Best Things to Do in the Poconos, PA: 12 Pocono Attractions

by Flora Backup
Best Things to Do in the Poconos, PA
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Are you thinking of visiting the Poconos this year? Here are some of the most exciting, unique, and fun things to do in the Poconos, Pennsylvania. These sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Are you dreaming of an escape to the great outdoors? Look no further than the Poconos, a mountainous region in northeastern Pennsylvania that offers a wealth of natural beauty and a plethora of activities for every type of traveler. From the thrill-seeker to the serenity-seeker, the Poconos is an underrated destination that promises an unforgettable experience.

Known for its stunning landscapes, the Poconos is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Its mountains, lakes, and forests provide the perfect backdrop for a myriad of activities, from hiking and biking to fishing and boating. But the allure of the Poconos extends beyond its natural attractions. It’s a region steeped in history, with charming small towns, historic sites, and cultural attractions that add depth to any visit.

From the adrenaline-pumping excitement of white-water rafting on the Lehigh River to the tranquil beauty of a sunrise over Lake Wallenpaupack, from the historic charm of Jim Thorpe to the vibrant arts scene in Stroudsburg, there’s no shortage of things to do in the Poconos. And that’s what makes it more important for you to know which places are best suited for your particular interests. To help, I’ve compiled a list of some of the must-visit attractions in the Poconos. Get ready to be inspired!

Things to do in the Poconos that will blow your mind
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Best Places to Visit in the Poconos

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Poconos? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this underrated vacation spot. Keep reading to discover all these unique places to visit in PA.

Are you looking to discover quaint towns and immerse yourself in idyllic nature? Or would you prefer a more active getaway on the ski slopes and hiking trails? Whatever you’re planning, the Poconos can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best things to do in the Poconos that you should know about.

1. Hiking in the Pocono Mountains

The Pocono Mountains are a hiker’s paradise, with over 261 miles of trails winding through national and state parks, including the Appalachian Trail. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a challenge or a novice seeking a leisurely stroll, there’s a trail for you.

things to do in the Poconos can't touch the Pocono Mountains
The Pocono Mountains are indeed a hiker’s paradise

One of the most popular destinations for hikers is Bushkill Falls, often referred to as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania.” This privately owned park features eight natural waterfalls and offers a range of trails, from easy walks to challenging hikes. The Red Trail, for instance, is a two-mile hike that provides views of eight falls, including Bridal Veil Falls, Bridesmaid’s Falls, Pennell Falls, and Lower Gorge Falls.

But the beauty of the Poconos doesn’t stop at Bushkill Falls. There are numerous other trails to explore, each offering its unique blend of flora, fauna, and breathtaking vistas. Lace up your hiking boots, pack your water bottle, and get ready to immerse yourself in the natural splendor of the landscape – it’s one of the coolest things to do in the Poconos, which no traveler to PA should miss.

2. Waterfalls of the Pocono Mountains

The Poconos is home to a multitude of stunning waterfalls, each with its unique charm. As mentioned earlier, Bushkill Falls is a must-visit, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The region is dotted with cascades that are sure to take your breath away.

One such place is the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, where you can find Dingmans Falls and Raymondskill Falls. Dingmans Falls is the second-highest waterfall in Pennsylvania, and the trail leading to it is relatively flat and easy to navigate, making it accessible for all fitness levels. Raymondskill Falls, on the other hand, is the tallest waterfall in the state. The hike to the falls is a bit more challenging, but the view is well worth the effort.

Bushkill Falls is one of my favorite tourist attractions in the Poconos
Bushkill Falls in Poconos Mountains, PA

Another notable waterfall is the Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park. This 25-foot waterfall is located along a beautiful trail that runs through rhododendron bushes and large boulders.

Visiting these waterfalls provides not only a feast for the eyes but also a sense of peace and tranquility. The sound of water cascading down the rocks, the cool mist in the air, and the lush greenery that surrounds these falls make for a truly magical experience. With so much charm and personality, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best things to do in the Poconos.

3. Explore the Charm of Small Towns

The Poconos is not just about outdoor adventures; it’s also about the charm of small towns that dot the region. Each town has its unique character and attractions, making them worth a visit.

Take Jim Thorpe, for instance. Coined by many as the “Switzerland of America,” this town offers a mix of adventure and history. You can enjoy waterway adventures such as white-water rafting and kayaking on the Lehigh River or take a scenic train ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. The town is also home to the Old Jail Museum, a haunted historic site that adds a touch of mystery to your visit. If you’re looking for beautiful places to visit in the Poconos, look no further than Jim Thorpe.

charming small town in the heart of PA
The charming small town in Poconos mountains.

