After a 90-minute drive from New York City, you can find yourself right in the middle of nature in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
These famous mountains are also conveniently located 90 minutes north of Philadelphia and four hours from Washington, D.C. This proximity makes the Pocono Mountains a leisure area for folks from the big cities who are longing for nature, peace and adventure.
So Many Outdoor Activities
The Pocono Mountains are an adventure playground for outdoor fans. A long-time favorite destination for couples and families who enjoy its cozy lodges, these mountains also attract many hikers, mountain bikers and, in wintertime, lots of skiers and snowboarders.
My day starts with an adventure: zip-Lining at Camelback Mountain. The lines are placed in the midst of the forest, and you will zoom above the trees – properly secured, of course. For those who like it a bit more comfortable, I recommend the Zip-Flyer. In a chair-like contraption, you can glide comfortably from the top of the mountain toward the valley. And for children and grown-up roller coaster fans, there is the Appalachian Express Mountain Coaster, a rapid roller coaster ride right through the middle of the woods!
Afterward, we visit one of the biggest paintball facilities in the world. Castles, tanks and bridges have been placed over rivers and in the surrounding woods. People can compete with each other and test their abilities. More than 50 playing fields offer everything a paintball fan can wish for.
I don’t participate in the paintball outing, but I do look forward to our next adventure: whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River rapids. Outfitted with life vests and with the help of an experienced guide, we splash through the rapids and also have plenty of time on calmer water to catch our breath and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Zip-lining at Camelback Mountain in the Pocono Mountains
The Historic Town of Jim Thorpe
Ready for a break from all the outdoor adventure, we drive toward historic Jim Thorpe, one of the many beautiful small towns in the Pocono Mountains. It’s easy to imagine the golden era this town experienced decades ago, when people in Jim Thorpe got rich mining for coal. There’s still plenty of impressive villas, charming houses and even the old railway that one can visit. There are also great cafés and restaurants as well as shops where you can pick up some souvenirs.
People here are also very proud of the beer they brew. From a good pilsner to a bitter IPA, the many breweries attract anyone who knows how to savor a good beer.
What strikes me during my visit is how open and friendly the people here are. It’s no wonder, considering how beautiful it is. “Life is better in the Pocono Mountains,” they say. After my visit to Pennsylvania, I can say that they are right.
Historic Jim Thorpe, a charming town in the Pocono Mountains