Planning a trip on a budget? There are lots of free things to do and see in the Pocono Mountains. We’ve lined up six no-cost activities in the Poconos to start experiencing today.
From exploring our beautiful downtowns to experiencing the great outdoors, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a Poconos vacation without breaking the bank. If you're coming from nearby Northeastern US cities like New York City and Philadelphia, you'll save on gas as well! The Poconos is just a short drive away. Add these free activities to your summer must-do list.
Take a Downtown Stroll
1. Take a Downtown Stroll
Whether you're just passing through for an afternoon or staying in accommodations nearby, our region's picture-perfect small towns are well worth the visit. Discover beautiful photo-ops as well as quaint, local eateries and shops. Wander through the charming streets and admire the historic architecture in Jim Thorpe, Stroudsburg, Milford and Honesdale or do some window shopping in Delaware Water Gap and Hawley. Don't forget to check out seasonal festivals and events that offer free fun and entertainment.
Visit a National Landmark
2. Visit a National Landmark
Learn about the history of the United States with a visit to the National Historic Landmarks in our region. Located along the Upper Delaware River, the Roebling Aqueduct Bridge is the oldest existing wire suspension bridge and is designated as both a National Historic Landmark and a National Civil Engineering Landmark. It was designed in 1847 by engineer John A. Roebling, who went on to create the Brooklyn Bridge.
To dive into the ancient past, head to Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park. Formed from glacier melt, this unique landscape is a National Natural Landmark and has remained relatively unchanged for more than 20,000 years. For even more significant sites, check out our guide to historical markers in the Poconos.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike)
3. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike)
Bring your own set of wheels and fly through lush, historic biking paths in the Pocono Mountains. Notable trails include the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and Switchback Railroad Trail near Jim Thorpe, tracing the route of the old railroad. The McDade Recreational Trail in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Lakeside Trail at Tobyhanna State Park also offer beautiful views. Cycle along the river, around the lake or past idyllic forests and fields, the perfect way to soak in the scenery.
Watch for Wildlife
4. Watch for Wildlife
Meet the "locals" during your time in the Poconos: catch a glimpse of our indigenous wildlife. Dedicated to the preservation of woodlands and open spaces, the Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary has miles of nature trails winding through diverse habitats, an ideal home for birds, waterfowl and many types of animals. They're open to the public all year from dawn until dusk. Don’t forget your binoculars! The Lehigh Gap Nature Center is located within the Appalachian Mountains on a restored superfund site. Wander through 13 miles of trails and discover the inspiring story of the area's ecological restoration.
Meet Local Farmers
5. Meet Local Farmers
As you drive through the Poconos, you'll pass many pastoral fields belonging to local farms and markets. Why not make a stop to see their produce and learn more about their work? Yenser's Tree Farm in Lehighton stretches approximately 100 acres and is hosting a free Sunflower Festival this August. The Farm Arts Collective in Damascus offers a variety of workshops, some of which are free: check their website for details and upcoming dates! Saturday markets like the Monroe Farmer's Market in Stroudsburg's Courthouse Square are a feast for the eyes. Take a stroll to browse the colorful food stalls and locally-grown products. The Cooperage Project hosts community events and performances as well as seasonal markets.
Plan a Picnic and Hike
6. Plan a Picnic and Hike
Open sunrise to sunset, our national, state and local parks are accessible year-round. Pack some snacks or a picnic lunch and head to Big Pocono State Park, Lehigh Gorge State Park, Prompton State Park or Promised Land State Park. These four are also pet-friendly, so you can bring along your dog! Enjoy your meal al fresco against the rolling hills, pristine lakes and beautiful scenery of the region. Remember to take any trash with you and leave no trace.
Don't forget to refuel while visiting! Local restaurants offer indoor and outdoor seating as well as takeout and delivery, so you can enjoy delicious food during your trip. From campsites to hotels, check out places to stay for every price point and plan an overnight visit so you can experience as much as possible. You can even save with special offers on accommodations. See you in the Poconos!