It’s time for a family weekend getaway. Great. Now what? Where can one go that’s close enough to drive to, without the kids losing their minds in the car? The answer? The Poconos in Pennsylvania! It’s one of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania for families, (or couples.) Plus, the drive to Pennsylvania is rather short when you live on Long Island, or in New York, or New Jersey! Check out what there is to do in the Poconos.
Family weekend getaway: what’s there to do in the Poconos?
Technically, I believe the region is called the Pocono Mountains. However, growing up on the East Coast, I’ve always called it the Poconos. Just go with it. Some say potay-to, some say po-tah-to. In this case, some say Pocono Mountains, I say the Poconos.
The Poconos includes: Wayne County, Pike County, Monroe County and Carbon County. As much as I love all the counties that make up the Poconos, Monroe County offers the most activities. Basically, it provides the most bang for your buck.
If you live anywhere near the state of Pennsylvania, it’s probably a given you’ve heard, or seen, a commercial for the Pocono Raceway. It’s a fairly well-known raceway, and offers visitors more than NASCAR races to watch. Don’t get me wrong, watching races is fun, but I prefer driving around the 2.5 mile NASCAR track. Different racing experiences, fitting a variety of budgets, and thrill levels, are offered at Pocono Raceway. It’s all brought to the track by 877StockCar.com.
- StockCar Drive
- Team ProKart Racing
- StockCar Ride Along
- Bring Your Own Car
Pocono Rodeo has more than just the competition rodeo at 6 PM each Saturday evening (from May 28th until September 3rd.) There’s shopping from 2 PM until 9 PM, along with a lot of great BBQ to enjoy from 11:30 AM until 9 PM. BBQ isn’t enough for you? No worries, bring the kids so they can enjoy live music with you, plus pony rides, paddle boats, a petting zoo, hay rides, and more.
Make sure you have someone to bring the kids back to the hotel, though. After the competition rodeo is over, there’s the “After-Party” with music, dancing, and the Lakeside Bar & Grill.
Mountain Creek Riding Stables
Spending time in the mountains screams horseback rides, doesn’t it? Mountain Creek Riding Stables offers wagon rides, pony rides, and of course, horse back riding trail rides. If you go in the winter, you can score a sleigh ride! How often can you enjoy a gorgeous horse back ride through the Pocono Mountains? Not very dang often!
The Ranch at Pocono Manor
The Ranch at Pocono Manor offers family carriage rides, along with horse back ride trails that allow more experienced riders to experience views of a waterfall. Beginners can take a more terrain friendly wooded trail.
Air & Helicopter Tours
Visitors can experience the Poconos in a whole new way: from the air! Moyer Aviation has a variety of tours ranging from 10 minutes up to 45 minutes, or visitors can create their own customized tour. Tours range in price from $30 to $120 per passenger. A customized tour has to be priced out based on what passengers want included in their tour, but those tours MUST have at least two passengers.
- Mountain Tour
- Delaware Water Gap Tour
- Lake Harmony Tour
- Lake Wallenpaupack Tour
- Combination Tour
- Customized Tour
Hi-Tech Helicopters provides tours out of the same Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport as Moyer Aviation. The difference between Hi-Tech Helicopter tours, and Moyer Aviations Air Tours of the Poconos? Helicopters, not airplanes, are used for the tours. Plus, different kinds of tours! Tours range from 8 minutes all the way up to 25 minutes. There’s also a customized tour option.
- Elevated View of Mount Pocono
- Haunted Hotel Experience
- Pocono Raceway: A Heliride
- Water Gap Gazing
- Create Your Own Memory
Pocono Tree Ventures
No need to be scared by this one. Sure, aerial ropes adventure courses may sound a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Pocono Tree Ventures offers beginners a chance to give it a go, without worrying about the advanced adventurers drop kicking them off the courses! There’s five courses with 66 elements, and dual racing zip lines. Just make sure you wear close toed shoes, or you’ll be left out of the fun.
