The Pocono Mountains are a great eastern getaway for the whole family. Here is your ultimate guide to planning your next RV vacation in the Poconos.
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Your Pocono Vacation Guide
The Poconos are a mountainous region nestled in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia and south of Scranton. Although it’s a hot tourist destination, the mountains, forests, and rivers allow for as much seclusion as you wish. With 2,394 square miles of land, there’s so much to see and do while visiting the Poconos. Here is a seasonal guide to help navigate all that the Pocono Mountains have to offer.
There are plenty of great campgrounds all over the Poconos. If you are looking for a campground with great access to fishing and scenic views, check out Keen Lake Camping and Cottage Resort in Waymart, Penn. This campground has won all around A ratings in the GuestRated.com consumer surveys for several years and is highly recommended.
Another great campground, especially for families, is Otter Lake Camp Resort in Marshalls Creek. They offer fishing, swimming, and other fun family activities.
More campground options include Mountain Vista Campground in East Stroudsburg, Driftstone Campground in Mount Bethel, and Jellystone Park in Quarryville.
Spring and Summer Activities
Some of the most beautiful waterfalls on the east coast can be found hidden in the forests of the Pocono mountains. Some are only accessible by tough hikes through the woods, while others are easily visited via walking trails. Some popular waterfalls include Dingmans Falls, Hawk Falls, Raymondskill Falls, Shohola Falls, and Tumbling Waters, but there are many more to visit as well. It is likely that your campsite or a nearby visitor center will have information on falls close by.
Hiking/Exploring State Parks
The Poconos have many state parks to visit, all with their own array of natural beauty. There are nine state parks in total and two national parks. The largest of the nine state parks is aptly named “Big Pocono State Park."Big Pocono includes Camelback Mountain, which offers a view of three states if you visit the top! Other highly rated state parks include Hickory Run State Park, Slocum State Park, Pymatuning State Park, and Tobyhanna State Park.
Beaches in the Poconos? Indeed! With so many lakes and rivers, there are great areas for relaxing by the water, swimming, and soaking up the sun. At a few of the Pocono beaches you can even find sand! The Milford beach is a great spot for families because it has a lifeguard stand, a designated swim area, picnic tables, a pavilion, and public restrooms. Hickory Run State Park also has a large, sandy beach with restrooms and a snack bar.
Kayaking, Canoeing, and Tubing
If activities on the water are your thing, then the Poconos are the perfect destination. Visitors can rent kayaks, canoes, and even go tubing down the Delaware River. White water rafting is also an option for thrill seekers. A few places that offer rentals and tours are Yeti Water Sports, White Water Rafting Adventures, Chamberlain Canoes, Dingmans Campground, and more. If you do decide to hit the water for a day of fun, keep an eye out for falcons and eagles flying overhead in search of fish.
Whether you want to take a leisurely bike ride or embark on a multi-day trek, the Poconos are a great place to explore on two wheels. For easy, beginner trails, Promised Land State Park offers six and a half miles of paved roads. For a longer ride, Switchback Railroad Trail is an 18-mile dirt path through Mauch Chunk Lake Park and along the outskirts of Jim Thorpe. Finally, for advanced bikers, The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is 26 miles of winding trails from White Haven to Jim Thorpe.
Fall and Winter Activities
With cooler weather comes colorful, changing leaves. One of the best ways to see the foliage is by taking a train ride through the Poconos. The Lehigh George Scenic Railway and the Stourbridge Line both offer fall rides and are a great way to experience autumn in the Poconos.
Another great way to see the changing leaves in the Poconos is from the air. Moyer Aviation takes you up in a small plane and lets you view the Poconos from above. You can choose between several tours including the Mountain tour, the Delaware Water Gap tour, and more!
One of the biggest draws for visitors during the winter are the many ski resorts the Poconos has to offer. Skiers and snowboarders can find slopes ranging from bunny hills all the way to black diamonds. Many places also offer snow tubing. Popular resorts include Camelback Mountain Ski Resort, Big Boulder, Blue Mountain, Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort, and Jack Frost Mountain Resort.
Due to their high elevation, the Pocono lakes and ponds often are frozen solid during winter months. Many state parks allow people to skate on the ice when weather permits. Gouldsboro, Hickory Run, Promised Land, and Tobyhanna state parks all have great ice skating spots. You can also visit the Skytop Lodge, which transforms its pavilion into a skating rink every winter. It's important to remember to check that the lake has been certified as safe to skate on wherever you go. The State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources states that the ice should be at least four inches thick for individual skates and at least seven inches thick for a small group. If you aren't sure how thick the ice is, consult a park ranger first.
The Poconos are full of history. Although settlers had been frequenting the Poconos since the mid-1600s, the first permanent settlement was established in 1725 at Shawnee. There has also been a long-standing Native American presence in the area for thousands of years. Visitors can find dozens of museums in the area showcasing the history of the Poconos and the people who called it home. A few museums worth visiting are the Pocono Indian Museum, the Asa Packer Museum, the Frazetta Art Museum, the Old Jail Museum, the Wayne County Historical Society Museum, and the Shawnee Gallery.
If you get tired of cooking in your RV or over a fire, there are a ton of unique and delicious restaurants to choose from in the Poconos. For a lake-front view, Lake Naomi Clubhouse offers fine-dining and full bar service. Another fine-dining restaurant is the Andrew Moore’s Stone Bar Inn, which was established in 1936. For a more casual restaurant, there’s the Blairstown Diner, which was featured twice in the Friday the 13th horror movie. For a tasty start to the day, Compton’s Pancake House offers breakfast all day, and has delicious, mouth-watering pancake creations.
Whether it’s in the heat of summer or the dead of winter, people from all over the country visit the Poconos for its top-notch fishing. One great spot is Lake Wallenpaupack, a man-made lake measuring 13 miles long. In the many lakes and rivers of the Poconos, fisherman can catch bass, pickerel, muskellunge, catfish, and more. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission also stock several lakes with trout throughout the year.
Wineries and Breweries
The Poconos are home to quite a few wineries and breweries. This is due to the fact that the mountains have great weather for growing wine grapes. Wherever you are camping or staying, there is probably a winery or brewery close by. A few of these wineries and breweries include the Mountain View Vineyard, Big Creek Vineyard and Winery, Pocono Brewery Company, and Raw Urban Winery and Hard Cidery.
No matter what time of the year you go, the Poconos are an RVer’s paradise. From swimming, to biking, to skiing, there is something for everyone. With so many state parks to choose from, you can find the perfect spot for your RV. You may even decide to camp at a few different parks! One thing about the Poconos is for sure, countless adventures await.