15 Best Things to Do in the Pocono Mountains

What do scenic hiking trails, thrilling waterparks, and premier casinos have in common? You can find them all in the Pocono Mountains! If you're traveling to northeast Pennsylvania and want to know what to do in the Pocono Mountains, check out our picks for the 15 best activities, attractions, and sights to explore.

1. Bushkill Falls

Bushkill Falls is one of the top things to do in the Pocono Mountains. You can explore a series of eight waterfalls deep in the woods of Pike County. Hiking along the trails while taking in the picturesque views along the way offers a perfect balance of adventure and tranquility.

You can access the trails at various points on Bushkill Falls Road. Park hours change according to the season with the park actually closed in winter, so you'll want to check the Bushkill Falls schedule before your trip. The trail conditions and weather may affect your ability to explore the park.

Before you leave the area, stop in the Bushkill Falls Gift Shop to pick up some memorabilia of your grand outdoor adventure or check out the Bushkill Falls Maze with your family. There are also plenty of places to grab burgers, pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, and pizza in the nearby town. You've got to refuel after your hike, after all!

2. The Asa Packer and Harry Packer Mansions

Another awesome place to explore in the Pocono Mountains is the Asa Packer Mansion Museum, located on Packer Hill Avenue in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The mansion was home to Asa Packer, a visionary, self-made railroad tycoon, philanthropist, and founder of Lehigh University.

History buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike will love exploring the Victorian-style home and National Historic Landmark that features three stories and 18 stunning rooms, with little changed in the years since 1912 when Asa's daughter Mary bequeathed the home and all its furnishings to the Borough of Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe's prior name) as a memorial to her father and his accomplishments.

The mansion is located in the Old Mauch Chunk Historic District near the Lehigh River with guided tours offered on select days between April and December. Tickets are sold at the mansion on a first-come, first-serve basis on days when the mansion is open. Please note: there are no online ticketing options or advance ticket sales and groups must call the mansion ahead of time to make a reservation to tour the mansion.

Just a short walk north on Packer Hill lies The Harry Packer Mansion Inn, which Asa Packer had built as a wedding gift for his son Harry in 1874. The mansion is now a luxurious, adults-only bed and breakfast offering a lovely escape from your ordinary routine. This magnificent home features a mix of Gothic features and elegant design, including marble fireplaces and gilded mirrors. And here's some trivia for your next dinner party: the mansion's outstanding architectural design actually inspired Disney's Haunted Mansion!

While you can't tour the Harry Packer Mansion, keep an eye out for their murder mystery weekends when guests of the B&B are transported back in time to investigate the mysterious deaths of various members of the Packer family. If you'd like to join in the murder mystery fun but are staying elsewhere, check their Facebook page to see if there are any slots available. You can also enjoy their Libations Lounge on Friday and Saturday evenings whenever there's no murder mystery to be solved.

3. Camelback Resort

A fun destination to explore in the Pocono Mountains all year round is Camelback Resort in Tannersville. In summer, Camelbeach Outdoor Waterpark is the perfect family summer vacation destination where you can stay cool and make lifelong memories at Pennsylvania's largest outdoor waterpark. Enjoy 37 rides and thrilling slides including the adventure river, wave and kiddie pools, splash zones, Olympic pool, and the eight-track water slide, Rival Racer, or learn to surf at one of their Flowrider sessions.

Camelback's indoor waterpark, Aquatopia, offers the perfect fun-filled water adventure in colder months or when the weather doesn't cooperate. The park is open year-round and features 13 slides, a wave pool, an adventure river that runs underground, multi­level play and spray structures, a toddler area, a simulated surfing experience, and even a swim-­up bar!

In winter, Camelback is your prime destination for snowy fun with 39 trails, 166 skiable acres, and 42 snowtubing lanes. Capturing USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice top spot for snow tubing in 2023, their massive snow tubing park is simply Galactic with its epic night tubing experience. In addition, their adaptive skiing and snowboarding program ensures nobody has to miss out on all the snowy fun.

