The Great American Getaway Guide to Jim Thorpe

Nestled in northeastern PA among the Pocono Mountains, the quaint town of Jim Thorpe has made quite a name for itself. Known as the “Little Switzerland of America,” the town is ranked as one of the most picturesque places in the country to experience fall foliage by publications including Travel + Leisure and USA Today, but it’s a great year-round destination.

Just a 2.5-hour drive from New York City, 2-hour drive from Philadelphia, and 4-hour drive from Washington, D.C., Jim Thorpe is the quintessential backdrop for a long weekend getaway. To make the most of your short visit to northeastern PA, use our 48-hour getaway guide that maps out the things for first-timers to see, do, and devour.

Please note, this itinerary is meant to serve as a general guide. We strongly recommend checking seasonal hours of operation and available offerings of the listed businesses ahead of your trip.

Day One

Afternoon — Arrive in Jim Thorpe and head to your accommodations (keep scrolling for our picks at the bottom of this page).

molly maguires irish pub.
Molly Maguire’s Irish Pub

Once you’ve settled in—or if you need to kill time before check-in—enjoy lunch at Molly Maguire’s Irish Pub, a must-visit in downtown serving up classic, authentic pub fare like Sheppard’s Pie and pints of draft beer. Home to the largest outdoor eating area in the county, it’s the perfect spot to admire the surrounding views.

Next, get the lay of the land during Jim Thorpe Trolley Company’s live narrated Historic Trolley Tour. This 70-minute ride is a great way to take in the town’s beautiful natural scenery and historic buildings along Broadway. The company also offers longer, special experiences like their Wine and Shine Tasting Tour, Brew Hop, and Pub Tour.

Old Stone Building
Old Jail Museum | Credit: Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

Evening — Before dinner, take a guided tour of the Old Jail Museum to hear about Jim Thorpe’s haunted history. Listen to stories and witness what prisoners endured during their stay in one of the 27 cells. You’ll be able to see the gallows where the infamous Molly Maguires were hung and, if you dare step into Cell 17, find the mysterious handprint on the wall left by one of them.

Broadway Inn and Grille Deck
Broadway Inn & Grille

End the night at Broadway Inn & Grille, which sits in one of the town’s most historic and beautiful buildings connected to The Inn at Jim Thorpe. Awarded OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice of 2023, this reliable pub never disappoints with their unique twists on the classics like their Broadway Burger with hot pepper bacon raspberry jam. Best of all, they regularly host live music and events, so be sure to check out the schedule on their website before booking your reservation.

Day Two

Morning — Get a sweet start to your first full morning in Jim Thorpe at Donerds Donuts. For those who prefer savory bites, they also serve hearty breakfast burritos, plus have a full coffee and beverage menu for a caffeine kick ahead of your day of outdoor adventures.

While downtown, spend some time window shopping along Broadway and pop into eclectic stores like Rainbows End and Antiques On Broadway. Or, head north to view the statue of Jim Thorpe with a football in hand and then take a short drive to visit his grave located on the outskirts of town.

people rafting on river
Pocono Whitewater Adventures | Credit: Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

Afternoon — Spend an adrenaline-filled afternoon enjoying the ultimate whitewater rafting experience with Pocono Whitewater Adventures. Known as the best in the tri-state area, the company offers a variety of excursions, including a guided, 3–4-hour family-style whitewater rafting adventure. This 8-mile, Class I and II whitewater rafting of the Lehigh River is ideal for everyone; beginners, kids ages 4 and older, school groups, as well as adults that just want to kick back and enjoy the great outdoors in the Pocono Mountains. From Memorial Day through Labor Day and on weekends in May, September, and October the excursion includes a free all-you-can-eat riverside BBQ lunch.

Evening — Make a dinner reservation at Moya, serving up eclectic, gourmet cuisine. Chef and owner Heriberto Yunda’s plates are executed in a relaxed, designed-to-be-shared style with an emphasis on flavor and freshness. His menu is constantly changing to accommodate local product and palate.

