Circle Tour of the Grand Lodges of… Pennsylvania? Poconos and Hershey

Cue the “Holiday Road” music, it’s finally time to hit the highway for our summer family vacation.  One of the things our family likes to do is try out new destinations.  We did that last year with our Castles, Cowboys, and Caverns Tour of Upstate New York, and we’re back at it again exploring some of the Grand Park-itecture that is the Lodges of… Pennsylvania.  Surprised?  Perhaps you were thinking Yosemite’s Ahwahnee or the Yellowstone Lodge?  Nope, instead we’re heading to the Grand Lodges of the Poconos and Hershey, PA.  Continue reading for all the details of our ultra-exclusive Adventures by Daddy Circle Tour of the Grand Lodges of the Poconos and Hershey Pennsylvania.

Skytop Lodge, Pocono Mountains

© Skytop Lodge

Skytop Lodge – Pocono Mountains

Skytop Lodge, Pocono Mountains

© Skytop Lodge


We’ll… have… the time of our liiiiveeess… at our first stop at Skytop Lodge, a venerable mountain resort established in the Poconos in 1928.  Skytop’s perennially listed as one of the top all-inclusive resorts in the country, and it’s nestled in 5500 acres of pristine Pennsylvania mountain woodlands.  There’s plenty of outdoor adventures for the active family here including the Tree Top Adventure Center where you can release your inner orangutan and swing from trees, zipline, rock climb, or just resolve some sibling rivalry on the paintball course.  We’re not golfers in our family, but there is a championship golf course and packages that include greens fees.  Just because you’re in the wilderness doesn’t mean you can’t eat well.  Skytop Lodge has an elegant Windsor Dining Room that has won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for ten consecutive years (note: jackets required for men and semi-formal for women and children).  Don’t feel like dressing up?  There’s also the casual LakeView Restaurant overlooking the golf course and, um…, lake (hence the name).  But you know what our family is looking forward to most?  The evening campfires and s’mores!  Oh yeah, that’s just our style.

Skytop Lodge, Pocono Mountains

© Skytop Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge – Pocono Mountains

Stomp, stomp!  Clap, clap!  Hoowwwlllll!  We’re heading back to Great Wolf Lodge.  Yes, we’ve been to the Great Wolf Lodge before in Sandusky, OH and Niagara Falls, ON, but our family hasn’t seen anything like this before.  Think our 15 and 12 year old girls are too old for Great Wolf Lodge?  Three words, Double. Barrel. Drop.  It’s one of the most intense, most extreme water slides on the planet.  Did you read that in a “Travel Channel” narrator voice?  Because that’s how I wrote it.  Seriously, Travel Channel listed Great Wolf Lodge Poconos’ Double Barrel Drop as one of its Xtreme Water Slides (so extreme it lost the first “e”).  Drop into a vortex, spin around, drop again, all with flashing lights, and maybe there’s even some lasers in there too.  Who knows… but it sounds like serious fun.  Just check out the video below.

Great Wolf Lodge Poconos - Double Barrel Drop

Great Wolf Lodge Poconos - Double Barrel Drop © 2013 Great Wolf Resorts

And if the Double Barrel Drop isn’t enough, we’ve got MagiQuest, Compass Quest, Ten Paw Bowling Alley, and Howl at the Moon MiniGolf – all attractions we’ve never experienced at Great Wolf Lodge.  Who cares if it rains?!?  We’re never going outside.

Hershey Lodge and Hersheypark

Last stop on our Pennsylvania Grand Lodge trifecta, Hershey, PA and Hershey Lodge.  How can the National Parks out west compete with a Chocolate Park?  We hear that the aroma of chocolate even wafts down the walkways of the theme park.  Hershey Lodge is the family-friendly resort next to Hersheypark, an amusement park with over 60 rides including 11 roller coasters and “The Boardwalk” water park.  In addition to Hersheypark, we’re going to check out Hershey Gardens, The Hershey Story, and Hershey’s Chocolate World.  Yes, it will be a total immersion, sweet tooth overload, and our youngest daughter (age 12) couldn’t be happier.  She said the only thing that could make it better was if the theme park was themed around chocolate AND mashed potatoes.  We can only dream Evie… we can only dream.


Hersheypark ©Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company


So follow along live with our “Circle Tour of Grand Lodges of the Poconos and Hershey Pennsylvania” as we post photos and updates along the way.

DISCLOSURE: Our family is being partially hosted on this trip and provided with some complimentary accommodations, meals, and admission tickets along the way.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author.  In the detailed posts to follow on the destinations, we will be sure to disclose any items received.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.