Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania is a cultural and economic center that is home to over 1.3 million people. While it is a place with tons of history, it also offers lots of fantastic opportunities for luxury and relaxation. It’s indeed a good place to live and visit. Here are some recommendations for the best things to do around Wilkes-Barre.
One of the most important things to know about Wilkes-Barre and Scranton is that it has a very rich history, one that has good and bad to it. A tour of the Lackawanna Coal Mine is one of the best ways to understand the importance of mining in the area and how it shapes a community. On this tour, you’ll go down 300 feet into the earth and explore an anthracite coal minute that dates to the 1860s. It’s a mesmerizing experience, and a good lesson on the challenging circumstances many people experienced here.
Located just a short drive away is Skytop Lodge, one of the best Poconos resorts for incredible things to do and impressive views. It offers plenty of family fun, including a full adventure course, golf, swimming, and lots of hiking.
Even better, it also features numerous delicious eateries onsite, ensuring you always have great food to enjoy without having to leave the property. More so, Skytop Lodge offers exceptional amenities, including private cabins and lots of enjoyable events, from holiday celebrations to campfires with marshmallows.
The Seven Tubs Recreation Area is quite a stunning beauty. What is Wilkes-Barre famous for? Unique structures like these! The flow of glacial meltwater helped to gouge out and transform the landscape. Over 12,000 years ago, this process created smooth tubs carved out of gritty sandstone material.
The recreation area is 400 acres in the Pinchot State Forest. Here, you’ll find Wheelbarrow Run, which is a stream that flows through the ravine creating these large potholes. The hiking trails take visitors around the Tubs region, allowing you to take in the stunning beauty of the constantly moving water.
Explore what’s happening at the F. M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. This location is part historical treasure with ongoing shows that provide a fun way to spend a few hours. The location itself in Wilkes-Barre is on the National Register of Historic Places.
It’s an art deco-styled performing arts center that dates back to 1937. While it used to be one of the best places to watch the latest movies and shows, today it is host to dozens of events, including comedy shows, dance numbers, live bands, and much more. Check out what’s available and stop in to experience a beautiful theater while you do so.
With over 13,000 acres, Rickets Glen State Park is an exceptional place to visit for those looking to spend some time in nature. This large park sits in Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia counties, providing lots of scenic hikes.
In particular, when visiting Wilkes-Barre, we recommend checking out the Glens Natural Area. You can hike through the Falls Trail system to see some of the best waterfalls in the state, often flowing over ancient hillsides and stone walls carved out over thousands of years.
There’s quite a bit to do here, including hiking the trail, going for a swim at Lake Jean (there’s a great beach here, too), or spending some time fishing or boating, with rentals available.
For those that love art, a visit to Sordoni Art Gallery is in order. It’s located in Wilkes-Barre, at Wilkes University. It is an excellent place for art and history lovers. The gallery offers interactive displays and an innovative, educational exhibit that anyone can appreciate. The exhibits here rotate often, ensuring there is always something new to see.
For those who love trains, Wilkes-Barre is a solid place to visit. The Steamtown National Historic Site provides an opportunity to learn how steam-powered railroads and engines transformed this region during the industrial revolution.
There’s lots of history here right in the downtown Scranton area. There are large locomotives on display, as well as numerous informative displays and interactive tools to help communicate the area’s importance. You could even book train rides, which is perfect for those who want to see the landscape in a unique and fun way.
While there are zoos in the region, the Indraloka Animal Sanctuary is a special location to visit. It is a charitable, private organization that’s created a place for rescued farm animals to live. Bring the kids to interact with the animals. There are guided tours available to allow people to explore how the location works to protect animals.
For those looking to have some fun, spending a few hours at the Lahey Family Fun Park is a good way to do that. You can play 18-holes of mini golf, enjoy some go-karting, head to the batting cages to hit a few, and spend some time in the renovated arcade. There are always the bumper boats that are on a natural pond to play with as well. One of the best things about this location is that it’s a family-owned and managed place, one that is just five minutes from Scranton.
Located in Scranton, the Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den is a 20,000-square-foot location that offers an exceptional experience and learning opportunity. At Catfish Cove, you’ll feel as though fish are surrounding you. There’s also Frog Swamp and Snake Den, with lots of exhibits to explore. Don’t overlook Sharks Reef to get up close with these predators.
Is Scranton and Wilkes-Barre a good place to live? It most certainly is for those who want to be surrounded by nature, lots of history, and plenty of fun things to do. For those visiting the area, it’s always a good idea to check out some of the area’s best family owned restaurants while visiting.