Morgan Christopher Winter 2020
Traditionally, family vacations are a rite planned for the weeks of summer after June graduations and before the Labor Day weekend. But as more school districts plan breaks each year, winter has become a time for families to plan a getaway specifically designed to enjoy the fun and recreation the season has to offer. It is for this reason that more visitors are heading to the Pocono Mountains as a destination for indoor and outdoor winter fun!
Home to some of the East Coast’s favorite waterparks and ski resorts, as well as a destination filled with getaway rental properties, timeshares, a thriving retail market, seasonal events, and eclectic nightlife, the Pocono Mountains are a four-season destination ideal for families and friends looking to relax.
The four Pocono waterparks offer visitors different experiences to consider based on the interests and ages of the group. Closely accessible to Interstate 80 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the parks are easy to find. While the waterparks themselves maintain indoor temperatures around the 80-degree mark, visitors looking to head outside and play in the snow can enjoy the best of both climates.
The 79,000-square-foot waterpark at Great Wolf Lodge was the first to open its doors to the public in 2005. Once inside, visitors are greeted with rustic mountain decor populated by fun characters that tie into the lodge’s theme of fun. It is in this lobby that children are treated to the lodge’s popular story time each night. Activities like the PJ Party and Forest Friends Show make Great Wolf perfect for those traveling with younger ones. In addition to the waterpark featuring amazing slides and a zero-depth playground, the recently renovated resort property offers guests a fun-filled arcade, sit-down and takeout dining options, and an on-site fitness center and bowling alley.
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions features an exotic African-themed resort and meeting property that offers 220,000 square feet of indoor water park fun. While at America’s Largest Indoor Waterpark, surf on the FlowRider, enjoy a relaxing ride on the lazy river or enjoy the thrill of the Anaconda water coaster. The park also offers private cabanas, pools for younger visitors, and slides of various sizes. The Kalahari Resort property hosts a wide variety of restaurants, from classic Italian to casual bistro. The on-site spa offers the best in relaxation treatments and rejuvenation services. In addition to the waterpark and resort offerings, the convention center is a great location to consider for business and social events in the Pocono Mountains.
Those who want to combine traditional winter activities with the amenities of a waterpark may consider booking a stay at Camelback Lodge for their family’s winter getaway. Aquatopia (voted the No. 1 indoor water park in the U.S.) always feels like summer, no matter the season. On-site restaurants, an arcade, and activities like an indoor adventure course and escape room are some of the amenities offered at Camelback Lodge. The luxury spa and a full menu of diverse restaurants like Hemispheres, Neptunes, and World Bazaar Coffee Shoppe offer options from casual to formal. On the same mountain as Camelback Ski Resort, guests can go snow tubing in the morning, play in the waterpark all afternoon, and then head out for a night of skiing on Camelback’s award-winning slopes.
The earliest established resort property offering waterpark activities is Split Rock Resort, where families have been making memories for generations. Located near the junction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 80, convenient access to Split Rock Resort is a plus for travelers. Outdoor family fun like snowboarding and skiing are nearby, at neighboring Jack Frost-Big Boulder Ski areas. After a day on the slopes, warm up by splashing in the H2Oooohh! Indoor Waterpark that features three four-story slides, a wave pool, a jungle play structure with dumping bucket, and the Leapin’ Lilypads crossing area. The resort offers a variety of dining options as well as an arcade, Cosmic Bowling, and an on-site movie theater showing first-run films.
Combined with stops at popular Pocono attractions like The Crossings Premium Outlets (one of the largest outlet shopping centers in North America) and Country Junction, visits to nearby towns like Jim Thorpe or Stroudsburg, and checking out seasonal festivals across the region, families can create a fun-filled itinerary to explore the area on their winter break.