The Susquehanna Riverlands are a gift. Throughout the year they offer us an escape from our routine, and allow us to rediscover and fall in love with the world around us. More than that, the Susquehanna Riverlands provides us seemingly endless nature, deep rooted history to explore, fun opportunities for adventure and a place to feel wild. Experience our winter wonderland during the 12 days of Christmas with this list to help get you outside this holiday season.

On the first day of Christmas my true love said to me, let’s visit the Susquehanna National Heritage Area.

Susquehanna National Heritage Area is part of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas and  HeritagePA, the statewide network of officially designated Pennsylvania Heritage Areas. The rich history and diverse landscape make up the nations 55th National Heritage Area.

As it flows through Pennsylvania’s Lancaster and York Counties, the Susquehanna River has long been a gateway to exploration and a corridor of culture and commerce. From the earliest Native Americans, to the American Revolution, to the Civil War, to the Industrial Revolution, so much of America’s heritage can be traced to this waterway. Learn the stories of Susquehanna river by visiting the Susquehanna NHA’s blog series called RiverRoots.

On the second day of Christmas my true love said to me, did you know there are 2 counties and heritage centers in the Susquehanna NHA?

Plan a visit to York or Lancaster County! The Susquehanna National Heritage Area encompasses all of York and Lancaster Counties surrounding the Susquehanna River. Stop in at one or both of Susquehanna NHA’s heritage centers. Susquehanna NHA is based at the Zimmerman Center for Heritage, a historic home on the river near Wrightsville. They also manage the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, a visitor education center on the waterfront in Columbia.

Discover other Heritage sites and Museums in the riverlands. 

On the third day of Christmas my true love took me to see the lights in the 3 rivertowns.

This festive period is a time for catching up with family and friends.  Enjoy your time off strolling through the river towns taking in the twinkling light displays with your loved ones.


View the Community Christmas tree at Locust St Park, located at Locust & 5th Street. Drive or walk through downtown to enjoy the spectacular holiday window displays. Discover a variety of different local shops during your visit downtown. Support a small business and give the gift of unique local goods! Stop in at the Borough office at 308 Locust Street, to view the community gingerbread house display December 5th through the 12th.


Michener’s Christmas Wonderland located at 500 South Front Street, Wrightsville, PA 17368, is a local favorite for fun Christmas light and inflatables display. This must see holiday light show that started as a small family tradition, has grown into what you see today. These local families bring lots of holiday spirit and smiles to visitors.


O Little Town of Marietta, on Sunday, December 6, (10am – 7pm) the entire town will be participating in an Outdoor Christmas Festival.  Marietta will be honoring our First Responders and Front-line Workers with themed lights this Christmas season. Drive or Walk through town to enjoy the various light displays. Check out the website for more details:

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love said to me… Let’s plan a camping trip!

There are several options for camping in the Susquehanna Riverlands. Stay in a traditional campground in your tent or RV or paddle into a more private campsite along the Susquehanna river. 

Energy Island Paddle Camping

Muddy Run Campground

Otter Creek Campground

Pequea Creek Campground

River Rock Adventures

River Pointe Campground & Marina

More Camping

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love showed me, the more than 20 nature preserves to visit in the Susquehanna Riverlands.

Go dashing through the snow at one of these nature preserves. If the cold weather isn’t for you, make a list and check it twice! Write an outdoors bucket list of the nature preserves you wish to visit throughout the year.

Appel Nature Preserve

Boyer Nature Preserve

Chestnut Grove Natural Area

Climbers Run Nature Preserve

Conejohela Flats Important Birding Area

Conestoga Creek Nature Preserve

Conowingo Pond Nature Preserve

Conoy Wetlands Nature Preserve

Ferncliff Wildflower Preserve

Fishing Creek North Nature Preserve

Fishing Creek South Nature Preserve

Fox Hollow Nature Preserve

Hellam Hills Nature Preserve

House Rock Nature Preserve

Indian Steps Nature Preserve

Kelly’s Run Pinnacle Nature Preserve

Otter Creek/Urey Overlook Nature Preserve

Pequea Nature Preserve

Pinnacle Overlook Nature Preserve

Reed Run Nature Preserve

Rock Springs Nature Preserve

Safe Harbor Nature Preserve

Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve

Steinman Run Nature Preserve

Susquehanna Riverlands and Research & Education Center

Trout Run Nature Preserve

Tucquan Glen & Pyfer Nature Preserve

Turkey Hill Trail & Nature Preserve

Wisslers Run Preserve

Wilton Meadows Nature Preserve

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent me to find boat accesses and local marinas.

I hope this means I’m getting a boat! Whether you’re hitting the water this winter or planning your warm weather adventures, you need to know where the boat launches and paddleboat accesses are. To ensure that boaters return home safely, always wear a life jacket.

Boat Accesses:
Lancaster County:

Fisherman’s Wharf Falmouth Boat Launch

Kings Road Conoy Paddleboat River Access

Conoy Picnic Area Prescott Road Paddleboat Access

Koser Park Bainbridge Boat Launch & River Park

East Donegal Riverfront Park Boat Launch & River Park

Decatur Street Marietta Paddleboat River Access

Furnace Road Marietta Boat Launch

Columbia River Park Boat Launch & River Park

Blue Rock Heritage Center & River Access

Pequea Conestoga Township Boat Launch

Peach Bottom Fulton Township Boat Launch ($10 launch fee)

York County:

Goldsboro Paddleboat River Access

Gut Road York Haven Paddleboat River Access

Wrightsville Commons Boat Launch & River Park

Wrightsville Riverfront Paddleboat River Access & River Park

Zimmerman Center for Heritage Paddleboat River Access

Lock 2 Boat Launch & River Park

York Furnace Boat Launch

Holtwood Whitewater Park Paddleboat River Access

Muddy Creek Boat Launch & River Park

Dorsey Park Paddleboat River Access


Lake Clark Marina

Long Level Marina

Rick’s Campground and Marina

Peach Bottom Marina

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love said to me… Let’s discover some new nature trails together.

Conquer the cold! There is no such thing as a cold walk, so long as you dress for the weather. Frolic and play all winter long in the Susquehanna Riverlands on these trails.

Lancaster County:

NW Lancaster County River Trail

Enola Low Grade Rail Trail

Conestoga Trail System

Conewago Recreational Trail

Turkey Hill Trail

York County:

Native Lands Heritage Trail

Highpoint Trail

Mason-Dixon Trail

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love said to me, I can’t wait to plan some paddling adventures together!

Whether you want to paddle the 444 miles of the Susquehanna or follow the route of Captain John Smith on an iconic water trail, the riverlands provides ample opportunity for adventure. Take the time to research different water trails you wish to visit in the future and plan your trip now.

Conestoga River Water Trail

Susquehanna River Water Trail

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

Try our Favorite paddles!


On the ninth day of Christmas my true love read to me, a river heritage story.

The holiday is a perfect opportunity to curl up in your favorite chair next to the fire and go on a literary journey of the Susquehanna River corridor.  Lucky for us, the Susquehanna River has many stories to tell!

If you don’t know where to start check out our Reading Recommendations for River Lovers.

Books make great gifts. Nothing beats picking up a good book and getting lost in a story. Susquehanna NHA’s online store has a great selection of local inspired reading.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love surprised me with a visit to a scenic overlook.

Let’s make it an outdoor holiday. Imagine taking in the beautiful winter landscape from one of these overlooks!

Breezy View

Chickies Rock

Face Rock

Hawk Point

Highpoint Scenic Vista

House Rock Overlook

Mount Pisgah

Pinnacle Overlook

Turkey Hill Overlook

Urey Overlook

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love took me to pick out a gift at the local outfitters in the Riverlands.

Tis the season for giving, cross off all the names on your Christmas list in no time. The river towns provide ample opportunities to get your Christmas shopping done, try something new, find a unique, one of a kind gift while supporting local communities.

Shanks Mare Outfitters

Chiques Rock Outfitters

Starrk Moon kayaks

Southern End Outdoors

Buffalo Gap Outfitters

Find more places to shop  in the riverlands.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, some sweet wine and hoppy beer from a local brewery!

Drink and be merry! Enjoy time off with your loved ones at these great local wineries and breweries. Some even offer delivery and to-go options!

Bube’s Brewery

Columbia Kettle Works

Moon Dancer Vineyards & Winery

Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate

Maple Lawn Winery & Cider House

Starview Brewery

Hell in a Bucket Brewing Company

Pig Iron Brewing Company

Allegro Vineyards

Twisted Bine Beer Company