Historic downtown of Jim Thorpe , Pennsylvania.

6 Most Idyllic Small Towns in The Poconos

Usually referred to simply as “the Poconos,” the beautiful Pocono Mountains region of northeastern Pennsylvania has a long and rich history. It’s also home to numerous charming small towns, each of them offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational activities, making it a perfect destination for travelers seeking relaxation and adventure.

To help visitors make the most of their time here, this list of the six most idyllic small towns in the Poconos will inspire everything from fun family day trips to romantic weekend getaways for couples. From Jim Thorpe, the "Switzerland of America," to the historic downtown core of picturesque Stroudsburg, read on to find out more about this beautiful region of the Mid-Atlantic USA.

Delaware Water Gap

Farm stand in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania.
Farm stand in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. Image credit James Kirkikis via Shutterstock

The borough of Delaware Water Gap, while more a village than a town, certainly possesses a unique vibe. Home to just over 650 people, the borough was established in 1793 along the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and was named after the dramatic gap in the Delaware River. This beautiful setting has made it a popular place to visit for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers, especially in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This vast park spans over 70,000 acres and is a popular spot for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing., as well as hiking its network of over 100 miles of trails, including a section of the famous Appalachian Trail.

Another significant landmark is Raymondskill Falls, the tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania. Just a short hike from the main road, these falls offer spectacular photo opportunities and a peaceful setting to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. A fun way to get to know the community and its beautiful scenery is aboard a Pocono Historical Trolley Tour.

Jim Thorpe

The historic town of Jim Thorpe in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
The historic town of Jim Thorpe in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Editorial credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Dubbed the "Switzerland of America" because of its picturesque landscape and quaint European-style architecture, Jim Thorpe attracts visitors year-round, here to explore popular tourist spots such as the historic Asa Packer Mansion Museum. Built in 1861, this stunning example of Victorian architecture was the home of a prominent local entrepreneur and philanthropist and offers guided tours that showcase original furnishings.

Another must-visit is the Old Jail Museum, famous for its eerie handprint (ask the guide for details!) and its role in the trial of the Molly Maguires, a group of miners from Ireland who were accused of being part of a secret society in the 1870s. The museum's guided tours are both informative and chilling and also provide a fascinating look into Pennsylvania's mining history. Also fun is the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, an especially lovely train ride during the fall foliage season.


The Restaurant District in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
The Restaurant District in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Image credit: Doug Kerr via Wikimedia Commons.

If planning to visit the Delaware Water Gap, you may as well include the charming town of Stroudsburg in your Poconos itinerary. Historic downtown Stroudsburg is certainly idyllic, with a stroll along Main Street with its well-preserved being a good place to begin a visit. Highlights include the Pocono Arts Council, a delightful downtown venue showcasing the work of local artists with exhibitions, workshops, and classes, as well as the annual Pocono State Craft Festival held each August.

Interested in history? The Monroe County Historical Association maintains a museum in Stroudsburg that features exhibits on local history, the town's development, and the region's cultural heritage. Outdoor activities are also plentiful in and around Stroudsburg. The nearby Stroudsburg Borough Park offers hiking trails and scenic views, particularly during the autumn months when the foliage is spectacular, and McMichaels Creek, which runs through town, is great for leisurely walks.


Church Street, Hawley, Pennsylvania
Church Street, Hawley, Pennsylvania. Image creditJillcarletti, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Over in Hawley near the state border with Connecticut, this charming small town owes much of its appeal to its location at the northern tip of Lake Wallenpaupack, the third-largest lake in Pennsylvania. Known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, Lake Wallenpaupack covers an area of 5,700 acres and is popular with boaters, fishermen, and water sports enthusiasts alike. Visitors can rent kayaks, boats, and paddleboards to explore the lake or simply enjoy the scenic views from the shore.

The town also hosts several annual events, including December’s Hawley Winterfest and, in the summertime, the Wally Lake Fest. Another popular spot, the Hawley Silk Mill houses art galleries, boutiques, and a café. For outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby Lackawaxen River is renowned for its excellent trout fishing and scenic beauty.


Walnut Street in Milford, Pennsylvania
Walnut Street in Milford, Pennsylvania

Milford is not only known for its creative scene and historic architecture but also for the Grey Towers National Historic Site. The former home of Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the US Forest Service and twice-elected governor of Pennsylvania, this elegant mansion was built in the style of a château in France and is set on sprawling grounds with beautifully manicured gardens. Guided tours are recommended.

History buffs will also want to visit the Columns Museum for its impressive collection of artifacts, including the famous Lincoln Flag, which cradled President Abraham Lincoln's head on the night of his assassination. Milford also boasts a lively downtown area with galleries, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants that showcase the town's artistic flair and hospitality.


Colorful buildings in the Main Street of Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
Colorful buildings in the Main Street of Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Editorial credit: Nina Alizada / Shutterstock.com.

Historic Honesdale is a great excuse to visit the northeastern part of the state. the birthplace of the American railroad, this idyllic small town is home to the Wayne County Historical Society Museum, an interesting museum that houses a replica of the famous Stourbridge Lion, America's first steam locomotive which ran its historic trial in Honesdale. The museum's exhibits provide a comprehensive look at the area's railroad history, as well as other aspects of local heritage, including glass cutting and farming.

A great time to visit is during the Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Music Festival, an annual event that draws crowds with its vibrant mix of live music, art displays, and food vendors. And for those who enjoy adventure, the nearby Lackawaxen River is popular for fishing, kayaking, and scenic walks, especially during the fall when the foliage is spectacular. Additionally, Prompton State Park is just a short drive from downtown and features an extensive trail network, as well as a lake for fishing and boating.

The Final Word

There’s no doubt Pennsylvania’s beautiful Pocono Mountains region offers countless fun experiences worth sampling. From the historical depth of Jim Thorpe and Honesdale to the scenic beauty of Delaware Water Gap and the vibrant communities of Stroudsburg and Hawley, each of these charming small communities presents its distinct flavor and allure. Whether you're a history enthusiast, an art lover, an outdoor adventurer, or someone seeking a peaceful retreat, these six most idyllic small towns in the Poconos are Pennsylvanian bucket list destinations.

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