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The Short Version: The Pocono Mountains region of Pennsylvania stretches more than 2,000 miles, and it has been a popular tourist attraction for more than a century. Adventurers enjoy the area’s rivers, lakes, valleys, mountains, and its proximity to major East Coast cities. Building on that history, the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau wants to highlight the region’s diverse activities. Once known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World, the Poconos are still a place for couples to unplug and reconnect. While the region’s famous heart-shaped hot tubs are still around, it also offers world-class wineries, golfing, skiing, and waterparks for year-round fun.
The Pocono Mountains have long been known as a destination that can get a relationship off to a good start. After World War II, the region was known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World because so many newlyweds traveled there. World-weary soldiers who married in New York or Philadelphia often didn’t want to travel far, so they opted to honeymoon in the picturesque Poconos.
That reputation as a romantic hotspot has stuck ever since. In the 1980s, the Poconos also developed a reputation as a playground for adults to spice up their relationships.
“The recession made it a difficult time for people in their marriages, so they came to the Poconos to rekindle that love. That’s when we started getting the reputation for heart-shaped hot tubs,” said James Hamill, the Director of Public and Community Relations at the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.
That novelty is far from a relic of the past as couples can still stay at the adults-only Cove Haven Resort and take a dip in hot tubs shaped like hearts. They might even be more fun than they were 30 years ago.
Couples still travel to the Pocono Mountains to rejuvenate their relationships. But the region offers many other options. The coronavirus has made people wary of indoor activities, but the Poconos provides safe activities in nature, including hiking, watersports, and horseback riding.
No matter what kind of fun partners prefer, the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau helps them plan the getaway they want, and the region, which is larger than the entire state of Delaware, offers amenities for visitors with nearly every interest.
The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau has been helping travelers plan their ideal trips since 1934. Initially, the bureau was created to help the region’s best-known resorts attract visitors from cities on the East Coast. Over time, newer types of lodging, restaurants, and businesses were also advertised through the bureau.
The types of lodging also diversified over time. Some relationship-oriented resorts went out of business in the 1980s, ushering in more modern options, including the Great Wolf Lodge resort — home to the Northeast’s largest waterpark. Resorts also started offering more entertainment, including casinos, slot machines, golf courses, and high-end spas.
Today, the bureau encourages wide-scale tourism in the region. Visitors who don’t want to travel far from the New York, Philadelphia, or Washington, D.C., metro areas need only drive a few hours to reach their destination in the Poconos.
“You might not feel like you’ve gone far, in terms of distance, but you’re transported to a pristine, natural setting,” James said.
Tourists also appreciate that each season in the Poconos offers a slightly different experience. In the fall, travelers take in the region’s vibrant colors. In winter, they descend on the area to explore the first open skiing area in the state. Spring and summer are for exploring wineries and participating in outdoor activities.
“No matter when you’re here, there is no shortage of activities to occupy your time,” James said.
Couples can still look forward to the highlights of these changing seasons, despite restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re already talking about how vibrant the fall colors will be. They can enjoy the spectacular mountains by train. After the fall comes winter, and we might have a good year for snow,” James told us.
Many couples and families travel to the region for outdoor recreation, including backpacking, fishing, and boating, among other activities. Visitors can enjoy the region’s state parks, including Hickory Run State Park and Big Pocono State Park. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is also part of the National Park system.
The Poconos region is noted for its waterfalls. Raymondskill Falls, which is the tallest in Pennsylvania, is actually three cascading waterfalls, while Bushkill Falls is known as the Niagara of Pennsylvania.
Those areas are prime spots for hiking, birdwatching, or relaxing by the water on a sunny day. James also recommends taking a guided horseback ride to get a better sense of the region’s diversity.
“Couples can enjoy a natural setting atop a horse. There’s nothing like being led on a guided trip through trails, woods, and forests,” he said.
Alternately, high-adrenaline activities await couples every season of the year. In the warmer months, many people enjoy white-water rafting on the region’s many rivers and creeks. In the winter, people come to the area for skiing and snowboarding.
Partners who like to rough it in the great outdoors can opt to stay at one of the region’s many campgrounds, and those who enjoy a more luxurious experience can choose from many lodging options that offer all the comforts of home — and more.
“You have wonderful lodging destinations, including B&Bs and inns that have attracted people for many years,” James said.
With new developments, including the popular Great Wolf Lodge, the Pocono Mountain region is an excellent place for a vacation, and couples who want to get away for a romantic weekend to reconnect in their relationship have plenty of adults-only options.
James recommends the French Manor Inn and Spa, a high-end resort that offers both a spa and dining with a view. The resort has won a handful of consecutive AAA Diamond awards, given to establishments that provide guests with exceptional experiences.
Another upscale choice is The Lodge at Woodloch, which is also a AAA Diamond winner, offers a nature-inspired experience with a spa.
“It’s a destination spa where they pamper guests morning, noon, and night,” James said.
As for dining, James struggles to name just a few options.
“There are so many places where you can get a romantic meal that’s on par with anything you’d get in a city or urban area,” he told us.
The Pocono Mountain region has also developed a name for itself as a wine destination, and many couples are taking advantage of that socially distanced opportunity to explore wineries. James noted that a couple recently got engaged in a local winery.
Wherever people choose to stay, they can be sure that the members of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau are taking precautions to keep them safe. And if they’re traveling to the region for a peaceful vacation, they don’t have to be concerned about their lodging.
“Couples don’t have to worry if they’ve chosen a safe, vetted venue. Everything here is a trusted destination,” James said. “The Pocono Promise is something that local businesses use to indicate that they’re following CDC and public health guidelines.”
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