Opera House
Mauch Chunk Opera House

After dinner, catch a show at Mauch Chunk Opera House. Built in 1881, the opera house is one of America’s oldest vaudeville theaters. Listen to performances of your favorite music genres, from classic rock and jazz to folk and theater. View the full list of shows coming to the theater to book your tickets before your getaway.

Day Three

Morning — Begin your day at Curiosities Coffee and Ice House, a Victorian-style coffeehouse that also serves teas, hot chocolate, and iced drinks along with delicious baked goods and newly-added breakfast sandwiches.

Then, take a short drive to the D&L Trail, where you can hike or bike to explore Jim Thorpe’s natural beauty and take in the picturesque scenes of the season. Keep your eyes peeled for fantastic views of an old coal canal on one side and the Lehigh River on the other. Bikers can find rentals from Pocono Biking or Bronson EBikes, depending on your preference.

marion hose bar
Marion Hose Bar

Afternoon Grab lunch at Marion Hose Bar, a unique eatery that was once a firehouse and now hosts guests for trendy drinks and good eats. While admiring the historic architecture, munch on casual fare that includes Marion’s Mac & Cheese and Bavarian Beer Pretzels while sipping whiskey, wine, or a refreshing cocktail.

Train Driving thru Fall Foliage
Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway | Credit: Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

End your Jim Thorpe getaway by hopping aboard the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway to get one last glimpse of the breathtaking Pocono views. Also known to locals and visitors as one of the best ways to admire the fall colors of Jim Thorpe, the vintage train runs daily with 70-minute rides and is perfect for young ones and furry friends alike.

Add A Day

Not quite ready to end your great northeastern PA getaway? Extend your stay to explore even more fun in the nearby small towns of Lehighton, Palmerton, and Lansford, where you’ll find unique spots such as Country Junction, The World’s Largest General Store in Lehighton and the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford. If you’re looking for more action-packed activities, make the 30-minute drive to catch a NASCAR series at the Pocono Raceway or travel a little over an hour to take advantage of America’s largest free admission amusement park, Knoebels.

Places to Stay

Hotel Switzerland — Located in the heart of Jim Thorpe and known as the oldest operating commercial building in town, Hotel Switzerland offers an unforgettable, affordable stay. Just steps away from popular shops and restaurants, you can also pop downstairs to the well-known Molly Maguire’s Irish Pub for a pint or two. Rooms sell out fast, especially in the fall, so book your getaway today!

Bed and a desk in hotel room
Hotel Switzerland

The Inn at Jim Thorpe — A landmark building of the area, the Inn at Jim Thorpe offers guests charming accommodations in the center of historic downtown. Named a 2023 Traveler’s Choice by Trip Advisor, the inn lets you choose from elegant mini suites or standard rooms spread across three buildings. During your stay, rejuvenate at their spa with a variety of services and try their new repechage facials. Parking is free and you can get a $10 breakfast voucher when you book directly on their website.

Hotel Sign Board
The Inn at Jim Thorpe

The Dolon House — Located on what is known as “Millionaires’ Row,” The Dolon House was once the home of a local doctor who operated a thriving practice right on the premises. Staying at this bed and breakfast will transport you back in time with its historic detailing featuring jeweled stained-glass windows, stunning hand carved woodwork, a grand staircase, and an Italianesque mosaic entry floor. Find comfort and elegance in each of the five suites and enjoy their complimentary “Coal Cracker Spa Cuisine” that utilizes the freshest, local ingredients for a hearty breakfast before you take on a days’ worth of adventures.

The Dolon House
The Dolon House

The Harry Packer Mansion — The inspiration for Disney’s Haunted Mansion, the Harry Packer Mansion is perched atop Packer Hill and its great views of downtown Jim Thorpe. With a style that can only be described as gothic-flare-meets-comfort, both the mansion and adjoining carriage house are filled with period antiques, luxurious fabrics, and artwork. Choose from a variety of suite options to suit your getaway needs, enjoy their complimentary breakfast, and join in the fun during one of their on-site Murder Mystery Weekends (if you dare!).

Mansion Building
The Harry Packer Mansion

Looking for more Great American Getaways in Pennsylvania, check out the website and be sure to follow us on Facebook, X, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram for even more travel inspiration.

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