The Pocono Mountains is a beautiful mountain location in the northeastern region of Pennsylvania. Renowned for its outdoor activities and outstanding natural beauty, the Pocono Mountains offer endless opportunities for things to do. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adrenaline junkie, or simply want to leave behind the fast pace of city life, our guide offers 12 best things to do in The Pocono Mountains all year round.
Powder deep snow, adventurous black runs and picturesque views beckon in the Poconos come winter. Ski resorts such as Camelback Mountain Resort, Jack Frost Big Boulder, and Shawnee Mountain Ski Area offer great slopes and loads of winter fun. Visitors come and take advantage of the peak conditions for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and tubing. Some mountains, like Big Boulder, even offer night skiing for the ultimate thrill.
When it’s cold outside, make a splash in a tropical indoor oasis at one of the area’s awesome waterparks. With wave pools, splash pads and water slides, it’s a fun day out for all ages. You can give surfing a go on the Flowrider five-foot wave simulator at Kalahari Resorts.
Great Wolf Lodge has numerous water slides to keep you entertained, and an adults only hot tub when you need some time out.
In spring and summer when the temperature warms up, the Poconos’ largest outdoor water park opens for business at Camelback Mountain, full of waterslides, pools, rapids and all kinds of other entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
Also known as the ‘Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania’, Bushkill Falls is a series of eight waterfalls, connected by hiking trails, that offer a picturesque hiking experience. Set amongst lush greenery, the trails range from an easy 15-minute stroll to a more physical two-hour hike. They do say ‘the hardest climb offers the best views’ and the one here looking over the eight waterfalls is awe-inspiring and so very instagrammable.
Jim Thorpe is a picture postcard-pretty town known for its well-preserved Victorian architecture and historical significance. As well as gorgeous boutiques and a burgeoning food and drink scene, the town has galleries, museums, and historic landmarks that offer a unique perspective on the region’s past.
The Asa Packer Mansion, once the home of a coal and railway magnate, is one of the best examples of an Italianate villa in the country. For something different you can take a tour of the Old Jail museum, an active jail through the 19th and 20th centuries with a story to tell. Or, pop into the Big Creek Vineyard and Winery store and tasting room where they can help organise a local wine tour or a trip to their nearby vineyard.
Of course, as the Poconos is ultimately all about nature, Jim Thorpe is also the starting and ending point for the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway train tour. It’s a scenic tour on vintage trains where you’ll see the Poconos in all their glory, passing by the Lehigh River, through Glen Onoko, and the landscape of the beautiful Lehigh Gorge State Park.
The Poconos has more than 150 lakes and rivers to choose from, with many offering a range of activities, from tubing and kayaking or boating through to adrenalin-pumping whitewater rafting. You’re bound to find the one that’s right for you depending on your vibe. Lake Wallenpaupack, also known as Lake Wally, is the biggest man-made lake in Pennsylvania and offers public beaches, hiking trails, boat slips, and jet ski hire. It’s also home to several marinas offering boat rentals and boat tours.
Celebrate and learn about the area’s mining past at No.9 Coal Mine and Museum. It’s a ride by rail into the for an informative underground tour experiencing the inner workings of one of America’s oldest deep coal mines, including the Original No.9 mine elevator shaft.
Various ziplining and adventure parks in the Pocono Mountains will leave you feeling on top of the world. Make like the bald eagles and fly down a mountain at speeds up to 60 mph at Kittatinny near the Delaware River, whizz through the air on a 4,000-foot skyflyer at Camelback Mountain Adventures, or fly between trees at the Treetop Adventure Course at Skytop Lodge, a web of elevated bridges and challenging yet exhilarating obstacles.
Video Credit: Kittatinny Canoes
The main attraction at Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area is, without doubt, the Delaware River. And whether you’re up for fishing, kayaking, or swimming, you’ll be able to do so in this natural wonderland. You can rent a canoe, kayak, or tube and enjoy a leisurely float down the river or go for a swim from one of the area’s three accessible beaches. On land, multiple waterfalls, the gorgeous town of Millbrook, and a healthy helping of hiking trails will keep delighting your senses.
Feeling the need for speed? Car racing fans will love the Pocono Raceway. Known as the ‘tricky triangle’ for its tight turns, NASCAR fans can take in a race, do a tour of the track, or even get behind the wheel for an off-road experience to remember. Expect NASCAR races every summer, and other great events held here throughout the year.
Photo credit: Nicholas_T @FlickR
Hickory Run State Park in Carbon County is home to the captivating Hawk Falls, peaceful Stametz Dam, and more than 40 hiking trails. It’s also where you’ll find a field, free from vegetation, and blanketed in boulders. Boulder field is a natural landmark that’s been around for more than 20,000 years. Some of the ancient rocks are as large as 26 feet long and, with a sturdy pair of shoes, it’s fun to have a walk around.
It’s a simple and beautiful walk through the Pinchot State Forest before you arrive at the Seven Tubs Recreation Area. Dotted with natural pools filled with glacial water from the Wheelbarrow Run stream, the ‘tubs’ are a unique place to cool down in the crisp, clean waters on a hot summer day. It’s a picture-perfect place to spend a day exploring the forest’s natural beauty.
The Poconos are all about the state parks and there are loads to choose from, all offering stunning scenery, an abundance of activities, and a different take on how to get the best out of nature. Try white water rafting in Lehigh Gorge, hiking to stunning waterfalls in Hickory Run and Ricketts Glen, or go wildlife watching for bald eagles and black bears at Delaware Water Gap. Go fishing on the beautiful Tobyhanna Lake, horseback riding at Big Pocono State Park, and enjoy the sandy beach in Beltzville and its 20-mile shoreline come summer. The Poconos highlight nature at its finest.