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Why Go To The Poconos

The Pocono Mountains, most often referred to as the Poconos, have long been a quintessential part of East Coast travel itineraries. The Northeastern Pennsylvania mountains' enduring appeal comes largely from its accessibility; the mountains are a roughly two-hour drive from both New York City and Philadelphia. World War II veterans and their spouses began traveling to the Poconos in the 1940s to take advantage of its secluded, romantic atmosphere. While honeymoon culture is part of the Poconos' history, so are outdoor and adrenaline-inducing activities. Big Boulder Ski Area opened in 1946 and brought the powder hounds, while the Pocono Raceway began attracting racing fans in 1968.

Now, the Poconos also serve as an excellent retreat for families. Warm weather welcomes visitors to enjoy wilderness pursuits ranging from hikes to whitewater rafting, plus an assortment of kid-friendly activities like water parks and adventure courses. Snow expands the Poconos' offerings with skiing, snow tubing, snowmobiling and more. The Poconos gained prominence as a natural escape from the bustle of big cities, a distinction the area still maintains.

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Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.

Best of The Poconos

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The Poconos Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best times to visit the Poconos are in summer, fall and winter. Spring isn't necessarily a bad time to visit the Poconos, rates are the lowest during this period, but the shoulder season doesn't offer any unique activities. In comparison, summer provides the best weather for outdoor activities, with highs in the 70s. The area's scenic hikes and drives draw leaf peepers from around the world in autumn as the trees explode in color, and winter snow means that the Poconos' ski and snowboard areas open.

Weather in The Poconos

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
31
16
34
18
42
25
56
36
66
46
74
54
78
59
76
57
70
51
58
40
47
31
36
22
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
3.5
2.76
3.82
3.5
3.9
3.31
4.41
3.82
3.9
2.76
3.15
3.31
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
See details for When to Visit The Poconos

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Hotel choice is extra important Golf courses, spas, ski areas, casinos and water parks differentiate the Poconos' hotels. Consider which hotel matches the type of trip you're planning.

  • Plan ahead Popular excursions like whitewater rafting and train rides can fill up in advance, so be sure to book your essential activities early.

  • Dress in layers Daytime highs in the Poconos can be balmy, but the temperature drops significantly after the sun sets, so prepare for potentially chilly evenings.

How to Save Money in The Poconos

  • Don't overlook the free attractions It's easy to spend a small fortune on everything from haystack rides to whitewater rafting. If you're on a budget, consider visiting the Poconos' free state parks and farmers markets.

  • Consider day passes Many area water parks offer day passes, including Kalahari Resorts and Conventions and Split Rock Resort & Golf Club, so you don't need to book a room at the pricey attached resorts to enjoy the slides and pools.

  • Visit in spring Nature enthusiasts can still partake in most of the Poconos' offerings in spring, and March and April offer significantly cheaper room rates than winter or summer.

Photos

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Asa Packer's mansion stands as a time capsule of 17th-century opulence. Tours of the mansion museum are available for travelers. 

Chris18240/Wikimedia Commons

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