Camelback Resort: A Year-round Poconos Getaway for Families
While an escape to Pennsylvania’s Poconos often means quiet hikes in the woods, a swim in the Delaware, or maybe a ski down the slope, my family also relishes a trip to one of the Poconos water park resorts. We recently indulged in a long weekend at Camelback Resort and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
Read on to find out what’s new at this Poconos resort and to hear all our best tips for a visit to Camelback with the kids.
Part of the appeal of Camelback, and its competitors, is its year-round family entertainment. The Poconos resort boasts expansive indoor and outdoor water parks with multiple pools, tons of water slides, and splash fun, so visitors can swim any time of year. The resort is set next to the mountain, which draws in skiers, snow boarders, and snow tubers from all over the area each winter, and similar thrill-seekers roll in for outdoor summer pursuits like its zip lines, a mountain coaster, treetop ropes course, and all manner of excursions from rafting to horseback trail rides.
The resort’s many types of hotel rooms, suites, and accommodations, as well as a multitude of onsite restaurants and rainy day indoor activities like the arcade and bowling, make it easy for families of all sizes and interests to book a room, and well, stay a while!
Enjoy the wave pool, cabanas, or 13 water slides at Aquatopia.
Water Parks at Camelback Resort
Camelback operates a year-round indoor water park, Aquatopia, which is found right inside the resort, making it easy to throw on your bathing suit and take the elevator straight into the pool. You can also check in or check out early from your room and continue to access the water park, or simply sign up for a day pass to enjoy the water park for the day. This indoor water park is included with a stay at the resort, while the outdoor water park pass must be purchased separately.
There's a wave pool, activity pool (meaning basketball hoops), a fairly small toddler splash area, 13 water slides of varying speeds and thrill levels, and at the center of it all, a multi-level, water playground with dumping buckets, water sprayers, shallow splash zone, and all the best slides for kids under the age of 10 or 12. Cabanas with servers, concessions, lockers, towels, and plenty of bathrooms make it easy to spend the day here with your family. The arcade area is just outside the water park doors, too, which is tricky, because you'll have to walk right through it to get inside. I found it hard to drag my kids away from this area!
Even toddlers can enjoy the resort's water park!
Camelbeach is the resort's seasonal outdoor water park, and it's simply gorgeous as you'll splash and zip down the slides while surrounded by the gorgeous mountains and trees. My kids loved the wave pool and lazy river here, and my toddler kept going back to the enjoy the smaller tot-sized sections. I suppose that I should also 'fess up to enjoying a lounge in our cabana with drink and BBQ in hand. There were lots of good food options at the outdoor water park with mini food truck style stations. Don't forget to bring your own towels to the outdoor park. One issue that we also ran into was that the indoor water park opens late during the summer as the resort drives people toward Camelbeach. This is tricky on bad weather summer days, but just plan accordingly.
Hit the slopes at Camelback with nearly 40 trails, plus snow tubing and a snowboard park.
Skiing, Tubing, and Winter Sports at Camelback Resort
In the winter, families can access nearly 40 ski trails, a snowboarding park, 42 snow tubing lanes, rentals, and of course, learn-to-ski programs for all ages. Camelback is considered a top ski destination for the region. Sign the kids up for morning lessons while you explore the slopes, or take a private family lesson! Snow tubing is great for all ages and the non-skiers in the group, too, though I will admit the inability to steer scares me to tears but not my 6-year-old! Camelback is also one of the few snow tubing spots that allows younger kids to ride in a double tube with parents. Just check the height requirements ahead of time.
Highly recommend a stay at the Lodge for ski in and out privileges, a warm swim at the indoor park, discounted lift tickets, and maybe a massage at the spa later.
A bunk bed room made for comfortable stay for our family.
There are nearly 500 rooms available at Camelback and all appear spacious, modern, and comfortable. With three kids, my family rarely fits in standard hotel rooms, so we were thrilled to enjoy a King Bunk Suite at Camelback Lodge. It's technically one room, but there's a private bunk bed alcove with two sets of bunk beds! Genius. It also came with lovely views of the Poconos and a pull-out sofa bed. Families of different sizes might consider the condos with kitchenettes, two-bedroom suites, or maybe a queen suite with balcony, so parents have a place to hang after kiddie bedtime. We found housekeeping and guest services responsive to all requests, including extra towels and blankets.
Restaurants at Camelback Resort
The resort makes mealtime easy with a number of quick service spots for a quick breakfast or lunch before or between adventures, as well as sit-down restaurants for a more relaxed dinner. We enjoyed a solid breakfast each morning at Hemispheres, which is located right in the lobby. We fueled up with pancakes, coffee, bagels, and bacon. On another morning, we simply grabbed cereals and snacks from the adjacent Mountain Market stand. Casual fare is found at the Trail End Pub where you're also served up a view of the mountain. Find the firepits just outside this restaurant, as well as a shortcut to the trail that leads to the slopes and the various summertime mountain adventures. We also splurged on a nice dinner (and cocktails) served on the outdoor deck at Berrelli's Italian Chop House. Elsewhere onsite, you'll find tacos, a smokehouse, candy shop, pizza spot, and plenty of kid-friendly burgers and fries.
Catch a mountain coaster ride at Camelback! Youner kids can ride with a parent. Photo courtesy Camelback
More Kid Entertainment, Indoor Activities, and Outdoor Fun
No matter the weather, no matter the interest, no matter the age, Camelback has something fun for your kid to do! Seriously. There's almost too much to squeeze into a long weekend, but it was so great to find something for everyone. In addition to the big ski and water park attractions, there's indoor bowling, a climbing wall, outdoor zip lines and ropes courses, extra excursions like horseback riding, and ongoing family-friendly special events. Just be careful to consider costs; my kids blew through $50 in the arcade in less than 30 minutes. Ouch! They were just as entertained by the free balloon maker in the lobby. Keep an eye out for the free lobby entertainment and activities, which sometimes include dance parties or arts and crafts.
While a stay at Camelback is so easy that you may never leave the grounds, I’d encourage families to take an afternoon or morning off for a day trip to explore cute main streets, hike a waterfall trail, take in a local farm, lake swimming, or any one of the other 70 Top Things to Do in the Poconos with the kids. On our last day, we took a quick trip to downtown Stroudsburg for an outdoor takeaway lunch and treats from the cute and quite delicious Cafe Duet and a trip to fill up on treats at Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop....and then we returned for more pooltime at the kids' insistence!
Photos by the author except where noted