Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Photo: oldmn/Fotolia

Beautiful Poconos forested mountain slopes, clear lakes, and flowers-covered valleys have attracted nature lovers, vacationing families, peace-seekers, and just about everyone else for generations. This picturesque Pennsylvania mountain in northeastern Pennsylvania overlooks the Delaware River and Delaware Water Gap and is bordered by Lake Wallenpaupack and the Wyoming Valley. Here are the best things to do in the Poconos, PA.

»Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area


The spectacular natural beauty of the area around the Delaware Water Gap has been attracting tourists for more than a century, and it is considered one of the natural wonders of the world. To protect it, manage it, and tell the world about it, the area was declared a National Recreational Area in 1978.

It is a big park that includes 40 miles of the Delaware River, 67,000 acres of mountains covered in dense primary forests, valleys, floodplains, ravines bursting with rhododendrons that explode in blooms in early spring, large forests of native hemlocks, and rich wildlife that call it home, including bears, foxes, lynxes, chipmunks, deer, and many more. Visitors can enjoy over 100 miles of trails that will take them to the most beautiful waterfalls, gorges, and ravines. Those who prefer to drive can enjoy more than 100 miles of beautiful scenic roads. About 27 miles of the Appalachian Trail pass through the area. Read more

1978 River Rd, Bushkill, PA 18324, 570-426-2451

The Poconos is a spectacularly beautiful region excellent for bird watching, zip lining, hiking, fishing, canoeing, golfing, skiing, parasailing and whitewater rafting. The charming small towns that dot the region are all unique and make a visit to the Poconos a true delight. More things to do & where to stay in the Poconos, PA: Great Wolf Lodge, Jim Thorpe, The Lodge at Woodloch, Skytop Lodge, Milford, Paradise Stream Resort, Ledges Hotel Photo: oldmn/Fotolia

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»Bushkill Falls

Bushkill Falls


High up in the Pocono Mountains, the crystal clear water of a narrow stream tumbles down the cliffs and makes its way to the Delaware River far, far below. The stream gains speed as it runs towards the first of the eight falls, Pennell Falls, continuing through narrow Laurel Glen and Upper Canyon until it drops dramatically over a 100 foot cliff, creating magnificent Main Falls. It forms a beautiful, deep, cool pool surrounded by ferns and flowers before dropping another 70 feet.

The whole area is intersected with narrow trails and observation areas that offer an unforgettable day of exploring and spectacular views. Get a map of the trails to find the one that appeals most to you. If you are lucky, you can spot many birds that live in this lush area. Wild animals like black bears, foxes, and bobcats are there too but are more elusive. After your hike, you might want to relax with a paddleboat ride, play a game of mini golf, or sit on a bench and feed the ducks. Read more

Bushkill Falls Road, Bushkill, PA 18324, 570-588-6682

Best things to do in Milford, PA: Grey Towers National Historic Site, Raymondskill Falls and Columns Museum. Photo: mandritoiu/Fotolia

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»Hickory Run State Park, Pocono Mountains

Hickory Run State Park, Pocono Mountains

Hickory Run State Park, located in Carbon County, stretches across 15,990 acres in the less forested western foothills of the Pocono Mountains. The park is famous for Boulder Field, a flat area covered with large, round boulders that look like the surface of the Moon. Sand Spring Lake has a lovely swimming beach and a disc golf field, and it is one of three permanent spots for orienteering courses. The area has hundreds of picnic tables, playground equipment, and restrooms.

Many streams and lakes in the park are great for brook and brown trout fishing, and hikers can enjoy more than 44 miles of trails. Some of the trails are permitted for cross-country skiing and others for snowmobiling in the winter. The best time for hiking is June when the rhododendrons are in full bloom. The park is also popular for Geocaching, high tech treasure hunting with the use of GPS.

Best things to do in Chadds Ford, PA: Brandywine Battlefield State Park, Brandywine River Museum and the Christian C. Sanderson Museum. Photo: tolgatezcan- Fotolia.com

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»No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum, Poconos

No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum, Poconos


Experience firsthand the dark world of coal mining by visiting No. 9 Coal Mine, the oldest continuously running anthracite coal mine in Lansford, Pennsylvania, 1600 feet into the mountainside. The mine operated from 1855 to 2002, when it was closed and converted into a tourist attraction and museum. Trained and experienced guides will take you on a walking tour deep into the mountain and tell you the horror stories of the lives our ancestors who worked as miners had to endure.

