Just a few hours from New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania have been attracting city families to this outdoorsy hinterland for over a century. The big draw is Mother Nature, with numerous state parks, nature trails, and mountain lakes offering fishing, canoeing, rafting, and waterfalls.
Families can find excellent Poconos resorts offer plenty of outdoors recreation, plus kids' programs, family-friendly rooms, playgrounds, and much more.
Camelback Lodge & Indoor Waterpark
An indoor water park resort open since 2015, the 450-room Camelback Lodge features the enormous Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark as well as rock climbing, laser tag, and an arcade, and many more family activities.The lodge offers a wide variety of room categories, from standard rooms to six-person suites and multi-bedroom condos that sleep up to 14.
Looking for a grand old mountain lodge on the East Coast? Skytop Lodge in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains offers families a wonderful chance to get away from it all and play in the Great Outdoors. Centered around an enormous stone lodge, the resort has been welcoming guests since 1928 to its spectacular 5,500 acres. Extensive facilities include riding stables, a golf course, an indoor and outdoor pool, basketball and tennis courts, croquet lawn, archery range, paintball field, geocaching circuit, driving range, playground, and game room. The lake provides swimming, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing in the summer and skating and ice fishing in the winter.
A four-season all-inclusive resort in the Poconos, Woodloch Resort offers family meals, a variety of lodging and myriad activities to keep kids and parents busy. Think cruise ship on land, with myriad amenities including swimming pools, lake watersports, go-karts, and family fun such as contests and scavenger hunts. In the winter, there's snow tubing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.
Great Wolf Lodge Poconos
Great Wolf Lodge is a big indoor waterpark resort chain with over a dozen properties in the country, including Great Wolf Lodge Poconos, where families head for splashy fun (numerous water slides, a wave pool, kiddie pool, lazy river, surfing simulator, and more), as well as dry activities such as bowling, mini golf, and the MagiQuest interactive fantasy game.
Malibu Dude Ranch
Located about a 90-minute drive from New York City, this all-inclusive dude ranch is the largest working ranch east of the Mississippi and offers horseback riding, swimming, fishing, skeet shooting, archery, bonfires, mini golf, and even the chance to watch a rodeo.
Bushkill Inn & Conference Center
In contrast to the historic inns of the Poconos, this multi-level property was built in 2012. There is a variety of room categories, including large family suites that sleep up to eight people. Families will find a number of complimentary activities available, including swimming (indoor and outdoor pools); paddleboat rentals; playgrounds; hiking trails; and tennis, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts. Kids can look forward to scheduled ice cream socials and movie nights.
Kalahari Resort Pocono Mountains
Opened in 2015, Kalahari Resort brings more competition to Great Wolf Lodge Poconos (above). Guests have complimentary access to a huge indoor water park with several water slides, a lazy river, splash pads and a surfing simulator. Out of the water, there are scavenger hunts, cookie decorating, blacklight mini golf and seven on-site restaurants.
Inn at Pocono Manor
Set on 7,000 acres of woodlands and lake, this historic hotel blends the old and new, with accommodations that feel like you stepped back in time alongside classic fun such as family movie nights in a private theater, indoor and outdoor pools, ice cream parties, hiking, golf, horseback riding, and game nights.
Split Rock Resort
Once a hunting and fishing lodge, Split Rock is an expansive and reasonably priced four-season resort on over 1,200 acres in the town of Lake Harmony.