Then there’s Stroudsburg, known for its vibrant arts scene. Here, you can explore museums like the Stroud Mansion and the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm or participate in workshops and special programs at the Pocono Arts Council.

And let’s not forget Milford, a small town that offers a slice of Americana. With its heritage attractions and cultural vibrancy, Milford is a place where you can slow down and savor the small-town charm.

4. Experience the Thrill at Pocono Raceway

For those who crave a bit of adrenaline, the Pocono Raceway is a must-visit. Known as the “Tricky Triangle,” this raceway is one of the most distinctive tracks in NASCAR due to its unique design. It features three turns, each with its unique degree of banking, and three straightaways of varying lengths.

But the Pocono Raceway offers more than just NASCAR races. It also provides a stock car experience where you can feel the thrill of driving a race car on a professional track. Whether you’re a racing enthusiast or just looking for a unique experience, the Pocono Raceway promises an unforgettable day of high-speed fun.

Tricky Triangle is one of the top Poconos, PA attractions for NASCAR enthusiasts
Tricky Triangle in Poconos, PA is one of the most distinctive tracks for NASCAR races.

And if you’re visiting in June, you might be able to catch the annual NASCAR Cup Series race, a highlight of the racing calendar that draws fans from all over the country. As a racing lover, the Pocono Raceway is something I recommend to everyone looking for exciting things to do in the Poconos!

5. Savor the Flavors of the Poconos

As far as things to do in the Poconos, discovering the region’s wide array of vineyards is one of the coolest activities for wine lovers. The Poconos isn’t just a feast for the eyes, but also for the palate. The region is home to a variety of wineries, breweries, and distilleries that offer a taste of the local flavors.

For wine enthusiasts, a visit to one of the many vineyards in the region is a must. Places like the Mountain View Vineyard, Winery & Brewery, and the Blue Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery offer wine tastings where you can sample a variety of wines, from crisp whites to full-bodied reds, all while enjoying the beautiful vineyard scenery.

Pennsylania is home to a variety of wineries, breweries, and distilleries
Poconos, PA is also a home to a variety of wineries, breweries, and distilleries

If you’re more of a beer enthusiast, the Poconos has you covered as well. Breweries like the Barley Creek Brewing Company and the Wallenpaupack Brewing Company offer a range of craft beers for you to try. And if spirits are more your style, be sure to check out the Silverback Distillery for some locally made whiskey, vodka, and gin.

But the culinary experience in the Poconos isn’t limited to drinks. The region also boasts a variety of restaurants that serve everything from gourmet meals to comfort food, ensuring that there’s something to satisfy every craving.

6. Discover the History at No. 9 Mine and Museum

The Poconos is rich in history, and one of the best places to delve into the past is the No. 9 Mine and Museum. This historic coal mine, dating back to 1855, offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s mining history.

A visit to the No. 9 Mine is like stepping back in time. You can take a walking tour of the mine, where you’ll ride in a mine car into the mountain and see the conditions that miners worked in. The tour guides, many of whom are former miners, share stories of the mine’s history and the life of a coal miner, making the experience both educational and engaging.

No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum
No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Poconos, PA

The museum houses an extensive collection of mining artifacts, providing further insight into the region’s mining past. It’s located in the original “wash shanty,” where miners would wash up after a day’s work.

Whether you’re a history buff or just curious about the region’s past, the No. 9 Mine and Museum is a must-visit, providing a fascinating place to visit the Poconos after a long day’s hiking.

7. Family Fun at Kalahari Waterpark

Looking for family-friendly places to visit in the Poconos? Look no further than Kalahari Waterpark, one of the largest indoor waterparks in America. Located in Pocono Manor, this African-themed resort offers a variety of water-based activities that are sure to delight both kids and adults.

The waterpark features a range of attractions, from thrilling waterslides and wave pools to lazy rivers and play areas for younger children. For those seeking relaxation, there’s an indoor/outdoor spa complete with hydrotherapy and a swim-up bar.

The best things to do in the Poconos include indoor waterparks
Kalahari Waterpark, in Pocono Manor, is one of the largest indoor waterparks in America.

But the fun doesn’t stop at the waterpark. Kalahari also offers a variety of other activities, including mini-golf, an arcade, and an escape room. And when it’s time to refuel, you’ll find a variety of dining options on-site, from quick bites to full-service restaurants.

