Few areas boast as much natural beauty as the Poconos. Covering almost 2,400 square miles of wilderness, this mountain range includes lofty snow-covered peaks, winding rivers, lakes and valleys. It is the perfect destination for honeymooners, road trippers, families and solo hikers. Across Pennsylvania, indeed across the United States, it’s difficult to find a more beautiful area.
The same goes for the huge array of activities. Visitors to the Poconos can enjoy birdwatching, walking and biking, zip lining and parasailing, rafting and canoeing, fishing and golfing … and so much more. The only trouble, really, is deciding which of the myriad activities to put on your agenda.
At Skytop Lodge, one of our favorite things to do is help visitors craft the perfect itinerary. From places to see and eat to the best activities to do, you’ll find an epic list here.
This beautiful nature area is better known as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and it lives up to that name. Enjoyed as a vacation destination since the 1800s, the green hills and jeweled blue river attract all sorts of wildlife, especially avians. If you’re an avid birder, there’s nowhere better to get your fix of both migratory and year-round species.
The Delaware Water Gap also offers swimming and picnicking, hiking and good old-fashioned Sunday driving. The slow pace of this national treasure is perfect for couples and the elderly, but families will love the active pursuits such as swimming or canoeing as well.
All aboard! If you’re looking for gorgeous views of the Poconos, particularly the beautiful Lehigh Gorge State Park, then you can’t do better than this scenic railway. The antique trains offer 70-minute rides (45 minutes during the height of leaf season in October) through backcountry along the Lehigh River.
There are two options: Standard Coach, much like a bus, with seats that face one another and windows that open and close; and Open Air, a top-level, window-free option with a bench seat facing toward the views. Restrooms are available on all trains.
Hungry from adventuring on your Poconos weekend getaway? There’s nowhere better to catch a meal than Skytop Lodge’s Lakeview. It overlooks one of the placid lakes for which the area is known, with an outdoor patio perfect for summer season and crisp fall nights. It also has indoor bar and dining room seating, also with expansive views of the countryside and shimmering water.
The delicious seasonal menu features numerous options for drinks, desserts, appetizers and mains. You could easily eat here ten times in a week and not be sorry!
For those who love a little slice of history, there’s no better stop than the Asa Packer Mansion. This home-turned-museum is the former residence of railroad magnate Asa Packer, who founded Lehigh University. In 1912, his daughter willed it to the Borough of Mauch Chunk, and it was eventually restored and opened to the public in 1956.
The 11,000-foot mansion was built in 1861 and boasts three stories and 18 different rooms, all still furnished in classic Victorian style. A simple Google image search will make the case for a visit far better than words ever could!
Is your family the adventurous type? You’ll love the Jack Frost Big Boulder Ski Area. Encompassing two different mountains – Big Boulder and Jack Frost – the area has a total of 35 trails and 22 lifts, enough fun to entertain any outdoorsperson for weeks. Big Boulder rises 2175 feet from sea level, and Jack Frost 2,000, giving them solid coverage for much of the year.
The perfect accompaniment to a visit to the Asa Packer Mansion, Quiet Valley shows the other side of life in the 1800s. It bills itself as “A living history museum preserving 19th century Pennsylvania German agricultural heritage,” and it does not disappoint.
From farm tours to food preservation classes, the whole family will enjoy a trip. If you’re more the academic type, check out classes such as “Lighting Through the Ages” or “Simple Machines,” which offer a rare glimpse into folk living 200 years ago.
If you’re visiting with young family members, feel free to sign them up for camps that will enrich and entertain them at the same time. Just be sure to do so ahead of time, as they fill up.
The Water’s Edge is fine dining to a T. With six-course wine dinners offered on special occasions, delicious seafood and elegantly finished mains, you’ll never lack options here. Come for a romantic dinner and taste the best of the Poconos seasonal harvest.
Frank Frazetta’s masterful art is well worth the trip for any science fiction fan. A famous painter whose work has graced the covers of many a trade paperback, Frazetta is known for creating haunting scenes of magic, folklore and the future. The gallery, located at the site of the home where he raised his four children, features nearly 40 oil paintings, as well as rafts of pen and ink, watercolor and other mediums. Note that while the art is amazing to see, much of it is inappropriate for children.
Paintball in the snow? Yes, please. Visit Skytop’s paintball range any time of year for an adrenaline-pumping adventure on Pocono Mountain land. Equipment and knowledgeable staff are onsite, so there’s no need to bring your own or have prior experience. Get ready for a three-hour adventure that will thrill to the bones. If you need less time due to kids, that’s fine too!
It won’t surprise you to hear that we think Skytop Lodge is the best place to stay, play, dine and relax. With seven places to eat and four different styles of accommodation, as well as 5,500 acres to its name, it is the grandest resort in the Poconos.
With golf, hiking and a full-spread adventure center in addition to paintball, you’ll never lack for things to do. Try our treetop course, rock climb or practice your archery, perfect for big groups and couple adventurers alike. When you’re tired at the end of the day, retire to your cozy room and enjoy one of our many restaurants on-site.
Be aware, though, Skytop fills up fast! Get in touch to learn more about our beautiful historic lodge or make a reservation today.