The Summer Poconos: College Style

What comes to mind when you hear the words “summer vacation”? Most people envision beaches, pools, boardwalks, amusement parks and of course painful sunburn. However, if you are different from the average college student and enjoy the beauty that mother nature offers then you, my friend, came to the right place.

A small group of friends and I had the time of our young lives while vacationing in the Pocono Mountains this summer. During our travels, I decided to compose a guide on how to properly vacation the Poconos as a college student. I am going to provide you with a step-by-step process that will guide you in experiencing an exciting and adventurous summer vacation in the exquisite Pocono Mountains in upstate Pennsylvania.

Step 1: Booking

Finding a place to stay during your vacation is one of the most dreadful parts of planning your summer vacation. However, that is not the case with the Poconos. The Poconos offers a variety of housing options for visitors.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, they can book a camping site at any campground. Campgrounds are geared towards those who absolutely adore the outdoors; nevertheless, if you are someone who does not enjoy the outdoors, you can book a stay at a luxury hotel. Or, perhaps a hotel is overpriced and your looking to save some money?

My friends and I elected to download the application Airbnb and could not have been more pleased. Airbnb is a smartphone application that acts as an online marketplace that connects renters with people seeking temporary housing. The benefits of Airbnb are the convenience of the app and the cheaper cost. By using the Airbnb application, you can rent a vacation home ranging from a small cabin to a seven-bedroom estate right from your phone and the nightly cost are much more inexpensive than booking a room at a hotel.

I highly recommend AirBNB. All you have to do is open the app, search Pocono Mountains, and hordes of options appear in seconds. Find the best house for you and your needs, and then book. That simple. All you need is a smartphone and a credit/debit card. My friends and I booked a small and inexpensive house. Our needs were built more towards having a good time, so we did not care for a large and scenic estate.

Step 2: Packing

The most important detail to remember while packing for your Pocono getaway is that you are heading straight into the heart of the mountains during the summertime. This means if you plan on spending any of your vacation time outside, you are going to face the scorching hot sun along with plenty of insects. Pack your sunscreen and bug spray! Two of the most annoying aspects about my trip to the Poconos was finding a way to fight off the bugs along with finding someone to smear aloe all over my back and shoulders.

Aside from bug spray and sunscreen, be sure to bring along your food and drinks, especially your alcoholic beverage of choice. There are not too many delivery/takeout spots in the Poconos. If you plan on relying on eating out or delivery, then you are going to spend a lot of money on food and delivery fees.

Step 3: Commuting

Most people vacationing in the Pocono Mountains do not plan on flying in. It is a common vacation spot for people residing in the Tri-state area, which includes states like Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. The commute to the Poconos will usually involve plenty of driving on the highway and several tolls. If you’re not one who utilizes EZ-Pass, then please do not forget your cash or you may end up with a 40-dollar ticket in your mailbox upon your return home.

The commute may be a long one, so pack snacks and water. However, road trips with friends are always amusing. We spent the ride joking and laughing, and before we knew it, we had arrived. One last piece of advice, enjoy the scenery. The ride to the Poconos is surrounded with a great deal of jaw-dropping views.

Step 4: Vacationing

It would be rude of me to tell you how to spend your time while you’re on vacation simply because everybody has different hobbies and enjoys different activities. Instead, I will inform you of what the Poconos brings to the table for fun and entertainment. The Poconos have an abundance of activities in which to partake, ranging from tons of freshwater lakes to a train-tour. The Pocono region is home to over 100 lakes, with most having designated fishing areas and swimming areas with trained lifeguards on the job.

Nevertheless, swimming is not the only outdoor activity you can participate in. There are tons of biking and hiking trails at the gorgeous Lehigh Gorge State Park. We spent hours in awe as we biked through the trials; the stunning views, the colors of the trees and the wildlife captivated us. The Poconos also offer more extreme outdoor activities like zip-lining, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing. On top of all these fascinating activities. 

I would recommend visiting some of the fine dining that the Poconos has to offer. We decided to dine in at the Jubilee Restaurant, and it was the ideal experience. The “Jub” is a traditional American establishment, serving seafood, wings, pasta, burgers, and gourmet sandwiches. The food was amazing as was the service. Our waitress Julie was from the area and recommend local bars to enjoy a cold one. We ended up enjoying overpriced drinks at the Jub before heading back home. If I were to offer any advice to a visitor on how to vacation, it would be to talk to the locals. They know the area better than anyone and offer useful advice!

Step 5: Departing

Hopefully, you had a blast at the Poconos, you enjoyed whatever activities you decided to partake in, and you avoided the sunburn and bug bites. Now, the time has come to pack up and head back to reality. Be sure to not leave anything behind and be sure to clean up after yourself. Not only is it the respectable thing to do, but some renters also charge cleaning fees and will charge you an expensive fee if you leave a mess behind.

Be sure to stop for a bite to eat on your way home. We devoured Denny’s before our journey home, and it the spot. Do not forget to enjoy the scenery on your trip back if you missed on the way there!

By Timothy Harrison. He is a Philadelphia native who majors in History and also minors in Writing at Holy Family University.