As an almost life-long resident of the Poconos in Pennsylvania, I thought I’d found pretty much every exciting thing to do in my area. Boy, was I wrong! I spent a few hours trying to find something interesting to do this spring. I discovered so many new places to explore and rediscovered some old favorites!
Whether you’re a lifelong resident like me, a weekend tourist, or just visiting the area for the first time, check out these 35 “off the beaten path” places to explore in and around the Poconos!
Offbeat Things to Do in the Poconos
While “offbeat” and “quirky” are definitely subjective, I tried to fill this list of things to do in the Poconos with things that you wouldn’t typically consider right away. Everyone goes to the ski resorts in the winter or the water parks (I think we’re up to like 5 and counting now) in the summer. They gamble or catch live music at the casino, or hit the Crossing Outlets for shopping.
I’m not going to tell you about things you’ve probably seen on a million and one Pocono entertainment guides. Instead, you’ll find a huge variety of activities for just about every interest, from weird little museums to less crowded parks to funky little places to grab a yummy pie!
Top 20 Things to Do in the Poconos
1. The Frazetta Art Museum
141 Museum Ln, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18301 USA
Growing up in the Poconos, Frank Frazetta was just a guy who owned a super creepy costume shop. I didn’t realize he was a world-famous fantasy artist until I was at a co-worker’s house in Maine. I saw a cool painting on her wall and was surprised when I saw the artist’s name. Frank Frazetta passed away a few years ago, but his son turned part of his family home into a museum dedicated to his life work.
I haven’t been to it yet, but I’ve heard great things about it! The museum is open Thurs-Sun, 10am-4pm. According to their website, it is “home to the largest and most comprehensive collections of works by Frank Frazetta.” They don’t charge a specific entrance fee, but ask for a suggested donation of $15. Visit their Website
2. Eddie’s Toy Museum
1 Fenner Ave, Sciota, Pennsylvania 18354 USA
Think you’re the ultimate toy collector? Think again! At Eddie’s Toy Museum, you’ll find the world’s largest toy collection of its kind. With over 18,000 pieces in 42 displays, you’ll find everything from dolls and trucks to Pez dispensers and more! Nascar fans will love checking out the Nascar part of the museum featurign over 8,000 pieces from the Marcis to Earnhardt era,
The museum is closed on Mondays and all major holidays, but the rest of the year is fair game! There doesn’t appear to be a Facebook page or official site, but visit this Website to learn more.
3. Columcille Megalith Park
2155 Fox Gap Road, Bangor, Pennsylvania 18013 USA
You don’t have to travel to England to find a taste of Celtic spirituality! Just head up to Bangor to the Columcille Megalith Park! I had no idea this place existed, but my husband used to take weather shots for the news from it. The park was inspired by the Isle of Iona, said to be the spot where the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Although it is inspired by the Celtic religion, it’s meant to be a place for people of all faiths to find a little peace and tranquility.
The megalith stones come from a shale pit down the road from the park. They were once trapped in the layers of shale, and geologists say they were in the mud 400 million years ago. The cores are said to be at least a billion years old! The park is open from dawn to dusk every day and is free to enter. Visit the Website to learn more.
4. Pocono Cinema & Cultural Center
88 South Courtland Street, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18301-2827 USA
The Pocono Cinema has gone through a few different names, hands, and changes since it first opened way back in 1884. Back then, it was a vaudeville theater and opera house. In 1913, it was converted to a movie theater- the first one in Monroe County to showing “moving pictures.” Throughout the 40s and 50s, it was THE place to be in the Poconos. It closed down in 1986 and stayed closed for ten years.
Over the last 20 years, it’s gone back and forth between a couple of owners, and closed down at least one. Now, it’s been reopened as not just a theater, but a cultural center. The theater shows new releases as well as special runs of older movies. For example, right now you can see Ready Player One, then stick around to see The Death of Stalin. You can also grab a coffee or quick lunch in the cafe before your movie! Visit their new Website for movie show times and more information.
