Congratulations on your engagement! After choosing your wedding venue and wedding photographer, you will most likely start making a plan to have your engagement photos taken. We have compiled a list of the best engagement photo locations near Harrisburg (Central PA)
One of the most common questions that newly engagement couples ask their photographer is, “Do you have any recommendations for where we should do our engagement session?”
We talked to a few of the wedding photographers in Central PA, and they gave us their favorite engagement photo locations.
Here are some of the best locations near Harrisburg, PA to have your engagement photos taken:
1. The PA Capitol Building
The Capitol building and the surrounding complex is one of our favorite locations for engagement photos in Harrisburg, PA. It is perfect for couples who are looking for unique architecture to use during their engagement session.
The Capitol complex is one of the only locations on our list that can easily be used during all four seasons.
Why The Harrisburg Capitol Complex is Perfect for Engagement Sessions:
- The white/light gray walkways and surrounding buildings make your skin tones look amazing (perfect for both light and airy photos, or images that have more contrast and pop)
- Lots of cool architecture, walkways, and stairways
- The trees around the Capitol (especially on the State St. side) are beautiful during spring (lots of pink and white blossoms)
- It has a huge water fountain that makes for spectacular photos
- At sunset you can get very dramatic photos from the back of the Capitol (looking down State Street)
- You can step inside the Capitol to get a completely different look (the rotunda is a must see)
- Lots of metered parking
- All of the photo locations near the Capitol are a short and easy walk
The address for the PA Capitol is:
501 N. 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
2. Riverfront Park and State Street
Riverfront Park and State St. (between Third St. and Front St.) make the perfect supplement to your engagement session at the Capitol.
After leaving the Capitol, make your way down State Street towards the Susquehanna River. There are lots of cool alleyways to use for a more urban look and feel. Plus you can get some really awesome shots with the Capitol in the background.
Why Riverfront Park and State Street are Fantastic Locations For Your Engagement Photos
- Beautiful views of The Susquehanna River, Blue Mountain, and City Island
- Gorgeous pink, white and purple blossoms during spring
- Spectacular fall color in late October/early November
- The Walnut Street Bridge (the walking bridge) has a really cool design
- Beautiful views of the many bridges and historical architecture
- Get some fun shots next to the statue of the man sitting on a bench reading a newspaper (Kunkel Plaza)
If needed, the address to enter into Google Maps is:
Harrisburg, PA 17101
3. City Island
Located in the middle of The Susquehanna River, City Island, a 63 acre park, is a great choice to consider when planning your engagement session. You can even do the Capitol, Riverfront Park, and City Island all in the same session for a large variety of looks. If you are doing all 3 locations, you can walk across the Walnut Street Bridge from Riverfront Park. This will lead you right to City Island. Or you can drive onto City Island and park there (access from the Market Street Bridge).
What Makes City Island the Perfect Location For Engagement Photos?
- Awesome views of the Harrisburg skyline
- Beautiful views of the Susquehanna River
- Tree lined walking path along the backside of the island
- Horse and carriage rides
- City Island Railroad (a fun little train that goes around the island)
- Batting cages
- Dogs on leashes are allowed
- Mini golf course
- The Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat
- A really cool boathouse near the concrete beach (white with blue trim)
Check the schedule for the Harrisburg Senators Baseball Team when planning your engagement session. You will want to plan your session on a day/time with no game. The park is really busy on game days (especially 2 hours before to 2 hours after the posted game time).
If driving/parking, just enter “City Island” into Google Maps
4. Founders Hall
The Founders Hall visitors center is another one of our favorite engagement photo locations. You can make this location look like 10 different locations.
Why Founders Hall is the Perfect Location For Your Engagement Photos:
- The bright white marble on the visitors center is perfect for bright images with perfect skin tones
- There are lots of beautiful flowers to use in your photos between spring and fall (wild and planted)
- Multiple fields with tall grasses
- Lots of tree lined walkways
- Meticulously landscaped during spring, summer, and fall
- A beautiful pond surrounded by walking paths and small bridges
- Dogs on leashes are welcome
- Gorgeous fall color
The address for Founders Hall is:
802 Spartan Lane
Hershey, PA 17033
(If you type “Founders Hall” into Google maps, the choice at the top will be “East Homestead Lane.” This will also take you right to the visitors center.)