With its mix of thrilling rides, relaxing amenities, and family-friendly activities, Kalahari Waterpark offers a fun-filled day for the whole family.

8. Experience the Beauty of Lake Wallenpaupack

Lake Wallenpaupack, the third-largest lake in Pennsylvania, is a must-visit for any trip to the Poconos. This man-made lake, spanning 5,700 acres and 13 miles in length, offers a variety of recreational activities for all ages.

For water enthusiasts, the lake provides opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and even jet-skiing. Several marinas around the lake offer boat rentals for those who don’t have their own. And for anglers, the lake is home to a variety of fish, including bass, walleye, and catfish.

Lake Wallenpaupack, the third-largest lake in Pennsylvania, is a must-visit for any trip to the Poconos.
Lake Wallenpaupack, the third-largest lake in Pennsylvania, is a must-visit for any trip to the Poconos.

But you don’t have to be on the water to enjoy Lake Wallenpaupack. The area surrounding the lake offers hiking trails with stunning views, picnic areas, and campgrounds. And if you’re a wildlife enthusiast, keep your eyes peeled for the variety of birds and animals that call this area home.

Whether you’re watching the sunrise over the lake, enjoying a picnic by the water, or catching a fish, Lake Wallenpaupack offers a tranquil escape in the heart of the Poconos. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the best things to do in PA.

9. Explore the Wilderness at the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center

For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center is a must. This non-profit organization is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife, providing a unique opportunity to learn about the region’s native animals.

Explore the Wilderness at the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center
Explore the Wilderness at the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center

The center cares for a variety of animals, from birds of prey to mammals and reptiles. During a visit, you can learn about the animals’ habits, diets, and roles in the ecosystem. The center also offers educational programs aimed at promoting wildlife conservation and responsible coexistence with wildlife.

A visit to the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center is not only educational but also inspiring. It’s a reminder of the beauty and diversity of wildlife in the Poconos and the importance of protecting these creatures and their habitats.

10. Skiing and Snowboarding at Camelback Mountain Resort

A trip to Camelback Mountain Resort is one of the best things to do in the Poconos if you’re visiting during the winter. As the biggest ski area in the Poconos, Camelback offers a variety of winter activities for all skill levels.

With 39 trails, 16 lifts, and 100% snowmaking, Camelback provides a great skiing and snowboarding experience. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a beginner, you’ll find a trail that suits your skill level. And if you’re new to winter sports, the resort offers lessons to help you get started.

Camelback Mountain is one of the coolest things to do in Poconos PA
Camelback Mountain in Poconos, PA offers a variety of winter activities for all skill levels.

The fun at Camelback isn’t limited to skiing and snowboarding. The resort also features snow tubing lanes, the largest snow tubing park in the USA, and an indoor waterpark, perfect for warming up after a day in the snow.

With its variety of winter activities and amenities, Camelback Mountain Resort offers a fun and exciting winter getaway in the Poconos for the whole family.

11. Experience the Outdoors at Promised Land State Park

For a true taste of the great outdoors, head to Promised Land State Park. This 3,000-acre park in the heart of the Poconos offers a variety of recreational activities, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The park is home to two lakes, Promised Land Lake and Lower Lake, where you can enjoy boating, fishing, and swimming. There are also several hiking trails that wind through the park, offering stunning views of the lakes and the surrounding forest.

Promised Land State Park
Promised Land State Park in Poconos Mountains

For birdwatchers, the park is a paradise, with over 100 species of birds to spot. And if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the park’s other wildlife, including black bears, foxes, and white-tailed deer.

With its beautiful scenery and wealth of activities, Promised Land State Park offers a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Poconos. With so much charm and personality, it’s clear to see why the Promised State Land Park is one of the top places to visit in the Poconos of PA.

12. Take a Scenic Drive on Route 6

Last but not least, one of the best ways to explore the Poconos is by taking a scenic drive on Route 6. This historic highway, also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, stretches across the northern tier of Pennsylvania and offers stunning views of the Poconos’ landscapes.

The route takes you through charming small towns, past historic landmarks, and offers panoramic views of the mountains, forests, and lakes that make the Poconos so special. There are plenty of spots along the way to pull over and take in the scenery, have a picnic, or explore a hiking trail.

explore the Poconos is by taking a scenic drive on Route 6
Explore the Poconos is by taking a scenic drive on Route 6

Whether you’re driving from one end to the other or just taking a short trip, a drive on Route 6 is a memorable way to experience the beauty of the Poconos.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about things to do in the Poconos

Looking to dig deeper into these top Poconos activities? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get:

What is so special about the Poconos?

