All You Need to Know to Visit Poconos Mountains

Getting to know the Poconos
The Poconos is a combination of counties, Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne, in the northeast of Pennsylvania. You’ll be met with breathtaking views, waterfalls, mountains, woods and rivers, perfect for any outdoor adventure, depending on the season! And if you’re wondering, any time of the year of is a good time to visit, just determine what your main activities will be, we opted for a winter escape to be able to hit the slopes!

The Poconos Mountains are approximately 105 miles from Philadelphia (to the north) and New York City (to the West) or roughly a 2hr drive from either of the aforementioned locations. I’d recommended flying into the Philadelphia airport and renting a car to drive, if you not driving the entire way (which is what I did- about a 4 1/2 hour drive from New England).

When searching for lodging, I wanted to center our BNB around the main tourist attraction we’d be visiting, the ski lodge. We were choosing between Camelback resort or Shawnee Mountain and this is how we determined what town we’d stay in. Some of the quaint towns that we considered, Stroudsburg, Delaware Water Gap, Cresco, Jim Thorpe, Honesdale, Hawley, Lake Wallenpaupack, Milford and Tannersville. I’d recommend deciding what mountains/lodge you’re planning to ski at and selecting an area to stay based on that! (See below for a list of ski lodges/resorts in the Poconos). Some of my favorite sites to search for lodging are Airbnb and Expedia!

Ultimately, we chose an AIRBNB, listed HERE, located in Cresco, approx. 15 minutes from Mt. Pocono, the Kalahari Water Park, and Camelback. It was the perfect location for us, we were close to several restaurants, the Poconos Casino, the ski resort we visited and the grocery store!

And speaking of restaurants, I always love to leave you guys reccos for yummy places to visit when traveling, check below for a list of Restaurant recommendations, from places we personally visited (notated with a ***) or places that were recommended to me!

I mentioned that there’s tons to do in this area depending on what season you’re visiting and what your vibe is, so building your Poconos itinerary should be relatively simple. I’d definitely recommend this area for those who like the outdoors/adventure-unless you just want to stay in your cozy cabin with friends or loved ones. I’d also recommend a long weekend, 3-4 days, as it’s a small town feel, any more time than that may seem long! For some great open water locations, check out any of the rivers or state parks below:

Promised Land State Park
Lake Wallenpaupack
Delaware River
Tobyhanna State Park

Other Activities

Ski & Snow Activities:

Camelback Resort, Shawnee Mountain, Big Boulder Ski Area, Blue Mountain Resort, Jack Frost Mountain or Ski Big Bear at Masthope Mountain
Appalachian Trail, McDade Recreational Trail, Big Pocono State Park, Tannersville Cranberry Bog Preserve, Paradise Township, Promised Land State Park, Columcille Megalith Park, Sunfish Pond, Lake Harmony
Water Park:
Cultural Activities:
Pocono Cinema & Cultural Center
Casino Theatre & Village Malt Shoppe
Deer Head Inn- Live Jazz Music

The idea was that this trip would be relatively low-key and low-budget. Please see below for a breakdown of my trip expenses. Trip Expenses:

You can really make this an affordable getaway by making choices on your lodging and even what ski resort you opt to visit. We choose Shawnee Mountain vs some of the other resorts because it was cheaper, we found a discount code for 10% off and were given an option for a night ski session which was cheaper than the day ski option. Additionally, I made room in the budget for a stone massage and did not make any cuts on food options. I wanted to make “healthier” decisions when eating out so opted for meals like salmon that tend to cost more, my trip mates each spent around $75 or less on their total meals! Another option is to also get lodging that has a kitchen and buy groceries to make meals vs eating out!

Please also factor in things like ski lessons, one of my trip mates had never been skiing so she opted in for a lesson that cost $114 USD including lift ticket, rentals and the lesson, vs. myself who did not take lessons so the ski trip totaled $82 USD for me. We also purchased snow suits for this trip, I got mine HERE at Amazon.

*Other Notes:
If you are traveling from outside of Pennsylvania, be sure to check HERE for any covid-19 related travel information. As of my trip date, January 15, 2021, this was the requirement: By Order issued November 17, 2020, the Wolf administration is requiring that travelers entering Pennsylvania from other countries and states, as well as Pennsylvanians who are returning home from other countries or states, have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth or quarantine for 10 days upon entry into Pennsylvania. If a traveler chooses to get tested upon entering the Commonwealth, or is waiting for test results, the traveler must quarantine for 10 days, or until receipt of a negative test result, whichever comes first. 

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