5. Fort Hunter Mansion and Park
Fort Hunter is a 40 acre park located on the scenic Susquehanna River. It is a very popular location for photo shoots.
Why Fort Hunter is one of our Favorite Engagement Photo Locations Near Harrisburg
- Beautiful views of The Susquehanna River
- It has a small covered bridge
- Fort Hunter has Old Historic Mansion and Centennial Barn
- A fun little playground
- Dogs on leashes are welcome
- Lots of spring blossoms in April
- Gorgeous fall color between mid October and early November
Fort Hunter is located at:
5300 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
6. Strites’ Orchard
Strites’ Orchard is a great choice when considering engagement session locations. Located about 15 minutes from downtown Harrisburg, this 300 acre farm is the perfect setting for couples wanting a true outdoor/nature look. It does not offer as much shade during the day as some of the other locations, so we recommend doing your session early in the day or closer to sunset.
A few things that make Strites’ Orchard unique for engagement photos:
- Pumpkin patch in the fall
- Christmas tree farm
- Corn fields
- Apple orchard
Strites’ Orchard can be found at:
1000 Strites Rd.
Harrisburg, PA 17111
7. Gifford Pinchot State Park
Gifford Pinchot State Park is a 2300 acres of scenic beauty.
A few things that make Gifford Pinchot State Park a great spot for photo shoots:
- Pinchot Lake (a beautiful 30 acre lake)
- Dogs on lease are welcome
- Awesome location for fall color
- Perfect for nature/outdoor sessions
- Lots of walking/hiking paths (Lakeside Trail)
- A playground for some light hearted photos
- Bathrooms available for changing
- Boulder Point
- You can bring or rent canoes or kayaks for some fun photos
- Stop by Reesers’ Soft Ice Cream on your way out of town for the best soft serve and milkshakes you have ever tasted
Gifford Pinchot State Park can be found at (there are actually multiple entrances):
2200 Rosstown Rd
Lewisberry, PA 17339
8. Children’s Lake
Located in Boiling Springs, Children’s Lake is a charming 7-acre lake that makes the perfect backdrop for engagement photos.
A few things that make Children’s Lake one of our favorite engagement photo locations on this list:
- Lot’s of ducks and swans (you can feed them)
- Gorgeous willow trees
- A scenic walking path goes around the lake
- It’s stocked with trout if you want to get some photos of you fishing
- Beautiful fall color (have your photographer capture the color reflecting in the lake)
The address for Children’s Lake is:
101 Race St.
Boiling Springs, PA 17007
(This is the address for the parking lot next to the lake)
9. Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Tucked away in Michaux State Forest, Pine Grove Furnace State Park offers 696 stunning acres for all your engagement session needs.
A few things that make Pine Grove stand out to us:
- Bring a canoe or kayak and get some awesome photos on Laurel Lake
- Fuller Lake is a gorgeous backdrop for photos (emerald green water that reflects the beautiful tree line)
- Leashed pets are welcome
- Lot’s of beautiful hiking trails (this is the midway point of the Appalachian Trail)
- Lot’s of spring blossoms in April
- Stunning fall color in October
- Bathrooms available for changing
Pine Grove Furnace State Park
1100 Pine Grove Rd.
Gardners, PA 17324
10. Little Buffalo State Park
Little Buffalo State Park occupies almost 1000 acres of Perry County in Central PA. Little Buffalo is about 35 minutes from Harrisburg.
Here a few things that we love about Little Buffalo State Park:
- Clay’s Covered Bridge is a perfect spot for photos
- Many beautiful hiking trails
- A perfect spot for fall color in October
- Holman Lake offers a great backdrop
- A train caboose that can be climbed on for photos
- Bathrooms available for changing outfits
Little Buffalo State Park’s address is:
1579 State Park Rd.
Newport, PA 17074
11. Hershey Gardens
Hershey Gardens is one of the most stunning locations on this list for engagement photos. It is absolutely breathtaking.
