Looking for a fall getaway destination that has it all? The Pocono Mountains region of Pennsylvania is a short drive away from major Northeastern hubs like Philadelphia and New York. With dazzling fall foliage, welcoming small towns, lots of outdoor adventure and fantastic accommodations, it's the perfect spot for an autumn escape.
Whether you're dreaming of strolling through a storybook downtown with a pumpkin spice latte in hand, wandering by the water as the colorful leaves drift down around you, attending a harvest festival or sampling the bounty of the season at local restaurants, a visit to a quaint and cozy Poconos small town is a great way to soak in the autumn. Keep reading to discover nine cute towns in the Poconos.
Delaware Water Gap
1. Delaware Water Gap
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is one of the highlights of the Poconos region, encompassing 70,000 acres of natural beauty along the winding Delaware River, including the two tallest waterfalls in Pennsylvania and part of the Appalachian Trail. On the southern end of the recreation area, you won't want to miss a visit to the charming small town of Delaware Water Gap.
For over two hundred years, this historic borough has been welcoming visitors to the region. The Pocono Historic Trolley Tour takes you on a journey back in time through the Minisink Hills and Shawnee, following breathtaking back roads with colorful leaves on every side. Learn more about the legacy of Delaware Water Gap hospitality by exploring the Antoine Dutot Museum & Gallery, taking time to Tour the Castle at the storied Castle Inn, or experiencing a legendary jazz performance at the Deer Head Inn. Restaurants like Joe Bosco Authentic Smokehouse BBQ and Sycamore Grille are waiting when you're ready to eat! Save room for dessert: take home a delicious pie from Village Farmer and Bakery.
Located in the heart of the Lake Region of the Poconos, Hawley is particularly picturesque in the fall, with colorful trees lining the meandering Lackawaxen River and sprawling Lake Wallenpaupack showing its fall colors to the south. Looking for a way to get around? Explore the town on two wheels with Hawley's free bike share program.
For a truly unique biking experience, take a spin right on the railroad tracks with Pennsylvania Rail Bike. Plan a trip with family or friends, and pedal through stunning seasonal scenery in a two- or four-seater rail bike. Once you've worked up an appetite, local farm-to-table restaurants like Cocoon Coffehouse & Bakery, TREE Restaurant and Bar, and The Settlers Inn showcase the fresh flavors of the season in tasty and innovative dishes. Craft beverage connoisseurs can sip vintages on the scenic grounds of Three Hammers Winery or sample one of the best pumpkin ales in the country and some of the best beers in the world at Wallenpaupack Brewing Company. Don't forget to download your free Pocono Beverage Trail digital passport!
Nestled between rolling Wayne County hills covered in fiery shades of garnet and gold, Honesdale celebrates the harvest and local heritage in style. Back in the 1800s, this small town welcomed the first steam locomotive to the United States and became the “Birthplace of the American Railroad.” Visit the Wayne County Historical Society to see a replica of the first "Stourbridge Lion," then climb aboard yourself for a fall foliage train tour with The Stourbridge Line.
Honesdale's downtown is an ideal place to stroll, shop and eat. Start your holiday gift hunt early at unique boutiques like Maude & Main, Gather and Wallflower. Whether you're looking for lunch or a quick cup of locally-roasted coffee and a snack to go, Camp Umpy's Bagels and Stuff is near at hand on Main Street. In the evening, head to Here and Now Brewing Company to round out your day with dinner and drinks.
4. Jim Thorpe
In the nineteenth century, the beautiful town of Jim Thorpe (then known as Mauch Chunk) was home to over a dozen millionaires and was a popular destination for Victorian tourists. Renamed after the former Olympian in 1954, the county seat of Carbon County still has its old world charm and elegance, and the brilliant fall trees are a gorgeous backdrop for the cobblestones streets and brick townhouses. The popular Jim Thorpe Fall Foliage Festival celebrates the colors of the season with weekend fun. Maximize your foliage experience and skip the parking traffic: park at nearby Mauch Chunk Lake Park and take the shuttle, operating weekends throughout October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To fully immerse yourself in the opulent past of Jim Thorpe, book a stay at one of the area's historic hotels, guest houses or bed and breakfasts to enjoy old-fashioned appeal plus modern amenities. Spend an afternoon learning how turn-of-the-century industrialists lived at the Asa Packer Mansion, then journey deep into the mountainside to get a miner's perspective at the No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum in nearby Lansford. The Jim Thorpe Trolley Company is a great way for visitors to get around while learning about the area. Feeling hungry? Grab lunch at Ma's Crepes & Cakes or enjoy the atmosphere at Mad Hatter Winery & Smokehouse.
