No matter the time of year, there is no better place for a family-friendly getaway than the Pocono Mountains. After becoming known as the “Honeymoon Capital of the World” in the 1960s and gaining a reputation as a romantic getaway, the Poconos boasts plenty of family-friendly adventure today.
With everything from indoor waterparks to paintball fields and an old-fashioned movie theatre, there is a wide variety of activities that the whole family will enjoy—as well as excellent options for your home away from home.
So when it’s time to plan your next family vacation, look no further than these seven options for the perfect trip to the Pocono Mountains.
Located adjacent to their Camelback Mountain ski resort in Tannersville, Camelback Lodge & Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark is a massive resort that both kids and adults will love. Take the littles to the kid’s zone, ride a few laps around the lazy river, then enjoy an adult cocktail break at the swim-up bar. When the summer sun is shining, head to the outdoor Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark, located on the ski slopes.
Beyond swimming, this resort is loaded with options for family fun. From the mega arcade to rock climbing, virtual reality, and pottery painting, there are activities for every kind of kid at Camelback.
Venture outdoors in the summer for high-flying thrills on 1,000-foot dual zip lines, ride the Mountain Coaster or Mountain Segways, or take on the TreeTops Adventure Course. In the winter, ski and slide on the slopes and tubing hills.
Resort amenities: Indoor waterpark admission is included with your stay. (You can buy a ticket online if you are staying elsewhere but still want to experience the waterpark.) On-site activities and family-friendly restaurants allow you to play, eat, and relax all in one location. In the spring, two mountain coaster tickets are included with your stay.
Nearby: While it’s tempting to spend all your time at the resort, epic outdoor adventures await just outside your door. In the winter, Camelback offers some of the Poconos’ biggest and best ski runs, and during the summer, hiking is popular in Big Pocono State Park. Hike to the summit (or drive the 1.4-mile paved road if you can’t wrangle the kids for the walk), and enjoy views of three states at the perfect picnic spot.
2. Split Rock Resort
Located on the shores of Lake Harmony, Split Rock Resort is a four-season, family-friendly destination that has something for everyone. Head to the H2Oooohh! Indoor Waterpark for three four-story water slides and pool lounging, the arcade for old-fashioned fun, or test your skills at the mini golf and cosmic bowling courses. For sports, choose from basketball, racquetball, tennis, kayaking or canoeing, in addition to the beach access at Lake Harmony. From Sudoku to scavenger hunts, free activities are held every hour on the hour with free movies offered most days at noon.
Picky eaters in the group? You’ll be thankful for the variety of dining options: Split Rock Grill, Lake View Tavern and the Food Court. Parents looking for a break can stop by the hotel bar, play a round of golf, or visit the hotel’s spa.
Resort amenities: Indoor waterpark access is included with your stay. Movie theater offers some free films and the property boasts a roster of free activities.
Nearby: You don’t need to go far to find outdoor fun at Split Rock. Every Tuesday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the resort offers beach activities for guests on Lake Harmony. Rent a kayak or canoe nearby or sign up for a cruise on the lake. Stop by the Sandbar for frozen drinks all summer long.
3. Silver Birches Resort
Welcoming guests since the 1920s, Silver Birches Resort has recently completed an extensive remodel and is now the most luxurious family option along Lake Wallenpaupack. Vacation like yesteryear (but with modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and complimentary WiFi) in cozy cottages, bunkhouses, and homes along the lakefront.
Resort amenities: Get easy lake access and enjoy complimentary use of paddle boats, rowboats, and canoes (in season). Take part in lawn games, fire pit lounging, and swimming in the seasonally heated pool.
Nearby: The neighboring town of Hawley is a perfect place for antiquing and strolling galleries, or find even more family fun at Costa's Family Fun Park. In the summer, ride bumper boats, race go karts, cruise down waterslides, play a game of laser tag or a round of miniature golf, and load up on Hershey's ice cream. In the winter, Ski Big Bear at Masthope Mountain offers both downhill and cross-country skiing.
4. Skytop Lodge
For a family vacation like none other, make your way up a winding road leading to this grand, historic lodge tucked in the mountains. Surrounded by nature, with 30 miles of trails weaving through the 5,500-acre property, Skytop Lodge boasts its own private ski hill in the winter. Summer brings outdoor activities aplenty, from boating to biking to offbeat options like lawn bowling, rock climbing, and archery tag.