You will see the original 900-foot deep elevator shaft that was used to haul coal cars to the surface, a miner’s hospital, and the underground mule-way. The museum is located in the former miners’ shanty and it contains original tools such as picks, drills, shovels, saws, axes, blasting tools, and even miners’ caps, lamps and lunch cans. Read more

9 Dock St, Lansford, PA 18232, 570-645-7074

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»Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark, The Poconos

Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark, The Poconos

To say that Great Wolf Lodge is kid and family-friendly is a gross understatement. Located in Scotrun, a small town between Mount Pocono and Tannnersville, this resort is all about family fun. It starts with the hotel suites that have ‘wolf dens’ and kiddy camps with kiddy bed bunks. And then there is the waterpark, which is enormous and works year round to entertain the whole family with thrill rides, water slides, pools, and more.

Enter Fort Mackenzie to get splashed and soaked until you escape through Totem Tower slide.

Dare to try Hydro Plunge, a roller coaster made of water. Let the kids go crazy and escape to the North Hot Spring soothing worm pool where no kids are allowed. Wherever you go, the temperature is a perfect 84 degrees even if it is snowing outside. Read more

100 Scotrun Ave, Scotrun, PA 18355, 570-688-9899

Things to see in Jim Thorpe, PA: the Asa Packer Mansion Museum, Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway and the Mauch Chunk Museum. Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark

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»Promised Land State Park

Promised Land State Park


High on the Pocono Plateau, over 1,800 feet above sea level, Promised Land State Park is 3,000 acres of natural wonderland. It is surrounded by over 12,464 acres of Delaware State Forest, densely covered with oak, beech, hemlock, and maple. There are two lovely lakes, one with a well-equipped picnic area, a popular starting point for exploring the area.

The area is located in a picturesque forested spot next to Promised Land Lake and has a playground, water, a sand volleyball court, a basketball hoop, and two sandy beaches. Nearby concessions offer boats for rent.

Both Promised Land Lake and Lower Lake are great for taking a slow canoe trip, and if you are a fisherman, try your hand at catching some bass, pickerel, yellow perch, or catfish. Hikers have 50 miles of trails that intersect the Promised Land State Park and the Delaware State Forest for exploration, nature study, bird watching, or just reveling in the pure joy of magnificent nature. Don’t forget to stop at the Masker Museum with interesting natural history displays, including mounted animals. Next read: water parks in PA

100 Lower Lake Rd, Greentown, PA 18426, 570-676-3428

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»Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm

Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm


The Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm seeks to preserve Pennsylvania's unique German heritage. Guides dressed in traditional clothing re-enact scenes from daily farm life for visitors and provide information about the founder of the farm, Johann Depper.

The expansive farm includes pastures, streams, and forested areas, and goats, cows, horses, sheep, chickens, pigs, and other animals roam the 114-acre area. Visitors can walk through a vintage farmhouse, a cabin, a smokehouse, and a handful of little barns. Quiet Valley is open for individual and group tours, and the farm can be rented out for birthday parties, weddings, and other special events.

347 Quiet Valley Rd., Stroudsburg, PA 18360, 570-992-6161

Things to see in Kennett Square: Longwood Gardens, Anson B. Nixon Park and the Woodlands at Phillips. Photo: Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm

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»Kalahari Waterpark, Poconos

Kalahari Waterpark, Poconos


Pocono Manor is home to the Kalahari Waterpark, a 10,000-square-foot African-themed waterpark. This indoor waterpark has fun and challenging attractions for the entire family, including indoor surfing, body boarding, and waterslides. Visitors can wind down by floating on the lazy river or lounging in the hot tub. On warm days the roof of the water park can be retracted to let the sunshine in.

The Kalahari Waterpark is part of a resort that has nearly 460 luxurious suites. A vast convention center, spa, restaurants, and family entertainment center make the Kalahari Waterpark a one-of-a-kind spot for corporate events, parties, retreats, and other special gatherings. Read more

250 Kalahari Blvd., Pocono Manor, PA 18349, 877-525-2427

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Tacoma: LeMay - America’s Car Museum, Tacoma Art Museum; Detroit, MI: Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan Science Center, MOCAD, The Whitney, Belle Isle Aquarium; More ideas: 221B Baker Street, Lakota Wolf Preserve, Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial, Liberty Science Center, World's Best Island Spas

»Claws 'N' Paws, Pocono Mountains

Claws 'N' Paws, Pocono Mountains


Claws 'N' Paws is a petting zoo and animal park that hosts a variety of exciting shows throughout the summer and fall months. Visitors can have up-close encounters with more than 120 animal species, including parrots, reptiles, alligators, and pythons. Claws 'N' Paws also has a variety of baby animals at its facility.

At the petting zoo, visitors can interact with deer, lambs, and goats. The Dinosaur Outpost, a recent addition, is an interactive space where adults and children can come dig for fossils. Lastly, Claws 'N' Paws allows visitors to feed parrots with help from the animal park staff.

