Planning a trip on a budget? There are lots of free things to do and see in the Pocono Mountains. We’ve lined up seven 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.
Experience the Poconos in Augmented Reality
1. Experience the Poconos in Augmented Reality
The newest free activity in the Poconos is something you can try anywhere, anytime: all you need is a mobile device! The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau is working with the social platform Melderverse to launch and grow a continual series of augmented reality (AR) content tied to beloved Poconos places and events like The Great Pocono Raceway Airshow.
What is augmented reality? AR technology uses your mobile device's camera to enhance the real-world environment in front of you with digital elements and virtual objects. Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to use the Pocono Airshow Helmets AR Experience on your mobile device, plus check out details about our contest, running through June 30, 2023, in which you can enter for a chance to win free tickets to the NASCAR Cup Series Race Weekend at Pocono Raceway! Note that while the AR experience is free to use on your mobile device, there is a cost associated with in-person attendance at The Great Pocono Raceway Airshow and NASCAR Cup Series Race Weekend at Pocono Raceway.
Take a Downtown Stroll
2. 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. Step back in time in the quaint borough of Delaware Water Gap, located along the Appalachian Trail, or do some window shopping in Lehighton, located along the D&L Trail. Wander through the charming streets and admire the historic architecture in our county seats of Jim Thorpe, Stroudsburg, Milford and Honesdale. Don't forget to check out our events calendar for seasonal festivals and events that offer free fun and entertainment like the Milford Music Festival and the Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Music & Arts Festival.
Coming up on Saturday, June 3, 2023, the Explore the Town Next Door event lets visitors take a free train ride aboard The Stourbridge Line! Call ahead to reserve your free spot, then hop aboard in Honesdale or Hawley. Pick up a passport and complete the challenges to enter to win great prizes!
Visit a National Landmark
3. 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)
4. 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, also known as the D&L Trail, which stretches 165 miles from New Jersey through Pennsylvania. Catch glimpse's of our region's mining history as you cycle the 37 miles of the D&L which lie within the Poconos. Both the Levee Loop Trail in East Stroudsburg running parallel to the Brodhead Creek and the McDade Recreational Trail in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area running parallel to the Delaware River are popular with bikers. Looking for mountain biking in the Poconos? Challenge yourself to the 26 miles of trails at Prompton State Park.
Watch for Wildlife
5. Watch for Wildlife
Meet the "locals" during your time in the Poconos: catch a glimpse of our indigenous wildlife. Encompassing over 500 acres, Lacawac Sanctuary provides a home for numerous species of birds. Wander the nine miles of trails and see how many you can spot: don't forget your binoculars! Lilliana's Nature Discovery Area at Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center is a great place for kids to discover nature, and the two and half miles of trails and observation dock on the two ponds provide plenty of vantage points to spot wildlife on land and in the water.
Meet Local Farmers
6. 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? Walker's Tree Farm in Lehighton stretches approximately 200 acres and is hosting a free Christmas in July event. 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
7. 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, Delaware State Forest, Gouldsboro 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.
Find more ways to save money on your Poconos vacation: take a look at our special offers on both day activities and accommodations. 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. Find even more things to do and browse local restaurants to plan out what delicious food you'll try during your trip. See you in the Poconos!