the river's edge, and the varied industrial urban areas you'll pass on your journey. Don't miss the famous bird habitat at Washington Boro. Download a trail map to learn more about the areas bordering the river.

Graham Aquatic Center - YMCA of the Roses

YMCA of the Roses indoor and outdoor pools. Images courtesy of YMCA of the Roses

Visit this outdoor pool complex at the YMCA of the Roses to enjoy a pool and splash area for kids. Parents can easily supervise kids and keep cool in the underwater bench area. The zero-entry pool goes up to 7 feet so all family members can take a refreshing dip. The complex also features the mushroom spray works with fountains, water play structures, dump buckets, and a slide. Purchase a daily pass or summer membership if you're not already part of the YMCA.

Wildwater Kingdom at Dorney Park

Wildwater Kingdom, located inside Dorney Park, is the perfect place to have fun in the water. Cruise down water slides like the Aqua Racer where you can body slide to the bottom of a gushing hill or the Patriot's Plunge, a covered tube slide with a serious dip at the end. Grab onto your tube and slide down Lightning Falls or glide along on the family tube ride Aquablast. The park also features a wave pool and the relaxing Wildwater River. Kids can splash in their own areas too.

Wildwater Kingdom is included in your daily park admission so you can spend the day splashing around or head to the slides after enjoying some rides.

Lake Marburg 

Located within Codorus State Park, 1,275-acre Lake Marburg offers water activities for everyone. Fish along the 26 miles of shoreline or in the nearby waters of Codorus Creek where you can catch fresh trout. Take your sailboat or motor craft out on the wide waters. Canoe or kayak to watch for waterfowl and enjoy the lapping waves. Swimming is permitted in the pool where you can also find picnic spots and campsites. Visitors pay a fee to use the pool, but the park offers season passes for frequent swimmers. Codorus State Park opens daily from sunrise to sunset.

Duke's Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland

Designed with families in mind, the water fun section of Lancaster's unique amusement park features slides and water play zones. The tropical-themed water zone offers kid-sized slides and playgrounds to beat the heat. The Lagoon is included in your daily ticket price to Dutch Wonderland so you can enjoy rides before or after you slide. Just don't forget to pack your bathing suit.

Hersheypark's Boardwalk

Hersheypark is a 121-acre park with 70 rides, 15 coasters, and...1 million gallons of water! So when you're ready to splash, head over to Hersheypark's The Boardwalk for some water fun. The Boardwalk sits on 11 acres with 16 attractions! Enjoy thrills like the Breaker's Edge Water Coaster with drops and open-air turns or paddle along the lazy river. Race down the Whitecap Racer to beat your friends to the splash pool. Ride Tidal Force, a 100-foot-long flume drop that douses passengers and spectators alike. The Boardwalk also features a huge wave pool and plenty more tube slides perfect for cooling off.

Gifford Pinchot State Park

Head over to Gifford Pinchot State Park for recreation on the 340-acre Pinchot Lake. Relax on a pontoon boat tour across the vast lake, taking in the view of boulders and trees that ring the water. Canoe, kayak, or paddleboard across the lake or try your luck fishing for bass. The park also offers two 18-hole disc golf courses so you can work up a sweat before jumping into the lake. Relax on the beachfront, then cool off with a dip in the lapping waters.

The sprawling park complex offers guided programs for visitors to learn more about local flora and fauna. Camp onsite near the lake in your own tent or RV, or you can rent a furnished cabin or rustic yurt, each with kitchens and beds. Visit the park any time between sunrise and sunset to enjoy the lake and surrounding nature.

Holtwood Whitewater Park

Kayakers and playboaters frequent the churning waves below the gates of the Holtwood Hydroelectric Dam. The dam creates rapids perfect for a challenging run for those experienced in watercraft. Holtwood Whitewater Park also offers a place for spectators to watch boaters paddle the rapids. Check the schedule for times when the gates open to create the rapids.

That's our list of fun water activities to enjoy in York and our surrounding areas. We hope you explore some of these great places. Let us know if you have more ideas. We'd love to hear from you. At Your Auto Source, we're ready to get you into a pre-owned vehicle perfect for towing a boat or hauling the family kayaks down to the river's edge. Check out our used inventory of quality cars, trucks, and SUVs online, or stop by the dealership to speak with our expert staff members.

Categories: Community Events