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Five Cool Places to Beat the Heat

It’s hard to believe we’re on the cusp of July–it feels like it’s been August for weeks around here in the Valley. Here are five cool places–literally–to help you get through the dog days of summer.

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by Carrie Havranek

We’re starting a new feature here at Little Pocket Guide called “Five Cool Things” as a way to remind those of us who live here–and inspire those of you who want to visit–that we have a plethora of cool things to do, see, enjoy, buy, eat, or drink. Some of these may be familiar; some, hopefully, may not. As always, we want your feedback, too. If you have favorite places to cool off–neighborhood pools are something to celebrate, for example–let us know.

Bushkill Falls: If you can withstand the Poconos summer traffic, this one is totally worth the trek. Called “The Niagara of Pennsylvania,” the Falls are easily traversed by a series of paths and wooden staircases that quickly become slippery and lead you around to some beautiful vantage points. Bushkill Falls Rd., Bushkill Falls; 570/588-6682;  $10 admission adults; $6 admission children 4-10; free for children 3 and under. Hours for July and August, weather permitting: 9am-7pm.

Camelbeach Water Park: In the wintertime, it’s home to skiing. In the summer, slide down a different kind of slope–a watery one. Well, there are 30 of them at this water park, along with speed slides, an enormous wave pool, and elaborate structures with water guns. The fun awaits those who just want to be wet all day and forget the heat. Exit 299 of I-80. One Camelbeach Rd., Tannersville. 570/629-1661. Opens at 10am daily; $34.99 admission at the door ($32.99 online); other packages and discounts apply, including twilight (three hours before close), $19.99.

Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center: Yes, that’s the official name of the park that most people who go there frequently just call Jacobsburg. You can fish, hike, or just wander around and follow the trail along the Bushkill and stick your toes in periodically. The water is so clear. Please leave it that way. Belfast Exit of Route 33. 835 Jacobsburg Rd., Wind Gap. 610/746-2801. The main parking lot is open sunrise to sunset. Don’t be shy about stuffing dollars in the donation box.

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom: I’m old enough to remember the commercials that blared, “LET’S DO DORNEY!” Many within advertising (and driving) distance of this park already know about it, but it bears reminding that it’s here. Wave pools. Children’s area. Tubing rivers. You get the picture. 3830 Dorney Park Rd., Allentown; 610/395-3724; Dorney Park: 10am-10pm; Wildwater Kingdom 10am-7pm. Regular admission rate: $43.99 for summer season but packages and season passes are available.

Delaware Water Gap: Did you know that part of the Appalachian Trail goes through our collective backyard? Of course you did. Those who’ve hiked the entire thing say that our part of it can be difficult because it’s so unevenly rocky. Don’t let that stop you; there’s water to stick your feet in, of course, and canoe, kayak, fish, and tube in as well, but there are also 27 miles of trails and there’s that stunning view of, well, the Middle Delaware River and the gap. At the end of the day, there’s excellent jazz on Main Street in the town of Delaware Water Gap at the Deer Head Inn. The park is about an hour due north of Easton, where I live. Check the web site for the extensive information listing directions, hours of operation, admission fees and/or permit/reservation information (depending on what you want to do there), as there are several visitors centers–one on the Pennsylvania side and two on the New Jersey.

Thus far this summer, Carrie Havranek has stuck her toes in the Bushkill, her backyard kiddie pool, and Ocean City, New Jersey.

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4 Responses

06.30.10

This makes me just want to go play for the day! Thank you, Carrie!

06.30.10

I’m gonna put my derriere in the Delaware. With a tube, of course.
Have a Happy Fourth!

06.30.10

I actually followed my own advice. We went up to Jacobsburg on Sunday, and some of my friends told me they went to Bushkill Falls after reading this.

06.30.10

The coolest place at Delaware Water Gap is Dingman’s Falls – a lovely, wheelchair (or stroller) accessible walk through the woods, to two stunning waterfalls. . In contrast to Bushkill Falls, it’s non-commercial and there’s no entrance fee. There’s a nice visitor’s center, ranger-led programs, and a special Junior Naturalist program for the kids. I love my tax dollars at work!

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