A colorful sunset sky above the cool, cloudy Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Image credit Quinn Kampschroer via Shutterstock.

10 Best small towns in the Poconos To Chill Out

The breathtaking Pocono Mountains are home to 170 miles of rivers and waterfalls, as well as woods and forests that stretch over 2,400 square miles. The Poconos encompass four counties in Pennsylvania: Monroe, Carbon, Wayne, and Pike. People frequent the Poconos for hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting, and boating. Several towns in the Poconos offer respite from the adventurous activities while offering jaw-dropping views of the natural surroundings. If looking for a chill day out in one of the most gorgeous places in the US, look no further than these ten towns.


Lake Wallenpaupack sign in on a bright fall day in Hawley PA.
Lake Wallenpaupack sign in on a bright fall day in Hawley PA. Image credit Rabbitti via Shutterstock. 

Hawley was once a stop on the coal route to New York. Today, the laid-back small town, which lies at the northernmost end of Lake Wallenpaupack, is a historical wonder with stunning buildings dating back hundreds of years. One of these buildings is the largest Bluestone building in the world, namely the Hawley Silk Mill.

Hawley offers rustic and peaceful outdoor experiences, such as leisurely walks and tranquil boat rides. The Hawley Trail snakes across the grounds of The Settlers Inn. Visitors can rent a bicycle for further exploration along the Lackawaxen River.

For an immersive arts and culture excursion, the Ritz Company Playhouse in town stages live performances, including the infamous Hawley Winterfest. Hawley is also home to the Look Glass Art Gallery which displays artwork by local and international artists. For those who want to relax and take in the music scene, The Wildflower Music Festival offers performances by well-known artists every summer in the Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary.


Overlooking small town Milford, PA, from scenic overlook on a sunny fall day
Aerial view of small town Milford. Image credit Rabbitti via Shutterstock. 

Milford is home to Grey Towers, which was built by the Pinchot's family in 1886 as a summer estate. The oldest Pinchot sibling, Gifford, pioneered the concept of sustainable harvesting of natural resources. He was eventually appointed the first head of the U.S. Forest Service.

A resort town at heart, Milford is one of the “ten coolest small towns” and offers an extensive tour of the 102 acres of land the Grey Towers sit on. Visitors can watch the wildlife and learn about forestry on educational walks and guided tours.

Milford is an unmissable part of visiting the Poconos. Tourists can swim to their heart’s content in the Delaware River at Milford Beach, go on a canoe ride, or simply admire the magnificent landscape from one of many observation decks. The Knob Trail, in particular, offers a bird’s-eye view of the entire town of  Milford.

Milford also hosts the Black Bear Film Festival, which allows independent filmmakers to get their movies in front of appreciative audiences. There is also the Columns Museum, with Civil War artifacts on display and most notably, the blood-stained flag upon which Abraham Lincoln’s head rested after he was shot.


Honesdale Falls in autumn.
Honesdale Falls in autumn. Image credit Jason Healey Photography via Shutterstock. 

Honesdale has a rich railroad history and is the location where the famous Stourbridge Lion ran on commercial tracks—a first for steam locomotives in the US. A replica of the locomotive sits in the Wayne County Historical Society’s Museum and Research Center. The Stourbridge Line also offers year-round trips, including seasonal excursions.

Prompton State Park lies a mere 6 miles from Honesdale and offers boat rides and 26 miles of hiking trails. There are several picnic areas for a peaceful day out next to Prompton Lake.

Back in Honesdale there is the Wayne County Fair to enjoy, and during the festive season, the town turns into a winter wonderland that offers skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing. Bird enthusiasts can go eagle-watching during the first two months of the year.

For those who want to take it easy and take a load off, several wellness centers in Honesdale offer relaxation massages and yoga classes.


Colorful autumn foliage in the Blue Mountain Resort Palmerton, Pennsylvania.
Colorful autumn foliage in the Blue Mountain Resort, Palmerton, Pennsylvania. Image credit Helen89 via Shutterstock.

Palmerton, incorporated in 1912, lies in southern Carbon County. The Appalachian Trail crosses the Lehigh River, just under 2 miles south of the town. The Lehigh Valley Zoo is great for a family outing and to learn more about endangered animal species.  

Palmerton is also home to the Palmerton Community Park, which holds the Palmerton Area Veterans Memorial.  

Palmerton offers unique attractions like the Halls of Horror and the Blue Mountain Pub. If planning a visit to the Halls of Horror attraction, please note that this is not for the faint of heart! 

On the other hand, the Blue Mountain Pub is fantastic for some local eats or plan a stay at the Blue Mountain Resort, which offers snow tubing and skiing.

White Haven

Families enjoying hiking through the boulder field at Hickory Run State Park.
Families enjoying hiking through the boulder field at Hickory Run State Park. Image credit Rosemarie Mosteller via Shutterstock. 

