From miles away, a distinctive notch in the Appalachian Mountains draws the eye. Visitors have enjoyed the many things to do in Delaware Water Gap for centuries, including picture-perfect spots for camping, a plethora of hiking and biking trails plus kayaking, canoeing and water recreation galore. Known as the Eastern Gateway to the Poconos, Delaware Water Gap is also the source of the name of the whole region: “Pocono” is a Native American word meaning “stream between two mountains."

Delaware Water Gap and its Main Street area are conveniently accessible via Exit 310 off of I-80. Local businesses along Main Street are open for business and can be easily reached by car. The closure of Route 611 due to road maintenance does not begin until drivers are past the business area; signs are up just south of the borough.

Read on to start planning the perfect camping and hiking trip to the borough of Delaware Water Gap and the eponymous Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area!

Discover the History of Delaware Water Gap

1. Discover the History of Delaware Water Gap

The beginnings of the borough of Delaware Water Gap can be traced back to 1793 when Antoine Dutot founded the town and later built the area's first inn. The arrival of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railway in 1856 heralded the first big boom in the Gap's popularity, with passengers from New York City and Philadelphia taking the train to the mountains for a summer retreat.

The region was touted as a "Wonder of the World," and lavish resort hotels sprung up to host the crowds of tourists. "Water Gap" became household words known all over the country, and a New York Times correspondent covered happenings in Delaware Water Gap every summer. Musicians showed their skill at local venues including Deer Head Inn, then Central House, and Shawnee Inn, with John Philip Sousa performing at the Castle Inn. Theodore Roosevelt, Fred Astaire and Bette Davis were a few of the famous guests of the era.

As the twentieth century dawned and the advent of the automobile tempted vacationers further afield, two of the most popular resorts, Water Gap House and The Kittatinny, were claimed by fires and never rebuilt. The pace of life in Delaware Water Gap began to slow, but the lure of the area's natural beauty remained. In 1965, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was created, encompassing 70,000 protected acres. Today, modern outdoor enthusiasts find the same peace and tranquility tourists savored in the past, and the tradition of welcome in the local community is as strong as ever.

While in Delaware Water Gap, why not step back in time at local museums? Dive into the area's rich history at the Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery, housed in a nineteenth century brick schoolhouse on Main Street. The echos of the rush of Victorian vacation life can still be felt as you Tour the Castle Inn, a beautiful venue built in 1906. Tours are available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. In 1907, the "Mountain View Line" trolley picked up passengers in front of The Historic Castle Inn as it pursued its route between Delaware Water Gap and nearby Stroudsburg. These days, it's The Pocono Historic Trolley Tours that picks up in front of the Castle, taking guests on a narrated journey through the Minisink Hills and Shawnee, the perfect way to learn about the past.

Tour the Castle

  • 20 Delaware Avenue
  • (570) 730-0547

Step back in time and tour the last of the great resorts built in Delaware Water Gap. Tour…

Enjoy the Borough's Restaurants and Shops

2. Enjoy the Borough's Restaurants and Shops

The charming small town businesses in Delaware Water Gap are well worth a visit! Once you've worked up an appetite in the fresh air, take your pick of delicious restaurants. Joe Bosco Authentic Smokehouse BBQ specializes in prime beef and artisanal pork, and don't forget to try the hush puppies! The Sycamore Grille offers hearty meals, weekly specials, and a full bar.

Joe Bosco Authentic Smokehouse BBQ

  • 55 Broad Street Rear
  • (570) 664-9888

Joe Bosco takes great pride in hand-selecting their prime meats. Recognized by Trip Advisor as a 2022 Travelers’ Choice award winner for BEST BBQ. Everything is house-made and locally sourced. They smoke their prime beef over oak and sugar…

Sycamore Grille

  • 92 Main Street
  • (570) 426-1200

Serving everything from wings and burgers to steaks and fresh seafood, the Sycamore Grille & Pub uses fresh ingredients and offers a full bar with a tantalizing list of martinis, specialty drinks and a wide variety of draft and bottled…

Don't forget to save room for dessert! The Village Farmer and Bakery makes their mouthwatering pies from scratch. In the mood for ice cream? The classic, turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor at The Shoppes at Castle Inn is the place to go.

Village Farmer and Bakery

  • 13 Broad Street
  • (570) 476-9440

In business since 1976, the Village Farmer and Bakery is open every day from 8am to 8pm except Christmas. All baking is done on premises and you can watch the pies being made at this bakery and farmers market located in the beautiful Pocono…

The Shoppes at Castle Inn

  • 20 Delaware Avenue
  • (570) 421-8483

The Shoppes and businesses at the Historic Castle Inn are a unique collection of businesses for you to enjoy. Conveniently just one half mile from the Pennsylvania Visitor Center off the first exit #310 when entering the state of…

Looking for more things to do in Delaware Water Gap? Spend a day in the borough with Pocono Television Network for more itinerary ideas.