If your teens and kids are adrenaline junkies, take them to the Adventure Center for add-on activities like paintballing and a treetop adventure course.
Resort amenities: Many activities are complementary with your stay at Skytop Lodge. Guests have access to hiking trails, on-site activities like lawn games, lawn bowling, rock climbing, putting green, archery, swimming pools, craft classes, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
Nearby: Skytop Lodge offers plenty to do on its premises, but if you’re looking to explore beyond the property, head to Promised Land or Tobyhanna State Parks. Located on the Pocono Plateau, Promised Land is 1,800 feet above sea level with views of the Delaware State Forest. Choose from two lakes for fishing and boating, hike miles of trails, or explore the forest along two streams running through the land. Tobyhanna is home to a sparkling lake and beach, plus hiking and biking trails.
5. Great Wolf Lodge
It’s not easy to earn the title of “America’s Best Family Resort,” but Great Wolf Lodge was bestowed the honor by USA Today in 2017. Whatever the weather outside, this massive indoor waterpark’s temperature is always a balmy 84 degrees.
Families can also play games in the arcade, try out kid-friendly bowling and golf, explore the ropes course and adventure quests, and more. This property also goes all out with character appearances that little ones will love. It’s like Disneyland, minus the hour-long lines to see the characters. When it’s time to relax, there is even a spa for kids.
The fun doesn’t stop when you reach your suite. Rooms for kids include cave and log cabin-themed bunk beds and a partition around the bunk room offers more privacy for parents.
Resort amenities: Waterpark access, kids’ activities, story time, and The Forest Friends Show in the lobby are all included with your stay.
Nearby: When venturing outdoors, don’t miss the eight waterfalls known as Bushkill Falls—a site nicknamed The Niagara of Pennsylvania. Also nearby, the famed “Gap” in the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania is spectacular for summer hikes, bike rides, and canoeing. Little animal lovers will appreciate Claws ‘N’ Paws Wild Animal Park with a petting zoo, giraffe feedings, and up-close sightings of wild animals.
6. Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Sprawling over 220,000 square feet, America's Largest Indoor Waterpark in Kalahari Resort is filled with epic slides, splash areas, and lazy rivers. Plus, the roof is fully retractable, offering the sense of being outside on a balmy summer day. (There’s also an outdoor waterpark on the property.)
Beyond the park, summer brings outdoor adventures at Gorilla Grove Treetop Adventures with an aerial ropes course plus mini golf, zip lines, and a mini train. Find games and simulators galore in the arcade, or try family activities like mini bowling, mini golf, virtual reality, escape rooms, and blacklight mini golf. Daily activities (some of which are free) like tie-dying, cookie decorating, character greeting, hiking, and crafting round out Kalahari’s diverse offerings.
Resort amenities: Admission to the waterpark is included in your stay. Some daily activities are free, but the escape room, mini golf, mini bowling, virtual reality, ropes course, zipline, outdoor mini train cost extra.
Nearby: Have an old-fashioned good time at the Casino Theatre Entertainment Center, where movie night comes with 1950s nostalgia like shakes, malts, and more than 60 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream. Pocono Raceway features live car racing with free admission for kids 12 and under on any race weekend.
7. Woodloch Resort
Hosting families since 1958, Woodloch Resort is a rarity for family resorts because it’s all-inclusive, taking the stress and hassle right out of budget planning and figuring out where to eat. In the summer, hang by the lake, swim, slide, or hike the nature trails, and in the winter, go ice skating or tubing. A robust list of activities for kids and adults keeps the whole family busy, and if you need a break to unwind, there is a full spa right down the street at The Lodge at Woodloch.
Resort amenities: All-inclusive vacations at Woodloch include 30 daily activities, nightly entertainment, family-style meals, and adventures like bumper cars, bumper boats, go karts, kayaking, snow tubing, ice skating, and more.
Nearby: Venture beyond Woodloch to see and explore the waters of the Delaware and Lackawaxen Rivers and Lake Wallenpaupack, and take part in adventures like horseback riding, skiing, fishing, hiking, and boating.
Written by Jenny Willden for Matcha and RootsRated Media