You can ditch the skiing and swimming goggles for some indoor fun all year round with their laser tag, rock climbing, indoor ropes course, and bumper car adventures. They even have an escape room, a two-level arcade with plenty of games, rides, and lots of prizes, and a virtual reality experience, or grab some outdoor fun in all but winter with their mountain coaster ride, ziplines, off-road UTV trek, and “sunbowl tubing.” It's easy to see why Camelback Resort is a go-to destination in spring, summer, winter, and fall!

4. Pocono Raceway

Known as The Tricky Triangle among NASCAR drivers and car racing enthusiasts, the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway is among the coolest attractions in the Pocono Mountains region. Here's your chance to see for yourself amazing professional NASCAR races in person, especially if you've never been to one. Between the speed, the smell of burnt rubber, the roar of the engines, and the thrill of competition, visiting Pocono Raceway is essential for adrenaline junkies and those simply looking for some unique experiences.

Pocono Raceway hosts several major racing events throughout the year, including:

  • NASCAR Cup Series
  • NASCAR Xfinity Series
  • NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
  • ARCA Menards Series

Want to make the most of race weekend? You can pitch a tent or park your RV at the raceway's GEICO Grandstand Campground. As an added bonus on NASCAR weekends, kids age 12 or under get in free to both the campground and the 100 and 200 levels of the Grandstand with lots of fun kid-friendly activities to keep everyone entertained. Along with their top-rated and inclusive playground, there's Tricky's Kit Camp interactive soft-play area for little ones and “recess” with a NASCAR driver.

There's plenty to do on non-race days, including a free, 45-minute tour of The Tricky Triangle held Wednesdays-Saturdays throughout the summer. For the ultimate raceway experience, book one of their Driving School experiences and ride shotgun as an experienced driver takes you around the racetrack at super-fast speeds. You can even drive a NASCAR-style car around the track on your own! Ever wonder how your car would perform on the track? You can test that out too!

This superspeedway is located at 1234 Long Pond Road in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, just south of the Maple Tract Preserve. You can get tickets for Pocono Raceway events online or visit the ticket office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Be sure to stop by the Pocono Raceway Fan Store, which is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Quick tip: This might seem obvious, but NASCAR races are extremely loud, so high-quality ear protection is highly recommended, especially for little ones.

5. Lehigh Gorge State Park

picturesque of mountains
Lehigh Gorge State Park

Nature enthusiasts will find there are lots of outdoor adventures and things to do in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Prepare to fall in love with Lehigh Gorge State Park. This beautiful, 6,107-acre park along the gorgeous Lehigh River stretches from the Francis E. Walter Dam to the town of Jim Thorpe, spanning both Luzerne and Carbon counties.

In warmer months, enjoy hiking, biking, and nature watching along the 20-mile Lehigh Gorge Trail, part of the much longer D&L Trail. The river provides plenty of opportunities for fishing and adrenaline-pumping whitewater rafting adventures as you navigate the class II to III rapids and soar through the deep, steep-walled gorge with its thick vegetation, rock outcroppings, and waterfalls.

When the snow falls, you can cross-country ski along the Lehigh Gorge Trail or snowmobile on a 15-mile section of the trail from White Haven to Penn Haven Junction. The park is open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset, with all day-use areas closing at dusk. Lehigh Gorge State Park is conveniently located just two hours away from both Philadelphia and New York City, and the perfect way to spend a day in Pennsylvania's great outdoors.

6. Jim Thorpe Sidecar Tourz

If you're looking for a unique and quirky way to explore greater Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, we have the tour for you! Get ready to strap on a helmet and don goggles for a trip of a lifetime with Jim Thorpe Sidecar Tourz.

You'll choose your route from a variety of tour packages, including a wine tasting option complete with breathtaking views. Their guided tours last anywhere from 90 minutes to a few hours. You'll board a vintage sidecar for your cruising adventure. Along the way, your super friendly and knowledgeable driver/guide will keep you entertained with stories about the town and area you may not hear anywhere else.

