Hey Hey! Welcome back my loves! Today we’re tackling the biggest question (I’m assuming) people ask themselves when heading to The Poconos… where the heck are they, and where should I stay?!
I know when we started planning this trip, this was the number one thing I just couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around. When I thought of The Poconos, I thought of Banff, The Smokies or Jackson Hole. All places with designated National Parks so you knew exactly what and where you were going to explore. But The Poconos? They aren’t like that. In fact, you might be hiking on a mountain in New Jersey or walking through a state game land in the middle of PA (I still can’t spell Pennsylvania) and both would be considered The Poconos. Wild, am I right?
So today, I’m here to try to clear up just exactly what The Poconos entail, and the towns that call the Poconos home. (Get ready for the Dunder Mifflin jokes, y’all.)
So let’s get started with the big picture question…
What Are The Poconos?
When we first started planning our Fall getaway, I had the HARDEST time figuring out exactly where The Poconos were. Other mountain ranges (like The Tetons) are within National Parks, so it’s easy to know where to go on an adventure. But The Poconos are different. They encompass 2,400 square miles across northeast Pennsylvania’s Carbon, Pike, Wayne and Monroe counties. And there aren’t just in one state or national park. They are spread out from a National Park, to state game lands and everything in between. While The Poconos are considered mountains, they aren’t like The Rockies. The Poconos are v. similar to the Catskills or the Smokies in that they don’t look like a typical mountain. Rather like giant forest covered hills.
And now that we know WHAT they are, we need to figure out…
Where Exactly Are The Poconos?
Like I mentioned above, The Poconos are spread out between FOUR counties in Northeast Pennsylvania. And tucked deep within the rolling mountain terrain, spell binding waterfalls and 170 miles of winding rivers that make up these counties, you’ll find the cutest little towns that call The Poconos Mountains home. While there are many small mountain towns to explore, there are 5 distinct towns that seem to stick out above the rest, each boasting it’s own restaurants, tourist attractions and charm. Each also claiming to be your gateway to the Poconos Mountains. So which one is the best option? Which one will make your life the easiest while on your trip? It’s tricky because most people have VERY strong opinions on which town you should stay in and why. But me? I’m not one of those people. I was happy with the location we chose, but I’d have been just as happy in other towns too. So which one of these is your perfect “base camp” while you explore the Poconos? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Stroudsburg. Looking for small town appeal with modern amenities? Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg are for you. With museums, music venues and night life, this is the place to go if you’re looking to getaway from your every day life, but not “away from it all”. Stroudsburg is also the closest city to The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Are which is where you find the actual prettiest view in all of The Poconos. Learn more about the Stroudsburg area here.
Jim Thorpe. Jim Thorpe is probably my favorite town we visited in The Poconos. Everything about it is picture perfect. Want to spend the day wandering shops, attending a festival and pretending you’re in Stars Hallow ? This is the place for you. Gazebo included. We spent an entire day here and honestly, I was wishing we’d have stayed in Jim Thorpe because it was just SO DANG CUTE. Learn more about Jim Thorpe here.
Skytop. Legendary views? Top notch accommodations? The great outdoors just steps from your perfect little cabin? Skytop checks all these boxes and more. Surrounded by tranquil lakes, lush forests and sweeping mountain views, Skytop is perfect for the nature lovers. Learn more about Skytop here.
Bushkill. Seeking adventure? You’re going to find it in Bushkill. Hiking, biking, water sports, snow sports you name it, Buskill has got it. Learn more about Bushkill here.
Prepare to set sail on a beautiful Booze Cruise aboard The Princess in the middle of January Lake Wallenpaupack just might be PA’s most famous lake. And it’s for a good reason. (And not just because our favorite Dunder Mifflin employees took their booze cruise there.) With 52 miles of uninterrupted shore line, this is the perfect place to play on the water all.damn.day. With SIX public recreation areas, there is no shortage of forests to explore, wild life, walking trails, campsites and boat slips. Plus there are outfitters everywhere where you can rent kayaks, water skis, wake boards, jet skis and boats so you can make the most out of your days at The Lake. Learn more about Lake Wallenpaupack here.
And guys…. those are just the 5 I chose to talk about. There are literally HUNDREDS of towns you could visit. Check out this list of more places to explore in The Poconos!
So which town should you stay in? Well… it’s completely up to you! Asking me to pick for you is like asking me “Michigan or Michigan State?” or “Regular or Diet?” It all comes down to personal preference. Find what fits you and roll with it. One thing is for sure… wherever you choose, do your research and book well in advance. While The Poconos may not be as popular as they once were, accommodations fill up quickly at peak times during the year. (Especially in the Fall!)
Now… if I HAD to pick a place for you to say, I would tell you Jim Thorpe. I just really fell in love with this little town! (Don’t worry, I’ll be doing an entire post on this perfect little place!)
Have you been to the Poconos? What towns were your favorite?
Next week, we’re diving deeper into my favorite of these small towns, Jim Thorpe! I planned the PERFECT day trip there for you, and I promise, you aren’t going to want to miss it!
I’ll be back tomorrow for #WhatUpWednesday. See you then!