Discover Pennsylvania: Dauphin County, Elizabethville & Elsewhere

Explore Recreation, History, Culture & Community in Central PA

Elizabethville, Pa., is the city United Country Real Estate | Magnolia Realty Services calls home. We’re right in the heart of South-Central Pennsylvania, where northern Dauphin County meets the borders of western Schuylkill and lower Northumberland counties.

In general, Pennsylvania is big on outdoor recreation and that’s definitely true where we are. We live in a region that celebrates its history, unites for local events in close communities, and embraces the culture and spirit of the state’s motto, “Virtue, Liberty and Independence.”

Let’s take a closer look at the appeal of Dauphin County, Elizabethville and some surrounding cities and towns beloved by both residents and visitors alike.

A Snapshot of Elizabethville, Pennsylvania: Then & Now

Arriving in Elizabethville today, or any of the other small towns in the neighboring areas, you’d likely be welcomed by the tight-knit and kindhearted communities with open arms. Located 20 miles from Pennsylvania state capital Harrisburg, Elizabethville represents the best of rural living while still located a short drive from big city amenities.

Founded in 1817 and named after the wife of an area landowner, Elizabethville has maintained a population of around 1,500 (as of 2023) for the past century. Harrisburg by comparison, boasts around 50,000 residents. In fact, Elizabethville’s post office built way back in 1826 still stands today. The town incorporated in 1883, and in the modern era its aim is to be the “Star of the (Lykens) Valley.”

This South-Central Pennsylvania region is heavily influenced by the Appalachian Mountains, the Susquehanna River and other tributaries, creeks and waterways. Parts are dominated by farmland, as well. It all really makes for stunning scenery, especially in the fall.

Stunning Scenery & Outdoor Recreation in Central Pennsylvania

Where lower Northumberland, western Schuylkill and northern Dauphin counties come together, so do the opportunities to enjoy stunning scenery and outdoor recreation in Central/South-Central Pennsylvania. Hikers hit the trails, anglers troll the waters, cross-country skiers brave the cold and more.

You can find wooded mountains, wetlands, deep rivers and pastures blanketed in wildflowers … all ideal for a bit of outdoor fun and relaxation. Sometimes, the offerings are massive, such as with the Weiser State Forest. It covers nearly 18,000 acres in Dauphin, Schuylkill and two other counties. Rugged and secluded, the forest includes the famous Appalachian Trail for hiking, and mountainous land for public hunting, fishing and general recreation.

Elizabethville actually borders this forest, though Dauphin County does have several of its own parks, all easily navigated. Fifteen minutes north of Harrisburg on the edge of the Susquehanna River, the 1,025-acre Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area is a great spot for summer hikes and seasonal hunting. Wildlife abounds, with deer, black bear, turkey and countless birds in the area.

Roughly the same distance continuing northeast sits the 3,515-acre Swatara State Park on rolling fields and woodlands between two mountains. It’s known for trout fishing in the spring on Swatara Creek. Over in Sunbury (Northumberland County), Shikellamy State Park is popular for boating and waterskiing, while it and nearby Milton State Park offer decent fishing on the Susquehanna.

There are multiple other spots to discover, such as Big Spring State Park around an hour west of Harrisburg along Conococheague Mountain. And about an hour northeast of Elizabethville, Broad Mountain has an excellent 11-mile trail for hiking, mountain biking and bird watching.

Community & Culture in Dauphin County, PA, & Surrounding Areas

Whether you find yourself in a modest-sized town like Elizabethville, Berrysburg or Dalmatia, or in a larger metro such as Harrisburg, all of the Pennsylvania communities in this part of the state are excellent for working, playing and living.

In Halifax (Dauphin County), Camp Hebron is nestled within the serenity of the Appalachians on 340 acres. It’s a typical location for Christian kids to attend summer camp and for families to embark on weekend getaways. Not far from the campgrounds is Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, a 150-acre experience with a range of animals, activities and attractions that are fun for the whole family. For a more educational experience that keeps the children busy with “hands on” activities, try Elizabethville’s Lykens Valley Children’s Museum.

The adults might be more into visiting the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art in Millersburg. And after these outings, consider starting your journey on the Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail, which runs from Harrisburg in the south to Lewisburg up north. The joint effort among several wineries promotes annual events for holidays, as well as regular brunches, parties and theme-nights. Golf enthusiasts will want to check out the Lykens Valley Golf Resort, an 18-hole course fit for champions with indoor and outdoor facilities.

Lastly, special events are always a hit in South Central Pennsylvania. From Dauphin County’s Brewfest or the York State Fair in July, to end-of-year celebrations such as seemingly countless Christmastime gatherings in the area … well, there’s plenty to see and do here. We invite you to come and explore for yourself!