Each of their comfy and cozy sidecars can accommodate two passengers so can surprise your best buddy or “nearest and dearest” with a fun ride with plenty of stops for those all-important photo ops! Advance reservations are required, then sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

7. Mount Airy Casino Resort

While we adore our little ones, sometimes you just need ideas of things to do in the Pocono Mountains that are adults-only. Check out the Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono — Pennsylvania's first AAA Four Diamond Casino Resort dedicated to guests 21 and over. Indulge at Guy Fieri's Mt. Pocono Kitchen, spend the evening playing slot machines at the casino, or check out one of the resort's other amenities, including the golf course, spa, pool and concert venue.

Mount Airy Casino Resort is located at 312 Woodland Road in Mount Pocono, surrounded by miles of scenic woods. It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And if you book your stay and can't decide what to do first, their friendly and knowledgeable concierge team can help you create a custom itinerary.

8. Great Wolf Lodge

A kid jumping into Pool
Great Wolf Lodge

Whether you’re looking for a fun family escape from the heat of summer, winter’s cold winds, spring’s seemingly erratic weather, or simply a break from your everyday routine in the fall or anytime of year, Great Wolf Lodge offers the perfect solution. With their 40,000-square-foot indoor water park providing tons of "weatherproof” fun, the indoor glowing Howl at the Moon mini-golf course and arcade, and the outdoor Howlers Peak Ropes Course, you’ll never hear any one of your pack utter those dreaded words, “I’m bored.”

Everyone, but especially your littlest cubs, will enjoy a rousing game of mini-bowling at Ten Paw Alley's shortened lanes and smaller balls, or send the pack off on a MagiQuest adventure throughout the lodge, each person equipped with a souvenir magic wand. You can purchase one of their packages for these and a host of other fun activities or go “a la carte” as the mood strikes you and your crew.

The resort offers several lodging options, including the Main Lodge, Tower Suites, and The Woodland Villas, each with impressive views of the Pocono Mountains and its woodlands. If you're traveling with extended family or bunch of friends, their Woodland Villas can accommodate up to 16 guests. Don't have time to stay overnight? No worries — you can plan for a “weatherproof” and fun daytrip in the Pocono Mountains with the purchase of a full- or half-day pass.

Great Wolf Lodge's Pocono Mountains site is located at 1 Great Wolf Drive in Scotrun, Pennsylvania. The waterpark's typical operating hours are from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

9. Hickory Run State Park

Just north of Lehigh Gorge in the western foothills of the Pocono Mountains lies the 15,990-acre Hickory Run State Park. Here you can explore 40+ miles of hiking trails, three natural areas, and miles of trout streams, along with the National Natural Landmark, Boulder Field — a striking boulder-strewn area created when the Laurentide Continental Glacier retreated north at the end of the last ice age.

If that's not enough to grab your attention, the park also features a 19-hole disc golf course in the Sand Spring Day Use Area. Just watch out for passing nature watchers!

You can enjoy a full camping experience at Hickory Run's tent and trailer campground, complete with modern restrooms and shower facilities. Not into roughing it? You can rent one of their regular or deluxe camping cottages, with two that are ADA-accessible. Just be aware none of the cottages has running water or indoor bathrooms, but all do have electricity and electric heat. Just be sure to reserve your spot beforehand at this popular park.

10. Seven Tubs Recreation Area

There are so many fun and unique outdoor activities in the Pocono Mountains, but the Seven Tubs Recreation Area in Pinchot State Forest is one to put on your must-visit list. Boasting 121 acres of gorgeous mountainside streams, the unique bedrock potholes or “tubs” were formed more than 12,000 years ago when flowing glacial meltwater eroded the underlying sandstone bedrock.

To see this magnificent creation, you can take the 0.3-mile loop trail that encircles the ravine of Wheel Barrow Run, a tributary of Laurel Run. If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, you can take the 1.8-mile Audubon Loop Trail. Simply follow the yellow blazes along the footpath to pass by small cascades and an upland site that is home to a variety of plant and animal life.

The forest is owned and managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, with the trails open from sunrise to sunset every day. You can access the Seven Tubs Recreation Area at 900 Bear Creek Blvd in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, just minutes from the city's center.

