Sipping Surfside: Harrisburg Beach Club brings the shoreline to the Susquehanna.


Photo courtesy of Rachel Lindsley.

The sand? Check. Drinks on the boat? Check. Sunny, summer fun? Check and check.

You may never confuse the Susquehanna River with the Atlantic Ocean, but the Harrisburg Beach Club brings as many shore-based experiences to the capital as possible.

At the point on City Island, you will discover a new hotspot where you can play in the sand[box]grab a drink, eat a meal, and find a place to relax with friends, with stunning views of the Harrisburg skyline.

Co-owners Bryan Donovan and Adam Maust opened the outdoor site last November with the goal of providing a year-round waterfront hangout for locals and visitors.

The cold months can be tough in central PA, but, as the weather has warmed up, the Beach Club has taken off. Swimming is not permitted, but, according to Maust, “we have sand, a great view, and live music for guests to relax, play, and have fun.”

The city’s beautiful century-old bathhouse is the centerpiece of the Beach Club, which business partners brought to life as part of the site’s construction.

“Before we took action, the bathhouses had been closed for over two decades and the beach was hidden behind a run-down area of ​​the island,” Maust said. “We have worked hard to bring this idea to life, restoring the bathrooms and changing rooms for guests who wish to enjoy the sun while avoiding the water, as swimming is prohibited.”

The Harrisburg Beach Club is open seven days a week from noon to 10 p.m. during the warmer months, weather permitting. Adirondack chairs and “comfort zones” line the lawn for casual lounging and live entertainment, all free of charge. Guests can listen to live music throughout the day as the Harrisburg Beach Club regularly changes artists and genres.

“We pride ourselves on providing a space for local artists to perform music,” Donovan said. “We have a wide selection of genres and announce the program every week on social media.”

Just steps from the shore, beachgoers will find a bar serving specialty cocktails made with local Hidden Still spirits as well as Pennsylvania-made beers and wine. Want to taste before you buy? Harrisburg Beach Club also offers tastings of their partner spirits on-site.

For a more authentic beach day, parties can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas just a few feet from the water. Reservations can be made through their website’s reservation portal, where customers can choose a chair location and enjoy personal wait service from the bar and food truck. The owners also plan to launch an app reservation system that will guarantee groups a spot on the beach together, Maust said.

Around the corner from the beach, a food truck serves tasty dishes such as Bourbon smash burgers, Nashville hot chicken sandwiches and Coney Island dogs. From this month, the food truck will be open every day from noon to 9 p.m.

The Harrisburg Beach Club is family-friendly and even allows dogs, if they’re on a leash. Kids can play in the sand, eat lunch at the food truck or at home, and run around in the grass with Fido while adults lounge around and sip spirits. Children under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

“We’ve worked hard to create a free destination for everyone to come and enjoy in Harrisburg’s most beautiful location,” Donovan said. “From parents to adult couples and even dogs, there’s something for everyone at Harrisburg Beach Club.”

The Harrisburg Beach Club is located on City Island in Harrisburg. For more information, visit Follow them on Facebook and Instagram at @HarrisburgBeachClub.

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