5. Schisler Museum of Wildlife & Natural History and McMunn Planetarium
Normal St. and Ransberry Ave., East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18301 USA
Add this to the list of things to do in the Poconos that I had no idea existed! I used to live a few blocks from the college and now live about 5 minutes away, yet I had no clue that they had a museum of wildlife. I knew about the planetarium, but didn’t know it was open to the public.
Admission is super reasonable, just $6 for adults, and that includes both the museum and the planetarium. The museum exhibits showcase a variety of animals native to the Poconos as well as exhibits with wildlife and insects from around the world. Visit the Website for more hours because it’s closed during Spring finals and certain events at the college.
6. Jayne Mansfield’s Grave
Fairview Cemetery, South Main St., Pen Argyl, PA
Jayne Mansfield, the iconic pinup girl (and first woman to have a nude scene in a movie) of the 50s and 60s died tragically on Jun 29, 1967. While some of the rumors surrounding her death proved untrue (she wasn’t actually decapitated), she was horrifically killed in a car accident. Although she has a tombstone in a cemetery in Hollywood, she’s actually buried in Pen Argyl, PA.
I visited her grave many years ago when I was going through my graveyard fascination phase. It’s not hard to find. Go into the west entrance and take the left road. Keep going until you see her heart-shaped tombstone. Really, you can’t miss it.
7. Stroud Mansion
900 Main Street Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Stroud Mansion is one of those places that I passed at least a few times a week for decades but never actually visited until recently. When Jake was a Cub Scout, we took the boys on a field trip to the mansion. The historic home was build in 1795 and housed the founding family of the area.
The entire house is a museum dedicated to the history of the area. It’s really neat inside! There are 12 rooms, each meticulously restored to showcase the different eras that the Stroud family lived there through. For example the dining room is pure Victorian, while the cellar kitchen takes you back to the colonial age. It also has a weapons room and an antique toy room.
I found it a lot more intriguing than I thought I would, although I’ll be honest and tell you that Jake’s interest ebbed and flowed throughout the tour. Visit their Website for hours and details.
8. Quiet Valley Farm
1000 Turkey Hill Rd, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18360 USA
Quiet Valley Farm is one of those places where every child who goes to school in the Poconos will visit at least once! Jake’s elementary school took them practically every year, and I’ve taken him a few times, so he kind of got tired of it.
I highly recommend going when they have one of their major events. In the spring, they have a couple of Farm Animal Frolic events to celebrate the birth of the new animals. During the summer, they have events nearly every weekend. In the fall, I love the Fall Harvest Festival (the pic above is from that event a few years ago).
Parking is kind of a nightmare. Not so much because it’s hard to find, but because you have to hike up to the farm either on a small path through the woods or a longer walk up the road. They do have some closer handicapped parking spots. Check out the Website for more details.
9. Stonehedge Gardens
51 Dairy Rd, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania 18252 USA
Okay, note that the place is called StoneHEDGE, not Henge! Two totally different things. I thought it was like a little Poconos version of the mystical England stones. If you’re looking for something like that, see #3 on this list!
Even though it’s not quite what I thought it was, Stonehedge Gardens is still a place that thrives to offer a peaceful nurturing environment for all. It features over seven acres of gardens, from perennials to shade gardens to butterfly gardens. The gardens themselves are surrounded by 20 more acres of woods and trails. While I believe there is an admission fee to the gardens, the woods and trails are open to the public and free year round, from noon to dusk. Check out the Website for more info.
10. Village Farmer & Bakery
52 Broad St, Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania 18327 USA
We have quite a few farmer’s markets in the Poconos, but most of them seem to be open during the oddest hours. Like, once a month during retrograde from 9am to noon Alternate Universe Time. Okay, so maybe not that bad, but it seems like whenever I want to go to a farmer’s market, they’re closed!
The Village Farmer & Bakery isn’t exactly a traditional farmer’s market because it’s run by a single family versus hosting a bunch of different farmers, but it’s still a fabulous place to get fresh local fruits and veggies! They also sell a ton of different types of pies (like 30 varieties) and serve breakfast all day as well as lunch.
