Depending on what tickles your fancy, the Poconos boasts a delightful array of spectacular sites, historical attractions, and fun-filled activities suitable for nearly every type of vacationer. It does not matter whether you are smitten by wanderlust and craving a break from all the glass and glamor, desiring to wind down amid an environment suitable for rest and relaxation, or want to lose yourself in the area's many outdoor activities, including kayaking down the Delaware River or skiing the mountains in winter. Fortunately, the Poconos is home to a cornucopia of several charming small towns, many of which can serve as perfect bases from which to experience one of the most underrated regions in the country. From Jim Thorpe to Stroudsburg, check out these beautiful small towns in the Poconos.
"You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world," are the words on a monument attributed to Swedish king Gustav V — that presently stands near the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. If you love history, whether American history or sports history, you should be delighted to learn that the town of Jim Thorpe is named after a man described as the greatest athlete from the first half of the 20th century. Jim Thorpe — the man — was a legendary Native American athlete whose epic performance at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm indisputably made him the greatest American Olympian of all time. He won the year's gold medal while wearing a mismatched pair of shoes retrieved minutes earlier from a trash can.
The town, where his remain lie, boasts a well-established reputation as a vacationer's paradise. You can enjoy a delectable meal at The Inn At Jim Thorpe, where old-world charm meets modern conveniences in the heart of one of America's most attractive small towns.
Stroudsburg is another Pennsylvania eye candy that often leaves first-time visitors completely blown away. If you are looking for the town's most attractive area, spend time strolling through the section around the courthouse in historic Stroudsburg. If you love art, however, downtown Stroudsburg features colorful murals that often pique the curiosity of visitors. The town's other crowd-puller is the Stroud Mansion, an imposing 12-room mansion built by the town's founder in 1795. And if antiques is your thing, Olde Engine Works Market Place is like a flea market for antiques. You will find a world of variety here, including cards, comics, coins, jewelry, and music memorabilia. Finally, if you want to hear the rustle of leaves and the chirping of birds amid peaceful and scenic settings, the Kettle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is what the doctor will recommend.
While Milford, a heart-ravishing slice of paradise secreted between the Pocono Mountains and Delaware River, is home to only about 1,100 residents, its charm and beauty more than makes up for its relatively small size. If you have cultivated a liking for beautiful Victorian mansions and can spend hours inhaling their architecture, Milford should be on your vacation bucket list. Then again, if you want to know how the wealthy lived in 19th-century Pennsylvania or their idea of beauty and style, Grey Towers National Historic Site, also known as Gifford Pinchot House, will blow your mind. You will be ensconced in nature's bucolic embrace in an environment that features beautifully manicured lawns, well-tended trees, and a mansion that is nothing less than an architectural masterpiece.
A vacation in Honesdale will be a nice change of pace — in a slow, positive way — for many people. Occupying a beautiful spot in northeastern Pennsylvania right at the confluence of the Lackawaxen and Dyberry Rivers about 24 miles northeast of Scranton, Honesdale is a nature-wrapped bastion of classy restaurants, high-end home-design boutiques, and numerous recreational sites. Among the town's prominent elements are its beautiful Victorian-era architecture and tall church steeples. Once part hemlock forest — and part swampy rhododendron jungle, Honesdale is today a Poconos stunner that will put a smile on a vacationer's face. If you want to have a snapshot of the town's spectacular beauty, find your way to Irving Cliff in Gibbons Park and enjoy what could be the best view of Honesdale, including its stunning hillside scenes.
Hawley is a town of about 1,200 residents that hugs the north end of Lake Wallenpaupack, the second-largest lake contained entirely in Pennsylvania. The lake, famous for its exceptionally hefty smallmouth bass, imbues the town with a delicious, rustic look, the kind that will ravish the heart of an outdoor enthusiast. If visiting Hawley for the first time, expect to admire several brickwork buildings, many of which are ornamented by beautiful, twining vines. Then again, if you are an addicted angler, remember to pack a fishing rod. You will have a blast at the lake. But if fishing is not exactly your thing, you can still rent a jet ski and have some splashy, exciting fun on Lake Wallenpaupack's furrowed surface.