1475 Ledgedale Rd., Lake Ariel, PA 18436, 570-698-6154

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»Eckley Miners' Village, Poconos

Eckley Miners' Village, Poconos


Eckley Miner's Village was a bustling center of activity from the mid 1800s to the mid 1900s. The central part of the village consists of a museum, two churches, a sports club building, a company store, and several prominent houses. At the visitor's center, guests watch a video that explains the hardships of mining life as well as the history of the village.

The churches and social club give visitors a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of the miners who lived in Eckley Village, along with their families. At the store, visitors learn about how company stores operated and why miners avoided them. Before leaving, guests can pick up souvenirs in the Eckley Village gift shop. Read more

2 Eckley Main Street, Weatherly, PA 18255, 570-636-2070

Luxury hotels in the Poconos: The Lodge at Woodloch and Skytop Lodge. Photo: Eckley Miners' Village

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»F. M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts

F. M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts


The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts provides entertainment for the residents of Poconos Mountains and surrounding towns. The center is known for its captivating architecture, and five large lobbies, tall columns, and ornate doors and windows are among the theater's eye-catching aesthetic details.

With seating for more than 2,000 people, there is plenty of room for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the Kirby Center's fun performances, which include plays, musicals and comedy sketches. Read more

71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701, 570-826-1100

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»Pocono Environmental Education Center

Pocono Environmental Education Center


The Pocono Environmental Education Center, also called PEEC, is one of the most well known education centers in the Northeastern United States. The PEEC's mission is to provide environmental education to people of all ages and to promote sustainable living.

The education center sits on a 77,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, an area that is conveniently situated between New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. PEEC regularly hosts outreach meetings, school groups, public events, and scouting troops. On occasion, PEEC also holds workshops to educate the public about land and wildlife conservation.

538 Emery Rd., Dingmans Ferry, PA 18328, 570-828-2319

Things to see in: Helena, El Paso, Milford, Jim Thorpe, Kennett Square, Rochester Photo: Pocono Environmental Education Center

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»Split Rock Resort Indoor Waterpark, Poconos

Split Rock Resort Indoor Waterpark, Poconos

The Split Rock Resort Indoor Waterpark, also known as H2Oooohh!, is a 60,000-foot waterpark complete with slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, hot tubs, and a snack bar. The park's most popular attractions include the four-story-tall Amazon Blast Slides and the Jungle Falls and Leapin' Lizards child play areas.

H2Oooohh! holds special events for families throughout the year and offers discounted passes for groups, children, and seniors. Guests of the Split Rock Resort can also get discounts on admission. For groups, the waterpark has areas to rent for birthday parties and other group events. Read more

100 Moseywood Rd., Lake Harmony, PA 18624, 800-255-7625

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»Susquehanna Brewing Company

Susquehanna Brewing Company

Susquehanna Brewing Company is a brewing business that has been owned and operated by the same family for six generations. Individuals as well as groups can take advantage of the free, guided brewery tours that are held each Saturday at 2 PM.

The tasting room, where guests can sample Susquehanna's specialty brews, is open from Thursday through Sunday every week. There is also an on-site store where visitors can purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps, glasses, and other branded merchandise.

635 South Main Street, Pittston, PA 18460, 570-654-3557

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»Jack Frost Mountain Resort, The Poconos

Jack Frost Mountain Resort, The Poconos

Jack Frost Mountain Resort, also called JFBB, has been a staple of the Northeastern Pennsylvania area since 1976. The resort gets its name from the nearby Big Boulder ski area, which is closely connected to the Jack Frost Mountain Resort. During the ski season, skiers and snowboarders can buy lift tickets online or in-person, and the resort offers plenty of options for gear rentals.

Season passes are also available for purchase. In the summer months, the resort remains busy by holding musical performances and hosting family-friendly events as well as other gatherings. Read more

434 Jack Frost Mountain Rd., White Haven, PA 18661, 570-443-8425

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»Pocono TreeVentures, Poconos

Pocono TreeVentures, Poconos

Pocono TreeVentures has a set of exhilarating obstacle courses that are positioned high up in the trees of the Pocono Mountains. TreeVentures runs five courses on its 14-acre property, and each course varies in complexity, so visitors receive in-depth training and all the required gear before they ascend into the trees.

In addition to the five obstacle courses, TreeVentures recently converted two trees into climbing “walls.” One of the trees is 24 feet tall, while the other tree looms 40 feet about the ground. Guests can climb each tree as many times as they want during a 30-minute period. TreeVentures also has two 1,000-foot-long zip lines that are set up side-by-side for racing.

1575 Fairway Villas Blvd., East Stroudsburg, PA 18302, 800-446-0231

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»Mohegan Sun Pocono

Mohegan Sun Pocono


Mohegan Sun Pocono is a casino and hotel owned by the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut and is located in the hillside of Plains, Pennsylvania.

