While this winter might be a little less snow covered than usual here in the Bronx, just two hours away in the Poconos you’ll find plenty of snow covered mountains perfect for some winter fun. You’ve probably seen many of our travel posts highlighting different parts of the Poconos, so we’re excited to share even more ideas for families looking for fun in the colder months. Earlier this week, we joined The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau for a fun trip visiting both the Shawnee Inn and Camelback Lodge. So follow us on our journey to get some ideas for your next winter trip to the Poconos.
Check into The Shawnee Inn
We arrived at this 105 year old hotel around 4 pm. As we approached the turn for the resort, we couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the inn looked right on the water’s edge. We were loosing light, so by the time we pulled in front, the beautiful white columns and bare trees were lit up in white lights. We quickly dropped our belongings in our room, and headed back to the lobby to meet our group for a hay ride around the property.
Along the route of the hayride we were able to see other housing accommodations belonging to the Shawnee Inn. While there are standard rooms inside the Inn, the property also boasts places for larger families to stay. After the ride, we hopped off and joined Shawnee staff for a bonfire right on the Delaware River. Despite the cold, there is just something about ending a day with family around the bonfire while the kids roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Here we learned about the golf course at the resort, and even island and riverside Glamping that takes place in the fall and summer!
Dinner at The Gem and Keystone
After the bonfire, we headed to dinner at the Shawnee’s brewpub, The Gem and Keystone. A casual pub atmosphere, it was a great place to bring the younger kids and still enjoy food and drinks. We dined downstairs, so after dinner the little ones were able to lounge on some couches located near our tables and play on their tablets while the adults enjoyed some more conversation before headed back to the hotel. www.gemandkeystone.com
It was an early morning for us the next day, but we stayed up chatting for a bit in our room before laying our clothes out for the slopes the next day.
Ski Lessons at Shawnee Mountain
The next morning, we headed to the River Room for breakfast and enjoyed a filling buffet before checking out and heading to the slopes. The Shawnee Inn offers Ski & Stay Package options- which include overnight accommodations, a full hot breakfast and an all-day lift ticket to hit the slopes skiing or snowboarding at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, located only 3 miles from Shawnee Inn. www.shawneeinn.com
Midweek the mountain was nice and quiet- a great way to escape the weekend crowds. My oldest Briana chose to try her hand at snowboarding lessons while my 4 year old Gia and her friend Cataleya headed to SkiWee classes. While Briana headed with the group to get her rentals and go towards the bunny slopes, the little ones headed to the designated SkiWee area.
Immediately we noticed how friendly and warm the instructors were towards the kids. They learned how to stop, get onto the carpet lift with their skis, and even had some fun races with each other. They had a snack break in between, and received report cards and goodie bags at the end. Both Gia and Cataleya had a blast, and couldn’t wait to go back.
Lunch at Barley Creek Brewing Company
Since we’d be checking in at Camelback Lodge for our second night, our lunch plans were at Barley Creek Brewery, right down the road from the lodge. There we noshed on several of their appetizer options, like Big Pocono Nachos, Phoenix Pretzel Dip, Lamb Sliders, Spicy Pub Pickles, and Smoked Meatloaf Minis. We enjoyed all of our choices- with the exception of wishing for more cheese on the ginormous pile of nachos! We even had a chance to do a quick brewery tour before we headed to Camelback to check in. www.barleycreek.com
Checking in to Cameback Lodge
If you thought the kids would be worn out by this point, you thought wrong. One look at the giant slides that protrude from the inside of the indoor waterpark Aquatopia, their energy was recharged. Since we’d be hitting the snowtubing park first to experience their new galactic snowtubing, we made them promises to visit the waterpark when we got back later that evening.
Galactic Snowtubing at Camelback
If you’ve been to Camelback in the past, then you know their snowtubing used to end at 5pm. Well, they recently started their galactic snowtubing- which is night tubing complete with lights and music. We were really excited that they added this addition to the resort, as it gives guests even more options at night, and it’s an all around fun experience. So for guests who check in late, or just want to have fun tubing at night- this is so awesome. Tickets for snowtubing can be purchased downstairs near the arcade, and the shuttle runs every 20 minutes down to the tubing area. www.snowtubingcamelback.com
After we returned from tubing, we ran back to the room to figure out dinner so we’d have some time in the waterpark before it closed at 9pm- since it was a weekday. While there are plenty of food options right in Camelback, we opted to order pizza from outside so that we could eat in the room and then head to Aquatopia. With two adults and three kids, it was an affordable option and what kid doesn’t love pizza?!
When you’re planning a trip to the Poconos where you can enjoy both outdoor activities and indoor waterpark fun, don’t forget the necessities: snowpants, snowboots, gloves, hats and scarves for the cold. And bathing suits, flip flops, and cover ups for the water.
Aquatopia has a fun vibe at night- with lights similar to those at the galactic snowtubing. We grabbed life jackets for the littles and headed to a fun zone for them while Briana headed to the wavepool with a friend. After a fun filled day of skiing and snowtubing, it was the perfect way to end the day splashing around with friends.
Breakfast at Hemispheres
The next morning called for rain, so we weren’t sure if we wanted to take the little ones out to Camelback’s mountain for another day of ski lessons. They were also super excited about more waterpark fun. So we headed to enjoy our buffet breakfast at their restaurant Hemispheres to make up our minds. The buffet selection at Camelback is one of my favorite we’ve experience so far. The food was great, and there was quite a selection of each type of breakfast food. Be sure to grab a donut on your way out too!
Since we had planned to head home at a decent time, we chose to spend a few hours in Aquatopia again before we departed. When staying at Camelback Lodge, guests can enjoy access to Aquatopia for the entire day after check out. Lockers and showers make it easy to clean up and head home. www.camelbackresort.com
While we didn’t do the lessons at Camelback this time, you can read about our experience taking adult lessons here. Camelback Mountain offers ski and snowboarding lessons in both groups as well as private, in addition to their snowtubing. They also have ziplining and even a mountain coaster, which will open back up in the warmer months. www.skicamelback.com
Once again, the Poconos provided the perfect mini getaway where we were able to fit in plenty of winter fun. Whether you’re looking to unplug and focus on just the outdoor activities, or something more inclusive like Camelback Lodge- there is something for everyone.
Tips for Planning a Winter Visit to the Poconos
- Decide your budget
- Figure out what dates work for you
- Make a list of what activities you’d like to experience
- Research- does it make sense for you to choose a resort with ski and food packages that you can add on? Or a more affordable hotel and pay for food and activities separately.
- Sign up for emails and coupons- you never know what special they are currently running!
The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau has done a great job at highlighting all of the fun in the area, during all seasons. From where to stay, to what to eat- they’ve got you covered. Visit www.poconomountains.com for more information and to plan your upcoming trip.
What to Pack?
Packing for two different “seasons” in one trip makes it easy to forget something. We’ve created this handy checklist so you don’t end up walking to the pool barefoot in your bathing suit. You can see the list below:
We were invited on a press trip with the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau to facilitate this post. As always, all opinions expressed are our own.