Explore the Area's Natural Wonders

3. Explore the Area's Natural Wonders

Following the Delaware River as it winds its way between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is home to a treasure trove of wilderness wonders. The borough of Delaware Water Gap is located at the southern end of the recreation area, and both the town and the park take their name from the geographical feature, the point where the Delaware River cuts through the Appalachian Mountains. Delaware Water Gap hiking takes trekkers along the mountain ridges to discover panoramic views. Watch for birds and wildlife in the quiet forests or descend to the river valley to bike the McDade Recreational Trail and spend a day at the beach. Breathtaking foliage covers the area every autumn, and when the snow arrives, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area becomes a winter wonderland for skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers.

Both the tallest and second tallest waterfalls in Pennsylvania can be found towards the northern end of the Delaware Water Gap Natural Recreation Area near Milford. Coming in at PA's #1, the three-tiered Raymondskill Falls is just a few feet shorter than Niagara when the drops from the three tiers area added together. Dingmans Falls is also majestic, with a boardwalk trail leading to the base plus stairs nearby for those looking to ascend for a view of the upper falls.

Raymondskill Falls

  • 917 Raymondskill Rd
  • (570) 828-2253

The three-tiered Raymondskill Falls is the tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania located on the Raymondskill Creek. It has two viewing platforms: one near the head of the falls and one at a large step that divides the upper two drops from the…

Dingmans Falls

  • 224 Dingmans Falls Road
  • (570) 828-2253

Update: The upper and lower observation platforms for Dingmans Falls will be inaccessible Monday through Thursday for final stage repairs to the boardwalk and decking. The main observation deck will be reopened Friday through Sunday…

Follow the Appalachian Trail

4. Follow the Appalachian Trail

Hikers traversing the Appalachian National Scenic Trail will spend 28 miles of their 2,174-mile journey within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The trail follows the Kittatinny Ridge, topping Mount Tammany and Mount Minsi and crossing right through the middle of the borough of Delaware Water Gap. AT trekkers find a warm welcome at the Church of the Mountain Hostel, which offers lodging, hot showers and towel service, as well as a potluck dinner every Thursday night.

Delaware Water Gap is a great base for those looking to get just a taste of the white blaze trail. Out-and-back day hikes in the area pass through landscapes dotted with lakes and wildflowers and open onto overlooks with inspiring vistas.

Spend a Day on the River

5. Spend a Day on the River

Lush green mountains rising above wide waters make the Delaware River any paddler's dream. Float gently with the current and take in the scenery. You haven't really experienced the magic of the Gap until you've threaded through the cliffsides along the water, Mount Minsi soaring above you on one side and Mount Tammany on the other. Whether plying your oar or swimming along the shore, remember to wear a life jacket and practice river safety.

Your vessel awaits at local rental locations like Edge of the Woods Outfitters. Sign up for a canoe or kayak trip with experienced guides through Shawnee River Trips. Pets can come along for the ride too on journeys with Chamberlain Canoes and Adventure Sports. Many liveries have shuttles available, so you can get dropped off at one location and picked up downstream. No need to fight the current!

Shawnee River Trips

  • One River Road
  • (570) 424-4000

Paddle down the serene Delaware River on an excursion with Shawnee River Trips. With the…

Chamberlain Canoes

  • 103 5 Star Lane
  • (570) 421-0180

Enjoy a float on the Delaware. Chamberlain Canoes offers canoe, kayak, raft and tube…

Adventure Sports

  • 398 Seven Bridge Road
  • (570) 223-0505

Adventure Sports specializes in canoe, kayak and rafting trips on the Delaware River…

While you're out enjoying the Delaware River, remember to wear a life jacket and practice water safety! Watch the video below for tips from DWGNRA park rangers.

Experience the Gap's Tradition of Hospitality

6. Experience the Gap's Tradition of Hospitality

Accommodations in Delaware Water Gap carry on the area's long legacy of welcoming visitors. Get a taste of the Gap's resort heyday at historic hotels like the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort or enjoy live music at the Deer Head Inn, home to the oldest continuously running jazz club in the country. A stay at a scenic campground such as the Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA or Driftstone Campground means you won't miss a moment of the natural beauty.

Plan a visit to experience Delaware Water Gap camping and hiking and more. Discover for yourself what generations of vacationers have loved about Delaware Water Gap! Don't forget to check out special offers and upcoming events in the region, and explore more of the charming small towns in the Pocono Mountains.

Picture Yourself in Delaware Water Gap

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