The hotel has 238 rooms, a spa, and a 20,000 square foot modern Convention Center. The casino has 82,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 2,300 slot machines with games such as Wheel of Fortune, Triple Red Hot 7's, Deal or No Deal, Monopoly, and Hot Shot Progressives. There are over 90 table games that include roulette, blackjack, mini-bac, Let It Ride* Three Card Poker*, and craps. There is also a non-smoking Poker Room with 18 tables, flat screen televisions, and a bar.

1280 Pennsylvania 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702, 570-831-2100 Photo: Mohegan Sun Pocono

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»The Pocono Indian Museum

The Pocono Indian Museum

The Pocono Indian Museum contains hundreds of artifacts from the Delaware Indians who used to inhabit Northeastern Pennsylvania. The museum opened in 1976 and now receives thousands of visitors each year.

Guests can take a 30-minute tour that includes information about the tools, weapons, dress, culture, and customs of the Delaware Indians. Visitors can also shop in the gift store for t-shirts, hats, incense burners, moccasins, and other Native American-inspired gifts.

5425 Milford Rd., East Stroudsburg, PA 18302, 570-588-9338

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»Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, The Poconos

Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, The Poconos


The Shawnee Mountain Ski Area is a full-service ski resort in the Poconos Mountains. Visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and tubing at Shawnee Mountain throughout the late fall, winter, and early spring months. Shawnee Mountain has a ski lift, and guests can buy lift tickets for each visit or get season passes.

It is easy to rent equipment along with winter clothing from the on-site rental office. Skiers and snowboarders can schedule one-on-one lessons through the office as well. Shawnee Mountain Ski Area remains busy during the summer months by hosting a number of festivals and events. Read more

401 Hollow Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301, 570-421-7231 Photo: franklin/Fotolia

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»Camelback Mountain Resort

Camelback Mountain Resort

The Camelback Mountain Resort holds fun activities for people of all ages year-round. Located high in the Poconos, the resort gets plenty of snow during the winter months. As such, skiing, snowboarding, and tubing are the resort's main winter activities. Guests can rent equipment and buy lift tickets at the resort's main office.

During the summer, resort visitors can fly over the treetops on the Camelback zipline or zoom down the Mountain Coaster, a 4500-foot long track surrounded by beautiful mountain views. The Camelback Lodge is a popular accommodation choice among visitors, and its indoor waterpark, Aquatopia, is open throughout the year. Read more

301 Resort Drive, Tannersville, PA 18372, 570-629-1661 Photo: Jenny Thompson/Fotolia

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»Mount Airy Casino

Mount Airy Casino


The designer of Mount Airy Casino and Resort gave a respectful nod to the surrounding magnificent Poconos Mountains and decorated the space in modern mountain lodge style. Located in the town of Mount Poconos, the resort is a popular entertainment spot with 188 hotel rooms, 1,800 table games and slot machines, four restaurants, a 16,000-foot salon and a beauty spa, Gypsies nightclub and bar, and a well-designed lakefront 18-hole golf course.

There is also Get Wet, a luxury pool and entertainment complex and modern conference facilities. Among several restaurants, renowned Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen attracts the most attention, while the entertainment lineup at the Gypsies Bar is star-studded with names such as Belinda Carlisle and Sinbad.

312 S R 45100, Mt Pocono, PA 18344, 570-243-4800 Photo: Tomasz Zajda/Fotolia

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»Blue Mountain Resort

Blue Mountain Resort


The Blue Mountain Resort sits 90 miles away from Philadelphia and New York. Blue Mountain is a popular destination among skiers and snowboarders since it's known for having the longest ski runs in Pennsylvania.

Blue Mountain Resort has 39 ski trails and 16 ski lifts. Additionally, parts of the resort are open throughout the summer months for disc golf, mountain biking, and special events. People of all ages enjoy the resort's challenging ropes course as well as its climbing walls. The resort itself offers plenty of space for accommodations, corporate and social gatherings, and dining.

1660 Blue Mountain Dr., Palmerton, PA 18071, 610-826-7700 Photo: Alex/Fotolia

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»Frances Slocum State Park, The Poconos

Frances Slocum State Park, The Poconos


Frances Slocum State Park is a 1,035-acre multi-use park. Fishing, wildlife spotting, hiking, mountain biking, and boating are some of the many activities that visitors enjoy in the park. Francs Slocum State Park also has a swimming pool that is open during the summer months, picnic areas that are available year-round, and a 700-acre hunting and trapping area.

The park has 13 miles of trails that are suitable for walking, hiking, and mountain biking. There is an onsite campground with 100 campsites, some of which have trailer hookups. Lastly, winter visitors can use the park for cross-country skiing, sledding, ice-skating, and ice fishing.

565 Mt. Olivet Rd., Wyoming, PA 18644, 570-696-3525 Photo: backstage 142/Fotolia

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50 Best Things to Do in the Poconos, Pennsylvania