After a 90-minute drive from New York City, you can find yourself in the middle of nature in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. These famous mountains are conveniently located 90 minutes north of Philadelphia and four hours from Washington, DC. This proximity makes the Pocono Mountains a vacation area for people from big cities who yearn for nature, peace, and adventure.
Pocono Mountains is an adventure playground for outdoor fans. A long-time favorite destination for couples and families who enjoy its cozy lodges, these mountains attract many hikers, mountain bikers, and, in the wintertime, a lot of skiers and snowboarders too.
My day begins with an adventure: zip-lining at Camelback Mountain. The lines are laid out in the middle of the forest, and you’ll zoom over the trees – well protected, of course. For those who like it a little more casual, I recommend the Zip-Flyer. In a chair-like contraption, you can glide comfortably from the top of the mountain to the valley. And for kids and grown-up roller coaster fans, there’s the Appalachian Express Mountain Coaster, a fast roller coaster ride through the woods!
Afterward, we visit one of the largest paintball facilities in the world. Castles, tanks and bridges have been built across the rivers and the surrounding forest. People can compete with each other and test their abilities. More than 50 sports fields offer everything a paintball fan could wish for.
I don’t participate in paintball outings, but I look forward to my next adventure: whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River Rapids. Dressed in life jackets and with the help of an experienced guide, we splash through the rapids and spend plenty of time even on the calm waters to catch our breath and enjoy the beautiful views.
The Historic Town of Jim Thorpe
Ready for a break from all the outdoor adventure, we head to historic Jim Thorpe, one of the many beautiful small towns in the Pocono Mountains. It is easy to imagine this city’s golden age decades ago when the people of Jim Thorpe found rich mining for coal. There is still plenty of impressive villas, charming houses, and even the old railway that one can visit. There are great cafes and restaurants as well as shops where you can grab some souvenirs.
The people here also take great pride in the beer they make. From a good pilsner to a bitter IPA, many breweries attract anyone who knows how to taste a good beer.
What strikes me during my travels is how open and friendly the people here are. It’s no surprise considering how beautiful it is. “Life is better in the Pocono Mountains,” he says. After my trip to Pennsylvania, I can say they are right.