I get a lot of inquiries from people who have heard about the Poconos, but who have never been here. They understand that Poconos has a reputation as a vacation area, but are unsure of the draws, so here’s my spin.
The Pocono Mountain region is famous as a vacation getaway with its natural scenic beauty, lakes rivers and activities. It can be peaceful, romantic or exhilarating. The Poconos is a nice place to get away from it all and to get outside. It is great for families or as a place to celebrate big life events like landmark birthdays, weddings, and similar celebrations. The Pocono region is a large geographic area that by some definitions stretches from Milford in the Northeast corner of Pennsylvania down to Jim Thorpe in the heart of Carbon County, about a 90-minute drive. It includes ski resorts, two beautiful rivers, indoor water parks, motorsports, large state parks, lots of nature preserves and of course, resorts, hotels campgrounds and vacation homes communities throughout the region.
Some 47 million people live less than a three-hour drive from the Poconos, the area is easily reached by highway Interstates 80, 84, 78 and 476 and is less than 2 hours from either Philadelphia or Newark airports. This proximity makes it a great place for weekend getaways. Year-round you will find traffic headed into the area on Friday afternoons and leaving either Sunday night or Monday morning.
When you think about a great place for weeklong family reunions, the Poconos central location is a draw as the area is just over 4-hour drive from Boston or Washington, DC and 6 hours from Toronto, Montreal, and Ohio. The draw of bringing families and friends together in a modestly priced setting is one of the area’s biggest attractions. For families who are hard pressed to afford a vacation that requires airfares, the Poconos presents a vacation environment on a budget.
While the area has attractions, restaurants and activities, a big draw comes from being a venue to just come together in a relaxed, natural environment. The region has over 100 vacation home communities, many built in the 70’s and 80’s as summer cottages and second homes. Some of these communities have grown to become primarily residential, but many have retained their vacation home character and continue to welcome out of town guests. These private communities have their own amenities like lakes, pools, and recreation facilities, making them an ideal place to for getaways, gatherings and reunions. The image of coming together around a big indoor fireplace or outdoor fire pit and seeing old friends is the perfect remedy to the daily grind and a circle of Adirondack Chairs around a fire pit can be found at nearly every vacation home.
There are resorts, vacation homes and campgrounds for every budget which is part of the draw. There are some very nice resorts with fine dining and great amenities and there are vacation home communities with rental properties for every budget. Here are some of the vacation home communities that have a good reputation for short-term rentals:
- Arrowhead Lake – Popular as a summer spot, golf-cart friendly the very nice amenities give this community a resort-like feel. Also see vacation homes for sale in Arrowhead Lake.
- Camelot Forest – Small community with several small lakes, fairly close to Jack Frost resort and the Split Rock resort. Also see vacation homes available in Camelot Forest, Greenwood Acres and Pinecrest Lake.
- Emerald Lakes – Known for big homes, central to everything, very close to Kalahari and one of closest STR-friendly lake communities to Camelback. Also see vacation homes for sale in Emerald Lakes.
- Indian Mountain Lake – As one of southernmost STR-friendly communities, has nice amenities, close to Pocono Speedway and is the closest STR-friendly lake community to Blue Mountain and Beltzville State Park. Also see vacation homes for sale in Indian Mountain Lake.
- Lake Harmony Estates – With two lakefront lots as part of the HOA, it is at the heart of the Lake Harmony area, winter sports at Jack Frost/Big Boulder and hard to get access to Lake Harmony itself. Also see vacation homes for sale in Lake Harmony Estates.
- Locust Lake Village – Nice destination location midway between Kalahari and Jack Frost with two lakes, beaches and a nice walkable feel. Also see vacation homes for sale in Locust Lake Village.
- Penn Estates – The closest STR-friendly lake community to Camelback, not far from the town of Stroudsburg and an easy drive to Bushkill Falls, the Delaware Water Gap, and Shawnee Ski Resort. Also see vacation homes for sale in Penn Estates.
- Pocono Country Place – Affordable homes in a community with two lakes, close to Tobyhanna State Park. Also see vacation homes for sale in A Pocono Country Place
- Pocono Farms and Country Club – A cluster of nice amenities that includes a lake, golf course, clubhouse and pool, not far from Kalahari, Mt. Pocono borough or the Mount Airy Casino. Also see vacation homes for sale in Pocono Farms.
- Saw Creek Estates A fully contained resort-like setting with restaurant, ski hill all nestled in the hills close to Bushkill Falls, Shawnee Ski Resort and the southern entrance to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
- Split Rock – Homes in Split Rock not only have the advantage of being adjacent to Lake Harmony, they are surrounded by a resort that hasa lodge, hotel, indoor water park and golf course just steps away. Also see vacation homes for sale in Split Rock and bordering Lake Harmony.
- Stillwater Estates and Stillwater Lakes Civic Association – Two centrally located communities that have a large lake and are close to everything. Also see vacation homes for sale in Stillwater Lakes area.
- Towamensing Trails – At the southwest corner of the Poconos with its own lake, clubhouse and pool, not far from Lake Harmony and a reasonable drive to Blue Mountain Ski Resort. Also see vacation homes for sale in Towamensing Trails.
The ski areas are scattered throughout the region, so just about every vacation home is within a 30-minute drive of Jack Frost/Big Boulder, Blue Mountain, Camelback Resort, Shawnee Mountain, Montage Mountain, and the smaller Skytop Lodge, or Ski Big Bear at Masthope Mountain. In addition to snowboarding, many of these mountains have added Snow Tubing allowing everyone an outlet to play in the snow.
The large state parks at Beltzville Lake State Park and Tobyhanna State Park have lakes that allow power boating as well as kayaking and canoeing. Lake Wallenpaupack is the state’s second largest lake and there are a number of smaller more intimate lakes that allow for fishing or human powered boating. Rafting, tubing and similar activities make great day trips along the Delaware River (many out of Delaware Water Gap) and the Lehigh River (out of White Haven or Lehighton/Jim Thorpe).
With nearly 30 million annual visitors, you’ll find all kinds of quirky roadside attractions and activities from stocked ponds that will teach you to fish, to a ride down a coal mine to the world’s largest general store. There are ATV tours, Slingshot rentals (3 wheeled highway vehicles) to a chance to drive a lap around a NASCAR track. It is filled with beautiful natural features like boulder fields, waterfalls and rivers and It can get really tacky if you look hard enough!
At the heart of it all are the vacation homes. While we don’t have exact figures the number of vacation rental properties may well exceed 10,000 and the income from these rentals may well exceed $100 million. Rentals aren’t just STR as defined by Airbnb or VRBO, they are also properties listed by realtors, marketed as direct bookings or casual arrangements between friends and family members. Municipalities and communities may impose regulations on rental properties, but vacation home ownership that has been a hallmark of the Poconos for generations will go on for generations to come.
Come, visit the Poconos and see for yourself. Try being a secret shopper and stay in a Vacation Rental Home:
Airbnb Cabins and Homes in the Poconos
Marriott Homes and Villas in the Poconos
Vacation Homes in the Poconos through VRBO
Drive around and see some of the Landmarks that are in my STR Tour:<br>
Pocono Vacation Home Sales STR Tour Map 2023
I encourage you to watch the video below: