We’ve had a lot of people asking about weekend trips to the Poconos lately, which is easy to see why if you know this gorgeous mountainous region. The Pocono Mountains are the absolutely breathtaking Northeastern Pennsylvania mountain range located just a few short hours from most major Northeastern cities. Here, you will find rolling mountain terrain, gorgeous waterfalls, and amazing woodlands all alongside over 170 miles of winding river shores. The entire Pocono Mountain region takes up over 2,400 square miles, including Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne Counties in Pennsylvania. The entire region is a sort of endless outdoor playground, filled with steep mountains with cloudy peaks and natural adventures around every corner. If you truly think about it, visiting the Poconos and seeing the peaks for the first time is almost sweeter than that feeling you get waking up on Christmas morning!
There is so much to do in the Poconos it’s hard to figure out where to start, or when exactly to go for that matter. Here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, you will find four seasons completely full of fun, the region popular with tourists and locals alike for their seasonally themed resorts and spas, year-round outdoor adventures, and fun family and group options. Have a bold and exhilarating day in any of the several local adventure courses, water parks, or in the over 150 local lakes (including popular Lake Wallenpaupack), or take a break with some restful mountain moments near the peaceful inns, spas, or sandy shorelines. You can spend your day at local museums, theaters, and brewpubs and end your night with elegant eateries, concerts, and strolls along those beautiful sandy beaches. Hit the ski slopes or watch a NASCAR race, the opportunities for fun here really are almost endless!
Here are a few things you aren’t going to want to miss while planning your dream Poconos weekend getaway:
Snow Sports - The Poconos are seriously spectacular for snow sports enthusiasts, with over 163 ski trails and endless opportunities to snowboard, snowshoe, and snow tube! Not to mention how gorgeous these slopes are in general! Jack Frost Big Boulder Ski Area is a fun place to start for any skill level.
Adventure Parks - There are several local adventure parks worth looking into, such as the aerial acrobatic Skytop Lodge, snowy Blue Lightning park, thrilling Blue Mountain Aerial Park, and two of the most exciting rope courses/sky bridge and zip line parks, Camelback Mountain Adventures and Howlers Peak.
Lake Time - As mentioned before, there are over 150 lakes in the region as well as over 170 miles of winding river shores, so there are tons of opportunities to participate in water recreation sports, fishing, swimming, boating, and just strolling along the sand!
NASCAR - 2016 brings the Spring Cup Series and Indy Car 500 races to the Poconos during the summer weekends, so this is your best opportunity to see the action up close while on vacation! Check to see if your hotel/resort provides race weekend deals, you won’t want to miss them!
Shopping - The Pocono Mountain region is well known for having excellent local and antique shopping, as well as convenient large-scale brand name shopping (The Crossings is a great outlet) for any and all of your vacation needs. Most shopping areas are surrounding by local cafes, diners, and pubs that make for some of the best eating in the mountains too!
Waterparks - This may be the state’s waterpark capital, with four absolutely amazing options to choose from. Head to Camelbeach Waterpark for over 37 different rides and slides, Great Wolf Lodge for the tropical 84-degree indoor pool scene, or H2Oooooh for the 53,326 square foot pool area. Not only that, but locally popular Kalahari Resorts was named by Conde Nast Traveler as the World's Coolest Indoor Water Park!
Golfing - The Poconos is a true resort region, so be sure that you save plenty of time for all the options for golfing you will have as you explore over 35 lush and challenging courses, with again several resort packages and annual themed competitions such as the upcoming April "Golf-n-Gamble" tournament.
State Parks - In this natural wonderland, you will find nine total state parks and two national parks, both providing over 261 miles of hiking and biking land. Enjoy some of the most gorgeous wilderness in the state that is perfect for hikers, botanists, or even cyclists (Jim Thorpe Park is East Coast cycling heaven). Hickory Run State Park provides excellent panoramas of the region too!
Festivals - All four seasons in the mountain region are full of fun annual events and festivals, such as Fall Arts and Crafts, Farmers Markets, Heritage Days, Historical Reenactments, Celtic Festival, Earth Day Festival, Comic Expo, and several local musics, food, and wine festivals year-round!
History- Most of the quaint little towns within the four-county region that makes up the Poconos are steeped in intriguing history, so be sure to save time to tour historic homes, museums, and landmarks at some point during your trip. For example, head to visitor-favorite Columns Museum to learn all about the roots of the Poconos in detail!