Please note that there is a fee to use this location for your photos. All members of your party, including the photographer, must purchase a ticket ($13.50 each at the time of this writing). Your photographer must also sign a form stating that they will not use the photos for commercial purposes. Here is a full list of the rules. The form can be found here.
Here are some things we love about Hershey Gardens for engagement photos:
- The oak grove
- Gorgeous walking paths through perfectly manicured gardens
- Japanese gardens featuring giant sequoias, Japanese maples, and Dawn Redwood trees.
- An amazing perennial garden plus their seasonal display garden (almost 30,000 tulips in the spring)
Hershey Gardens is located at:
170 Hotel Road
Hershey, PA 17033
12. Messiah College Campus
College campuses are typically very well manicured, and can be a great option when choosing your engagement photo location. Messiah College, located just south of Harrisburg, PA is a beautiful campus to consider.
A few of the thinks we love of about Messiah College Campus:
- A gorgeous covered bridge (use the outside of the red bridge for one look, and the inside of the bridge for clean portraits)
- Tree lined walking paths right near the covered bridge
- Access to Yellow Breeches Creek
- Beautiful fall color
One College Ave.
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
13. Kings Gap State Park and King’s Gap Mansion
Kings Gap State Park has 16 miles of beautiful hiking trails which offers lots of space for your engagement session. The park is located about 40 minutes from Harrisburg.
While you are there, definitely check out the Cameron/Masland Mansion (located in the park). It resembles an Italian villa (such a cool backdrop for engagement photos).
Kings Gap State Park is located at:
500 Kings Gap Rd.
Carlisle, PA 17015
14. Siebert Park in Camp Hill, PA
Siebert Park is a great location to consider for your photos.
It has a fun little playground and a really beautiful wooded walking path.
There is also a pedestrian tunnel that goes under Highway 11/15 from the park. This can be a unique spot for a few engagement photos.
Siebert Park is located at:
427 N. 25th St.
Camp Hill, PA 17011
15. Wildwood Park
Wildwood Park in Harrisburg is a great place for an engagement session if you love nature. There are many little photos spots along the walking paths of this 229 acre park.
One of our favorite things about this location is all of the wooden walkways throughout the park. It allows you to get gorgeous background in your photos without having to get your shoes dirty.
Leashed dogs are welcome in the park.
Wildwood Park is located at:
100 Wildwood Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110
16. Negley Park
If you want an amazing bird’s eye view of Harrisburg in the background of your engagement photos, head up to Negley Park in Lemoyne. The view from up there is amazing!
The address for Negley Park is:
210 Cumberland Rd.
Lemoyne, PA 17043
A few more college campuses with beautiful grounds to consider:
- Elizabethtown College
- Gettysburg College
- York College of Pennsylvania
- Shippensburg University
Some other engagement photo locations to consider:
- Paulus Farm Market in Mechanicsburg, PA
- Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards in Dillsburg, PA
- Ricketts Glen State Park
- Hersheypark in Hershey, PA
- Knoebels in Elysburg, PA
- Gettysburg National Military Park
- SpringGate Vineyard in Harrisburg, PA
- The Vineyard at Hershey
- Hauser Estate Winery in Gettysburg
- The Square in the Historic District of Gettysburg
- Sophia’s at Walden in Mechanicsburg, PA (go in August for the beautiful sunflower fields)
Another location option for your engagement session is sticking close to home.
Did the two of you meet in high school? Maybe you could do your engagement photos at your old high school. You could include some other local locations where you used to hang out together.
Where did you go on your first date? Maybe you can incorporate that location into some of your photos.
To get the most out of your engagement session, follow these tips for the best engagement photos.
If you are still looking for the wedding dress of your dreams, here are the best bridal shops in Lancaster, Harrisburg and York, PA.