They’re open from 8am to 8pm every day. While the weekend BBQs are neat, I actually suggest going during the week instead. I stopped there on a Saturday and got a little overwhelmed by the line. I don’t do well with long lines, so I left and went back during the week instead. It’s a lot calmer! Check out their Website to see their menu.
11. Callie’s Candy Kitchen
Route 390, Mountainhome, PA 18342
One of my all-time favorite places in the Poconos, Callie’s Candy Kitchen has been around longer than my mom has been alive! The 63-year-old family-run business draws a huge crowd on weekends and around the holidays, but it’s pretty quiet on weekends and off season.
The Candy Kitchen was started when the Callies were just 19-year-old newlyweds! It originally opened in Bangor in 1952, but moved to its Mountainhome location in 1972. The shop is filled to the brim with pretty much every type of candy you can imagine! It also includes a museum that celebrates the life of Harry and Carol Callie as well as the history of candy making.
If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, head up the road to Callie’s Pretzel Factory instead. I remember when it opened in 1985! They have the best soft pretzels ever, as well as a ton of other salty snacks. The stores are open 10am to 5pm every day. Visit their Website to learn more (and to order candy if you’re out of state!).
12. The Toy Soldier Museum
5459 Paradise Valley Rd, Cresco, Pennsylvania 18326 USA
Not too far from Callie’s you’ll find the Toy Soldier Museum! Tucked away on eight acres and featuring over 35,000 figures on display, this is the perfect place to appease your inner child! As you wander through the two-story building, you’ll see historically accurate dioramas depicting everything from famous battles throughout history to royal coronations to ancient Egyptian mummification rites! Each display was meticulously hand-built by renowned historian James Hillestad. Website
13. Holley Ross Pottery
167 Route 191, La Anna, PA 18326
If you’re looking for unique tableware or deeply discounted pottery, you’ll love Holley Ross! They have everything from Fiesta dinnerware to Robinson Ransbottom Pottery stoneware, plus garden decor, gifts, and more, all at fabulous prices. Some of their items are up to 70% off retail prices! They also make their own pottery right on site and offer demonstrations every Tues-Sat at 11am during their main season. The factory showroom is open Monday-Saturday from 9:30 to 5:30, and Sundays from 1-5:30 from May 1st through mid-December, and by chance or appointment the rest of the year.
While you shop, your kids can explore the free on-site woodland park. I was terrified of the swinging bridge as a kid, but the rest of the park is pretty neat! After you finish shopping, enjoy a picnic lunch in the park! Website
14. Arctic Paws Dog Sled Tours
1 Manor Dr, Pocono Manor, PA 18349
Want to see what it’s like to ride on a dog sled? You don’t have to go all the way to Alaska, just head to Pocono Manor Resort and Spa! Get up close and personal with beautiful rescued Huskies, ride on the back of the sled, or learn how to mush it yourself!
The Arctic Paws Dog Sled is only open seasonally, so it’s closed during the spring, summer, and fall. They reopen on December 1st. Visit the Website for hours and details.
15. Lakota Wolf Preserve
89 Mt Pleasant Rd, Columbia, New Jersey 07832 USA
Okay, so the Lakota Wolf Preserve isn’t quite IN the Poconos, but it’s just a quick drive over the bridge into NJ, so it might as well be part of the Poconos! I’ve never been there but I’m dying to go. We were supposed to go with Jake’s Cub Scout den one year, but I couldn’t get a ride and I don’t drive on the highway.
The Lakota Wolf Preserve is just what it sounds like. It’s a unique chance to see these incredible animals up close and learn about their way of life. You will need to check their Website to find out when they’re open for Wolf Tours. That is the only way you can see the animals! They have two tours a day on the weekend. While you don’t need to call ahead, you’ll want to get there about 45 minutes early to register and get ready for the tour. During the week, you’ll need to make an appointment to visit. The fee is $15 for adults and they only take cash or checks.
