Things to do in Berks County

If you’re looking for art, culture, outdoor recreation, auto racing events, or even bargain shopping, there are simply too many things to do in Berks County, PA, and not enough time! Here are some visitor favorites.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary – In Kempton, the 2,600-acre Hawk Mountain Sanctuary was the world’s first refuge for raptors. If you’re captivated by majestic birds of prey, like hawks, bald eagles, falcons, ospreys, and American kestrels, bring your binoculars and stroll along the hillside paths and rocky outcroppings to get an up-close-and-personal look at the raptors gliding and riding the updrafts off the cliff face.
things-to-do-in-berks-county-paThis hiker’s and birdwatcher’s mecca is open year-round and affords spectacular views from scenic overlooks at 1,300 to 1,500 feet above the valley. Peak migration times are between August 15 and December 15, when an average of 18,000 raptors visits, but over 200 species of birds have been sighted here throughout the year.

The paths are ADA-accessible, and rangers are on hand to provide information. You’ll also find a visitor center with educational displays, wildflower and feeder gardens, a Wings of Wonder gallery, and gift shop. Take the kids and enjoy the birds and the natural beauty of Pennsylvania.

Maple Grove Raceway – Are you ready for some speed? Every weekend from April to November, enjoy NHRA Drag Racing and other specialized automotive events at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, just outside Reading. From nostalgia racing, Top Fuel dragsters and jet-powered vehicles, to Street Bike races and Street Legal Grudge racing, the track has something to offer for everyone.

A fixture in Berks County for nearly 55 years, many historic drag racing firsts have taken place here, including the first ever side-by-side four-second Top Fuel Dragster runs by Joe Amato and Shirley Muldowney in 1989. Recent racing surface upgrades have made Maple Grove one of the only total concrete quarter mile tracks in the east. If you’re in Reading in October, plan to catch the top stars of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing race at the NHRA Nationals here.

Mountain Biking – Thrill-seekers and nature-loving mountain bikers will love the trails that wind their way through the woodlands, forest, country roads and breathtaking scenery of Berks County. Here are just three of the popular trails in the area: 

  • Blue Marsh Lake Trails – Among the favorites in Berks County are the hike and bike trails surrounding scenic Blue Marsh Lake. Walk across the park or ride the 20+ miles of interpretive trails that pass through picturesque forest and fields. In the area, visitors can also enjoy horseback riding, fishing, hunting and water sports.
  • Schuylkill River Trail – Thun Trail – This 18-mile long gem is part of the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) system. In Berks County, most of the Thun Trail (pronounced tune) is unpaved; a packed cinder surface that is friendly for any type of bike. The off-road sections are also well-shaded, providing for a comfortable ride. Enjoy old railroad bridges and impressive views of the Schuylkill River.
  • Wyomissing Creek Trail – Meander through gorgeous tree-lined parklands and parallel Wyomissing Creek on this paved, multi-use trail through the Reading suburbs west of the Schuylkill River. This trail unofficially connects to the Thun Trail. Along the way, enjoy wildlife, duck ponds, cool shade, plentiful rest areas, and proximity to historic sites, such as Evans Grist Mill.

VF Outlet Center – Savvy shoppers will delight in the bargain prices and wide selection at the VF Outlet Center in Reading, PA. This was the first outlet center in the country, and it’s still going strong. You’ll find famous brand stores, including Lee, Wrangler, JanSport, Carter’s, Olga, Warner’s, Dooney & Bourke, Samsonite, Oshkosh B’gosh,  Timberland, Nautica, Reef, Reading China and Glass, and more. Deals and steals up to 70% off retail are available 7 days a week. 

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts – Visit an art exhibit, watch more than 30 artists, woodworkers, ceramists, glass blowers, and jewelry artisans in action in their studios, or watch a film in the 130-seat movie theater at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. This community art and cultural resource center for Berks County and Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania, is the largest, most comprehensive interactive arts center of its kind in the country. Admission is free, and there’s plenty of convenient free parking. 

To find other fun things to do in Berks County, PA, or for help planning your trip, contact the Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau or visit us inside the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in historic downtown Reading.