The Pocono Mountains are a Pensylvanian treasure for good reason. Its lush and forested peaks are ideal for winter sports such as downhill skiing. The Poconos are far from one-dimensional in their appeal, however. This mountainous region and the lovely towns which occupy it offer something for everyone, no matter the season. An abundance of lakes, forests, quaint villages, and small-town charm make the Poconos a desirable destination all year. If your travels take you to this part of the Mid-Atlantic, be sure to visit these small towns for an unforgettable experience.
Delaware Water Gap
Resting in the most densely populated region in the United States, the Delaware Water Gap is a scenic recreation area corseting a 40-mile stretch of the Delaware River. The area is visited all year to go fishing, hiking, and paddling. A lesser-known fact is the charming atmosphere of the nearby village which shares its name. The town of Delaware Water Gap is the only town with full Appalachian Trail thru-hiker support, but homebodies looking for a more relaxing stay will enjoy live music at the Deer Head Inn. Ride The Pocono Historic Trolley and tour the town and stop by The Village Farmer and Bakery for a piping hot pie!
The town of Hawley rests on the north end of Lake Wallenpaupack, one of Pennsylvania’s largest reservoirs. A pleasing blend of old and new, Hawley combines vine-covered brickwork buildings with modern amenities for cosmopolitan crowds. Bring a fishing rod and camp out all day at the lake or rent a jet ski and carve the surface of the lake for a higher-octane experience. Hire a Pennsylvania Rail Bike and cycle through the reservoir’s natural beauty with a unique on-rails experience. Harmony in the Woods hosts live events like live music and dance programming in an outdoor amphitheater in the great outdoors all summer.
From the bluffs of Irving Cliff overlooking the bustling downtown of Honesdale, one can see the Moosic Mountains to the west and the Lackawaxen River, which parts the town in two. The town is known as the “Birthplace of the American Railroad,” and the Stourbridge Line continues to run today, providing a scenic trip through the mountainside. Eagle watching on the river is not only possible but encouraged in January and February, as is snowshoeing after snowfall. Honesdale’s quaint downtown area is also worth visiting for its brewery, yoga studio, and salt cave, which are all meant to help you relax after a long day of hiking.
As a popular retreat in the 19th century, this southern Poconos town was formerly home to over a dozen millionaires during its heyday, and nowhere is this better seen than in the architecture. Found on the National Register of Historic Places, The Inn at Jim Thorpe is an excellent example of the building frenzy which took place during the opulent Victorian-era. Sit on a diesel-powered train and wind through the mountains or traipse through the greenery in Kemmerer Park and Lehigh Gorge State Park. The town is eminently walkable, and at its center lies the breathtaking Asa Packer Mansion and the museum inside.
The historic town of Milford is the seat of Pike County and is known for its shopping and dining in addition to the natural splendor nearby. The Milford Knob Trail offers a fantastic view of the town at its peak, while the Grey Towers National Historic Site is an American chateau in the French style whose grounds are open for tours. Explore the nearby Delaware River as never before by renting a kayak or canoe before heading back in town for some grub. From crystal shops inside historic mills to cafes established inside refurbished water-powered mills, Milford is never short on personality.
The arts scene in Stroudsburg is just one of many reasons to visit this town in the heart of the Pocono Mountains. Walk down Main Street and take in the town’s inviting, offbeat atmosphere. Murals splash across storefronts, and the town’s colonial architecture is waiting to be discovered on a historic walking tour. Catch a show at the Sherman Theater or enjoy live music outside during the town’s many festivals like Stroudfest.
During winter, Winterfest in Downtown Stroudsburg is a major event and not one to miss, especially the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. For more outdoor adventure, visit the Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center for 166 acres of forest to hike and ski.
This mountain town at the heart of the Poconos has plenty of activities, sights, and delicious eats for visitors to enjoy. Like many of its neighbors, Tannersville is a premier destination for winter sports. What this town has which others do not is ziplining. Fly suspended in the air between alpine peaks for up to 4,000 feet or talk tight ropes and awe-inspiring peaks with Camelback Mountain Adventures.
Shop for name-brand items at the premium outlets in Tannersville and dine on delicious tandoori chicken inside a repurposed train coach! Lastly, golf enthusiasts will want to check out the nearby golf courses, such as Pocono Manor Golf Course, to play 18 holes right in the Pocono Mountains.
The Plains Township was incorporated in 1851 and has been an enchanting suburb ever since. The Fall Trails in Ricketts Glen State Park is under an hour’s drive from Plains but is completely worth it. Twenty waterfalls and a 7.2-mile trail make this one of the best hikes in Pennsylvania. See Plains and the Poconos by air by hiring a scenic flight ride. Valley Aviation offers helicopters and airplanes for solo rental in addition to aerial tours. Kids of all ages will want to swing by the two retro arcades found in town or the nearby trampoline park.
Nestled in the hills of Carbon County, Lake Harmony is a place outdoor enthusiasts are bound to love regardless of season. There are verdant forests, glacier-fed lakes, and rolling hills in Lake Harmony waiting to discover. Rent a fishing rod and cast a line for walleye and yellow perch, or take the Kidder Hike & Bike Trail, which runs between downtown Lake Harmony and Boulder Lake. Play a game of paintball or ride ponies at a local farm. Visit the Pocono Raceway with other gearheads and revel in the exhilarating smell of burning tire slicks.
Found in northeastern Pennsylvania, Mount Pocono is a fabulous place to escape from the grind of city life in the Pocono Mountains. Climb to the summit of Mount Pocono for views of New York State and Mount Kittatinny in the distance. Home to the Pocono Mountain Carnival, visitors and residents alike are treated to free entertainment at the oldest and largest carnival in the Poconos.
HarvestFest is another community festival where handmade clothing and crafts by local artisans are put on sale in downtown Mount Pocono. Rent an ATV and rip through the mountainside or play the tables at Mount Airy Casino. With so much to do, Mount Pocono is an adult paradise.
The town of Bushkill is known for its stunning waterfalls and vast national parks. Found within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Bushkill has clean air and refreshing mountain beauty in spades. Hike along the McDade Recreational Trail or explore on horseback after visiting the riding stables. Families with kids will want to visit Blue Lightning which allows for all-year tubing down the mountainside. Bushkill Falls is home to eight amazing waterfalls which are a must-see. After a day of exploring, swing by Marlucas for the best pizza in town.
The Poconos Mountains are a jewel in the Pennsylvania landscape. These misty mountains are home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding on the East Coast in the winter. It is no surprise that one Pocono town, Jim Thorpe, is called the "Switzerland of Pennsylvania." Visit this enchanting mountain range and the small towns inside it for an incredible adventure into the Mid-Atlantic’s mountain wonderland.