Downtown Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, in the summer. Image credit EQRoy via Shutterstock

8 Coolest Towns in The Poconos for a Summer Vacation in 2024

As the temperature increases, the flowers and spring foliage of the Pocono Mountains fully bloom. People begin thinking about the best way to spend their summer holidays in 2024. Some lean toward popular metropolitan areas or elect to venture to a coastal town. Still, those seeking a summer vacation that is filled with adventure, relaxation, and unique histories must consider heading to these eight towns in the Poconos.

The Poconos are a mountain range covering a landmass of 2,400 square miles in the Northeast corner of Pennsylvania. The looming mountains have long served as a natural barrier, allowing small-town communities to flourish and providing the perfect amount of isolation for those longing for a relaxing small-town lifestyle.

Jim Thorpe

View of the historic town of Jim Thorpe (formerly Mauch Chunk) in the Lehigh Valley in Carbon County, Pennsylvania.
Historic town of Jim Thorpe in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Image credit EQRoy via

Named after one of the most influential American Athletes of the 19th century, Jim Thorpe is a testament to the first Native-American athlete to bring home gold for the United States of America at the Olympics. Pay homage to one of America’s greatest athletes by visiting the Jim Thorpe National Gravesite dedicated to the former Olympic, NFL, and MLB athlete.

Explore the town’s scenic beauty by hopping aboard the Lehigh Gorge scenic railway. The railway cruises through the heart of the town and allows visitors to enjoy a tour around the surrounding mountain range, providing breathtaking views without the physical exertion of an uphill hike. Visitors can also explore the darker side of the town's history. Schedule a guided tour of the Old Jail Museum which showcases life as a prisoner in the early 19th century.

If you are looking for a place to get your steps in, head out to the Lehigh Gorge Trail, which is the ideal hike for all types of hikers.


Trout Stream Trail in Skytop, Pennsylvania.
Trout Stream Trail in Skytop, Pennsylvania.

As the temperatures in Sky Top begin to climb, so does the number of visitors seeking a peaceful retreat in the calm natural setting of the town. One of the town’s main attractions is the renowned Skytop Lodge which features everything from a world-class golf course to an adventure course in the treetops of the surrounding forests. The spring melt nourishes the rivers of the Poconos with a surge of water, thus making the area fantastic for whitewater rafting. Book a trip down the Lehigh River with Whitewater Challenges which promises a thrilling adventure.

The town is also home to Mountain Lake. This large expanse of water is the perfect opportunity to cool off in the summer heat.


The boardwalk and stairs through Bushkill Falls canyon that located in Northeast Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains in the United States.
Bushkill Falls canyon, Pennsylvania.

If you are driving along Route 209 and looking for the ideal place to spend a day, Bushkill is a great stop as you travel throughout the Poconos.

Head out to one of the state's more popular attractions and begin a scenic hike up to Bushkill Falls, cascading waterfalls in the heart of the mountain range. The beautiful falls have even claimed the unofficial title of the "Niagara of the Poconos." If you aren’t feeling up for a hike or simply want a new experience, get some help from four-legged friends. Head to Sugar Mountain Stable and take a scenic horseback tour through the mountains.

Explore the history of the Poconos' original settlers and learn all about the Native American tribes that thrived in the mountain range. The Pocono Indian Museum allows visitors to explore ancient artifacts and exhibits that provide insight into the lifestyle of the tribes.

Dingmans Ferry

Dingman Falls Visitor Center in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Dingman Falls Visitor Center in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Image credit EWY Media via Shutterstock

Located alongside the curves and bends of the Delaware River is the peculiarly named town of Dingmans Ferry. Explore historical landmarks such as the Dingmans Ferry Bridge, which was one of the last privately owned bridges crossing the mighty Delaware. You can also visit the historic Dingmans Ferry Dutch Reformed Church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can even educate yourself on the Poconos ecosystem at the nearby Pocono Environmental Education Center.

Get to witness two waterfalls for the exertion of one hike. Dingman Falls is the top attraction in the area and visitors can smoothly march along the boarded path until they can feel the refreshing mists of the nearby falls clinging to them.


Twin lake estates in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Twin lake estates in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Image credit Vics Photos via Shutterstock

Enjoy small-town charm at this must-visit destination on your journey throughout the Poconos. Situated on the tail end of the mountain range, the town has plenty of both outdoor and indoor excursions to keep you busy regardless of the weather.

On the not-so-nice days, plan a visit to the Schisler Museum of Wildlife & Natural History to browse the curated collections and informative exhibits that showcase the region’s ecosystem. You can even sit back and relax while catching the latest production at the Sherman Theater.

When the sun is shining, attractions like Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm are the perfect place to be. Take a walk through the interactive museum and learn about the animals and how they are essential for the farm’s success. Get fresh produce and homemade goods at the Monroe Market, allowing local farmers to set up shop and deliver their freshest goods every Saturday at the Courthouse Square.

Delaware Water Gap

Kayakers in the Delaware River and Canoes and Rafts on the Shore at the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania
Kayakers in the Delaware River at the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania.

If you are searching for the type of trip that completely puts you in the great outdoors and the soothing isolation only nature can provide, then Delaware Water Gap should sit atop your list.

Playing host to visitors traveling along the Appalachian Trail, the town has long served as an essential rest stop or starting point for those planning to follow the iconic trail. For the perfect outdoor challenge, test yourself as you hike to the top of Mount Minsi. The hike boasts the most rewarding views in the region for the determined few who summit the top. Visitors can also take to the water, rent a kayak or canoe from a local outfitter, and begin their paddle along the Delaware River.

Find a good night's rest after a long day of adventure at the historic Deer Head Inn.


Main Street in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
Main Street in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Image credit Nina Alizada via

Hop all aboard during your visit to the birthplace of the American railway, Honesdale is synonymous with America’s rail system as it was where the first commercial train departed from. Visitors can ride on a historic steam engine on the same tracks that the first train in America rode on. Punch your ticket on the Stourbridge line to reserve your place at this historic attraction.

Since the town was founded in 1826, it should come as no surprise that there is a vast history to be explored. See what life was like as a student in the 18th century by visiting the historic Bethel Schoolhouse and, afterward journey to the grand Wayne County Courthouse which sits alongside the town’s central park.

As the sun begins to fade, reserve a table at Dyberry Forks restaurant which comes highly recommended from those who visit.


French chateau-style home of the Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford, Pennsylvania.
French chateau-style home of the Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford, Pennsylvania. Image credit Alizada Studios via Shutterstock

Milford is a premier destination in the Pocono Mountain range. It doesn't matter if you are longing for an outdoor expedition in Pennsylvania's rugged terrain or seeking a quiet B&B to enjoy an evening inside, the town has you covered.

Check out the largest freestanding waterfall in the state. Visitors can partake in a short hike to the towering Raymondskill Falls and watch as the sheer power of nature takes place right before you.

It is also the perfect place to familiarize yourself with the local histories. Stroll amongst the galleries and exhibits at the Columns Museum, or explore the Grey Towers National Historic Site to learn more about the major influences that helped shape the town into what it is today. Consider spending the night at the Hotel Fauchere or the La Posada Inn and wake up in the town's calming atmosphere.

As the summer sun begins to heat the Poconos, these eight towns are premier destinations that contain adventure, history, and natural beauty. From the storied legacy of Jim Thorpe to the soothing ambiance retreat of Sky Top, each destination has unique offerings in 2024. Whether it be a hike to a rushing waterfall or enjoying artistic glass creations, a journey through these towns promises a summer vacation like no other.

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