Curious about where to go in the Poconos? And better yet – what makes this region so desirable for travelers? The Poconos, located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, is a region that holds a special allure for many reasons:

  1. Natural beauty: The Poconos is characterized by its picturesque landscapes, encompassing mountains, lakes, forests, and rivers. This natural beauty offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  2. Outdoor recreation: With over 126 hiking trails covering more than 250 miles, the region is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether it’s hiking, boating, fishing, or canoeing, the Poconos offers a myriad of nature-filled activities. In the winter, the area transforms into a snowy wonderland with more than 170 ski trails. This makes it a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding.
  3. Adventure activities: The Poconos is known for thrilling activities like whitewater rafting and ziplining. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the region does not disappoint.
  4. Cultural and historical significance: The Poconos has a rich history. Places like the Asa Packer Mansion Museum offer insights into the region’s past.
  5. Pocono Raceway: A major attraction, the Pocono Raceway is a venue for various racing events. It draws motorsport enthusiasts from all over.

What are some of the best outdoor activities to do in the Poconos during the summer months?

The Poconos offers a variety of outdoor activities during the summer months. This includes hiking, fishing, boating, and swimming in the region’s many lakes and rivers. You can also enjoy birdwatching and wildlife spotting in places like Promised Land State Park.

Is Poconos worth it?

The Poconos, known for its natural beauty and diverse landscapes, is definitely a worthwhile destination. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with activities ranging from hiking and skiing to fishing and boating. The region is also renowned for its romantic getaways and family-friendly attractions, including water parks and wildlife parks.

With a variety of cultural events throughout the year, affordable accommodations, and its proximity to major cities like New York and Philadelphia, the Poconos offers a convenient and versatile escape. However, its appeal may vary based on individual preferences, particularly for those seeking urban experiences or beachfront resorts.

Can you recommend any specific hiking trails in the Poconos?

There are numerous hiking trails in the Poconos, suitable for all skill levels. Some popular ones include the trails at Bushkill Falls, the Appalachian Trail, and the trails in Promised Land State Park.

Other than Bushkill Falls, Appalachian Trail is one of the hiking trails in the Poconos
Other than Bushkill Falls, Appalachian Trail is one of the hiking trails in the Poconos

What are some family-friendly activities in the Poconos?

Families can enjoy a variety of activities in the Poconos, from water-based fun at Kalahari Waterpark to wildlife spotting at the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center. There’s also winter fun at Camelback Mountain Resort and historical exploration at the No. 9 Mine and Museum.

What are some unique attractions or activities in the Poconos that people might not know about?

Some unique attractions in the Poconos include the historic No. 9 Mine and Museum, the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, and the scenic drive on Route 6.

What are some of the best places to visit in the Poconos for nature and wildlife enthusiasts?

Nature and wildlife enthusiasts will love Promised Land State Park, the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center. They will also love the many hiking trails and waterfalls throughout the region.

What is the best time to visit Poconos?

The best time to visit the Poconos largely depends on the activities you’re interested in. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Summer (June to August): This is one of the best times to visit the Poconos, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. The weather is at its best, making it ideal for hiking, boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. The region is bustling with tourists, and there’s a vibrant atmosphere with various events and festivals taking place.
  2. Fall: The Poconos is renowned for its stunning autumn colors. The fall foliage is a major attraction, with the landscape transforming into a palette of reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s a perfect time for scenic drives, hikes, and photography.
  3. Winter (January to February): If you’re a fan of winter sports, this is the time to visit. The Poconos becomes a winter wonderland with ample opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. The region’s mountain resorts draw winter sports enthusiasts from around the country during these months.
  4. Spring: While spring isn’t the peak tourist season, it offers its own charm with blooming flowers and rejuvenated landscapes. Rates are generally lower during this time. This makes it a good option for those looking for a quieter and more budget-friendly visit.

In all, the ideal time to visit the Poconos depends on your preferences. Whether you’re looking for summer adventures, fall foliage, winter sports, or spring tranquility, the Poconos offers something special in every season.

Wrapping Up Your Adventure in the Poconos Mountains

With a vast array of places to visit, the Poconos is a region of endless adventure and discovery. From its stunning natural landscapes to its charming small towns, from its thrilling outdoor activities to its rich history and culture, there’s something for everyone in this mountainous paradise. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, a history buff, or a foodie, the Poconos promises an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to explore the wonders of the Poconos!

the top things to do in the Poconos for all types of travelers
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