Just a little over a half hour to the West of Wilkes-Barre, you'll find a fantastic state park. Ricketts Glen has miles of trails, a large lake for swimming and fishing, camping, cabins, horseback riding and much more. I spent a day there mostly hiking the 7.2 mile Falls Trail, which is lined with 22 waterfalls and is great for any nature lover. Check out the official Ricketts Glen website or check out my VT page for more details and photos.
About 45 minutes south of Wilkes-Barre just off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you'll find a picturesque little mountain town called Jim Thorpe. The setting is sublime in a valley in the shadows of the Pocono Mountains along the banks of the winding Lehigh River. The town's historic district is full of charming shops, restaurants and interesting Victorian architecture. If you can get a room here, do it. It's a great base of exploration for the surrounding area.
Just off rte 115, just down the hill from the entrance/exit to the PA turnpike is a state park known as the tubs. turn at the brown sign with white lettering and drive down the hill, to your left is a path leading to a bridge, the there are sights up and down stream from this point, and walking and hiking trails (with wild grapes upstream!) crisscross the park.
While swimming can be dangerous and violaters can land themselves a decent fine, the water is crystal clear and it is absolutely beautiful!
The tubs are formed by a stream that is flowing down a moderately inclined hill with a piece of solid rock about the length of a foot ball field imbedded into it. Over time, the stream snaked through the rock and where it turns, created perfect pools. Bascially the setup is a tranquil pool, then a chute a smooth rock leading to another pool.
Do not park there after 8pm, as your car will be locked in.
It is best to get there in the early morning and early in the season, before it is over-run with rude high school kids who litter the place up.
park hours 8 to 7-8pm.
take care if daring to slide down between pools. there are steep undercurrents. be sure to check for a deep area in the chute before you get in, there are home to backwashing currents that can hold you under. your friends will not be able to help you out. in fact, a few people illegaly swimming die here every year due to either drunk swimming, diving off of the cliffs or not respecting/underestimating undercurrents.
do not dive/jump off of the cliffs, this is a natural stream and the depth changes daily in dry heat. many people have been injured this way.
take out what you take in. the authorities are nice enough each year to ignore swimming infractions until someone either gets hurt or the place gets full of litter.
the park is patrolled by Penn. state forest department and by STATE POLICE. this means if they catch you doing something, you will be arrested.