11. Lake Wallenpaupack

boat dock on a lake
Lake Wallenpaupack

If you're looking for a peaceful place to explore in the Pocono Mountains, Lake Wallenpaupack offers 52 miles of scenic, uninterrupted shoreline. As one of the largest lakes in the state of Pennsylvania, you can spend a whole day hiking the local trails, relaxing by the water, fishing or swimming in the lake, rent a paddleboard, kayak or pontoon boat, or take a scenic boat ride tour of the lake.

At Lake Wallenpaupack, you can get a dose of vitamin D while spending time with loved onesor simply enjoy the shimmering water. If you want to spend more than a day, there are lots of options from cabins, cottages, or spots at the campground to rent or splurge a little staying at one of the area hotels or B&Bs. The Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center is located at 2512 Route 6 in Palmyra Township, and is open all summer long, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Visitors can access the beach from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

12. No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum

The Pocono Mountains has a rich and varied history and one in which coal mining has featured prominently in shaping the area's landscape and its cities and towns. You can learn about the Pocono Mountains' history of coal mining with a trip to the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum, located at 9 Dock Street in Lansford, Pennsylvania.

The mine was in operation from 1855 to 1972, making it the oldest continuously operated anthracite coal mine on earth. Here you can see the coal mine essentially frozen in time with artifacts, household goods, and tools that belonged to the miners, including an intact hoist shaft. The experience begins with a train ride about 1,600 feet into the mountain and continues with a 600-foot guided walking tour. Be sure to dress warmly, as the temperature underground remains near 50 degrees.

No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final tour for the day begins at 3 p.m. Before you leave, check out the gift shop for fun coal-themed souvenirs, books, and crystals.

13. Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway is another exciting destination to check out while visiting the Pocono Mountains. You can get tickets for a picturesque 70-minute 16-mile round-trip train ride. The route includes high-rising cliffs and majestic views of the local woodlands as the train route passes along the Lehigh River.

From late September until early November, you can get tickets for a 45-minute round-trip tour to see the magic of changing autumn foliage in northern Pennsylvania. They also offer an Easter Bunny Train in spring and a Santa Train during the holiday season.

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway boards from 1 Susquehanna Street in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. If you're interested in a ride, you'll need to check the daily departure times on the railway's website, as they can change daily.

They have five different types of trains available, including:

  • An open-air car.
  • Standard coach seating.
  • Crown-class seating.
  • Vista-class dome car seating.
  • A private caboose.

14. Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park

When considering fun things to do in the Pocono Mountains with kids, be sure to check out the animal park in Lake Ariel. This is an excellent spot to engage your kids. They can get up close and personal with different wildlife at the petting zoo, and they can also dig for dinosaur fossils and play games in the Dino Outpost area.

Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park is home to many different species of animals, including but not limited to the following:

  • Arctic foxes
  • African crested porcupines
  • Capuchin monkeys
  • Sloths
  • Leopards
  • Lynxes
  • African Lions
  • Tigers
  • Black bears
  • Otters
  • Snow leopards

The animal park is located at 1475 Ledgedale Road and open daily from May 1 through mid-October from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily. Their snack bar and animal feed are cash only, and also have a picnic area for you to enjoy.

15. Pocono Mountains Farmers Markets

One of the best things to do in the Pocono Mountains on a weekend is explore the local farmers markets throughout the region. The following are some of the top options:

  • Monroe Farmers Market: You can visit the Monroe Farmers Market at Courthouse Square in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. They have more than three dozen vendors offering delicious baked goods, fresh veggies and other products direct from the farm, bath and beauty products, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and a variety of community services.
  • The Butcher Shoppe: The Butcher Shoppe at 640 Route 940 in Pocono Lake, Pennsylvania, offers a wide range of cheeses, meats, and seafood, including their homemade sausage and wide variety of “exotic” meats. This market is open Wednesday through Saturdayfrom 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.and on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., but check their website before you go because they're closed during certain portions of the year.

Learn More About Exciting Attractions in the Pocono Mountains With visitpa

Building in downtown jim thorpe

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