16. Pocono Snake and Animal Farm
424 Seven Bridge Rd, E. Stroudsburg PA 18301
Even if you don’t like snakes, there’s a lot to see at the Pocono Snake and Animal Farm! I took Jake there a few years ago with some friends and was surprised at how neat it was! This is one of those places that you always see off the side of the road (it’s right along business route 209, near the Dairy Queen) but always forget about when you’re trying to think of things to do in the Poconos.
Kids can bottle-feed little goats, pigs, and deer, or hand-feed silly monkeys. The place has been family-owned for over 30 years now. It’s inexpensive at just $8.50 for adults. Check out their Website for times and more info.
17. Boulder Field
Hickory Run State Park
If you love weird geological formations and want to spend the day outdoors, head to Boulder Field in Hickory Run State Park. This National Natural Landmark has been the same for pretty much 20,000 years! It’s a relic left over from the last ice age. Once your done gazing across the field of flat rocks, spend a little time hiking around the rest of the park! Check the Website for details.
18. Pocono Environmental Education Center
538 Emery Rd, Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania 18328 USA
The Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is a really neat place for nature lovers! My son’s gone there many times with his class for field trips. They have tons of different types of tours every weekend, or you can just hit the hiking trails and explore on your own. With 12 trails to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Website
19. The Columns Museum
608 Broad Street, Milford, Pennsylvania 18337 USA
Milford is a really neat town full of historical places. The Columns Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Pike County and the surrounding area. Exhibits include Lincoln’s Flag, World War II posters, and more. Admission is $5 for adults. Check the Website for times.
A word of advice, though: drive exactly the speed limit through Milford. That town pretty much runs on the money they make pulling people over, and they WILL pull you over if you go over the limit. You’ll notice as you pull into town everyone slows down to 25 right away, and no one goes faster than the posted limit by even a mile or two!
20. Sculpted Ice Works Factory Tour and Natural Ice Harvest Museum (Seasonal)
311 Purdytown Tpke, Lakeville, Pennsylvania 18438 USA
If you’re visiting during the winter, the Sculpted Ice Works Factory & Museum is really neat! Learn how people got ice before we had freezers and, if you’re lucky, check out an ice sculptor at work! Don’t worry, while the ice is cold, the rooms that you tour aren’t! Check the Website for the dates and times that they’re open.
15 More Unique Places to Visit in the Poconos
21. Grey Towers National Historic Site: 151 Grey Towers Dr, Milford, Pennsylvania 18337 USA Website
22. Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary: 18 Church Rd, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229-2792 Website
23. Houdini Museum: 1433 N Main Ave, Scranton, PA 18508-1822 Website
24. Resica Falls: Off 402 in East Stroudsburg, PA Website
25. Promised Land State Park: Along PA Route 390 in Greentown PA Website
26. The Old Jail Museum: 128 West Broadway, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229 Website
27. House of Candles: 3371 Route 715, Henryville, Pa 18332 Website
28. Copper Kettle & Eighty Four Country Store: 101 Creamery Rd, Greentown, PA 18426-9413 Website
29. Everhart Museum of Natural History: 1901 Mulberry St, Scranton, PA 18510-2390 Website
30. The Olde Engine Works: 62 N 3rd St, Stroudsburg, PA 18360-2452 Website
31. Blue Ridge Winery: 239 Blue Ridge Road Saylorsburg Pennsylvania 18353 Website
32. Circle Drive-In: 1911 Scranton Carbondale Hwy, Dickson City, PA 18508-1145 Website
33. Ritter’s Cider Mill: 117 Wimmer’s Road, Mt. Cobb, PA 18436 Website
34. Casino Theater: 1403 Pocono Boulevard, Route 611, Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania 18344 USA Website
35. Dorflinger Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary: 37 Suydam Dr Honesdale, White Mills, Pennsylvania 18428 USA Website
If you can think of any other quirky, fun, or off the beaten path places in the Poconos to visit, let me know! I’m always looking for new things to do here!