As a New Jersey native, I’ve been going to the Poconos in Pennsylvania since I was a child. It was a two-hour drive from my hometown at the shore to the forested peaks of the roughly 2,400-square-mile mountainous area. The Poconos are ideal for a number of outdoor activities that I’ve partaken in during the years, such as fishing, white-water rafting, swimming, hiking and camping. But what if you’re not down with nature? The Poconos still offer plenty to do if you’d prefer to stay indoors or out of the elements.
1. Visit a Victorian town
Jim Thorpe is a charming Victorian borough named after an Olympic athlete of the same name who called the area home. Today, it has restaurants, pubs, antique shops and B&Bs, plus a train ride, mansion tours, museums, wine tasting and live music. Depending on the time of year, there are also events such as the Fall Foliage Festival and Olde Time Christmas. It’s a very walkable town and perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
2. Slip and slide
All the open space in this area of northeastern Pennsylvania has made it an ideal spot for building amusement parks big and small. One of the most-frequented is Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor waterpark with the full gamut of thrill slides, activity pools and activities such as Slideboarding, where you hit LED color targets while you zip down the waterslides. There are also plenty of non-water attractions such as a ropes course, a movie theater, bowling alley and mini golf.
Costa’s Family Fun Park is another option in addition to Carousel Water and Fun Park.
3. Try your luck
If you’re into gambling, the Poconos has two casinos to choose from. The Mount Airy casino resort is a 188-room hotel with more than 1,800 slot machines and 80 tables. The Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has slots and tables plus a race track for those who want to switch up their betting. Feeling a little rusty? Practice online at M88 online before you go.
4. Watch fast cars
Pocono Raceway, also called “The Tricky Triangle,” is a family-friendly attraction with the longest frontstretch in motorsports and three turns modeled after a different racetrack. Of the races to attend each season are two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and one INDYCAR. There’s also the Fan Fair area open during race weekends with a Kids Zone, the INDYCAR Fan Village and merchants.
5. Pamper yourself
The Poconos is home to over a dozen spas where you can get massages, facials and other body treatments or do yoga and work out while in a serene setting. Some options include Bodyworks Spa Studios, located at four major luxury hotels in the area, Skyview Spa, with massage, nail care and aromatherapy, and Spa Kalahari and Salon, which has a Relaxation Sanctuary.
Have you been to the Poconos? What are your favorite things to do?