Pocono Mountains

The Pocono Mountains are a mountain region in northern Pennsylvania which cover an area of over 2,000 square miles. The closest town is Allentown, which is about 30 miles north of the Pocono Mountains. Apart from Allentown, however, there is no major population hub or town in the Poconos and folks generally travel here to spend time in vacation homes, camping or skiing. Poconos vacations are popular during the summer among younger kids who often attend some of the highly popular Pocono Mountains summer camps. Poconos vacations are also popular among skiers who head to the hills to hit the slopes.

Poconos, in Pennsylvania
Poconos, in Pennsylvania

Within the Poconos are encompassed the Delaware State Forest, the Delaware Water Gap and, to the south, the beginning of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the famous Appalachian Trail. With such a diverse landscape, Pocono hotels are often filled with hikers, bikers, skiers and folks simply coming to enjoy a vacation home or rental tucked within the beauty of the mountains.

Pocono skiing is perhaps the most popular recreational way folks choose to enjoy the Poconos, and in fact more than 80% of the resorts found in the state of Pennsylvania are actually Poconos resorts located within the mountains. The largest Pocono ski area in terms of the number of runs is the Camelback Ski Area, followed closely by the Blue Mountain ski area which features the longest vertical drop among Pocono skiing. Blue Mountain is also the closest resort to the city of Philadelphia and during the winter draws thousands of Poconos vacationers from Philly.

In addition to Poconos vacations for skiing, there are also a number of Poconos resorts which cater to folks heading into the mountains to hunt and fish. Wild turkeys, grouse, black bear and white-tailed deer are all part of the Pocono hunting scene, and travelers should be aware that Pennsylvania hunting licensees are required in order to hunt, which can be obtained online or in person in Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Gambling has also recently been legalized within the state of Pennsylvania, and a number of Pocono hotels have sprung up close to Pennsylvania Casinos in the area, which tend to feature slots, video poker and various harness and thoroughbred racing. Golfing is another popular pursuit in the Pocono Mountains, where there are a few excellent courses. The Pocono Raceway is another attraction, which brings two annual NASCAR races and always draws a crowd.

Travelers heading to Pocono resorts for vacations who wish to leave their car behind may consider a ride on the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail, which provides train service between New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and up into the Pocono Mountains. Not only can the train ride be a scenic start to a Pocono vacation, but many guests of Pocono hotels enjoy the idea of being able to avoid the drive into the hills. Rail tickets for travel can be purchased online through the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority, or in person.

Top image: Nicholas_T (flickr)

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