Delaware Water Gap
Part village; part town, Delaware Water Gap's breathtaking natural settings earns it a deserved spot among the most beautiful small towns in the Poconos. Known as the "Gateway to the Poconos," this Pennsylvania gem may not boast glitzy skyscrapers or high-end restaurant chains, but what it lacks in those, it more than makes up for — in its rustic charm and heart-melting scenery. Sandwiched along the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi cuts through a large ridge of the Appalachian Mountains, Delaware Water Gap boasts a heart-tickling, storybook backdrop that is one-of-a-kind in the state. For an atmosphere that is old-school but cool, make a reservation at Deer Head Inn and then enjoy the pleasures around, including the Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery — where you will discover fascinating facts and factoids concerning the history of the area.
While Narrowburg is small, a bit under-the-radar, and a town you can speed past in a blink, its spellbinding beauty makes it worth pulling over for. Located just about 14 miles from Honesdale across the border in New York, and hence, a driving distance of about 20 minutes, Narrowsburg boasts a picturesque Main Street lined with casual but classy restaurants — as well as a variety of stores and boutiques. If your world revolves around good food and fine drinks, your first stop in town should be at The Tusten Cup. At this locally owned coffee house, you can savor a meal on the outdoor patio while a bald eagle flies above your head. For those who love the fresh, crisp air of the outdoors, Narrowsburg is perched right next to the Delaware River and is encircled by rolling hills, lush forests, and shimmering lakes.
If your idea of a beautiful town is a mountain town, perhaps a town that will make you think of Switzerland, Tannersville may be what you have been looking for. If you are in doubt, the fact Tannersville is known as "the painted village in the sky" should make you start looking for air ticket deals — or information concerning mileage. Then again, if you enjoy the thrill of ziplines and flying while suspended in mid-air, Tannersville will come in handy. And there is no better place for ziplining than Camelback Mountain Adventures, Pennsylvania's biggest outdoor adventure park. Then again, while the town's business district is small, it is lined with beautifully painted buildings — as well as a delightful variety of antique stores and fantastic restaurants.
Plains is a Pennsylvania stunner bordered by the Susquehanna River to the west and Hudson to the east. To the north of the town is the town of Hillsdale while the city of Wilkes-Barre is on the southern outskirts. For its beautiful surroundings and quiet, peaceful atmosphere, Plains is ideal for those seeking some rest and relaxation. Occupying just about 15 square miles, Plains is small but cute, charming, and idyllic. While the town boasts several attractions and is within close proximity to such natural wonders as the Fall Trails in Ricketts Glen State Park, it is also home to Mohegan Pennsylvania, one of the largest entertainment destinations in the state. Located within the town, this property boasts an impressive 82,000 square feet of gaming space, including nearly 50 table games.
Make no mistake. There is Stroudsburg — and there is also East Stroudsburg. Though only about 2 miles apart, these two towns are not exactly the same. While they share the same environment, East Stroudsburg has a little more of a college-town feel to it, and because of this, may appeal to those who want a college-like vibe. The town plays host to East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, one of ten state universities in Pennsylvania. One of the town's sought-after attractions is the Pocono Indian Museum, the only museum in Northeastern Pennsylvania that focuses on the history of the Delaware Indians. Expect a 6-room walk through this small but information-rich museum — as you sample the unique souvenirs and cultural artifacts on display. You can also stroll along the riverfront area and enjoy the gorgeous views around.
Known as the "Niagara of Pennsylvania," many vacationers are acquainted with Bushkill Falls, one of Pennsylvania's most scenic attractions and natural wonders. Contrary to what you may expect, however, Bushkill Township is not related to Bushkill Falls — neither are they located very close to each other. Bushkill Township is about 36 miles southwest of Bushkill Falls, a driving distance of about 45 minutes. Spanning an area of just about 25 square miles, Bushkill Township is set in the backdrop of a peaceful, rural environment perfect for resting and winding down. Bushkill Creek, a 22-mile tributary of the Delaware River, meanders through the town and imbues it with a rustic look that many vacationers often crave.
Spanning up to 2,400 square miles, mostly in northeast Pennsylvania's Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne counties, the Poconos is an outdoor wonderland defined by rolling hills, narrow ridges, lush valleys, and spectacular scenery. This vast eye candy often makes for a quick getaway for those in New York City or Philadelphia. While it is home to several outdoor attractions, the Poconos also boasts a delightful array of beautiful small towns, many of which will leave a first-time visitor completely blown away. While Jim Thorpe is often the star attraction, small towns such as Honesdale, Hawley, and Stroudsburg are also among the region's most picturesque.