Pocono Tree Ventures even has a night climbing session on Saturdays, available until Labor Day Weekend. I have to admit, climbing through the courses, kind of sounds cool. If you’re staying at Fernwood Resort, you can book a package that includes not just a place to stay, but also tickets to the aerial ropes adventure courses. There’s plenty of other fun things to do at Fernwood Resort, too. Horseback riding, Blue Lightning Summer Tubing, golf, and so much more around the Poconos.
Adventure Sports Inc.
If you’re heading to the Poconos, you don’t want to miss the chance to Kayak on the Delaware River. Or, if you prefer, rent a canoe! Adventure Sports Inc. offers daily trips, or multi-day canoe camping trips. If you’ve never done any kind of trip like this before, I’d stick to the one day deal. There’s a great day trip that is only 6 miles, and takes about 2 hours of paddling time. Perfect one day thing!
Since food is basically all I think about, I love that there’s a great place, Sophie’s, to eat right next door to Adventure Sports Inc. You can grab breakfast prior to paddling, order lunch to bring with you on the trip, and grab dinner after the trip. PERFECTION. Plus, the food is homemade. Who doesn’t love that, right? Beer is also available. Figured that’d be important to some of my readers.
Shawnee Festivals at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in the Poconos
Throughout the year, Shawnee Festivals are happening right at Shawnee Mount Ski beginner ski resort. Summer, fall, and in the winter there’s skiing, along with tubing. If I had time, I’d head over to the Pocono Garlic Festival on September 3rd and 4th! What could be better than the aroma of garlic, live music, and cooking demos? Not very much. Well, in October, there’s going to be a food truck & art festival. It’s a toss up….
Mountain View Vineyard
Mountain View Vineyard doesn’t only have earth-friendly wines, but also produce handcrafted vodkas, shines, ports, and brandy. If you’re like me, and not into wine tasting, you can do a spirits tasting instead. If you are into the whole wine thing, they’ve got red, white, blush, sparkling, and dessert wines to sample. Plus, every taster gets a souvenir glass to bring home.
RAW, or Rowan Asher Winery, is the Pocono Mountain’s very first Urban Winery, as well as the first Hard Cidery. Again, a great spot for those who may not want to participate in a wine tour, or tasting, but would rather experience hard ciders, which includes a Whiskey Barrel Aged Cider. RAW also offers live entertainment, and recently had a Sangria Fest, complete with a food truck. Definitely a great idea for the adults to check out this spot!
Sorrenti Cherry Valley Vineyards has much more than wine to make your weekend getaway fabulous. Sure, they craft award winning wines. However, they also have a Brick Oven Bistro, and live music, along with fresh sangria. Sangria is the only way I drink wine, unless I’m eating it in a meal I’ve prepared that asks for wine. Again, if you want to skip the wine tour, like I would, just head over to grab some pizza, and perhaps a sangria! Let the others traveling with you take a tour!
Schisler Museum of Wildlife & Natural History McMunn Planetarium
If you’re into nature and space, a visit to The Schislder Museum of Wildlife & Natural History is a must, along with The McMunn Planetarium. It’s one fee to see over 100 wildlife species in habitat recreations, and checking out the planetarium! Fairly inexpensive trip for families, costing just $4 for each kid, and $6 for adults.
Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm
On Long Island we have something similar to Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, and I’m a huge fan. Visiting this living historical farm introduces visitors to life on a 19th century farm. Guides in period clothing take on the roles of family members going through daily routines, just like it happened in the 19th century. Spinning, weaving, hearth cooking, and most fun for the kids, animal care!
Callie’s Pretzel Factory
When my kids come into NYC with me, they always beg for a soft pretzel from the carts. It’s a no brainer for our family when it comes to visiting Callie’s Pretzel Factory! Mr. Sunflower loves pretzels, too. Even cooler? Callie’s Pretzel Factory has a left-handed gift shop. Say what? Yup. It’s kind of cool for my left-handed husband, and now, since mom’s heart attack and stroke, she’s been converted to the left-handed camp with Mr. Sunflower!
Hard pretzels, soft pretzels, and a left-handed gift shop? What more could the Sunflower quartet need on a weekend getaway? Not very much!
What are your favorite weekend getaways where you’re from? Have you visited the Poconos in Pennsylvania? What did you do during your visit? Comment below!