The Pocono Mountains is a majestic place, encompassing untouched vistas, wildlife, waterfalls, rivers and tons of hiking, biking and watersports to try. Here are family-friendly spots in the area where you can enjoy the great outdoors or plan your own adventure this summer.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES TO TRY
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Among the waterways that run through the Poconos, the Delaware River is one of many spots for fun and leisure. (1978 River Rd., Bushkill; 570-426-2452, nps.gov). Hiking trails include scenic views of waterfalls and a variety of wildlife. While exploring the area, check out Millbrook Village (njskylands.com), a re-created 19th-century community. Hikers and bikers can utilize the McDade Recreational Trail, a route that mainly runs through the park’s Pennsylvania side and offers river views. The nearly 2,200-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail — which runs from Maine to Georgia — can’t be walked in its entirety, but a portion of the trail does cut through the Delaware Water Gap area.
Canoes, kayaks and small motorboats are permitted on the river and can be rented from several outlets. Some authorized options include Edge of the Woods Outfitters (110 Main St., Delaware Water Gap; 570-421-6681, watergapadventure.com) and Shawnee River Trips (100 Shawnee Inn Dr., Shawnee on Delaware; 1-800-742-9633, shawneeinn.com).
WHITEWATER RAFTING AND CANOEING
Thrill seekers can tackle rapids on the Lehigh River this summer. The Adventure Center at Whitewater Challengers (288 N. Stagecoach Rd., Weatherly; 800-443-8554, whitewaterchallengers.com) offers a variety of packages that include professional guides, life jackets, paddles and rafts plus pre-trip instruction. Rates vary depending on age, skill level and size of group.
Jim Thorpe River Adventures (123 Lehigh Dr., Lehighton; 610-377-1230, jtraft.com) have similar rafting options available that run through the Lehigh Gorge State Park, as does Whitewater Rafting Adventures (101 West Adventure Trail, Nesquehoning; 570-669-9127, adventurerafting.com).
For a run down the Lackawazen River, Kittatinny Canoes (378 Rts. 6-209, Milford; 570-325-8430, kittatinny.com provides access to both that waterway as well as the Delaware River.
EXPLORE LAKE WALLENPAUPACK
A massive reservoir with 52 miles of shoreline, one can start by wandering the scenic Wallenpaupack Lake Trail. Fishing can be a worthy venture here too, as popular targets such as brown trout, walleye, yellow perch and channel catfish are present, as are bass (striped, largemouth, smallmouth). Valid fishing licenses are required for those 16 and older.
There are several restaurants on the lake and the Wallenpaupack Brewing Company is also nearby, (73 Welwood Ave., Hawley; 570-390-7933, wallenpaupackbrewingco.com) which serves craft beer, food and features live music on occasion. Visitors can also soak up the sun at the lifeguard-protected Palmyra Township Public Beach. (poconomountains.com).
For those looking for some more adventurous things to do, try Soarin' Eagle Rail Tours (4 Columbus Ave., Hawley; 570-229-2147, soarineagle.com), a railbike excursion (two and four-seaters) where you ride on railroad tracks along the Lackawaxen River.
Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park
This private zoo features tree-lined trails within its grounds to see the wildlife. Animals to spot include African lions, wolves, ring-tailed lemurs and more — but for an especially up-close experience, guests can hand-feed lory parrots, tortoises and a giraffe named Jethro.
INFO 1475 Ledgedale Rd., Lake Ariel; 570-698-6154, clawsnpaws.com
This park has eight waterfalls within, as well as two miles’ worth of trails that weave around the falls. Paddle boats are available to explore the park’s Twin Lakes and visitors can also fish in the area. (a fishing permit is necessary and can be purchased for $7; fishing equipment can be rented for $20, which includes a permit).
INFO 138 Bushkill Falls Trail, Bushkill; 570-588-6682, visitbushkillfalls.com
Costa's Family Fun Park
This amusement park has mini-golf, bumper boats, go-karts and a playground, batting cages and laser tag. A $45 wristband includes two go kart rides plus unlimited laser tag, mini-golf games, bumper boating and playground time, but add $4 extra to score unlimited waterslides.
INFO 2111 Route 6, Hawley; 570-226-8585, costasfamilyfunpark.com
Blue Mountain Resort (1660 Blue Mountain Dr., Palmerton; 610-826-7700, skibluemt.com) offers camping and RV sites, but also provides glamping options, both basic and deluxe. A basic setup includes a canvas tent with bunk beds, end tables and a solar light. The deluxe version includes extras like a charging station, a percolator and a portable toilet. Rates start at $169-$229.
The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort (100 Shawnee Inn Dr., Shawnee on Delaware; 1-800-742-9633, shawneeinn.com) offers guests opportunities to go canoeing and kayaking. Glamping is also featured at the resort with high-speed internet and electricity plus both a queen bed and a daybed; rates start at $268.36.
Camelback Mountain Resort (301 Resort Dr., Tannersville; 570-629-1661, camelbackresort.com) features the Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark, that includes 13 waterslides, games to play and rentable private cabanas. The resort also features a 4,000-foot-long zip line, an aerial treetop adventure course, a utility terrain vehicle tour (for licensed drivers age 18 and up) and a mountain coaster. Rates vary by date, starting between $191-$485 during the summer months.
Kalahari Resorts in Pocono Manor (250 Kalahari Blvd.; 877-525-2427, kalahariresorts.com) has an indoor waterpark and tons of watersides to try like the "Barreling Baboon" and the "Anaconda." It also has an outdoor waterpark, zip lines and a treetop attraction, as well as a 36-hole mini-golf course and several restaurants among its amenities; starting summer rates vary between $280-$450 with indoor waterpark use included.
The Great Wolf Lodge (1 Great Wolf Dr., Scotrun; 800-768-9653, greatwolf.com) sports an indoor waterpark that’s equipped with slides like its signature "Double-Barrel Drop" and the "Hydro Plunge" water coaster. Guests can also try mini-bowling and an outdoor ropes course; there are several dining options as well. Rates start at $349.99; water park passes are included.