The Pocono Mountains are located in northeast Pennsylvania in the counties of Pike and Monroe, and parts of Carbon and Wayne counties. The Poconos are a very popular Pennsylvania tourist destination for their winter ski slopes, summer lake resorts, beautiful fall foliage, and the many state and federal parks and campgrounds.
With peaks over 2,100 feet, the Poconos have some great ski resorts with trails for beginners to experts. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, some areas have a snow-tubing hill which are loads of fun for all ages. We’ve gone snow tubing at Camelback and Big Boulder and the whole family (grandparents to 3 year-old), thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The snow-tubing hill has a gentle tow rope system that carries you and your tube gently up the hill – fun day outing!
Some of the more popular slopes & resorts in the Pocono Mountains include: Camelback, Jack Frost / Big Boulder, Alpine, Blue Mountain, Elk, and Shawnee. A few years ago, we got a really good package deal for equipment rental, lift tickets, and an hour lesson (kids’ ages at the time: 12, 10, 9, and 3). A really good time was had by all!
The Poconos have many lake resorts and campgrounds that make summertime an equally popular time to visit. Lakes Wallenpaupack and Harmony are a few of the more popular lake resorts where you and your family can stay on vacation.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area encompasses over 70,000 acres of the river valley and includes over 100 miles of trails, hundreds of waterfalls, and some breathtaking summits. We’ve gone camping a few times at Dingmans Campground which is in the northern part of the recreation area. It’s located right on the banks of the Delaware River – the boys love exploring and skipping stones here in the evening before S’mores time! We saw a bald eagle fly right over us, standing along the river which was really cool. The campground is also just a 5 minute ride to Dingmans and Silverthread Falls. The walk is short and easy from the parking area which is just right off of Route 209.
The Dingmans Falls Visitor Center is located at the top of the road, which is closed to vehicles pending the repair of washed out pavement. From the visitor center, there’s a nice flat boardwalk that takes you by Silverthread Falls and then to Dingmans Falls. It’s a pleasant walk under tree-canopy. Park Rangers are on the boardwalk to answer questions. It’s a 2-3 hour excursion from the campground and worth the time, if you have it.
The Delaware Water Gap is also home to approximately 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which crosses from Pennsylvania to New Jersey on the Route 80 bridge. Some friends and I hiked this portion, up to Culvers Gap in Stokes Forest, and it remains to this day one of the best hikes that I’ve ever taken. The summits, views, Sunfish Pond, and Crater Lake were some of the scenic highlights.
The Pocono Mountains are home to some great water parks! CamelBeach (CamelBack Mountain’s summer personality) has some really fun water rides. Our kid’s favorites are the Vortex, Sidewinder, and the Checkered Flag Challenge. The Great Wolf Lodge is also a family favorite and you can take advantage of this indoor waterpark year-round! We combined a Great Wolfe Lodge day with a ski day for a fun snow & bathing suit winter weekend!
The ideas above are just a small list of what Pocono Mountains have to offer. Being within 2 hours of both Philadelphia and new York City, make this a popular destination, but with so many undeveloped acres, mountains, parks, and lakes…you’ll find that it’s still a very peaceful and relaxing place!