Nestled within the rolling mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Poconos region beckons with its lush landscapes, tranquil lakes, and the whispers of history. Once a refuge for the weary souls seeking a retreat from city life, the Poconos today stands as a testament to the timeless beauty of nature and the myriad adventures that await.
Almost every part of the Poconos incorporates the area’s breathtaking natural surroundings. So, whether you spend a day golfing, rafting down the Delaware River, or viewing the fall colors from the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, you can thank the Pocono Mountains for your holiday.
Here is our list of the top things to do in the Poconos.
Poconos Farmers Market
The natural beauty of the Poconos contributes to their allure. Natural bounty goes hand in hand with natural beauty, and the Poconos don’t skimp on ways to sample the region’s riches. Farms pepper the countryside around small Pennsylvania towns like Stroudsburg and Lake Harmony, and farmers markets pop up at regular intervals to sell flowers, fruits, and cheeses.
The various farmers markets provide a nice way to spend an afternoon or morning, whether you stop by to stock up or simply stroll, smell, and sample.
Previous visitors advise carrying cash because some alternatives, such as the Lake Harmony farmers market, do not accept credit cards. While buyers were amazed at the variety of possibilities, baked products appeared to be a favorite across all marketplaces.
Maunch Chunk Museum And Cultural Center
Mauch Chunk is the former name of Jim Thorpe, and the cultural center strives to preserve the town’s history while also educating tourists and locals about the town’s eccentric history. The museum is open for tours with guides who will teach you more about the town’s history and the artifacts on display. This is an excellent rainy-day activity for the whole family.
Lehigh Gorge State Park
If you’re seeking for active things to do in the Poconos, a visit to Lehigh Gorge State Park checks all the boxes. This 6,000-acre park is nestled in a rocky valley, with the flowing river that created it over hundreds of years at its center. Visitors come here to experience the thrill of whitewater rafting. Besides whitewater rafting, you can also do fishing, trekking or biking.
This park also has three spectacular waterfalls. Cascade, Buttermilk Falls, and Luke’s Falls are all worth a visit and at least a dozen shots, so make sure your camera is charged.
The park is accessible from White Haven, Glen Onoko, and Rockport, and there is plenty of parking.
Lehigh Gorge Railway Park
The coaches for the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway were created as early as 1917, therefore the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway is sure to delight any ferroequinologist, or train enthusiast. The trains are mostly pulled by diesel engines, however steam locomotives are used on occasion. The 16-mile round trip takes about an hour and winds through Lehigh Gorge State Park. The length of the rides varies based on the season, and the railway provides special excursions for occasions such as fall foliage.
Previous visitors advised spending an extra couple of dollars for an open-air car if the weather is favorable. Arrive early, though, as guests have advised that tickets are difficult to obtain, particularly during the fall foliage season and other special excursions. While most riders are impressed by the gorgeous scenery, they encourage future passengers to keep in mind that the train takes the same route out and back, thus the second half of the trip is a repeat.
Asa Packer Mansion
Asa Packer Mansion, which is open during the summer months, was built in 1861 and has three levels and 18 rooms, totalling about 11,000 square feet of living area. In 1956, the mansion was converted into a museum and opened to the public.
Many of the original furnishings remain in the house. Tours fill up quickly, so arrive early because tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Schisler Museum And McMunn Planetarium
Nestled within the heart of East Stroudsburg University, the Schisler Museum and McMunn Planetarium stand as dual beacons of exploration and education.
Children like viewing the museum’s dioramas and seeing animals from all across the world. On chilly or wet days, it is the ideal draw for families.
East Stroudsburg University’s museum is a science center featuring a planetarium. From the icy realms of the Arctic to the dense rainforests of the Amazon, each exhibit tells a story of nature’s majesty.
Meanwhile, the McMunn Planetarium catapults visitors into the vast cosmos, offering a dazzling voyage among the stars and celestial bodies. Come, uncover the mysteries of our world—and beyond—at this extraordinary science center.
Blue Lightning, an all-season tubing park, is next on my list of things to do in the Poconos. It has a Magic Carpet lift that will transport you to the top of the 300ft tubing lanes. They are two in number! The runs are fantastic, and there is no need for water or snow to be open.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Center
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area spans 40 miles of the Delaware River and encompasses approximately 67,000 acres. This vast protected region offers outdoor enthusiasts more than 100 miles of hiking paths, including 27 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Scenic drives supplement the hiking possibilities, and the Delaware River can be used by motorboats, fishermen, kayakers, and swimmers. In the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also available at the recreation area.
Hiking the Red Dot Trail up Mount Tammany, which may be connected with the Blue Blaze Trail to form a loop, was recommended by previous visitors. The Red Dot Trail is very steep and rocky, despite the fact that the entire loop is only 3 miles long, therefore it’s best to take the Red Dot Trail up and the Blue Blaze Trail down. The fall foliage in the recreation areas also amazes recent visitors, exceeding their high expectations for the region’s autumn colors.
In the heart of Pennsylvania, the Poconos isn’t merely a destination—it’s a sensation, a canvas painted with nature’s most vivid hues, echoing with tales of old and adventures anew. Each visit reveals another layer, another secret. If you’ve been enchanted by the Poconos or seek more hidden gems, share your stories or ask for recommendations. Dive deep into this collective exploration—comment below and let’s journey together!