Stroudsburg – For generations now, families have vacationed in the Pocono Mts and the summer of 2010 is no different.  Referred to in the past as “Pocono Mountains, the Near Country” the Poconos are only an hour & a half from New York, two hours from Philadelphia, two hours from upstate New York and three hours from the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas.

And it’s not hard to get to the Poconos, in fact….it’s easy.  Whether you are coming in off Interstate 81, Interstate 80, across I-84, the highway structure to get to the near country is very accessible.

And once you get here, rain or shine, summer-time offers the best for families of all ages and sizes.  Whether you want to do a lot or do nothing at all, the Poconos has it.

CamelBeach Water Park – Touted one of the largest outdoor water parks in the East, Camelbeach has the Flow-Rider, the ultimate surfing ride, Kahauna Wave Pool, the Blue Nile Adventure River, mini golf and bumper boats.  All the pools feature heated water.  Groups of 15 or more area always welcome.  CamelBeach is conveniently located in Tannersville.

Callie’s Candy Kitchen and Pretzel Factory – For the past 20 plus years Callie’s Candy Kitchen and Pretzel Factory has made every variety of candy known including chocolates, brittle, hard candy, lollipops, fudge and mints.  Open year round, candy and pretzels are made fresh on the premises every day.  Taste fresh treats at both locations; a definite stop when you come to the Poconos.  Callie’s Candy Kitchen is located in Mountainhome.

Claws & Paws – Known as “a zoo in the woods” you can get a close look at over 120 species of wild animals.  Feed the giraffe, the parrots and Claws and Paws touts one of the best petting zoos around.  Claws & Paws is located in the Lake Wallenpaupack region.

Country Junction – Known as the world’s largest general store, going there is a treat whether you buy anything or not.  At the Country Junction in Lehighton, you can get hardware, house wares, lawn and garden items, patio, pets, specialty foods, toys, whimsical treasures and a whole lot more.

Whitewater Rafting – Some of the best rafting around is located outside Jim Thorpe in the western part of the Pocono Mountains.  Plan on spending the day, and don’t be afraid of you are a novice, because trips of different calibers are designed for each of those type rafters.  You’ll work up an appetite which is good because having a box lunch along side the Lehigh River just can’t be beat.  Pocono whitewater rafting is for every level of adventurer; and you can choose your own pace, from mild to wild rafting and kayaking trips, it’s all designed for you.

In addition to whitewater rafting, why not enjoy a canoe or raft ride.  There’s absolutely no better way to view the spectacular scenery than quietly moving down the Delaware River.  See eagles, hawks, egrets, deer and a whole host of other animal life as you travel the spectacular Delaware River aboard your canoe, kayak or rafting tube.  Guided or unguided tours are available.  Get trip ideas, river maps and information on special events.  Group rates are always welcome.

Quiet Valley Living Historic Farms – Nestled in the hills of Northeast Pennsylvania, Quite Valley is a living museum and is just like stepping back in time.  Call ahead, because sometime there are special events with period dressed “family” members reenacting the life of the original Pennsylvania German family who lived on the farm from 1760 to 1913.  Quite Valley has got something for people of all ages.  Reminisce about the “good old days” and walk among the fully dressed theme family living on the farm.

Beltzville State Park – Located in Carbon County, the 2,972 Beltzville State Park features 949 acre Beltzville Lake touting a shoreline of 19.8 miles.  Activities include picnicking in either of the open or wooded picnic areas featuring modern restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables, playing fields, playgrounds and pavilions for larger families.  Boating, including motorized watercraft or the boat rental concession for paddle boats, canoes, row boats, pontoons and small or large motorboats.  Swimming, a 525 foot sand beach is open from late May to mid-September.  Lifeguards are on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  A bathhouse with showers and a first aid building are near the beach.  For hunting and fishing, Beltzville Lake is stocked with warm and cold water game fish and pan fish.

Split Rock Lodge Resort – Split Rock Lodge Resort opened H2 0oh indoor water park which features 53,326 square foot of fun, featuring exciting water attractions for all ages.  The park includes 5 exciting body, tube and raft slides, flow-rider, wave-pool, activity pool, fun-play structure, snack and Tiki bar.

Pocono Indian Museum – Pocono Indian Museum, located in Bushkill is Northeast Pennsylvania’s premier site and is an excellent way for children to learn about the history of the Delaware Indians.  It’ll show you the North American history of man in Northeast Pennsylvania from 1500 BC to the contact period with the European man prior to the American Revolution.  It also shows the Delaware Indians peaceful co-existence with other Indians.  The museum is packed full of displays of ancient artifacts, weapons and the tools that from a chronological commentary on life among the Indians for thousands of years.  It’s gift shop is filled with artifacts that children can take home with them as remembrances of their visit to the museum.

Shawnee Playhouse – Located in historic Shawnee-on-Delaware the Playhouse history began when C. C. Worthington built the playhouse in 1904 as the Worthington Hall.  In 1943, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians began to broadcast their famous radio programs from the Hall.  Unfortunately, the Hall later fell into dis-use.

The Kirkwood Family in 1978 began to restore Worthington Hall into what it is today, the Shawnee Playhouse.  With contributions from the Kirkwood family, and generous donations from many individuals and friends, the Shawnee Playhouse today is a must-see destination.  Matinee and evening shows are available; visit them online for a list of the summer play.

Well, that’s just a couple ideas of what you can do on your summer vacation in the Pocono Mountains.  As you can tell, whether it’s raining, the sun is shining or whatever Mother Nature may bring, there’s always something to do.

The first thing you want to do is call Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates or visit us online at to view the different privately owned vacation homes, condo or town-homes that you can rent for a weekend, a week or a seasonal stay.  Ask us about our “stimulus week”, a vacation planned with the economic downturn in mind.  It’s a 5 day, 4 night stay which will serve as a one week vacation at a very affordable price.

Hope to see you and your family in the River, at a play, at CamelBeach, Callie’s Candy Kitchen, Claws & Paws or any of the great sights here in the Poconos.  Enjoy yourself!

Thomas R. Wilkins is CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates, the one of the largest real estate broker companies in the Pocono Mountains.  Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate rents furnished vacation condos, town-homes, and individual cabins throughout the greater Pocono region.  Packages are available from 3 days, 2 nights to 8 days, 7nights.

Patricia Blank-Toombs, Vice President Sales and Vacation Rental Manager contributed to this article and is head of the Vacation Rental Department

Thinking about a summer family vacation in the Poconos, give us a call today or visit us online at

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