Rising out of northeastern Pennsylvania is The Pocono Mountains, part of the Allegheny Plateau. This beautiful landscape is a popular destination for larger families with its plethora of outdoor activities, freshwater lakes, and picturesque mountain towns. With escarpments that overlook the Delaware River to the east, to the mountainous plateaus that border the north near Lake Wallenpaupack to the scenic lush valleys to the west, the hardest part when visiting The Poconos will be deciding what to do first.
The wood-filled hills and deep valleys are a popular recreation area and very accessible to the many communities throughout the United States and Canada. There are resort hotels, B&B’s and many cottage communities that a large family is able to stay and explore the area.
Where to Stay in The Poconos
When we have traveled to The Poconos, we always opted to rent one of the hundreds of cottages available year-round which is an ideal set-up for larger families and some of the cottages even allow pets, very useful for those who travel with children and dogs. You can easily find rentals on any site like VRBO.com or Airbnb. When choosing this option, it is best to have an idea of the area you would like to stay and research each community to help narrow down your search.
There are many different types of cottages to choose from, those on their own and those in communities. Even the cottage communities have tons of choice from un-gated more rustic places with few amenities to gated communities that are like little towns that have tons of amenities for the entire family. We have stayed in a few of these types of communities and liked the convenience of a more managed, gated community. A lot of the communities are centered on one or two freshwater lakes with sandy beaches ideal for swimming and fishing.
The best one we stayed in was a community called The Hideout. It boasted many swimming pools, children’s day camp, mini golf, golf course, hiking trails, ponds, fishing, boating options or simply the quiet mountain landscape where we could enjoy watching the many deer that wander through the large lots. Many of the communities offer these types of amenities for a small recreation fee and well worth the extra cost when traveling with smaller children!
There are also many other options for accommodations in the Poconos from motels, hotels, and resorts. The best ones suited for larger families can be found on SixSuitcaseTravel.
Where To Find The Magic In The Poconos
Driving around The Poconos is the best way to get a feel for this magical landscape. As you wind up and down the hills, there are many cute villages and towns to stop. There is always something going on from watching cars at the racetrack, hiking, water activities or stopping for a treat. Here are seven of our favorite finds:
This amazing park is a unique series of eight waterfalls nestled deep in the Pocono Mountains that empties into the Delaware River. There is a well-marked network of hiking trails through the forests to view the falls with varying levels of difficulty suitable for all ages within your large family. Our smaller children really enjoyed the Mining for Gemstones at the end and a little bag full of the stones they found was a cute keepsake from our day there.
(Editor: I didn’t think one pic did this park justice, so here’s a video. I probably should charge Camelback for the “ad”. lol.)
This outdoor waterpark is perfect for the whole family to enjoy on those hot summer days. It is the largest water park in PA and has over 37 rides, slides, and attractions. We spent a lot of time in the Wave Pool and Blue Nile Adventure River, but there are many things to keep the whole family entertained.
We visited this animal park on two different trips. This small park is ideal for younger children, but even older kids will enjoy the shady hike through the park and the up close and personal encounters with the animals. There is food for sale, standard park fare, but we noticed a lot of people brought in a picnic lunch as an alternative option.
4. Festivals and Fairs
The Poconos is chock full of food, music, agriculture, festivals, and fairs throughout June until October. We stumbled into the Wayne County Fair and had a blast listening to music, sampling local foods and indulging in the best fair rides. The kids still ask to go back and ride the Ferris wheel that provides you an awesome view of The Poconos.
Driving around is sometimes the best way to find things in The Poconos. We stopped at both these locations more than once to load up on chocolate covered goodies and soft, warm handmade pretzels. The children loved seeing the pretzels made by hand at the Pretzel Factory and the outdoor artwork and antique cars at both locations.
6. Antique shops
Antique shops also can provide a magical stop and quite a few have a children specific section. We found precious Pocono fairies in one shop that still adorn my children’s windows. You never know what you may find in one of those shops!
This restaurant was our go-to for breakfast or dinner. Accessible on one of the main roads in the heart of Pocono Mountains, this busy place had some of the best wings and local beers available. They provided dine-in or take-out options. (We stayed at cottages nearby, so this was very convenient on those hot nights when no one wanted to cook!)
Whether you go for a couple of days, a week or a few weeks, there will be plenty of things to do with your large family in The Poconos. It is a mountain area worth exploring and always brings visitors a sense of peace in one of the most stunning natural settings.
Wherever you stay, you will find the people pleasant, laid-back and happy to accommodate. Whether you are tucked away with a book listening to the rolling thunderstorms, having a fire making s’mores, sipping coffee as the wildlife bounces by or off exploring the area, you and your family will find your own magical moments in the Pocono Mountains.