White Haven lies along the Lehigh River and has fewer than 1,200 permanent residents. The town forms part of the northern region of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.

White Haven boasts the Lehigh Gorge State Park, which offers whitewater rafting, fishing, and hiking. It is also the location of Hickory Run State Park, where visitors can go on boat rides or stroll down marked paths to immerse themselves in nature.

White Haven also offers horseback riding, distillery tours, and guided walks on the grounds of the Lehigh Tannery Historic Site. 


The historic Dansbury Depot in East Stroudsburg, PA.
The historic Dansbury Depot in East Stroudsburg, PA. Image credit Alizada Studios via Shutterstock.

Stroudsburg is often referred to as the ‘heart’ of the Poconos. It is one of those quintessential small towns that offers something for everyone. The most popular attractions in Stroudsburg include museums, wineries, art galleries, and festivals.

Outdoor activities include moderate biking and hiking trails at the Levee Loop Trail, which winds beside Brodhead Creek. Adventures in Stroudsburg include wildlife views and bird watching. There are several family-friendly activities, including art workshops and the fun Klues Escape Room.

The Sherman Theatre puts on festivals and events year-round, and Stroudsburg also hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. During the summer, there is the Stroudfest to look forward to, and when the weather turns cold, it is time for the WinterFest.


View of the Aquatopia indoor waterpark at the Camelback Mountain Resort,
View of the Aquatopia indoor waterpark at the Camelback Mountain Resort. Image credit EQRoy via Shutterstock. 

Tannersville is known for its waterpark resorts, spas, zip lining, and skiing. Camelback Mountain is where to find the largest outdoor water park in Pennsylvania. The waterpark is open during the summer, and when the snow starts falling in the winter, the Camelback Mountain slopes offer the second-largest snow tubing park in the world.

For those who want to take in the Tannersville sights from the ground, there is the Tannersville Cranberry Bog Preserve, a remnant of a previous ice age. The Cranberry is a favorite amongst nature lovers and scientists, and it is also the place where stunning orchids grow. These include the heart-leaved twayblade and rose pogonia.

Mount Pocono

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Pocono, Pennsylvania
Mount Airy Casino sign. Image credit Ritu Manoj Jethani via Shutterstock. 

Situated in Monroe County, Mount Pocono was once used by early settlers for lumbering. Its name was changed to Forks in 1864 because of the five-way intersection here, but the town got its original name back in 1886.

Mount Pocono is a summer resort known for luxury hotels and great fishing spots. There is a lot of camping and hiking that goes on here, but the main attraction is the opportunity to climb to the top of Mount Pocono where you can see New York (using binoculars).

The town is also somewhat of a gambling hub, with the Mount Airy Casino and the Casino Theatre Entertainment Center. Pocono Rocks is a great recreation center for kids and offers an exciting space for birthday parties. It also has a climbing wall for all levels of climbing.  


Sign entering borough to Tamaqua.
Welcome to Tamaqua sign. Image credit Eric D. Werner via Shutterstock. 

Tamaqua sits in the Southern Coal Region of Central Eastern Pennsylvania. This borough was the first to give ecosystems legal rights and inspired others to follow its lead.

Tamaqua lies in a valley basin dotted by lowlands and high dwellings. Historical influences are everywhere, as evidenced by the number of museums and old buildings. The place is up and coming as a popular destination and offers art classes at the Tamaqua Community Art Center as well as a day-and-night driving range.

Owl Creek Reservoir has enjoyable fishing and picnic spots, while the World’s First Fish Hatchery provides a learning experience about fish reproduction. Dutch Hill Park features local baseball tournaments and provides a wonderful green space for people to play games or toss a frisbee.

East End Park is the place to go for a break. Here, sit and enjoy the tree canopy, listen to the birds, and watch the joggers go by.  

Jim Thorpe

Aerial view of small town Jim Thorpe, PA.
Aerial view of small town Jim Thorpe, PA. Image credit Nikolay Tranov via Shutterstock. 

Jim Thorpe is known for its Fall Foliage and Olde Time Christmas festivals, which bring joy to locals and visitors every year.

A historical town, Jim Thorpe offers museum tours at the Asa Packer Mansion and the Old Jail Museum. It lies near Lehigh Gorge and Mauch Chunk Lake for fishing and swimming. Explore the town area with a trolley or sidecar, and visit the Kemmerer Memorial Park where visitors can find walking trails full of beautiful landscapes.

For an even more relaxing excursion, there is the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway which provides great views over the banks of the Lehigh River. Lastly, no Jim Thorpe trip is complete without a visit to athlete Jim Thorpe’s grave, which lies on the outskirts of the town.


The Poconos is one of the top ten places to visit in Pennsylvania. There is something for everyone to do in the small towns here, from high-action activities like whitewater rafting to more peaceful stargazing and wildlife watching. The Poconos personifies the concept of change-of-pace and is one of the best places to recharge before heading  back to work!

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