13 awesome things to do in the Poconos this summer
Maybe, as far back as you can remember, the beach has been your go-to summer getaway. Then 2020 arrived, your world shrank, and the Poconos – with all that fresh air and wide open space – took on a whole new appeal. And for good reason: peaceful lakes! The picturesque cabins! Panoramic hikes! A summer in the Poconos is a summer of simpler times, and – as we prepare to venture out again but may not be quite ready to venture far – there has never been a better time to go. Here’s how to get the most out of your visit.
Communicate with nature
Your guide to all of our favorite hikes, parks and natural wonders in Poconos. Read on here.
Fill Your Stream With Cabin Porn
These cottages and cabins for rent are just as fun to explore on Instagram as they will be in real life.
Caitlin Cowger runs several delightfully retro and rustic NEPA Airbnbs that have appeared in URBN catalogs and appear in travel guides published by people like Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
Baley and Marco Boccitto bought this Arrowhead Lake cabin just before the pandemic, then watched their next boom – probably because every frame in their stream perfectly sums up the comfort of Poconos.
Follow New York Creative Director Michael Goesele and his partner, Lauren Spear, renovate an A-frame (and future Airbnb) in Shohola. Its sister property was featured in Remain and Vogue.
PPC owner Monica Mangin documents the transformation of her Lake Naomi cottage complex on IG, YouTube and in regular spots on Living with Kelly and Ryan. Watch for visits from Ripa and Seacrest.
Get your adrenaline pumping
It’s not summer without a bit of adventure. Here’s where to find it. Read on here.
Give a resort a boost
Ready to be with the people again? Book a room at one of these 12 great locations. Read on here.
Find a place of your own
Buying a chalet is not what it used to be. If you want to win in a fiery Poconos real estate market, you better be prepared. Read on here.
Live your best life at the lake
If there’s one thing the Poconos have more than mountains, it’s lakes. Most are private, but Wallenpaupack Lake is an exception – and what a wonderful exception it is. Crossing the 13-mile-long Pike and Wayne County border, with 52 miles of shoreline, Lake Wally is Pennsylvania’s second largest state lake. Summer weekends, it’s bananas, the jet skis go full speed Party cove (exactly what it looks like); for a quieter atmosphere, go in the water mid-week or in the morning. It’s not really a swimming lake – there’s only one public beach, and it’s tiny – but boaters abound, and you can hire yours nearby. Silver Birches Station.
For a crash course in lake life, rent Ray cichocki by Hawley Ray guide service, who has been guiding lake tours for longer than anyone else in the area. He will take you to catch the really larger ones (Lake Wally is known for its huge catfish and largemouth bass), or it may just provide the history of the reservoir (it was literally built on top of an old town nearly 100 years old), tell you about the science behind its hydroelectric dam, and show you some of the positively gorgeous homes located along the shore. May be you can share with him which one supposedly belongs to Miley Cyrus – he wouldn’t give us the deets.
Reconsider Cove Haven
Not much has changed in the honeymoon resorts that first put Poconos on the map – and that is precisely the appeal. Read on here.
Take a day trip to Jim Thorpe
90 minutes north of Philly, this storybook town takes you back over 100 years as soon as you see the Victorian-era train station. Formerly Mauch Chunk (“Bear Mountain” in Lenni Lenape), the village was renamed for Native American Olympian Jim Thorpe in 1954. (Sound Memorial, minutes from downtown, worth a visit.) Later, stop for lunch at Marion pipe bar, then stroll down Broadway lined with shops. Browse the sarcastic greeting cards on Somersault typography and shoes handcrafted using methods indigenous to Handcrafted gifts by Mabacol, then taste the elderberry syrup (incredible on ice) at Wild Elder Wine & Cider Co. Take pictures nearby Row of historic stone and visit the railroad tycoon Asa Packer hilltop mansion, then end the day with tasty cuisine from Ecuadorian chef Heriberto Yunda at Moya before hitting the road.
Go local with the grocery store
Stock up your cabin kitchen at these local farmers ‘and manufacturers’ markets. Read on here.
Go to a brewery (or a vineyard)
Alcohol made in PA is not allowed to be so good. Here’s where to get it. Read on here.
Beware of lack of water
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is 70,000 acres of parkland along the river that was once intended for a federal dam project. The 40-mile stretch of the Delaware River that crosses it from Milford to Slateford is a summer paradise, idle and great for canoeing, tubing, and other water sports. Make your life easier and book a getaway through a livery, like Bord du Bois Outfitters or pets Chamberlain Canoes.
Finding your own little nook along the riverbanks is another big part of the fun, which is why the McDade Recreational Trail, a 30 mile hike / bike highway with intermittent trailheads accessible by car, is your friend. (If you’re just looking for a beach / picnic area without all the scouting, head to Smithfield, Milford Where Turtle beaches and settle down.)
As one local puts it, the ideal way to experience the Gap is to canoe-camping: Throw your gear (and coolers) onto a boat in Milford or Dingman’s Ferry, paddle until you find an unoccupied campsite on one of the islands in the river, pitch your tent, then do it again the next day.
Eat good food
These 16 restaurants are worth a visit. Read on here.
Cross the border
Across the waters of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, northeastern Pennsylvania merges into the Catskills. And in the Catskills, particularly in the border hamlets of Sullivan County (most about a 30-minute drive from Honesdale), the options get a little easier. Cocktails (like those from Cochecton fire station) are infused with barley and tomato “essence”. The shops (like Nest and Sunny Pop in Narrowsburg) are led by ex-Vogue staff members and the wives of big movie stars. Restaurants (like the Laundromat, also in Narrowsburg, with its sans serif neon sign) feel a bit more, well, designed. It’s a glimpse of what NEPA could possibly become in 15 or 20 years, if enough city dwellers hammer their escape hooks into the region. And whether that’s a good thing or not, it’s something we’ll probably be talking about for just as long.
Call me back… Where exactly are the Poconos?
The Pocono Mountain region is a 2,400 square mile forested strip that runs along the northeastern edge of Pennsylvania, spanning Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne counties. preeminent vacation destination for East Coasters; Today visitors will find small towns, large family-friendly resorts, private communities, lakes (over 150!) and state parks galore.
*There is a debate about the overlap of the Poconos and the northeastern PA, or “NEPA”. For the purpose of this package – to maximize the enjoyment during your stay in the North – we are grouping them together.
Posted under the title “We’re going to the Poconos!” »In the June 2021 issue of Philadelphia cream magazine.