I’m Olivia! I’m a college senior living in New York City, but today I’m here to tell you about the Poconos, where I grew up. This mountainous region in northeastern Pennsylvania is known for being a honeymoon capital, a popular skiing spot, and an ideal summer-home-location, but I think the best thing about it is that it’s a retreat.
In the Poconos, you can get a totally rural and/or small-town experience just a few hours away from major cities like New York and Philadelphia. I love going home for the weekend in the wintertime and feeling like I’ve got a cross-country ski resort in my backyard! (Plus, my mom does my laundry….)
I hope you enjoy this little travel guide and are tempted to stop by this rich corner of Pennsylvania sometime.
The biggest draw of the Poconos is undoubtedly the incredible opportunity for outdoor activity. In the summer you can hike, bike, and boat; in the winter, crowds come to ski.
Get out and about
The McDade trail is open for walking, hiking, skiing, or biking and runs along the river for 32 miles. Bushkill Falls, which is sometimes called “The Niagara of Pennsylvania,” is an impressive series of eight waterfalls nestled deep in the woods. Dingmans Falls and Raymondskill Falls are among many other spots known for their hiking trails and waterfall views.
The Poconos is the perfect place to spend some time exploring a small town. Antique shops and art galleries abound. In between shopping, seeing historical sights and enjoying the natural beauty, there are plenty of local restaurants to try. On the weekends, you’ll find local festivals, fairs or flea markets, so come prepared to go bargain hunting!
Poconos Must Eat
There aren’t very many dishes that are signature to the Poconos region, but there are scores of inns and restaurants serving hearty comfort foods for you to choose from. You can’t go wrong by stopping at a roadside diner, one of my favorite places to eat.
If you visit in mid-October, the Pocono Food Truck Festival features a wide variety of food trucks from around the region, as well as live music and other entertainment. Ask for recommendations from your host or hotel!
Poconos Cultural Tips
The culture of the Poconos is – for the most part – typical Northeastern/Mid-Atlantic culture. Be polite and respectful, as you would anywhere, and you’ll be fine!
Many areas of the Poconos thrive on tourism, so shops, hotels, and restaurants are eager to make you feel comfortable. If you’re staying in a rented cabin in the woods, recognize that your neighbors may live there year-round, and while you’re on vacation and want to relax and unwind, they may be too busy or less eager to talk. It’s nothing personal, but they likely see new visitors in your cabin every weekend!
The Poconos are very budget friendly – particularly if you’re renting a vacation home and doing all your own cooking. This gorgeous, modern farmhouse sleeps six for $99 a night and looks like something out of an interior design magazine. This super cute cabin is just $79 a night! (P.S. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s $40 towards your first booking.)
If you want that vintage Poconos feel, the Cove Haven Resorts look amazing – heart-shaped hot tubs and all!
Thanks so much for sharing, Olivia! I’m sure there are plenty of readers who know this region – what are your must-sees?