5. Lake Wallenpaupack
Crunch through the leaves along the 52 miles of Lake Wallenpaupack shoreline and gaze across at stunning foliage reflected in the smooth surface of this 5,700-acre reservoir. For another perspective, take an autumn boat cruise or kayaking trip as the leaves drift on the water around you.
Whichever side of the lake you find yourself on, there are plenty of small town gems to discover. Treat yourself to a sunset meal at The Dock on Wallenpaupack, The Boat House, or Gresham's Chop House. Bring home an antique or souvenir from Der Jaeger Unique Arts, Lake Art, or Lake Life Pursuit.
Set alongside the scenic Lehigh River, Lehighton offers not only easy parking and access to Jim Thorpe along the D&L Trail but also its own downtown area filled with charming shops plus plenty of nearby fall festivals to enjoy. Plan a family outing to Yenser's Tree Farm or Country Junction - World's Largest General Store to enjoy pumpkin patches, hayrides, and much more.
Add some fun to your fall outing with a trip to the escape room and retro games corner Jokers Are Wild Game Cafe or test your aim at Archery Addictions. Stroll down First Street to stop in small shops like Within Harmony and Wine & More on 1st. The historic Hofford Mill in Weissport just across the river houses businesses like Bronson EBikes & Trikes, offering rentals for a no-sweat biking trip beneath the leaves along the D&L, or The Gorge Eatery, home to the most delicious cheese curds in the Poconos.
The northern gateway to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, scenic and historic Milford is the county seat of Pike County and has natural wonders close at hand as well as one-of-a-kind shopping and dining. Take a hike up to Milford Knob Trail for a view of the small town surrounded by the red, yellow and orange trees. Explore the grounds of Grey Towers National Historic Landmark to find even more fall colors.
The Delaware River is beautiful with autumnal colors rising above it, and it's just a short walk from downtown Milford. Why not take a fall canoeing or kayaking trip with Kittatinny Canoes? After a day in the fresh air, refuel at local restaurants like La Posada and Felix's Cantina or see what beers are on tap at Log Tavern Brewing Co. There are plenty of shops and eateries to explore in town. Stop by Earthly Treasures located in the Historic Upper Mill, then get a bite to eat next door at the Waterwheel Bakery, Cafe & Bar.
There's no shortage of fall flair and small-town character in centrally-located Stroudsburg. Take some time to stroll along the sidewalks beneath the colorful trees, enjoy the local arts scene including murals and galleries, then stop in the many boutiques, cafes and local businesses within the walkable downtown area.
Stock up on gear for your next adventure at Dunkelberger's Sports Outfitters, or find vibrant mums and outdoor and indoor fall decor to take home at The Potting Shed. Follow the Stroudsburg branch of the Pocono Beverage Trail at RAW Urban Winery and Hard Cidery, or venture just outside of town to discover beautiful fall views at Mountain View Vineyard and Eagles Rest Cellars.
Northwest of Stroudsburg in Monroe County, the town of Tannersville offers lots of autumn activities both indoors and out. Big Pocono State Park boasts panoramic foliage as far as the eye can see from an elevation of over 2,700 feet. Looking down on the nearby community, you'll also spot some must-visit local businesses.
There's nothing like flying past branches filled with seasonal colors: take to the skies on the zip lines at Tannersville's Camelback Mountain Adventures. PA's biggest outdoor adventure park also includes a treetop ropes course, UTV tours, a mountain coaster and more. Stock up on fall sweaters and scarves at Pocono Premium Outlets, then wind down with a hearty meal at Smuggler's Cove Restaurant or Barley Creek Brewing Company.
With so many small towns to experience in the Poconos, you'll want to find a place to stay to visit them all! Check out special offers to save on your trip, and don't forget to consult the fall foliage forecast, updated weekly through the end of October, to find out when the local leaves will be at their peak.