Many hotels in the Poconos cater only to couples, but several area resorts have gobs of family-friendly activities on hand, like bumper boats, zip-lines, wave pools, horseback rides, ropes courses, bowling alleys, and more. (Notice that a hotel with a jungle gym and game room is at the bottom of this list.) See our picks for the best kid-friendly hotels in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains.
The mid-range Woodloch Pines is a family-focused resort with a dizzying array of year-round activities -- hiking, sledding, ice-skating, go-karts, bumper boats, sailing, and group contests -- ensure fun and games for everyone. Rooms are comfortable and clean, ranging from simple motel-style outbuildings to huge private houses on the lake. The all-inclusive rates cover meals and most drinks, though the massive dining room with family-style plates may not be for everyone. Watch out for built-in gratuities and fees for some activities.
Split Rock Resort & Golf Club is an 1,200-acre mountain enclave bursting with available activities. A sandy beach adds allure to Harmony Lake, where guests can relax or dive into water sports. Kids love the indoor water park and parents enjoy the spa and 27 holes of golf. Also on hand are a movie theater, a bowling alley, and an ice cream parlor, but many facilities require extra fees. Rooms vary widely in amenities, some with older features, though the resort is in process of being updated, with a finish date in 2016. For now, this is a two-and-a-half pearl property, but the completed renovation should bring this property up to a solid upper-mid-range property.
Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, The Inn at Pocono Manor is a five-square-mile resort in the Pocono Mountains. The vast grounds include a golf course, riding stables, and trails for biking or cross-country skiing. Winter activities include ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, sledding, and sleigh rides. (Kids staying for the Christmas season can have bedtime stories read to them by "elves.") Horseback riding and pond fishing/ice fishing are available anytime of the year. An outdoor playground and arcade game room round out the extensive children's activities. Overall, the beautifully maintained mid-range Manor and its fun activities win over couples and family groups alike.
The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort is a gracious mid-range resort in the Pocono Mountains, right on the Delaware River. Built in 1911, it retains much of its vintage charm and is a nice trip back in time. The 103 non-smoking rooms and suites come with mini-fridges, plush beds, and flat-screen TVs; some rooms have bunk beds. Features include a 27-hole championship golf course, an indoor pool and hot tub, several restaurants, and activities like bocce, archery, horseshoes, hayrides, a playground, campfires, sand volleyball, and tennis. Resort staff can also arrange for off-site activities such as canoeing, kayaking, river rafting, fishing, and hiking.
The Fernwood Resort is a 400-acre condo-style vacation community nestled in the Pocono Mountains, a short drive from Bushkill Falls and Shawnee Mountain Ski Area. There are a ton of on-site activities available, including several swimming pools, ziplining, tubing and sledding, horseback riding, and golf. However, there are substantial maintenance issues throughout the property, and the 650 spacious villas with kitchens are seriously dated.
The upper-middle-range Village at Pocono's location can't be beat for NASCAR fans visiting the nearby Pocono Raceway, which also owns the hotel. The Village offers modern (and exceptionally clean) rooms, as well as tennis, basketball, and bocce ball courts next to a playground with slides, swings, and a jungle gym. Most of the indoor features are in the clubhouse, which has a TV lounge, billiards, table tennis, and air hockey. A small theater room has luxurious leather chairs and can be booked for private (Blu-ray) screenings, though there's little to prevent curious passersby from joining in. Note that there's almost nowhere to eat in the vicinity.