Winter may be winding down in the North East with Spring around the corner, but the flowers aren't blooming just yet. Snow is still on the ground in the Pocono Mountains and a winter storm is on its way. This is great news for mountain lovers looking for their last bit of action before the season comes to a close. Luckily, the Pocono Mountains has over a dozen activities for families still wanting to play in the snow.
Frosted Pine Trees at Blue Mountain — Photo courtesy of Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
Just over 200 miles from Philadelphia, the Pocono Mountains region is made up of four counties, covering an area of 2400 square miles. The region has been a vacation destination since the 1800’s, starting with the Quakers. Now, it’s the outdoor playground for many New Yorkers and vacationers from Philadelphia and New Jersey. For good reason - there’s plenty to do when there’s snow on the ground.
A semi-frozen lake in the Pocono Mountains — Photo courtesy of T. Browne Smith
If you’re fortunate enough to be in the mountains right when snow falls, the area looks like a winter wonderland. Small mountain towns decorated with freshly-fallen, pristine white snow, resemble pictures from storybooks. Cottages, country homes, and mountaintop villages add to the scenery and nostalgia of winter in the mountains. Travelers have the opportunity to ski, snowboard, snow tube, and even snowshoe their way through snowy terrain. Those are just some of the things to do. With a couple of weeks left in the ski season, here are ten winter activities in the Pocono Mountains for families to enjoy.
Snowtubing at Woodloch Resort — Photo courtesy of Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
1. Skiing and Snowboarding: The Pocono Mountains has seven major ski resorts, each with family-friendly facilities and 185 trails for both beginners and experts.
2. Snowshoeing: Frolick in the snow by snowshoeing on any of the dozens of tree-lined trails in the Pocono forests. It's a perfect way to get in touch with nature without taking on the downward challenges of the mountain.
3. Snowtubing is the best way for the whole family to enjoy the mountain without any requisite skills. The only equipment you need for this fun activity is your winter gear and a resort-provided inner tube.
4. Ice-skating: Strap on a pair of ice skates and let your inner kid (or Olympian ice skater) come out to play. There are indoor rinks, outdoor rinks, lakes, ponds, and streams available in the Pocono Mountains to practice this graceful activity.
5. Cross Country Skiing: Combine moderate outdoor winter exercise with exploration and you get cross country skiing. One thing's for sure: you won't have a shortage of trails.
6. Luge/Tobogganing Runs: If going down the mountain on skis, a snowboard, or in a tube are not your cup of tea, you can always try your hand at a luge or a toboggan. These hard-to-find winter activities are gems in the region.
7. Dog-Sledding: There aren't many places in the North East where you can find dog-sledding but guess what, the Pocono Mountains has that too. You may even get to practice with Alaskan huskies, veterans of the Iditarod in Alaska.
8. Snowmobiling: For something more rugged and fast-paced, snowmobiling is the perfect activity. Cover more ground of Pocono Mountain trails on the back of one of these and enjoy the landscape.
9. Ice-Fishing: Fishing doesn't have to stop just because the lakes are frozen. The Pocono Mountains has several lakes and ponds that are popular and available for catching fish in the winter.
10. Horse-Drawn sleigh rides: Sitting in the back of a horse-drawn sleigh next to your loved ones, wrapped in a blanket is one of the more pleasurable winter activities in the Pocono Mountains. It's not something you can do just anywhere - the scenery adds to the magic and romance of the experience.